Re: getting stuck in sand
We stopped by in our SMB to camp with some of our race buddies who were camping and quad riding at Pismo Beach between the holidays. One of our friends gave me a few tips on how to get a heavy beast with an automatic transmission unstuck from soft sand. The technique worked like a champ!
1) (mentioned above) don't dig a hole. Once you realize your tires are spinning and the van isn't making forward progress, get out of the the throttle, RIGHT NOW! Keep spinning, and you'll just bury it to the axles, making it much, MUCH harder to get out.
2) Lower tire pressure, 4x4 low (if you have it), and in low gear. The goal is to 'pulse the throttle', rocking the wheel up and eventually the tire out of the hole. Basically, you 'romp' the accelerator to the floor, lift, romp back to the floor, repeat over and over. The interval is about 3 romps/ second, for up to 30 seconds or until it pops out (then stay in it, until you get to firmer ground). The 'romp' does something called 'flashing the torque converter', which gets it to almost lock up, at a low rpm, where the engine isn't making much torque. This is a good things, as it starts the tire turning without overpowering it and spinning it, gently applying torque to climb up the hole your are in. Lifting lets the drivetrain relax, and the tire to roll backward down to through the bottom of the hole, and partially up the backside. The next romp rolls the tire forward, through the bottom of the hole, and further up the front side of the hole with each cycle. It helps to have a spotter watch and communicate to the driver, who isn't afraid to yell STOP! if you start spinning and digging.
1995 E350 7.3 Diesel, 4x4 high roof camper, UJOR 4" lift