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Discussion Starter #1
So, we decided to take the GV down to "green sand beach", on the island of Hawaii today (Wikipedia article if you're interested). However, the trails looked kinda rough. Some parts had jagged rocks and there were other sections with very uneven ruts. Hard to find pictures online, but here's an example. Yikes, I said, we're walking instead!

Thing is, I saw a Jeep Wrangler and an old Mazda pickup once we got there. In fact, we even got a ride back in the truck, which was kinda bumpy, and occasionally slanted, but it did get back. So... was I too chicken? What are some of the things that could have gone wrong? My biggest fear was whacking the underside, or puncturing a tire. Should I have just stuck it in 4L and gone for it? I should add, this is my one and only vehicle...
 

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If you're not sure then its best not to drive, especially as its your only vehicle. Punctures are always a danger and if you whack a sill hard you can jam a door shut.
 

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Little difficult to say. Is your GV modded (particularly tyres and lift)? What previous 4wding experience have you had?

I can only go by the pics and it appears that there's side tracks to the left of the worst of the ruts. If that's the case, I would think a stock GV would run this trail OK.

Jagged rocks are more of a concern and require lower tyres pressures and speeds to avoid holing a tyre. That can be a problem with highway tyres as the sidewalls are normally not as robust as a good all or mud terrain. Also, there's some pretty important and expensive gear hanging lower than your chassis (transfer case and rear diff in particular). For these two reasons, I'd be wary of 'just sticking it in low and going for it'. That said, the pics show these as pretty flat areas so I think just keeping your pressures and speed down would get you through OK.

Being you daily drive, there's even more reason to bring it back without breaking something. Doesn't hurt to spend a little looking at other vehicles using the track and comparing ground clearances. Also look at what lines they take and how they drive it (for example when do they throttle up and when do they back the power off).

Nothing wrong with being cautious. You still had a good day out and got to drive home.

Just a final word on beach driving. Unless you have considerable experience in this type of terrain, avoid going any lower than the high tide mark if you're on your own.

Just my thoughts.

Cheers
Wes
 

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Good thinking - if you are not sure or confident - walking is always good exercise.
Having said that we just completed a days 4x4 Driver Training and the two other cars on the course were a LWB Nissan Patrol and an almost new VW Amorak.
The Suzuki GV3 which has bash plates for the Transfer Case, Old Man Emu 25mm suspension lift and 235/70/16 AT Tyres not only went where the others went with ease it didn't catch anything where the Patrol and Amorak snagged their tow bars. The Suzuki GV is a very capable 4x4 but on sand and rocks you need to lower tyre pressure - so will then need an air compressor to get them up again for highway use.
Suggest do some off road driver training to get to know what your car can do.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys, appreciate the replies! Next time I might throw caution to the wind a little more :p

Anyone know whether GVs have any kind of bash plates? I once read they come mounted with plastic ones, possibly even on this forum.
 

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Thanks guys, appreciate the replies! Next time I might throw caution to the wind a little more :p

Anyone know whether GVs have any kind of bash plates? I once read they come mounted with plastic ones, possibly even on this forum.
You did the right thing, don't feel pressured in to pushing yourself or your car past its limits (the two are not mutually exclusive). The best days are those you drive home without a scratch, so if you walk it a few more times you're a better off-roader than most! 4WD'ing is 80% in the mind and skill of the driver, mark my words.

The plastic guards are almost paper-thin and are designed to deflect dust & tiny pebbles, they're not comparable to proper guards. If you do plan to head out and are a little worried, grab some decent ones (3mm thick is enough). That low hanging transfer case is the single worst designed part of the SGV's 4WD system as it is just way to exposed, if you take it out you're toast.
 

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You did the right thing, don't feel pressured in to pushing yourself or your car past its limits (the two are not mutually exclusive). The best days are those you drive home without a scratch, so if you walk it a few more times you're a better off-roader than most! 4WD'ing is 80% in the mind and skill of the driver, mark my words.

The plastic guards are almost paper-thin and are designed to deflect dust & tiny pebbles, they're not comparable to proper guards. If you do plan to head out and are a little worried, grab some decent ones (3mm thick is enough). That low hanging transfer case is the single worst designed part of the SGV's 4WD system as it is just way to exposed, if you take it out you're toast.
:) Nicely Framed mate !

@Mahimahi I got my GV recently, and believe me even am interested to take it off-road except for the slight gravel off-roading I haven't taken it anywhere, infact when It touched a sand hump at the Center, I spent the next 20mins inspecting the under-body.

Get an underbody protection; spend a few, now save a lot afterwards. Plus it makes you tension-free which would allow you to take the off road in a much better manner.

This comes from a person who is waiting for Vitamin - M & then t
Phase I
a) Underbody
b) Lift
Phase II
a) Wheels
b) Alloys
 

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Yes agree with the order of priority for upgrades for off road use.
1) underbody protection but make sure it is designed right and fitted properly and doesn't cause other issues such as rubbing or vibration - the transfer case and under the radiator at front are key areas to protect. Rear diff is also important but you are much more likely to hit the exhaust pipe well before the rear diff.
2) Some lift, either with a suspension kit or bigger AT type tyres or ideally both makes a huge difference on how easily you go on the rougher tracks.
3) Not sure about alloy wheels as the stock steel rims are stronger for off road - but must admit they really don't look as good as a set of nice alloy rims.
As a final point - I also agree with the comment above about driver attitude and experience. I have seen some of the toughest trucks get stuck while fairly standard vehicles get through ok simply by the driver knowing which line to pick on the track and where not to go.
Remember if you go looking for trouble you will find it very quickly no matter what vehicle you are driving or how modified it is.
 

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I've been using the 3 piece ironman kit (engine, transmission and transfer case) which was well priced at around $400 AUD. Ironman 4x4 Underbody Protection

3 things to be aware of with this kit:
1. They connect together to make one very large panel underneath the GV. Great protection but in 3mm steel, very heavy. Maybe 3mm ally or 2mm steel could have met most needs.
2. There are no access points for any servicing. I drop them out before each service then remount (more about that in point 3) and currently have them off to cut out an access hole to the sump plug for engine oil changes.
3. The front plate is secured by 4 threaded bars inserted into the chassis rail. Lining up and picking up the thread of the bar without moving it is a bit tricky and something that you would not want to be paying a mechanic by the hour to drop and reinstal.

Ironman do have a US Distributor but I think they're on the mainland.

For the rear diff I have an ODA guard New Grand Vitara Rear Diff Guard Outdoor Auto. These are not all that large and Tim could probably fit into a UPS bag if you were interested.

Cheers
Wes
 
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