Thread: How much off road can I do w my 2WD SMB?

  1. #1

    Default How much off road can I do w my 2WD SMB?

    I just picked up a 2003 gas 5.4L SMB. I havenít done too many trips with it yet, but I did just redo the inside I totally love how it all came out. BUT the only thing Iím a little bumbed about is that itís not 4x4. I donít want to do any crazy off roading but I would like to get into Baja mainly for surfing. I would love to be able to drive on the beach and Iím hoping at least some dusty sandy roads. Just wondering how much I can get away with in 2WD with some air downed off road tires and good clearance. Anybody out there have any good input? Does anybody think adding 4wd to this older SMB w/ 168k is worth it?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Backpacking 'tween Airbnb's
    Posts
    457
    You can do a locking diff for a lot cheaper than a 4wd conversion, this can help out a lot offroad. But if you're getting into rocky, bumpy, or really steep stuff, often what helps out a lot more than the front wheels driving too is the availability of low range - so you can go really slow and not beat up the vehicle in the rough.

    For beach you don't need clearance really. If you start spinning and digging down, stop immediately before you get in too much trouble and do something else.

    With wide tires aired down and maybe a buddy that has a 4wd with a tow rope or winch, you might do ok on the beach. Or maybe some traction devices similar to maxtrax - I'm not sure, I've never been in the deep sand with 2wd. I'd be concerned without that 4wd buddy along.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Fresno, CA
    Posts
    619
    Go practice somewhere with a lot of sand. You don't give your location, but if Baja is within your reach, then Pismo or the Desert probably is too. Lots of places to practice with plenty of people around to tow you.

    make sure you have really good tow points first.
    All opinions, including this one, are inherently biased. Seek information broadly and think for yourself!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Oakland, CA
    Posts
    733
    workerdrone has it right. I used my 2wd offroad before my conversion, and I'd say the low range is a HUGE benefit, especially descending something like the Cerro Gordo road (long steep, with 2wd gotta stop to cool brakes). Getting some height will help, even just with bigger tires. It's possible to get even a 4wd stuck in sand though, and the turning radius is still awful. So it would be advisable to have a buddy anyway (actually advisable with even far more capable 4wds). Being able to air down, having a shovel and recovery strap, and so on are also helpful.

    Frankly, the beating the inside takes on rocky and rutted stuff is what stops me even before I lose traction.

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