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2003 Forester X
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Howdy folks,

I am getting married on May 16, and we are honeymooning on Ocracoke Island in the OBX. This is the first beach I'll have ever been that allows vehicles on the sand, and I was considering taking my 2003 X (N/A) for the ride.

I've seen several very helpful threads on here in regards to sand driving, but was wondering a few more things about the consequences.

  • Will sand get all in the car and air system? Does turning the air system off before driving in sand alleviate this?
  • Will sand get places it shouldn't, such as brakes, boots, joints, etc.? If so, is there anything I can do once I leave the beach to get it out?
  • If you have been to OBX before, how is the sand? Hard, soft? Dry, wet?

If you can think of anything else you'd like to chime in, feel free! Thanks a million!

Ben
 

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  • Will sand get all in the car and air system? Does turning the air system off before driving in sand alleviate this?
  • Will sand get places it shouldn't, such as brakes, boots, joints, etc.? If so, is there anything I can do once I leave the beach to get it out?
  • If you have been to OBX before, how is the sand? Hard, soft? Dry, wet?

Ben
First, congratulations on your upcoming marriage Ben

Keep windows and moon roofs shut, use your air as usual - in fact keeping pressure inside the cabin will help to keep sand out.

Pressure wash the car soon after leaving the beach

Have a sump guard or take off the plastic splash guard as it could get ripped off.
 

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Yep, Kevin's got it right! Hopefully you've located the threads that give good advice on how to drive safely on sand.

Congratulations and have a great time!
 

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03 Forester Automatic
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I have an 03 xs and have been taking it on the beach on OBX from Corova to Ocracoke since it was new. The most important thing you can do is air down your tires. I spray the sand from the underside at a carwash and take the plastic sump off and dump out the sand when I get home. I come down 2 to 3 times a year and haven't had any sand related problems. As for the kind of sand you'll encounter the answer is all of the above. As you go across the dunes at the access ramps it can get very soft and deep especially if the weather has been hot and dry and it can go from firm to soft real fast. Since all the driving this time of year on Ocracoke will be on the National Seashore it will be subject to beach closures due to nesting birds or turtles. If you run into this and just want to take a day to sight see you could go up highway 12 to Corolla untill the road ends. There is 11 miles of beach to drive untill you get to the Va. border. You'll see wild Mustangs and great beaches but you might want to get a tide chart and start at low tide. I've put alot of picts on my other posts and they're all from the OBX. Here is a link to the access ramps. I'll be down about the same time to surf fish. Have a great time. My avatar is from the NC border with VA's False Cape State Park.
OuterBanksGuiedbook.com - Beach Ramps on the Outer Banks
 

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2015 Forester CVT
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Our cottage this past year was about 300 yrds south of C=O's avatare. My experience driving up there was pretty good at low tide. In fact, I didn't air down until we had completed the 12 mile trip and need to cross the dune. No problems. To contrast, my uncle refused to air down his V-8 Envoy and buried it. Funny, He's the one I had to hear it from him all spring about how the forester wasn't going to make it. Not a big deal though. A local kid will snatched him out for about $150 and didn't even laugh at him that hard. Driving at high tide is a different experience because it forces you up closer to the dunes. This part of the beach is soft and rutted out enough to push your clearance. I just kept my auto in second to lock 4WD and tried to keep my momentum. It worked but was not at all a leisurely drive on the beach. Also, don't drive through any puddles, they are car eaters. Carbonyl, if you have any advice on high tide driving I'd love to hear it. I looked at the tide table for our 06/2010 week and I'll have to do some high tide driving.
 

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Carbonyl, if you have any advice on high tide driving I'd love to hear it. I looked at the tide table for our 06/2010 week and I'll have to do some high tide driving.
That stretch of beach can change so fast it's hard to tell what high tide might look like from one day to the next. I've been up there when trucks were parked at the base of the dunes and the wash was almost to them at high tide. When I come to this I turn around. I'm not slinging salt saturated sand all under my Fozzie. I do have bigger tires and a 1" lift so clearane isn't the issue it use to be. I've driven around "more capable 4X4's" that were bogged down in soft sand. Other than a great AWD I think what makes the Forester so great in soft sand is it's light weight. Sorry I couldn't be more help, I guess my advice is if you think it might be a bad idea it probably is. Also if your going down with another 4x4 take a good snatch strap and some D shackles. Year before last I jerked an Outlander out of soft sand at the point in Hatteras.
 

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Just got back from the Outer Banks and the Foz did great as usual in what was some very soft, deep and rutted sand. They do all look about the same from on year to the next don't they?
 

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Awesome Pictures Carbonyl...

We have a condo in Kitty Hawk and driving on the beach in Corolla was one of the motivating factors in my buying my Forester 2 months ago.. I was originally thinking of getting a Jeep Wrangler, but when I found the Forester with the bad engine.. I figured it would be a GREAT deal if I could fix it.. plus I always wanted to try to pull an engine....

Anyway.. Happy to read this thread... Summer's almost here.. and I'm anxious to see some wild horses on the beach!
 

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Awesome Pictures Carbonyl...

We have a condo in Kitty Hawk and driving on the beach in Corolla was one of the motivating factors in my buying my Forester 2 months ago.. I was originally thinking of getting a Jeep Wrangler, but when I found the Forester with the bad engine.. I figured it would be a GREAT deal if I could fix it.. plus I always wanted to try to pull an engine....

Anyway.. Happy to read this thread... Summer's almost here.. and I'm anxious to see some wild horses on the beach!
Where are these wild horses on beaches you guys speak of!! This=Jessica's Heaven!! lol
 

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2005 Lifted 2.5 XT 5-Speed MT Dual-Range
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Kevin said it best, keep your windows and sunroof shut. I went off roading a couple of weeks ago, and forgot to do this......not only did I end up vacuuming the car for hours, but my sunroof track was full of it and the sunroof sounds horrible when I close it. I spent another few hours cleaning the sand out of the track lubricant (which is not fun).

Other than that, if you stop in really deep stuff, don't floor it out. Spinning the tires never helps. Use smooth, easy throttle in 2nd gear to get going again, and it'll do great.
 

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Am I able to lock in 4wd by using 2nd gear in my 09? I had never heard that. I'll be taking this same drive in August so wish me luck!
 

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Am I able to lock in 4wd by using 2nd gear in my 09? I had never heard that. I'll be taking this same drive in August so wish me luck!
Last year when I drove the >11 miles of beach to the border there was a newer Forester down by the fence. They were grinning and waving to me so they weren't having any trouble, at least up to that point. Just air down your tires, disable the traction control if you have it and go at low tide if you can.
 
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