Preparing For Corrugations/Wash Boards/Road Ripples (2 Viewers)

Tachycardic

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I plan to make a trip from Ubehebe Crater to the Racetrack Playa (about 27 miles) in Death Valley this winter. I'm worried about the road conditions as much of it has corrugations and the time needed to travel the 27 miles (many have said to allot 2 hours travel time each way). I can cut travel time significantly if I can maintain 50mph (80km/h) for long stretches. Besides lowering tire pressures and switching to proper AT tires (thinking KO2 or WildPeaks, what would you do to prep the truck for this sort of trek? The truck has 292K miles, original shocks, newer Dobinsons springs, and Michelin Defender LTX M/S tires for in-and-around town and smooth gravel/dirt trail driving. Thanks.
 
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I plan to make a trip from Ubehebe Crater to the Racetrack Playa (about 27 miles) in Death Valley this winter. I'm worried about the road conditions as much of it has corrugations and the time needed to travel the 27 miles (many have said to allot 2 hours travel time each way). I can cut travel time significantly if I can maintain 50mph (80km/h) for long stretches. Besides lowering tire pressures and switching to proper AT tires (thinking KO2 or WildPeaks, what would you do to prep the truck for this sort of trek? The truck has 292K miles, original shocks, newer Dobinsons springs, and Michelin Defender LTX M/S tires for in-and-around town and smooth gravel/dirt trail driving. Thanks.
Install King shocks.
 

mudgudgeon

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I'm worried about the road conditions as much of it has corrugations and the time needed to travel the 27 miles (many have said to allot 2 hours travel time each way). I can cut travel time significantly if I can maintain 50mph (80km/h) for long stretches.

People have advised average speed of 13mph, and you're gonna hit it at 50?

Pre- book a medi-vac chopper.


Some corrugated roads, you aren't gonna travel over at speed no matter what you do to the rig. Drive to the conditions. Be prepared for it to be a 2hr trip. Enjoy the ride and the scenery on the way in and the way out.
 

Broski

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Your going to need some new good shocks.
I would take a good look at all the suspension bushings.
If it hasn’t been done recently a front axle service is Advisable.
 

Broski

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Washboard roads can be traveled at a higher speed to smooth out the ride but 50MPH is unrealistic.
Probably more like the 15 to 20 MPH range
 

mudgudgeon

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Washboard roads can be traveled at a higher speed to smooth out the ride but 50MPH is unrealistic.
Probably more like the 15 to 20 MPH range

Yup. There's two ways to travel over corrugations.
1. Slowly so the wheels ride up every bump, and down the other side. This is slow and bumpy and rattles your car hard.

2. Fast, so the wheels skip across the top of the bumps. There'll be an optimal speed where the spacing between ridges, and shock absorber action coincide. Traction and control is tenuous. It'll rattle s*** out of your car.
The faster you go, the more tenuous your grip on control is, your shocks are already in overdrive, grip is almost non existent, and it's a fine line between holding onto that illusion of control, and being upside down in a ditch.

Losing control on corrugations at 50mph in a heavy cruiser gets ugly fast!!
 
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I think @mudgudgeon summed it up nicely.

I have literally driven thousands of miles of washboard high speed dirt/gravel roads. My favorite camping spot on the rim of the Grand Canyon is 96 miles one way and 84 miles are high speed washboard gravel and I will hit 65-70 on some of the stretches.

Speaking from experience you will want to drive as fast as the road conditions will SAFELY allow. I am not familiar with the road you are talking about but generally the faster the better for washboard.....EXCEPT in situations where the washboard is extremely bad, than you will have to just go slow.

The biggest danger of driving fast on washboard is turns. Washboard can make you slide out on a turn so be careful. It's almost like hydroplanning.

Make sure you got good shocks, a good steering stabilizer, a solid battery hold down, good suspension bushings, an up to date cooling system, and AIR THE TIRES DOWN. If your running an E rated tire than you can probably drop to 16psi safley, more psi for C or D rates tires. The biggest reason I run a 35" tire is so I can air them down for driving on washboard.

Check all your suspension and critical hardware when your done with the washboard.

Also just trust yourself. Your cruiser will tell you how fast to drive. If it doesn't get smoother as you go faster than the washboard is too bad for high speed so go at it slow.

Most importantly stay safe out there and enjoy the ride. If you got to cruise 10 mph the entire trip it will still be awesome.
 

mudgudgeon

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and AIR THE TIRES DOWN. If your running an E rated tire than you can probably drop to 16psi safley

100% agreed.
This makes a huge difference in comfort and control.
Your aired down tires pick up some of the slack when shocks are working hard

Your comparison to hydroplaning is a good one. Your tires are slimming across the tops of never ending ripples, made of loose ball bearings aka gravel
 

LandLocked93

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+1 air down.
All the other things help.
But 12 or 15psi w/o anything else pays dividends.
 
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292K miles, original shocks
OMG

Anyway, if you have the spare cash:


I did a few hours of nasty fire roads today. Hit some washboards and potholes. When I got home, I noticed an interior bolt had backed itself out. Tomorrow, I think I'll inspect every fastener under the vehicle. In retrospect, I wish I'd taken the time to air down. From what I've read, though, 50mph precludes airing down.
 

LandLocked93

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From what I've read, though, 50mph precludes airing down.
If one can air up what they've aired down, suggest testing that theory.
Admittedly tho, I've personally never hit hit 50mph off road.
 

mudgudgeon

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50mph precludes airing down.

I have no qualms doing short stints at up to 50 on aired down tires on good dirt,or on hard top

For example, if I've spent a chunk of time on gravel roads, back on to hard top for a short stint before getting back into dirt I'll stay aired down. Say 10-20 miles.
Much more than that, air up again

You need to be aware that it's gonna steer and handle differently. It'll steer like a boat, and wallow all over the road.
 
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I do it with about 22 PSI, and 40 to 45 mph .... and the shocks make the difference ... maybe not at once, but after 5 miles, when the old ones burn out, get stuck and rip off ... take large bore ones with more oil in it and therefore better cooling ... and as already mentioned take care and steer with diligence and anticipation ... one is swimming on the peaks of the sinuswaves ...

Regards Simon
 
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Tire pressure is going to depend on the tires rating and design. On my E rated nittos I will run as low as 18 for washboard and drive the hig
hway and or interstate completely save.

With my old toyo's I could only go down to about 22 psi and still hit the pavement safley.

On the current nittos if the fronts drop much below 16 psi anything above 50mph on the pavement gets very interesting.
 
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I would install new shocks and plan on a slow drive. I'm curious why you want or need to do the route much faster than advertised. Supposedly this road has a lot of sharp rocks known for causing flats. Definitely air down the tires. It looks like the ones currently on your Cruiser are load range E, so I don't see any reason to swap them out for a 54 mile round trip.
 
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I drove to the crater in March this year via Titus. I didn't notice anything 'bad' about the roads, but then I've driven many tens of thousands of miles on oz corrugated roads and many of those have what I call truck corrugations - super nasty and huge stuff.

Anyhow, #1 is air down the tyres. On my Mar trip I ran 18psi (hot) with bfg AT E rated and that allowed 50mph sustained on the boring main dirt roads. I do have adjustable remote king shocks on the front and radflo remotes on the rear, and I'm sure that helped a lot. Having an eye to read corrugations and choose different 'paths' down the road helps too (left edge, side, middle, side, right edge, etc). Hope you have good experience on dirt roads and know how to handle a vehicle at 50mph with corners etc.

I ran across various folk and the ones I chatted with were all running street pressure... I'm sure most of the folk recommending low speed are at street pressure. Madness (the street pressure aspect)!

I found the crater fairly 'boring' and only went there since it was on the way to the Eureka dunes that I was heading to (via crankshaft corner) to get to Dedeckera to do Steel Pass and via Lippincott to the racetrack. I then took Hidden Valley Road from teakettle to get back to pavement to refuel at stovepipe for the rest of my DV exploration (Darwin falls etc).

#2 would be checking all fasteners around the vehicle to make sure they are tight. Battery tray(s) condition and battery hold downs. Hours/days of driving on corrugations will rattle things loose... Recheck things every evening/camp spot.

#3 why rush around in DV in general? The crater, the racetrack, the "...." are destinations and not necessarily, or at all, the joy of visiting the area. The journey can be more rewarding than the destination. Most of what I found enjoyable on my 12 days in DV was found by seeing a road/track heading somewhere and exploring it and taking the time to stop and relax (make a coffee/tea, have a snack, look into the distance). There are cabins to find, old minesites, neat geology, wildlife (one highlight was coming across a desert tortoise and spending some time with the little fellow).

cheers,
george.
 
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