Offroad Trailblazers and Envoys

Getting stuck way to easy. Real soft sand is nemesis!

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by bljis123 » Sun Nov 06, 2016 8:22 pm

03 Envoy XL SLT 3.42 gears.

I got stuck yesterday on a small area of sand that was super soft. I could tell this was real soft when I dug with shovel, it was dry soft sand for atleast a foot. I was in 4 hi when I hit this small area of sand. You could feel the truck just stop moving forward and start digging in the rear. It was like as soon as I hit this soft sand the front wheels were spectators and the rear was digging down. I would jack it up fill in sand and place a board underneath and also went down to 4 lo. As soon as it got off the board it was stuck and just digging in rear. :oops: I would have a video but my GF.... gggrrrrhhh. She taped everything but the tires while her phone was ringing load the whole time. :roll:

I had to keep jacking out of holes rear tires are digging and place a board. Finally after about 5 or 6 times of this I gave it hell on the gas and it barely plowed through the 6 feet I needed to get to grass.

Now mind you I have taken this thing on ATV sand hills with no issue as long as I have good speed. Thoughts? How can I test this because I know 4 locks. I can hear it and the wheels lock in front.
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by DirtyBacon04 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:03 pm

so are you saying your front wheels weren't driving at all? either of them?
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by bljis123 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 4:38 pm

I think they were actually, but when I hit that sand it was like they just didn't have the torque up front. Sorry I am a noob, wish I was better at explaning. I did have the diff seal leak once and got stuck in 4 lo. Trying to rock I would notice a loud bang up front and was like the diff had to roll over once to get back in position. I was able to get out by reverse and when it almost got to loud bang part I would slam on brakes and the tires would sit on top of sand. Did this a few times and it came right out. Shortly after that I found the diff seal leak and repaired it.

Maybe I toasted the front diff while it was bone dry??...

Let me see if I can post this video somehow, it's awful but it does show all the dirt flying in rear, nothing upfront.

Video: https://www.facebook.com/100000791806308/videos/vb.100000791806308/1108765079159875/?type=3&theater
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by larryk » Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:05 pm

If your transfer case is working properly, there will ALWAYS be at least one wheel pulling up front, and either one (oepn diff) or two (locker/posi) in teh back.

If you truly didnt have any drive to the front wheels while in 4x4, you may need to rebuild the clutch plates in your transfer case, or replace the shifter motor.
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by larryk » Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:06 pm

Oh, and if you are hearing ANY banging/snapping/popping noises from your front diff....this is NOT a good thing. At all. You need to get it all torn down and inspected.
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by bljis123 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:14 pm

I get the encoder motor sound and it does lock in place as my wheels do not turn. I been 4 wheeling lately fine with no sounds, that was one previous experience I was trying to give a lil background on. No sounds since except for a good engage and disgage... lol whatever.

So if everything locks, how can I test the torque up front compared to back, besides going back to this spot and getting stuck for an hour again LOL??..
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by larryk » Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:25 pm

When the transfer case is in 4x4 (not AWD mode), it should be a hard 50/50 split front to back. Put it up on jackstands, start it up and put it in first gear in 4x4, all tires should rotate approximately equal speed. Slowly apply the brakes and you SHOULD have at least one wheel on the front and back spin together....and then come to a complete stop together. Its kind of half assed to test like this.....but it would identify if your clutches in your transfer case are bad
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by larryk » Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:28 pm

Orrrr......jack it up, disconnect the two driveshafts while in 4x4 mode. hold one of the outputs stationairy, and see how much torque it takes to break the other output to move. Im not sure what the spec is, but if you can easily rotate one while the other is held.....its bad
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by bljis123 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 9:02 pm

So I was getting it up to start testing and look what I found!!! I happen to turn the wheel and I heard this awful sound coming from the cv axle where it meets the passenger side quick disco(i think what it is called). Uh Oh I wander is this CV axle or the Diff inside...

https://www.facebook.com/100000791806308/videos/vb.100000791806308/1108943815808668/?type=3&theater
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by larryk » Mon Nov 07, 2016 9:43 pm

Yeah, pretty sure that's a sign you have no drive to the front wheels :)

Get a new disconnect and axle as long as you are in there. Worst case, you snapped (unlikely) your intermediate shaft. Take her apart and get us some pictures!
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by bljis123 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:03 pm

You got it!!! Thanks!!
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by Grimor » Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:51 pm

with the AWD disco and a bad TC encoder motor, I had almost the exact same symptoms. Front wheel turned when jacked up but in soft sand/light gravel the front wasn't pulling at all.

Swapping to a working TC encoder motor seems to of resolved my issues.
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by KingBird » Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:09 am

Did you air down at all?

I've found its the most effective way of dealing with sand.
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by KingBird » Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:11 am

larryk wrote:Yeah, pretty sure that's a sign you have no drive to the front wheels :)

Get a new disconnect and axle as long as you are in there. Worst case, you snapped (unlikely) your intermediate shaft. Take her apart and get us some pictures!



Nah, it won't snap, the splines will just wear down until it's a paperweight.
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by bljis123 » Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:47 am

No I did not air down. I thought about that later. What psi you recommend in your experience? Whats funny is I have been on soft sand many times while this issue was here, I guess it finally got bad enough to give me no pull up front.

:flex dirty: Haha thinking of all the things I have went over and gone through since I broke this shaft. Been about 3 or 4 months ago and I have been wheeling fun since, til last few weeks when I started getting stuck. Feel better now, think what it can do at full capacity. Of course my supposed friend from High School saw my video of being stuck and immediately calls me to say I told you So!! Should have got a real truck like I said and not waste money on that piece of junk. What a model citizen. He is a mechanic at his dads shop, he mostly tells me what he dislikes about every vehicle, especially 4x4 as he says "just another thing that can break". Whatever.

I am going to get a new disconnect with a new actuator on it. Replace that and cv axle. Pictures coming soon. :lurk:

I want to thank everyone who took the time to read this post.

Had to edit all this poor grammar...
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by KingBird » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:50 am

Depends on the tires.

I had decent results with my Goodyear wrangler silent armors at about 20 psi, but they don't really have much on the sidewalls to help grip.

Since I now have a new set of STT Pros, I've only gone out and done some minor wheeling once but didn't get into anything sketchy enough to warrant airing down. I really can't wait though. Right now, these bastards are performing incredibly at around 80psi, I can't wait to see how they do in the teens!
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by NC_IslandRunner » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:54 am

I run 8-10psi and cruise deep sand on cape lookout in 2wd all weekend. 20psi is great for the trail but for sand super low is best.
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by bljis123 » Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:29 pm

WOW!!! Real low. Need to mod in an air tank to fill back up for trip home. LOL

I have the 265/70/17 BFG KO2's. Good side wall grips so these should do very well.

oh my 80psi!!! LOL I have mine at about 33 right now.
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by KingBird » Tue Nov 08, 2016 2:34 pm

I was worried about those particular tires breaking off the bead. One of them had a constant leak and got down that low in the driveway, when I backed up to get to the hood latch, it broke the bead.

I don't know about these yet, but yeah, the lower you go, the better your traction.
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by HawkeyeC25 » Tue Nov 08, 2016 8:56 pm

KingBird wrote:Depends on the tires.

I had decent results with my Goodyear wrangler silent armors at about 20 psi, but they don't really have much on the sidewalls to help grip.

Since I now have a new set of STT Pros, I've only gone out and done some minor wheeling once but didn't get into anything sketchy enough to warrant airing down. I really can't wait though. Right now, these bastards are performing incredibly at around 80psi, I can't wait to see how they do in the teens!

I've got the STT Pro's now as well and they are AMAZING aired down. I actually had a very similar experience in the sand a few weeks ago... loud bangs, intermittent 4WD. My disconnect is pretty much toast now. My buddy told me to just air down and I was already pissed off that we got all the way out to the trails only for me to get stuck in the first mile, that I said it would never make a difference. I finally agreed and aired down and I went from getting stuck twice to being able to go anywhere in 2WD that he went in 4WD! There is a lot of side tread that really makes a very usable footprint when aired down. I was at 15psi and it was enough to get the side tread flat to the ground.

Good luck with the repair - I'll be doing the same here as well in a couple weeks :) Cheers! :friday:
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