Monday, October 14, 2019

Requesting clearance

You’ll see signs or notations on maps declaring certain “roads” are for vehicles with high ground clearance. Okay, 4x4s immediately come to mind, but which other vehicles are considered high ground clearance? There are probably many choices in the automotive realm between Lamborghinis and monster trucks.

Well, to figure that out, I looked up the specs for various trucks and SUVs. A factory-standard Jeep Wrangler—the very stereotype of “high ground clearance”— comes in at about 10.5 inches/26.6 centimeters. Other unmodified 4x4 rigs fall between there and 9.5 inches/24 centimeters.

That made me curious. I got out my tape measure and crawled under the Rolling Steel Tent. The lowest point is the differential (as it is with nearly all trucks). It’s 9.5 inches/24 centimeters from the ground. All the other bits—oil pan, gas tank, muffler, etc.—are higher. I was not surprised. Full-size vans are essentially pickup trucks underneath. So if a 2x4 pickup could handle a certain road, why not a van?

When I told Lou I was going to write about ground clearance he said, “You only need to be higher than the rocks.”


  1. 16 inch tires will take you anywhere you want to go.i Will walk it, find a line and poof, if you don't have a turn around spot, back in, it's like front wheel drive but backwards.

  2. I was reminded of how high vans are today when I got into my friend's van. Good thing I was on the passenger side so I could pull myself up on the door frame with my right hand as my left wrist is fractured. I have many times wished he would install some assist straps in it.