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Has anyone had an AWD Murano in the sand? If so, where was it and how did it do? I am wondering if I buy one, will I be able to drive on the beach and on sand dunes while camping.

Hawk
 

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I think it is a really, really bad idea to drive a Murano on (in? :eek: ) sand. The AWD system is designed for road speeds, and won't help a bit if you get stuck. One of the first automotive journalists to test drive a Murano got it VERY STUCK in sand trying to take a picture of it. I suppose if the sand dunes are frozen (like they are around here right now) it would be ok.
 

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There is sand and there is sand! I have had mine on the beach in Oregon where the sand is pretty hard - no problem.
 

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When the Murano first came out, over a year ago, one of the press got it stuck at the beach in sand...
 

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Hmmm... that's disconcerting to hear (to say the least). One of the reasons I liked the idea of the Murano was the AWD and the ability to do light off-road driving (e.g., fire trails). I count beach driving as light off-road and was planning on taking the Murano to the northern areas of the Outer Banks of North Carolina where it is 4wd only due to the access by beach only. Are there more details about the journalist that got really stuck in sand? Did AWD lock not work?
 

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IMO the Hummer will get stuck in sand.

As mentioned earlier, there is sand and there is sand.
There is packed sand such as at Daytona where cars used to race on it (and you can still drive on it, with ANY car) is one kind of sand.

Now go to a fine sand beach, like here in Ft Myers Beach, where we have "sugar sand", and yes, the Murano will likely get stuck. So will the highlander and the pilot. All with OEM tires of course.

What about that Hummer?
Yep.
You put the tires from a Murano on it and it would no doubt get stuck.

If you are going out to play in the sand and the mud, you need chugger tires. Street tires won't make it and it has nothing to do with the car.
Any 4wd, even a jeep wrangler, could get stuck in the sand if you use nice smooth highway tires and the sand is nice deep soft sand.

I think Fire trails "might" be a problem also.
Again there are fire trails and there are fire trails. The ones I am used to in the NJ pines and FL wilderness are on sandy soil that ruts a good bit leaving a high crown in places.
The Murano does not have good clearance under the car and as a matter of fact, you are not going to hit a skid plate on a high crowned fire road. You are going to tear off a transmission cooling chute or a muffler.


Homer
 

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Last fall, there was someone on here who was headed to the Outer Banks and was going to take the Murano on the north beaches. That was right before the hurricane, so I don't know if he ever went.

I'll be heading to OBX in May for my annual trip, and was also planning to hit the north beaches. The only reason I was going to drive was so I could do that. A couple of years ago, I drove my Explorer and I never even had to put in in 4WD at all, so maybe it would be OK. I just want a picture with one of the wild horses next to my MO, just like I have with the Explorer.

Ann Marie
(Today's the day - taking delivery of my '04 SL AWD with NAV at 5:30!)
 

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Ann Marie - would love to hear your experiences on the OBX with the Murano. I'm planning on my annual trek in October (fewer crowds, cheaper prices, no one hassles me about the dogs running off-leash). Pic's would be good too - I think wild horses next to the MO would be a cool shot!
 

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Sand is always the nemesis of four wheelers and often they don't understand the dynamics at play. Driving a vehicle in soft sand requires a traction and power level equivalent to climbing a 45 degree incline because all your wheels are constantly trying to climb out of the holes they are in. In your garage take four short two by fours and place them tight against the front of each tire and then try to drive over them. It is only and inch and a half vertical but you will be surprised how much grunt it takes to climb over them even with the tires absorbing some of the height.

The only thing that is effective in sand without resorting to paddle tires is too drastically reduce your loading per square inch of tire contact area. The reality is that a 30 ton Sherman tank probably has lower psi number than the average 4x4 based on the area of tracks they have in contact with the sand.

Take any four wheeled vehicle into soft sand with fully inflated tires and there is a pretty good chance you are going to get stuck, but reduce the pressure in the tires down to the 15-18psi range ( or lower if they will stay on the rim ) prior to venturing into the sand and the Murano might do quite well because of the comparably large diameter and foot print size. Try the same trick with the two by fours but with reduced tire pressure. It is not quite the same dynamic at play as in sand but it is amusing.

Dune buggies are traditionally two wheel drive and don't require four wheel drive because they are so light but even they will get stuck in the soft stuff if they don't keep their speed up.

Next time you are at the beach find a flat area of really soft sand and smack it with the palm of your hand regardless of how soft and powdery the sand is it will feel like concrete and you will barely make a mark but put your hand on the sand and lean on it and your hand will sink in.

In a word don't stop or slow to a crawl in powdery sand because you are going down, same goes for trying to climb that dune because the only thing getting you to the top is pure inertia. If driving on the flat is equivalent to climbing a 45 degree slope figure out what happens when you try to climb a slope which you are also sinking into. It is like trying to climb a wall. If when you start to slow down you feel the engine working harder you are sinking in and if you stop it will be permanent instead apply power smoothly and if you can aim downhill do it and look for some harder ground to stop on. If you can't find harder try to find a slightly down hill parking spot and stop as slowly as you can.

Hummers are good on sand because you have remote control over the tire pressures and hey the tires are wide and large. The width of the Hummer is no mistake and designed for a desert environment try any west coast trail in a Hummer and you are only going to get as far as the first set of gatepost trees. For west cost 4x4 ing narrow is the ticket fricking trees are everywhere.


By the way the best method I have found for getting out of sand wet or dry is a backhoe as they can get close drag and lift themselves and your vehicle around with their hoe. If you are unfortunate enough to get stuck in the soft stuff next to the waters edge don't even try to dig yourself out as you are just wasting time go get a tow or back hoe immediately ( the tide is always coming in!) If your silly enough to get you Murano stuck in this situation be prepared for some bumper damage.

Tow trucks are next to useless if you are high centered in wet sand as they can't get close enough to lift your vehicle up and the cable,or truck or your vehicle will break if they just try to winch you out. I have seen it work if enough people are tossing grippy rocks in to the areas in front of the tires and the driver is applying some power but the potential for someone getting injured or killed by a broken cable in this scenario is pretty good.

Remember open the hood if you are behind the wheel and there is a tensioned cable in front of you, it may save your life.
 

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For certain, any place an Explorer will go, the MO will too!
All of the advice above on tires and pressures is so true!
 

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Last summer I got my 2WD F-150 and trailer loaded with a 4-wheeler stuck in a sandy wash. I unhooked the trailer and got the F-150 free, but left the trailer in the wash. I went home and returned with the Murano. I hooked up the trailer and got out of the wash with no problem.
 

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rjaustin said:
Last summer I got my 2WD F-150 and trailer loaded with a 4-wheeler stuck in a sandy wash. I unhooked the trailer and got the F-150 free, but left the trailer in the wash. I went home and returned with the Murano. I hooked up the trailer and got out of the wash with no problem.

wow!!

aces for the MO for sure!!!

please define "wash":D
 

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ekaxel said:
For certain, any place an Explorer will go, the MO will too!
All of the advice above on tires and pressures is so true!
Agreed. If you didn't need 4wd on the Explorer, you'll be fine with the Murano.
 

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I had to meet some people for a dive trip on the west coast of Saudi Arabia. They were camping on the shore about 10 miles north of where the "prepared" road to the beach ended. I was driving a Land Rover Discovery and it was my first attempt at off roading. Lots of sand, rock outcrops and general nastyness that even the Rover had some trouble with.
About halfway, I had to pull over to let a pick-up truck coming the other way by. It was about 20 years old, more rust than metal and had four of the local desert dwellers crammed into the single cab AND 2 WHEEL DRIVE!.
Thats when I learned that sand (or suitable) tyres and lowest possible pressure are the keys to off-roading. The other trick I was taught, was that heading into soft sand, you never do anything to interrupt your inertia; i.e. Never touch the brakes or change gear in a stick shift, you'll bog down immediately.
Also, never traverse a slope!
Hummers (H1) are great except cresting the top of a hill and following other narrower 4 x 4s (your wheels wont fit in their tracks, you spend the whole time at 20 degrees!)
 

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footeam said:
Last fall, there was someone on here who was headed to the Outer Banks and was going to take the Murano on the north beaches. That was right before the hurricane, so I don't know if he ever went.

Ann Marie
(Today's the day - taking delivery of my '04 SL AWD with NAV at 5:30!)
You have a great memory! We did take our MO out onthe beaches north of Corola with no problems. It was amix of hard sand (low tide) and soft sand driving. The MO handled both with no problems. I do admit, though, I don't stop unless necessary when I'm in the softer sand - I also used the AWD LOCK. We're headed back down again in May and looking forward to more beach fun.
 
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