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Beach Driving?

Discussion in 'General Truck Info' started by Meansealvel, Sep 13, 2013.

  1. Meansealvel

    Meansealvel Member

    Hello Everyone!
    Newbie here.... I have so many questions but at the moment im kind of in need for some pretty specific info. How do these trucks do in deep soft beach sand???? I understand i would need to get some of the bigger wider style tires but even with the best tires i can find how are they in these conditions?? Would i need to a lift kit?

    I Live on marthas vineyard and ive just recently started to look for a new truck when i noticed a 5 speed 1996 Suzuki Mini with around 70,000 miles on it outside of our local napa store. I contacted the seller and took it for a test drive and now its decision time. I really love the concept of the truck and i kind of need something right away and if i dont take this one im not sure what ill do next. After reading a lot of posts here on the forum it sounds to me like a mitsubishi might be better but the dealer doesnt have any of those and i guess i would have to search around for the one i want and have it shipped here which i have no idea how long or how much effort that might take. Sooooo that being said..... are any models better than others in deep soft beach sand?? Does any one have any experience driving these trucks in these sort of conditions?? And what do you think i should do? Take the Suzuki thats right here or wait and look for a mitsubishi?? Any advice would be greatly appreciated and i look forward to sharing more of my experiences here on the forum once im an actual owner.

    Many Thanks

    Oh and one more question how many miles on average do these trucks last for, is 70,000 miles a lot??
     
  2. Jim Nelson

    Jim Nelson Active Member

    It's kind of the age old Chevy or Ford thing all over again.My first mini was a Mitsubishi and it was a real good rig but 2 wd and I needed 4wd.The best deal I found at the time was a Scrum which is a Suzuki and I've had it 3 1/2 yrs and am very happy with it.In the interim I bumped into a street legal Daihatsu and I really like it.They all seem to be good trucks but every one needs to be judged on it's condition. If the Suzuki you're looking at is in good shape and you feel good with the price I would grab it.
    As for the sand issue these are very light weight trucks and for that use you sure want dif lock and then figure out the right tires.With out dif lock you have a 2 WD,1 front and one rear.
     
  3. Meansealvel

    Meansealvel Member

    Thanks a lot for the response Jim!! I Suppose i should have left out the indecision part about what truck is the best, i guess i was more wondering if any one brand is better on the beach then another but at the end of the day i understand its all pretty dependent on too many variables. That being said the the Suzuki that is right here right now sounds like its a pretty good truck, its got 5 speeds which would be good because i plan to drive it on the road quite often and its got diff lock, and an "EL" on the shifter which i assume means Extra Low???? Ive looked it over and even test driven it and it seems like a pretty good truck. Im still not terribly confident in the ability of driving in the sand but unless someone out there has done what i want to i guess ill have to find out for myself.

    Now my only big concern is the Clutch!!!! After reading the thread "WHat i look for when buying a miniu truck" i went and looked at the Suzuki and found that there is no thread left on the cable near the transmission..... So im sure there is info somewhere around here about clutch cables but if anyone happens to read this and knows how much it would cost to replace the clutch on a 96 Suzuki im going to need that info asap. THanks again everyone!!

    Oh and im still very curious about how long i might expect a truck like this to last compared to a normal tuck.... Either way enjoy the ride A-One:cool:
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2013
  4. Jim Nelson

    Jim Nelson Active Member

    When I did the clutch on my '95 the kit was $197 shipped then I needed to replace the pilot bearing which I got from NAPA and I don't remember the price.
    As for longevity that again depends,my Scrum has 131,000 km and runs great.They are a really tough little truck and with reasonable care should last a long time.
    That Suzuki sounds like the ideal trans. set up for what you want.
     
  5. Meansealvel

    Meansealvel Member

    Well thats great to hear!! It does seem like the right fit its just so hard to decide when i know so little about these things and theres always the option of getting a "normal" size truck.... So it sounds like i can expect to spend roughly $250ish in parts to replace the clutch any idea what it would cost in labor??? Which kind of brings me into a whole new topic, sorry to have so many questions but this here forum is the only place i know that knows anything about these trucks.

    How hard is it to work on mini's??? I mean im fairly mechanically inclined but ive def never replaced a clutch! And is it something a normal mechanic could do or are they like a foreign car??
     
  6. Jim Nelson

    Jim Nelson Active Member

    An old time mechanic would have no problem doing a clutch but one of these "techs" might shy away from getting their hands dirty.The minis aren't hard to work on if you are interested in them and want to,the biggest problem is the size thing and parts availability as you usually have to order them.I'm a one eyed old man and do all my own work but can't do any thing but oil changes on our modern vehicles.
    You are right about this forum being the only place for info. on these rigs.
     
  7. spaner

    spaner Well-Known Member

    Is it also 4x4. No mention of it that I read?
     
  8. Meansealvel

    Meansealvel Member

    Perfect well i have a good friend whose a mechanic and im pretty confident he could do it, if he will is another question:) That being said how long do you suppose it would take a mechanic who has both eyes ;) And just so im clear about the truck definitely needing a new clutch.... I looked at the cable at the trani end of it and theres no thread left on the rear side of the nut, and the truck doesn't start accelerating until the clutch is let out about 80%.... does that sound like a clutch thats ready to go? And thanks again Jim i cant tell you how much i appreciate your help!
     
  9. spaner

    spaner Well-Known Member

  10. Meansealvel

    Meansealvel Member

    Yes its 4x4, which brings up another question :frustration: I got it into 4x4 no problem but when i wne to take it out it wasnt so easy... How exactly do these trucks get into 4x4??? I was under the inpression they could be swtiched into 4x4 on the fly, when i switched into 4x4 i stopped and was in neutral and it went in fine but when i tried to get it out it wasnt so easy, it took a few tries but eventually it went in. My question is is that a bad sign, i understand these cables can get stuck!!! On Suzukis particularly??? How much of a concern should it be that it took me a few ties to get it out of 4x4
     
  11. Meansealvel

    Meansealvel Member

    Saaaweet! So good to hear! And im sure my buddy wouldn't charge me that kind of money but perhaps me and another friend could do it, and he only cost a bottle of potato vodka :p
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2013
  12. spaner

    spaner Well-Known Member

    tire pressure adjustment to align the rotation of both front and rear. easy
    Out on the fly only.
    If you try to engage the system on the fly, you'll be lucky to only snap the driveshaft off...
     
  13. TRAX and HORNS

    TRAX and HORNS Well-Known Member

    70,000 miles or 70000kms? There is a big difference there. My 2 cents which might not be worth a hill of beans, would be going with a Suzuki or Daihatsu. I lost count a long time ago in how many trucks we have bought and sold over the last 7 yrs. But the Suz/Dai are the way to go from our side. When they leave the shop I rarely ever see them back unless they are abused. Parts are readily available for Suz/Dai and they seem to be a better off road ride. I never buy a truck with over 90000kms(appox 50,000 miles). If you stay at 90000kms or under you still have a a long time before anything major comes up if the truck had been cared for. How do you know if a truck has been cared for ? drive it, crawl underneath it, put it in the air and check the front end steering / tie rods slap ect. General condition of outside/inside ect. Or take it to someone that does vehicle inspections and pay the 60 to 80 $ for good look over.
    The biggest couple of things I look for before I pull the trigger is with a cold engine is to start it, look for blue smoke out exhaust, listen to the high rpm come down with the rise in temp. gauge, steering slop, noises/knocks when driving over a rough road, rust on frame rails and not over 90k kms.
    Twice a yr. I take what ever truck I have built for myself to Crystal Beach in southeast Texas. Some trucks have been standard high/low with 5 speed, some have had the rear diff lock, some have had the 2high/4 high only, all these trucks has work well. If we go down the beach 5 miles east of the house the sand gets up to 4 or 5 inches deep and I have never had a problem with any of the trucks we have taken down there. The trucks only weigh 1500lbs. Divide that four ways and you are talking 350 +lbs per foot print. Install a good 8" wide mud grip and away you go.
    As for the clutch, yes if there are no threads left on the adjustment on transmission its gonna need a new clutch pretty soon. Honestly, a six pack of your favorite adult beverage and you can do the clutch yourself. They are simple. The transmission only weighs 81lbs.
     
  14. Jim Nelson

    Jim Nelson Active Member

    I did my clutch with the help of a friend in about 2 hours but my truck has a dump bed which gives a lot better access and I have a lift in my shop so a Saturday should be plenty of time.If you take part in it you will gain invaluable info and experience about the truck.
    These don't shift on the fly and the cable probably needs to be lubed up with something like PB Blaster to clean up the rust & crap.If you take it out and soak it in diesel fuel while working on the clutch then flush it good and lube with a good aerosol lithium grease or what ever you prefer it will help a lot.The biggest problem with most of them is lack of use I think.
     
  15. Meansealvel

    Meansealvel Member

    Exactly the info ive been looking for thanks t&h.... and now im sure i want one of these trucks! but now im not so sure i should get this one :frustration: The truck im looking at has 121,000km on it (roughly 70,000) and the guys whose selling it wants $6000 ?????
    However it does seem to be in pretty/really good shape, as mentioned i took the "what i look for when i buy a truck" buyers guide that someone posted... sorry i forget the username... and went to the truck, opened the doors crawled underneath and went through the checklist.

    Frame is White with basically no rust
    Body shows no signs of repainting, perhaps it was but not cheaply
    Very little rust otherwise anywhere, looked under 1/4 panel and bed and wherever i could see
    Interior looks clean, little bits of rubbing on the wheel well but otherwise clean, no dings from belt that i could see, stereo doesnt work:(
    CV Boots were intact, steering linkage looked fine to me but I'm no expert otherwise everything looked in good shape underneath
    Clutch is suspect but im not entirely sure i know where this adjustment is?? But at the end of the cable there is def no thread left, i had a look at another Subaru and i did see the thread that was remaining on that one so i think i know what im talking bout here. And i already mentioned the 4x4 shifter

    The one thing i did not do is let the truck idle but it started clean, i didnt notice any smoke and when i took down some pretty rough fire lanes it sounded fine, no knocks or creaks or anything like that.

    So it sounds to me like its in great shape but has high mileage! In any event the fact that they do fine in deep sand has got me sold! So stoked to find the right truck noooooow i just need to figure out which one. I hate to introduce another topic here but one very attracktive part of buyin this one here is that the guy whose selling it tells me getting it titled and registered in mass is not easy and his price includes all that leg work he's already done, i respect and appreciate that and im not sure i want to try and do that on my own which i assume i would have to do if i find one froma dealer online.... Arghhhhh :cool: In any event thanks once again for the info A-one im getting really excited
     
  16. Meansealvel

    Meansealvel Member

    OMG im so glad i didn't try and switch it on the fly, the seller just left the keys and told me to take it for a spin, and im pretty sure there are instructions on the visor regarding how to but of course there in another language....
     
  17. Meansealvel

    Meansealvel Member

    Would Diff. Lock help me in beach sand??!! I ended up passing up that 96' Suzuki but the seller has some new trucks coming in and im trying to get my wish list together. All i know i want is 4x4 and 5 speed, possibly diff. lock and im thinking mistubishi, if no other reason than i understand the cabs a little bit bigger than the Suzuki and the seats look a little more comfortable, is that a fair assumption, ive only been in a Suzuki.
     
  18. greg0187

    greg0187 Moderator Staff Member

    Yes. Suzuki has what is called "Axle Lock". Don't confuse this with rear "Diff Lock". They are not the same. The "Axle" lock is only used to engage the front driveline (aka automatic hub locks).
     
  19. Meansealvel

    Meansealvel Member

    Thanks! I But i ended up going with a mitsu after all........ saw it for the first time today, looks practically brand new! Its a 94..... it fired right up though and ran clean, looks super clean, underneath looks good! We'll see how it preforms this weekend! Im hoping the 4x4 low will get me through the sand and i think once i figure out how wide of a tire i can put on the front ill be ready to get put her to the test!
     
  20. Meansealvel

    Meansealvel Member

    Soooo, I brought the rig out on the beach today for the first time and I have to say I was damn impressed! I did drop the air pressure in my tires to 10lb but with a stock set up on a 94 Mini Cab I felt just fine... she rolled right through just about the worst stuff she should ever have to (around here at least) and felt ready for more, very happy to say the least.

    Only concern I have now is with the undercarriage..... the tracks on the beach where I drive get pretty deep from the summer traffic, long story short I bottom out fast, it didn't stop me, I was able to plow through it but how bad is it for the truck?? The radiator is pretty vulnerable right? Basically im trying to decide if I still need the bigger tires and lift or if it will be ok dragging in the sand.

    Either way for any newbies out there wondering how these trucks do in deep soft beach sand, they hold there own for certain!! With bigger tires I don't even think I would need to deflate! :cool:
     

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