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  1. #41
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    Default Re: low- vs high range - sand driving (technical discussion)

    In the 4.8 Patrol auto, you have to keep the revs up and play between hi and low range, all depending on the sand. Beach sand even differs from place to place. I keep the rev's between 3 - 5000 RPM, whether in hi or low range, and just flick the gearbox into manual to control the gear changes better. However, knowing whether to be in hi or low range and which gear select only comes with driving the sand and feeling it in your gut. The car will noticeably drive happier when you have everything right.
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    Default Re: low- vs high range - sand driving (technical discussion)

    Quote Originally Posted by rjvds View Post
    In the 4.8 Patrol auto, you have to keep the revs up and play between hi and low range, all depending on the sand. Beach sand even differs from place to place. I keep the rev's between 3 - 5000 RPM, whether in hi or low range, and just flick the gearbox into manual to control the gear changes better. However, knowing whether to be in hi or low range and which gear select only comes with driving the sand and feeling it in your gut. The car will noticeably drive happier when you have everything right.

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  4. #43
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    Default Re: low- vs high range - sand driving (technical discussion)

    Quote Originally Posted by Captainhook View Post
    I am searching all the forums but can not find a technically satisfying and appropriate and definitive answer on my questions? Please this thread is aimed to get to the best technical correct answer ... not answers like "I drive in high range or I drive low range" or "I have always been drive in high range and it has never given me a problem, similarly low range." The internet is full of such empty unsupported comments.

    Reason I am asking this is because I am planning a Namib/Botswana trip.

    I would like to know whether you drive in high/low range in sand and also why? what cognitive computing went on in your head when you decided between low range and high range for sand?


    1. Is there such a thing as best practice and manufacturer do's/dont's?
    2. Do manufacturers maybe not recommend driving long distances in low range (maybe due to heat) so that is why you chose high range?
    3. Will low range cause the gearbox to overheat?
    4. Will hard labour in 1st and 2nd cause gear shavings trouble so it is recommended to switch to low range rather?


    Another question: Is there a fuel consumption difference between high and low range? Example: In a lower gear you tend to "lift" the right foot to maintain momentum while in a higher gear you tend to have a heavier right foot because you do not have revs and gearbox power?

    I tend to lean towards LR driving (unsupported opinion, hence this thread) so I tested my bakkie's gear ratios on a gravel road and found that HR 1st is very similar to LR 3rd. I also found that HR 2nd is very similar to LR 5th. So why not drive in LR because then you have the option of 4th and 2nd for those odd speeds to get the revs correct?

    This thread is a more technical with some practical experience and guidelines for someone who has not done such a trip prior. I hope the 4x4 gurus can bury this discussion with this thread.
    Any 4x4 vehicle doing hard work ie. towing, heavy sand driving ext. with a transfer case in low range, will put less strain on the clutch and gearbox. This is simply because of the reduction of the Transfer case. which in turn is designed to handle these extra loads. I always use low range at low speeds in sand.

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  6. #44
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    Default Re: low- vs high range - sand driving (technical discussion)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sakkie View Post
    If you are going with the 3.5 Triton on standard, or near standard tyres, you'll probably find that HR will work better. But that is more gutfeel than anything else.

    Don't sweat it too much. Sand driving is a skill that can be quickly acquired if you have a feel for your vehicle. Drive it where it feels comfortable.

    On the Vehicross HR or LR made little difference, but she hits 120 in LR!!!
    Such an impressive vehicle!
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    Default Re: low- vs high range - sand driving (technical discussion)

    Quote Originally Posted by Captainhook View Post

    Another question: Is there a fuel consumption difference between high and low range? Example: In a lower gear you tend to "lift" the right foot to maintain momentum while in a higher gear you tend to have a heavier right foot because you do not have revs and gearbox power?
    On the very sandy track from Khutse Game Reserve to Central Kalahari Game Reserve I once towed an offroad caravan with my 4.2 diesel Cruiser.

    I first started off to tow in low range but and noticed very high fuel consumption. I calculated it to be around 3.5km/liter. I then changed to high range and it changed to around 4.5km/liter. But it depends on the terrain. Sometimes I had to change back to LR on difficult sections.

    I agree with previous posters. You get to know your vehicle and learn when to do what & when the more you drive.
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  8. #46
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    Default Re: low- vs high range - sand driving (technical discussion)

    Don't be afraid to experiment, to find the sweetspot between 4x4 and driver and conditions of the day.
    I've seen experienced 4x4'rs giving wrong advice to novices, because of assumptions and only knowing their own abilities.
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    Default Re: low- vs high range - sand driving (technical discussion)

    Quote Originally Posted by albertvl View Post
    Last time in Ponta I often traveled in low range 3rd and 4th, thinking it would be the same as high range 1st and 2nd. When I came back I read a post on the forum that one should never drive like that with a Defender, it will eat the gearbox eventually.
    Why would that be? Shouldn't low range reduce strain on the drivetrain?

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    Default Re: low- vs high range - sand driving (technical discussion)

    My 2 cents - One has to agree with the observation that there is no objective rule one can follow as vehicles 4x4 gearing and engines etc differ significanty and then there is the additional dynamic of changing circumstances eg cold more compact sand in the early morning and softer looser sand after things heat up, going up hill or downhill, nature of the sand itself etc. Having said this I have had pretty extensive long distance thick sand driving experience in both a 3.3 l petrol hardbody dc and a TD5 (diesel) 110 defender.

    Typically between 15 to 30kmph is about the safe norm. At this speed range the practical issue is which 2 gears high range or low range will kerp you cruising forward at not too high a rev range but with enough torque (is that right?)/driving forward power and force to overcome/prevent the sand you are in "sucking the power from the engine" as I call it and causing you to come to halt. Petrol power in my simple practical experience converts to 2nd 3rd gear at the higher end of the comfortable speed range. TD5 Defender diesel just does not have the same drive/force using these high range gears at this comfortable speed range. It is far more effective using 1 to 3 gear low range maintaining a fairly high rev level and travelling at the slower end of the comfortable speed range. For high range gearing to do the business getting up to a faster speed 30-40 kmph and keeping it there feels necessary but that converts to a pretty hectic ride and risk to the suspension etc - just not worth it.

  11. #49
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    Default Re: low- vs high range - sand driving (technical discussion)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bonesie86 View Post
    Why would that be? Shouldn't low range reduce strain on the drivetrain?
    I'm speaking now from memory but I seem to recall from that thread that the gearbox (or was it transfercase?) was not designed for continued LR driving in higher gears. I think the story was about a guy who lived in Moz and always drove in LR, shifting up to 5th when required. Eventually it destroyed the gears.
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  13. #50
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    Default Re: low- vs high range - sand driving (technical discussion)

    Have a look at https://www.geesmooutdoor.co.za/ and look under Tech guides

    This is most probably the technical/practical discussion you were looking for.

    Sample from that page:
    Smooth momentum is what you need. Momentum is generated in a couple of places. Speed combined with the vehicle weight is the one most people understand. Momentum also comes from engine torque combined with the gear ratio. This is affected by the torque at the rpm you are using. Big and older engines were designed to give massive torque at low rpm. The Cruiser 4.5 petrol normally idles at about 650 rpm. It will easily give you more than 310 nm at 500 rpm. The V6 torque curve starts at about 285 nm at 1200 rpm. The 4.2 diesel starts at 210 nm at 1500 rpm. The last 2 will more likely stall at a 1000 rpm should you suddenly floor the pedal.

  14. #51
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    Default Re: low- vs high range - sand driving (technical discussion)

    "shifting up to 5th when required. Eventually it destroyed the gears."

    Theres your answer.
    Not driving in LR.
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    Default Re: low- vs high range - sand driving (technical discussion)

    Quote Originally Posted by Damdan View Post
    "shifting up to 5th when required. Eventually it destroyed the gears."

    Theres your answer.
    Not driving in LR.
    I still need to understand that. I mean 5th LR is about the same ratio 3de HR. If a t-case or gearbox cannot handle continuous LR travel it is of inferior design. On some mines 4x4`s are used in LR for the lifespan of the 4x4.

    Friend bought a Cruiser on a mine auction with 320k km on the clock locked in LR. He made it to select HR again nothing wrong with gearbox and t-case after 320k km.

    Cannot see that a proper 4x4 should suffer any fate with long distance LR travel. Maybe some chain driven t-cases but than they would fail long distance HR 4x4 travel as well.
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  18. #53
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    Default low- vs high range - sand driving (technical discussion)

    My denke sÍ vir my om in lr 5de te ry is selfde as om in 5de te sleep. Die dun 5de rat is nie gemaak vir die torque nie. Ry dan liewers 3de hr
    Last edited by Reenen; 2018/04/22 at 10:08 AM.
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  20. #54
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    Default Re: low- vs high range - sand driving (technical discussion)

    Quote Originally Posted by Reenen View Post
    My denke sÍ vir my om in lr 5de te ry is selfde as om in 5de te sleep. Die dun 5de rat is nie gemaak vir die torque nie. Ry dan liewers 3de hr

    In 5de rat LR het jy die voordeel van jou torque vermeerdering deur die t-case. So 5de gaan nie regtig swaar werk nie.
    Het al gesien hoe brand manne clutches in HR deur te sukkel in HR waar jy eintlik maklik in LR kon ry.

    Maar ja as jy by 5de LR kom moes jy seker lankal in HR wees.
    Last edited by grips; 2018/04/22 at 10:38 AM.
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  22. #55
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    Default Re: low- vs high range - sand driving (technical discussion)

    Quote Originally Posted by grips View Post
    In 5de rat LR het jy die voordeel van jou torque vermeerdering deur die t-case. So 5de gaan nie regtig swaar werk nie.
    Het al gesien hoe brand manne clutches in HR deur te sukkel in HR waar jy eintlik maklik in LR kon ry.

    Maar ja as jy by 5de LR kom moes jy seker lankal in HR wees.
    Oom is reg, die transfercase sit natuurlik na die 5de rat, en doen die torque vermenigvuldiging. Blonde oomblik van my gewees...
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    Default Re: low- vs high range - sand driving (technical discussion)

    Dit het nooit in die thread gese hoekom dit gebeur nie maar as ek reg onthou was dit spesifiek op Defenders van toepassing.
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    Default Re: low- vs high range - sand driving (technical discussion)

    I drive a Nissan Pathfinder 2.5 DT.

    I towed my conqueror courage trailer through some thick sand and i must say, neither High or Low did it for me. I switched to Auto(All Wheel Drive) with traction control enabled
    and didn't struggle one bit.
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    Default Re: low- vs high range - sand driving (technical discussion)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruan_1 View Post
    I drive a Nissan Pathfinder 2.5 DT.

    I towed my conqueror courage trailer through some thick sand and i must say, neither High or Low did it for me. I switched to Auto(All Wheel Drive) with traction control enabled
    and didn't struggle one bit.
    Don't fully understand this , so if its in auto its neither in high range or low range ? The traction on part I wonder about.....................

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  27. #59
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    Default Re: low- vs high range - sand driving (technical discussion)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruan_1 View Post
    I drive a Nissan Pathfinder 2.5 DT.

    I towed my conqueror courage trailer through some thick sand and i must say, neither High or Low did it for me. I switched to Auto(All Wheel Drive) with traction control enabled
    and didn't struggle one bit.
    It is great if it works that way for you.

    Just remember you have no back-up now. Suggest you take it out of auto and practise some till you get it right in manual. That is eperience that will get you out of trouble when the situation really gets to be bad.

    Conventional wisdom says: Driver eperience accounts for 70 % or more of the vehicle competence.

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    Default Re: low- vs high range - sand driving (technical discussion)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Let me explain. Auto Mode is like (Subaru, Jaguar - Mode)(all wheel drive). When you put a navara or pathfinder in 4H or 4L (4 wheel drive) it engages the central diff lock and disengages the TCS.
    I Auto it is almost like 4H without the central diff lock and with the TCS engaged but not all 4 wheels turn at the same time. the car decides which wheel is slipping, then brakes that wheel with the ABS so the other wheel can start turning. (almost like LSD) but works with the ABS.
    Last edited by Ruan_1; 2018/04/24 at 12:48 PM.
    2014 Nissan Pathfinder 2.5 SE 4x4
    2015 Conqueror Courage

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