80 Series off road technique

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Mar 27, 2003
I've been doing some off roading with a local group for the past few months and I realize that I am still learning to properly use the lockers. I have a few questions about different scenarios and how you would handle them (I've got my ideas, but I'm interested in other perspectives)

For the following situations, what would you do (1) what gear (ie 1,2,D, 2nd start, OD off) (2) what transfer case setting (H/L) (3) Diff lock selection (C/FF/RR) and (4) throttle - nice and easy or WFO (wide F---*&! Open)

1) Driving up a 200-300' sand hill with a steep incline
2) Decending same hill
3) Similar to 1 and 2 but assume it is hard pack base with 3"-4" of snow - same response?
4) Snow covered flat road (3-4" of fresh snow) - not hard packed, not ice and not allowed to use chains
5) Water crossing 3' deep with dirt bottom and some small rocks
6) Crawling up a 2-3' wet rock ledge
7) Long muddy stretch of trail - not a deep bog, say 8"-16" of mud

Thanks for any input.

Cheers, Hugh :beer:

1) - steep sand hill: Low range / CDL engaged / "D" or even "2", - approach the sand hill with some speed - you want to access the approach angle of the hill - once you have decided that the cruiser won't slam the nose into the hill on approach, WFO Baby!!!. As you climb the hill / near the crest of the dune - let off the accelerator, which will provide enough momentum to crest the dune. Now whats fun is to stay in the throttle & FLY, BABY, FLY off the sand dune, hehehe

2) same drivetrain selection - you just barely allow the nose of the 80 to fall over the dune crest at idle, and let the cruiser "coast" down the hill. If going to fast, provide a very small amount of braking (too hard on the brakes and the rear end will come around), if it fishtails a little bit - let off the brake / steer or let of the brake and tap the gas pedal to straighten the vehicle. Again if going to fast you can apply the brakes a little harder then normal - ONLY - when near the bottom of the hill / best bet is to just cruise down the dune, apply brakes near the bottom, drive out.............turn around & climb back up:)

NOTE: you could engage the rear locker for extra power UP the dune, BUT, must unlock on the way down!

3 - Samne drivetrain except I would use "1st", and dependent upon the hill, since snow is a lot less forgiving then sand, I would approach the hill in the same manner, but with a more gradual application of the go pedal then just mashing it to the floor!. If I couldn't get to the top, I would try again with the rear locker engage................I might try both lockers, but, lockers allow the truck to go sideways in snow / ice.............

4 - Depending upon road conditions, banks, ruts, etc., I would use the same drivetrain, except I would be in either High or low range, CDL engaged, and only use the lockers when necessary. Again lockers can allow a vehicle to move sideways, i.e. off camber trail thats slick, etc., teh cruiser will move sideways with lockers, and actually move better in an open configuration. Low range would provide more control then high range in this situation. Lockers could help get you out of a situation, but, could also put you into a situation.

5 - Again same drivetrain setup - low range, CDL engaged, "1st, 2nd, or Drive", and rear locker engaged.........dependent upon amout of rocks on the bottom & the speed of the current, the front locker could be engaged but not really needed unless you get stuck! Drive through the water at a steady pace, just enough to create a bow wave in front of the crusier, which keeps the water out of the engine bay. Don't stop, just drive right through with a nice bow wave.......................Don't go flying into the water at speed! Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad..............look at the old Toyota Trails article with Jack Mantz forty submerged in frigid Alaskan waters :whoops:

6) All locked up baby!, low range / 1st gear................you need to crawl up this rock ledge, slowly approach the rock and creep / crawl the front tires over, watching the rear tires [sometimes its best to drive the rear tires through the obstacle] hit the ledge, and then slowly drive / crawl over the ledge. Remember to SLOWLY descend of the rock! Unlock the front and keep going through the rock pile!!

7) If there are no logs, rocks, etc. to hit the axles, etc., then I would again be all locked up, low range, 2nd / D gear, and approach at moderate speed to check entrance into mud pit.............then its all about power to float and / or clear the mud out of the way as you go through...........so WOT! all the way through till near the end, letting off the gas to just pop out of the oooze!

Having the overdrive engage really doesn't hinder at all in any of your situations. Engaging the power button will help in most of the situations, except the flat snow / ice - which is what the 2nd gear start is for - to get going on slippery surfaces.

Just my inflated two cents worth..................

Joe :beer:
Joe - thanks for taking the time - very informative :cheers: Any thoughts from others?

Cheers, Hugh
Very informative. Thanks.
So then basically one has to be all the time in Low? I like it!

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