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I am fairly new to off roading. I have heard allot about airing down for rock crawling. I get the idea behind it, but since this forum has been so helpful , I thought I'd throw it out for discussion and see what I get. I am thinking of a trip to High lakes ( NORCAL) and allot of the video posts out there people airing down. Thanks in advance.
 

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Airing down gives you better traction, buy what I like the best about it is the fact that the ride is much better. Also in sand and mud it allows you to "float" on top. You also have to weight out losing clearance when you air down. I always air down, like I said I really like the smooth ride.
 

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It allows the tire to flex on rocks and other obtrusions which gives you more grip... the ride is nice too
 

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Airing down gives you better traction, buy what I like the best about it is the fact that the ride is much better. Also in sand and mud it allows you to "float" on top. You also have to weight out losing clearance when you air down. I always air down, like I said I really like the smooth ride.
How much do you air down? What is the PSI that you run in sand/run if its different?
 

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To get the maximum tread to form around an obstacle, to get the most traction. you must air down. You're talking anywhere from 5lbs to 15lbs depending on desity of the trail.and the softness of you tire.. For instance: sand you need to air down to float on top, Rocks air down to mold your tire to the rock for traction. for mud ,water I personaly like a stiffer tire, max air.. alot of times I dont even air down just knowing the trails I am going to ride. I do carry onboard air so its up to me to decide each time I ride. I know one time, did not air down until I ran into a sand hill climb. had to then, got stuck every time I tried to climb that hill at full air. I always ask if any one knows the trail to make that call..
 

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How much do you air down? What is the PSI that you run in sand/run if its different?
I don't change too much, normally I air down to about 16psi for everything. Some people change for different conditions (rocks,mud,sand). I plan on getting some beadlock rims, then I can go down to 5 psi if needed.
 

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Great question, hope we all can help.

Years ago in Arizona and down in Mexico on soft sand I'd go down to 15 PSI. Never got stuck. But airing up with the whimpy 12V compressors we had took forever.

On trails in Colorado I've run them at street pressures. At last years Summit I was asked to go to 25 PSI. No problems on the trails or driving a few miles on pavement getting back to town.

Then in Moab last month I took them down to 20 PSI, again no problems to report.

I don't know what you are facing on your trails. But if you have an air compressor that works well, or access to air at a gas station near, I'd think that 20-25 PSI should get you a good starting point.

Good luck to you and post pictures after!
 

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For the High Lakes you'll definitely want to air down a little. There are some fun areas around the High Lakes that have a lot of rocks and airing down will make it much easier to get through certain obstacles. The main trail into the lakes is fairly easy and you can probably do it w/o airing down. You should be fine running around 18-20psi on that trail.
 

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The magic number for me is 22psi for just about everything if I'm beach riding I might do 15 .. nice and even :)
 

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I never air down. I like being up and away from rocks (they scare me). Ive never really had situations where airing down would acctually help but then again ive never driven in deep sand. Airing down in my mind puts me closer to the ground and hard objects and defeats the purpose of a lift and tires.
 

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Get a set of Staun tire deflators, they are worth the $60. The ones I have were preset at 18 psi which seems to be a good pressure for what I have done.
 

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I never air down. I like being up and away from rocks (they scare me). Ive never really had situations where airing down would acctually help but then again ive never driven in deep sand. Airing down in my mind puts me closer to the ground and hard objects and defeats the purpose of a lift and tires.
The problem is if you are on a very steep incline, be it solid rock, boulders, or scree, not airing down can seriously affect your vehicles "grippability" and keep you from making it over some obstacles. It does lower your clearance a bit, but not that much.
 

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About 10 more questions need to be answered before any advise can be given....my guess...since you don't know and never have done it before....don't bother...

For ME....in Az. doing hardcore(for an IFS rig) rock crawling.....10lbs on a 285lt mt works perfect.....but....are you in AZ with mt's doing rock crawling??? probably not.....

So....what kind of wheeling? how fast? what kind of terain?i.e.sand/rocks/snow/mud/wet/dry/dirt roads? what kind of tires?i.e at/mt/stock? what size tires?how much weight you carry?how steep?etc???
 

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About 10 more questions need to be answered before any advise can be given....my guess...since you don't know and never have done it before....don't bother...

For ME....in Az. doing hardcore(for an IFS rig) rock crawling.....10lbs on a 285lt mt works perfect.....but....are you in AZ with mt's doing rock crawling??? probably not.....

So....what kind of wheeling? how fast? what kind of terain?i.e.sand/rocks/snow/mud/wet/dry/dirt roads? what kind of tires?i.e at/mt/stock? what size tires?how much weight you carry?how steep?etc???
You run 10lbs without bead locks???
 

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You run 10lbs without bead locks???
Unless the situation is dire, I don't air-down. In bad rocks/river beds/waterfalls I do drop it down to around 10 or even a bit lower, but I run beadlocks.


Air'd down to 10

Should have been lower than 10

Better to have just run the darned things flat

gratuitous photo of recovering SEANK's rock buggy with the FJ
 

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Is there a safest air down pressure for most tires without bead locks? I know there are multiple factors, such as speed, type of terrain, etc. that come into play.
I had thought 15lbs was max air down pressure for not running bead locks.
 

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It depends on the tires, the wheels (oversize or not), the nature of the bead on that wheel and the engineering of the tire itself (different manufacturers have different specs), the terrain you're crossing, etc. Rocks are worse because you can spin a wheel on a bead but I've seen them spin off on a bad off-camber situation on the Mojave Road (ZOCHI13) where he lost both right front and rear (came off the bead) when he was going a bit fast on a very well graded fire road and the vehicle slipped hard. He was air-d up as I recall or if he was air-down it wasn't all that far.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
As expected , we have allot of opinion on this one. That usually means it doesn't matter. I could see a soft tire on sharp rocks, but for the most part I think the Tire itself , tread, etc, is what matters. We have several veterans on he forum here with completely differing opinion.

What is the purpose of the deflaters/ decompressors? Couldn't just manually do it with a tire gauge.
 

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As expected , we have allot of opinion on this one. That usually means it doesn't matter. I could see a soft tire on sharp rocks, but for the most part I think the Tire itself , tread, etc, is what matters. We have several veterans on he forum here with completely differing opinion.

What is the purpose of the deflaters/ decompressors? Couldn't just manually do it with a tire gauge.
I have ran my BFG's at 40 on the trail (normal road pressure for me) and at 20 on the trail. Soft sand, mud, ruts, dry hard dirt, is the type of terrain i have around here. It was almost a night and day difference on the trail running the tires at 20.
 
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