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Syncro/T3 Overlander Muddy Conditions Question
01-14-2017, 06:42 PM
Post: #1
Syncro/T3 Overlander Muddy Conditions Question
I would like to start and end this thread with a simple question: What am I doing wrong or, otherwise, what can I do to better this situation?

I assume that we shall all/most agree that the Syncro/T3 is an excellent "overlander" and, as such, I would like to dedicate this thread to the "overlander" capabilities of the Syncro/T3. While we may touch on some of the offroad/4x4 capabilities of the Syncro/T3, the intention/purpose of this thread is to restrict ourselves to discussing the Syncro/T3 as an "overlander" (getting from point A to point B whatever the road conditions), and not as an offroader/4x4 (parking it next to a Jeep).

That said, I again assume that we shall all/most agree that the Syncro/T3 is excellent in driving soft sand. As long as the uphill is not to steep (like some of the Namibian dunes), your Syncro/T3 will take you through all/most that Namibia and Botswana can throw at you. It obviously helps to increase your engine power (with e g a 2.3L
Boxster engine) for the thicker sand, increase the tyre size (e g to 16's) for better ground clearance, perhaps add a spacer for even more ground clearance, and downflate the tyres (to e g 1,5) for more surface grip, but generally the rear mounted engine (with more weight distribution to the back) makes for an impressive performance in soft sand (dissatisfying to everybody else who always has their gear ready to help pull out the bus).

That said, all/most of you may have noticed that, probably due to heavier overall weight of the Syncro/T3, the Syncro/T3 will generally run a deeper track than that of most other vehicles. While most soft sand conditions will generally have a hard/compact base, driving on e g sea sand (with no hard/compact base) will generally leave behind a much deeper track than the vehicle before/in front of you. And that is often where and when the sports/problems begin.

Now, while we all/most may wish to honour (or show off) the Syncro/T3 for its excellent sand driving cabilities, the same can unfortunately not be said about the Syncro/T3's mud driving abilities. If you haven't tried it yourself, you can simply watch the many Youtube videos showing how the Syncro/T3 battle even the slightest of mud conditions. The overall weight of the Syncro/T3 in comparison with its relative small tyres then becomes a large obstacle for almost any kind of muddy incline or crossing.

And that all brings me to my two similar stories, and my subsequent question:

1. Last year we travelled Baviaanskloof. We exited on the T2/R332 between Steytlerville and Willowmore on farm roads. This area received some thunder storms about two days before. While the road conditions were generally good, we got to a large muddy puddle spreading the whole width of the road past the two fences on the side of the road. As a Mazda 323 recently passed us from the front, and with many other tracks coming through the muddy puddle, I entered the puddle at low speed in second gear with only my rear div lock on (just in case). And then the unexpected happened. The Syncro/T3's front wheels slided out of the existing tracks to the left (even though steering straight forward), while the rear wheels kept going straight within the existing tracks. Counter steering had no effect, and I was forced to break finding the Syncro/T3 transversed (90 degrees) in the road heading for the fence. Luckily I managed to reverse back onto the middle of the road, and proceed in the low gear without any further trouble.

2. Perhaps I should have posted this thread then and got answers then, because this year something very similar happened to us. We were travelling from Nossob (in the north of the Kgalagadi) to Mata-mata (on the western border to Namibia). This area was soaking wet after (being blessed by) a large thunder storm the night before. The Syncro/T3 managed well despite driving through many (sometimes deeper) puddles during the day. Getting closer to Mata-mata on the road next to the Auob River, we exited the loop (one of three loops on this road) on the western side at the Thirteenth Whole in wet rainy conditions. I must admit that I should have known that the Syncro/T3 was perhaps not suited for this muddy crossing of the Auob River, but again I simply followed the track in front of me. Again at low speed in second gear with only my rear div lock on, I immediately noticed that the Syncro/T3 was running a much deeper track than the earlier vehicles have done before. I then proceeded in first gear while keeping momentum. But, as before, the front wheels left the existing tracks to the right, while the rear wheels kept going straight within the existing tracks, literally forcing the Syncro/T3 into the deep soft mud. The rear wheels now transversed (90 degrees) in the deep track, and fully covered with slippery mud, and unable to climb out of the track to either the front or back, and the front wheels pushed into the soft mud next to the tracks, the Syncro/T3 had no way of going anywhere (that day).

This story ended with a gentleman caringly pulling us from the mud (and we cleaning ourselves and the Syncro/T3). Now, while I understand why the generally heavier Syncro/T3 could perhaps not have crossed the muddy Auob River where only offroad/4x4 vehicles with larger/stronger engines were struggling to do so (as we were later informed by the Mata-mata camp gossip), and while I understand why the rear wheels (with the heavier weight of the engine) find it more difficult than the front wheels to leave a deep muddy track, I don't understand how and why the front wheels so easily slip out of the track, nor why the equal power distribution to the front and rear wheels does not prevent the rear wheels from powering past the front wheels during the counter steering (trying to get back on track).

In conclusion again my question: What am I doing wrong (in these conditions) or, otherwise, what can I do to better this situation?

sunjomar
Johan de Kock, Hermanus
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01-14-2017, 07:27 PM
Post: #2
RE: Syncro/T3 Overlander Muddy Conditions Question
imho, the use of rear diff lock and the incorrect gear choice is the problem, then tyres, stuff like firestone ATX tyres are useless in mud

a syncro is generally lighter than most other 4x4's. dry weight is 1680KG,

mud is a killer in general, especially "turf"

check this out, syncro and mud and an uphill, sound is bad, but you will get the idea ,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l26QXGv2Rzk

I may be a mechanic, but i can't fix stupid
Bad planning on your part does not make your issue an crisis to me
Bad workmanship by other garages does not entiltle you to better rates at me
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01-15-2017, 09:59 AM
Post: #3
RE: Syncro/T3 Overlander Muddy Conditions Question
Stuart, interesting comment about the rear difflock. On a play day in sand last year I got stuck on a incline and Ian told me to engage front difflocks and low gear. Got out easy.

At the time I thought it strange, and would have thought to use the rear difflock. Now I understand you rather want the bus to be 'pulled' than 'pushed' out.
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01-16-2017, 01:25 PM
Post: #4
RE: Syncro/T3 Overlander Muddy Conditions Question
Gerhard I think I told you to engage both diff locks!

Awesome clip Stuart! My experience is similar. Syncro is lighter than most other 4x4's. If tracks are deeper it can only be because tyres are narrower or harder.

If all vehicles are running similar tyres the Syncro has a traction advantage on all surfaces including mud. Only place the Syncro is not superior is steep loose downhills where the rear engine weight can cause oversteer. (Twin spare wheel carriers add to the problem!)

Sunjomar I'm not sure what is causing your issues but engaging either of the difflocks will compromise your steering control. Maybe next time the opportunity permits, try various approaches, gears, speed, etc with and without difflock and see how the vehicle responds. Practise makes perfect! Also is your VC working properly? I'm reasonably confidant that the Syncro will cross through a muddy section at least as well as any other similarly tyred 4x4.

Ian
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01-16-2017, 01:28 PM (This post was last modified: 01-16-2017 01:32 PM by EcLiPsE.)
Post: #5
Syncro/T3 Overlander Muddy Conditions Question
Here is a clip of a little mud, good example i think.

https://youtu.be/1v1Tg6wPcv8

One of my friends drove the white Syncro and he had a lot of traction issues because of all terrains on his bus.
I had my BF Muds on and did not sweat a bit.

Pressure plays a big role, even jn mud


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01-18-2017, 07:18 AM
Post: #6
RE: Syncro/T3 Overlander Muddy Conditions Question
(01-16-2017 01:28 PM)EcLiPsE Wrote:  Here is a clip of a little mud, good example i think.

https://youtu.be/1v1Tg6wPcv8

One of my friends drove the white Syncro and he had a lot of traction issues because of all terrains on his bus.
I had my BF Muds on and did not sweat a bit.

Pressure plays a big role, even jn mud


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

The link doesn't work, what is the clips names so we can search on Youtube ?
Thanks
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01-18-2017, 08:17 AM
Post: #7
RE: Syncro/T3 Overlander Muddy Conditions Question
Link works on my laptop
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01-18-2017, 08:28 AM
Post: #8
Syncro/T3 Overlander Muddy Conditions Question
Search for
Onbeplan '13 E02 - Bernard se bult


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01-18-2017, 02:17 PM
Post: #9
RE: Syncro/T3 Overlander Muddy Conditions Question
(01-18-2017 08:28 AM)EcLiPsE Wrote:  Search for
Onbeplan '13 E02 - Bernard se bult


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Thanks, that was good to watch.
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03-24-2019, 07:23 PM
Post: #10
RE: Syncro/T3 Overlander Muddy Conditions Question
(01-16-2017 01:25 PM)ian Wrote:  Gerhard I think I told you to engage both diff locks!

Sunjomar I'm not sure what is causing your issues but engaging either of the difflocks will compromise your steering control. Maybe next time the opportunity permits, try various approaches, gears, speed, etc with and without difflock and see how the vehicle responds. Practise makes perfect! Also is your VC working properly? I'm reasonably confidant that the Syncro will cross through a muddy section at least as well as any other similarly tyred 4x4.

Ian

Ian, good day. We eventually found the culprit for our muddy hassle of a few years back. The right front shock had to be replaced. Apparently this caused the front right wheel to simply ease out of the muddy track in stead of the shock keeping (pushing down) the wheel within the track. It sort of make sense to me now.

sunjomar
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