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Old 22nd August 2016, 00:48   #1
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Default Pros & Cons of weekend offroading

Though a lot of people are against the concept of weekend off-roading, I have started finding it increasingly useful for several reasons. There are disadvantages as well.

Advantages -

1. One gets to know his/her 4WD vehicle and one's own capability better before venturing out into the real world. It will help the person to handle tricky situations.

2. One gets to know how the 4WD controls work in the vehicle. I will give an example here. Here is a video of a Thar and a 4WD Scorpio in the same situation back to back.



The Thar made it quite easily while the Scorpio struggled though the knob in the Scorpio showed it was in 4WD mode. We came to know that the 4WD does not engage if the clutch is not pressed. So it was a learning experience. It would have been a disaster if the owner had ventured out without this knowledge in a remote mountain area.

3. It is a way to find out potential issues with a vehicle's 4WD system. Here is a video of an XUV AWD in slush followed by a video of a Duster AWD in the same place. It is evident that the XUV was struggling while the Duster made it look easy. Seemed to be a problem with the AWD system of the XUV. After thorough testing it was found out that the rear wheels were not getting engaged. It needed a complete gearbox change. This would not have been found out if the guy was averse to weekend off-roading.

XUV AWD


Duster AWD



4. Increase the camaraderie between the people. In this ever increasing popularity of the virtual world, it is a nice way to meet face to face and unwind with like-minded people over the weekend.

Disadvantages -

1. Chance of damaging the vehicle. It will hurt one a lot if the vehicle gets damaged during a weekend fun off-roading

2. Cleaning the vehicle is a major headache after a mudbath

3. After just a few off-roading sessions one might start thinking oneself and his/her vehicle to be invincible. That would be a potential disaster in a real world situation out in the treacherous mountains


Please pour in with your thoughts in favour of and against weekend off-roading
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Old 22nd August 2016, 16:18   #2
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Default re: Pros & Cons of weekend offroading

This is the first time i've heard about people being against weekend offroading.

Some other disadvantages of weekend offroading include (in jest):

- family disowning you after the weekend trips becoming regular

- the weekdays are spent online ordering stuff for the weekend jaunts

- expenses rise: from the occasional weekend warrior you want to improve the offroad capabilities of the car and soon you buy offroad tyres, lift kits, winches, etc

- your social media all of a sudden is filled with mudding pics

- every time you are out with your family on a drive, you look at a field adjacent to the road and comment to your wife, i wish i had my jeep now, i could have easily done this obstacle and soon your wife gets bored of the this same conversation and soon starts identifying offroad obstacles herself (advantage maybe?)

- the society cleaner looking at your car every monday and thinks, it's time to raise the charges

- your friends start avoiding you because all you can now talk is offroading
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Old 23rd August 2016, 12:47   #3
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Default Re: Pros & Cons of weekend offroading

I'd say the biggest advantage is the fun factor! It's just awesome to be out there in the wild. Seriously no better way to spend a Sunday morning. Offroading is also a cheap sport compared to others (especially track racing).

Biggest con is damage - to yourself and to your vehicle. For the former, be careful and don't do anything silly. The latter is inevitable though. You're putting your 4x4 through extreme conditions and stuff will break (or wear out sooner). Personally, I do everything except drive through water - absolutely hate it. Water kills a long list of components (starter, alternator etc.) and is a sure shot way to rusting!

Don't get too competitive and don't worry about getting stuck. I personally think that getting stuck & trying to wiggle yourself out is a lot of fun (F-U-N is the whole point of offroading for me).

Last edited by GTO : 23rd August 2016 at 12:50.
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Old 23rd August 2016, 13:14   #4
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Default Re: Pros & Cons of weekend offroading

Thank you for putting up this thread, BlackPearl. I will admit I have been a victim of this 'weekend off-roading' temptation from the day I bought my Fortuner. Completely agree with you, Tejas and GTO's comments above. Tejas, those disadvantages are so funny and true, I can totally relate to all what you said.

The main point of getting engaged into this activity is the amount of fun you can have with like-minded people. Of course you run the risk of breaking something every now and then (I broke one major point of contact for one of my running boards recently, but then this is blessing in disguise since now I have an excuse to get proper rock sliders ), however such activities teach you to hone and improve your skills and make you much more familiar with your vehicle.
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Old 23rd August 2016, 13:21   #5
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Default Re: Pros & Cons of weekend offroading

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Personally, I do everything except drive through water - absolutely hate it. Water kills a long list of components (starter, alternator etc.) and is a sure shot way to rusting!
Avoid it like a plague if you have more modern 4X4, like the new Storme, Scorpio, AWD Duster/XUV's etc.

Not just starter, alternator will go bad but there are tons of sensors which will malfunction, then there is ECU damage if you do not know the depth. Besides ECU, air bag sensors located in the front bumper can go kaput and won't save you in case of a mishap. Have seen the airbag sensor going kaput because of water ingress, so speaking this from experience.

Go for as much axle twisters as you like. But do watch out for all the 3 angles, approach, break over & departure. It is fun and a learning to know the limits of your vehicle so that you can exploit it if the need arises without jeopardizing yourself and your ride.

I have no one to accompany me but I practiced some off roading and had a tractor and a recovery rope over phone. Get AT tires, remove those foot steps and mud-flaps and you will have decent GC & grip to exploit the situations.
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Old 23rd August 2016, 13:33   #6
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Default Re: Pros & Cons of weekend offroading

Been a victim of this bug in recent months, even though I own a crossover which is damage prone but i have owned too long for now to know what's good for my vehicle and what's not. Apart from the vehicle damage(so far there has been none) i see no other disadvantages.

Good part is, it the most fun way to spend the time out with like minded enthusiasts, especially around my place there are nice places to explore and softroad just few minutes away. Its always great to know about different vehicles' capabilities off road, where would you compare a XUV back to back with a Gypsy or a Fortuner. We attempt whats suitable for the specific vehicle only.

And Yes my Youtube uploads have become offroad only these days.

Local offroading sessions are the reason why we were supremely confident on what to attempt and what not to on the Fortuner during our recent Ladakh expedition, same goes for my 2013 trip, a few sessions before the trip helped in getting note of vehicle's capabilities and downsides. Most importantly the recovery.

Last edited by .anshuman : 23rd August 2016 at 13:42.
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Old 23rd August 2016, 13:42   #7
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Default Re: Pros & Cons of weekend offroading

You don't need to own an offroad vehicle to have fun. Many non owners are regulars with us during our trips and accompany us as passengers. They help out in every aspect of offroading except driving (of course) like: spotting, helping with recovery, etc

So if you think your expensive 4x4 will get damaged, park it at a side and get in with someone else and go have fun.
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Old 23rd August 2016, 14:38   #8
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Default Re: Pros & Cons of weekend offroading

Am pretty novice in terms of off- roading but still penning down few of my perspectives on this topic-

The positives-

It helps one improve the throttle input. Have seen many people have a common misconception of driving fast on water logged roads or on slush. But slow and steady driving with a perfect throttle input is very much important in these adverse conditions. Off-roading teaches these pretty well.

Where to venture, where not to venture. While on 4x4 excursions we have the luxury to venture on the parts where a vehicle can get stuck. We know we have a recovery vehicle. But the experience gained is un-parallel. Suppose a person is on a solo trip with out any back up vehicle has to take a decision whether to take the call or not, these experience's will count.

Knowing your vehicle. Offroading increases the confidence on your vehicle. We learn where to put 4L or 4H or where to engage the AWD lock or where to keep it in auto mode.

I will like to add one must check the capability of a 2wd vehicle too. People like me do not own a 4x4. I own a Etios & a Figo. For touring these are my vehicles. In many occasions i go with my car alone so there is no back up in case i get stuck. So what i do is when i go for the OTR's, in few places like small slush or on a small incline i do check the capability of my cars too. That really helped me in taking few decisions during a trip.

Offroading improves one's driving skill. A person who is regular in off-roading knows better, where his front wheels are exactly placed. It improves the driving precision. Off-course a spotter helps a lot. Again on a trip if situation's are adverse we can ask one of our co-passenger to do the spotting.

How to get out if you are stuck. In 4x4 excursion's we see where to put the towing rope or what are the ways to recover a stuck vehicle. These idea's do really count a lot.

The negative's -

If your touring vehicle and off-roading vehicle is same then one must be extra cautious. Have seen vehicles getting damaged during off- roading.

With out a proper spotter there are chance a vehicle may even topple. So extreme caution should taken.

Week end off roading leads to commonly asked questions in house like-
What fun do you get in damaging the vehicle?
You damage the vehicle & then spend on it to repair the damages! Its waste of money!
& the list goes on & on.

But at the end am in favor of week end off-roading. Its fun plus it teaches a lot. One gets to learn many new things.

Last edited by Samba : 23rd August 2016 at 14:56.
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Old 23rd August 2016, 15:18   #9
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Default Re: Pros & Cons of weekend offroading

@ Samba, on the similar lines, you also learn the proper use of clutch!

For a newbie, it is very easy to abuse clutch or brakes in various scenarios e.g. no ABC input while going steep downhill. It is easy for someone doing it for the first few times to step on the clutch or brake while attempting downhills since one is not familiar with gear ratios. Another example would be choosing right gear for various obstacles and not panic in the middle and do things one would regret later on!

I am still learning to get that precise throttle input as per requirement, although this changes every time with various obstacles. Sometimes you just have to use engine grunt to get out while during other times steady inputs get you through.
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Old 23rd August 2016, 16:03   #10
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Default Re: Pros & Cons of weekend offroading

I think most of the pros and cons of weekend offroading have been covered here and I feel the most important of them is (as BlackPearl and others already mentioned) that you get to know your 4x4's and your own offroad capabilities. But, I feel there is one more important learning aspect of weekend offroading.

You usually go for weekend offroading with friends owning different types of 4WD vehicles. Therefore, you get to know the differences of capabilities and behaviour of each vehicle and each type of vehicles. For example, a monocoque AWD have its own advantages and disadvantages compared to a body-on-frame old school 4x4. Another difference is how 4x4s with mechanical shifters, like the Thar and the Bolero, behave differently than the ones like Safari or Scorpio with electrical shifters.

You also get to compare what each of the vehicles is capable and incapable of and why because you see them succeed or fail at obstacles and you analyze with friends. This enables you to have an objective view of your vehicles capabilities / incapabilities and makes you a more practical driver. I think this is the biggest advantage of weekend offroading fun-fiesta. So, YES - I am for weekend offroading
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Old 23rd August 2016, 16:32   #11
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Default Re: Pros & Cons of weekend offroading

If your AWD is also your beater car, then in the event it breaks down during a weekend event, you have the biggest setback. Because in that case, your daily schedule is broken.

That in my opinion is biggest risk. That does not mean we dont venture out. But I guess it more about how often you get out and the challenge of the obstacles.

Last edited by ampere : 23rd August 2016 at 16:43.
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Old 23rd August 2016, 16:36   #12
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Default Re: Pros & Cons of weekend offroading

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
Have seen the airbag sensor going kaput because of water ingress, so speaking this from experience.
Which SUV was that and how expensive are airbag sensor replacements?
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Old 23rd August 2016, 17:52   #13
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Default Re: Pros & Cons of weekend offroading

To add to what Tejas said,

You start dreaming to own an 'exclusive' vehicle to do only offroading. And if you finally do reach that milestone, you start pouring out love for that vehicle more than that of your daily drive.

Wife and child think you only love only the Jeep and this creates animosity, similar to having another spouse along with the first one.

Wife starts comparing/ reporting other Jeeps she saw on the road.

Son/Daughter scream " JEEEEP " the moment he/she see one more on the road.

The family member/relatives mention " JEEP" and you are back to your mellow mood, this especially is disastrous if they need something out of you. By then you are all blind and this hits you real bad.

This is your weak point.

All the above are my personal experience and I continue to suffer,
But the joy of owning 3 JEEPS ??? - PRICELESS !!!

Wonder whether there is offroading in heaven


Andy
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Old 23rd August 2016, 21:22   #14
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Default Re: Pros & Cons of weekend offroading

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post

Advantages -

1. One gets to know his/her 4WD vehicle and one's own capability better before venturing out into the real world. It will help the person to handle tricky situations.
Agreed - I can cite personal examples of how I had been benefitted by our little offroading excursions. They had helped me understand the capabilities of the car and how the electronics behave in different terrains (when to switch off the ESP and when not to) and had also helped me to get a more realistic idea on actual the GC of the car.

During my recent trip to Tumling, which was a not so easy terrain in my amateur standards, the experience with steep inclines and slush had been of real help. Also, your tips and tricks to drive on sand had come to my rescue during my trip to Pangong. As I mostly drive solo, these experiences have been priceless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
4. Increase the camaraderie between the people. In this ever increasing popularity of the virtual world, it is a nice way to meet face to face and unwind with like-minded people over the weekend.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post

Disadvantages -

2. Cleaning the vehicle is a major headache after a mudbath

3. After just a few off-roading sessions one might start thinking oneself and his/her vehicle to be invincible. That would be a potential disaster in a real world situation out in the treacherous mountains
Point 3 is really important! And yes, nothing can really beat a real world experience as right pointed out by the veterans.
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Old 24th August 2016, 18:00   #15
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Default Re: Pros & Cons of weekend offroading

I have seen a lot in 20 years of off roading the joys and the disasters, the fun and the fear, so many aspects, from going alone to chart a route to a fun drive with 700 4WD cars in the desert.
I will definetely write a 500 word article on this soon and post it here for all to read.

Meanwhile I will post an article written by a british journalist on our earlier off roading to start with.
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