For those curious how 4wd E's do in sand....

Escape to the great outdoors! Towing-related conversations are welcome here as well!

For those curious how 4wd E's do in sand....

Postby AmericanPatriot76 - September 27th, 2016, 8:50 pm

Overview:
I'm here to share my experience of driving my E on the sunny beaches of central California. I live in California, on the Central coast, not 25 mins from Grover Beach. One of the few beaches left that you can still drive on in the US. The hundreds of acres of dunes are open to all off road enthusiasts.

Terrain description:
The Oceano dunes are basically comprised of large sand dunes, with the sand being about as fine as it gets. It's very slick, sticks to everything and offers very little in the way of traction. The dunes are anywhere from 10-60 feet tall (estimate) and can get very steep very quickly.

My experience:
I went out with some friends one Thursday evening to ride the dunes. Our group consisted of 3 vehicles. A built 1998 Ram 1500 4x4 (Check his truck out on Instagram @tacticalram), an old (not sure of the year) and tiny 4cyl Nissan pickup 4x4, and My 2003 E 4x4. When we got to the beach, we dropped off some of our friends, and set out to the dune's entry point. Now, there are two places along the beach you can drive while heading to the entry point. Closer to the water, where the sand is hard packed and suitable for even 2wd sedans, and the far sand, closer to the dunes. The sand closer to the edge of the dunes is very lumpy and inconsistent, due to everyone on the beach driving or walking on it, making your ability to find traction and hold momentum, very difficult. So as we ventured into the lumpy sand, I was a bit worried my E would get stuck.... Nonsense. It glided over the sand, giving me the most pleasant ride out of all our convoy with its independent suspension. As we broke from the lumpy sand and headed up the opening to the dunes, I was a bit nervous, as the dunes were so big and steep, and having almost no clearance beneath my bumper, I thought I would break something for sure. Sure enough, as I approached the first dune, fear overwhelmed me as a inched over the crest of the monstrous sand pile and looked down. I began my decent and quickly gained too much momentum, slamming my front end into the sand at the bottom. Miraculously, the damage was minimal. I broke one of the fog lamp mounts and made a little tear in my front end cover. After I contemplated what just happened and made a pact with myself never to do that again, I soldiered on. By the second dune, I had the hang of it and was doing well. My E had plenty of power to pull up the steep dunes and because of its weight, never dug in to the sand. The 4x4 system works marvelously on the sand and I never felt like I was losing control or was fighting for grip while climbing. It tracked straight and true and I can't wait to go back out after I've finished improving the E's capability. (And maybe durability :lol: )

Overall:
I can testify to the First gen 4x4 escapes greatness in the sand. It powers up the hills, handles confidently, keeps traction under its shoes and never left me walking, and it did all of this, stock. Hopefully this will bring confidence to anyone who plans on heading out on the sand soon!

Stay safe out there!
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Re: For those curious how 4wd E's do in sand....

Postby AusEscape - September 28th, 2016, 4:04 am

Sounds cool.
What size are your wheels and tyres?
Did you lower the tyre pressure?
What mod plans or dreams do you have?
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Re: For those curious how 4wd E's do in sand....

Postby AmericanPatriot76 - September 28th, 2016, 7:28 pm

AusEscape wrote:Sounds cool.
What size are your wheels and tyres?
Did you lower the tyre pressure?
What mod plans or dreams do you have?


Thank you sir! My wheels are 16's and my tires are 235/65. I dropped the pressure down to about 18-19 PSI. I have a decent list. Im getting some off road Cree led pods installed sometime next week, im going up to 245/75/r16 A/T's after I put on the 1.75" OME lift, I plan on getting the skid plate and rear adjustable control arms from FTS4x4, aFe power intake, magnaflow exhaust, Jet performance module, I already got my KYB struts put on and Im going to install my Gabriel gas shocks soon. That's about the extent of it right now.
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My vehicle's name: "Speedy"

Re: For those curious how 4wd E's do in sand....

Postby AusEscape - September 29th, 2016, 4:35 am

I only have 215/70r16 A/T Firestones. The tread looks good but they are skinny.
I will have to wait a couple of years before these need replacing so I will see how they go.
Getting a little test over the next couple of weeks.
Sounds like it has been raining a lot where I am going. So mud it up.
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Re: For those curious how 4wd E's do in sand....

Postby Escape94 - September 29th, 2016, 7:30 am

Please, please post pictures when you get the things from FTS and once they are installed. That'll answer several members questions (including some of mine). I've been saying I'm almost certain they'll fit our escapes but no one had done it yet. Good luck!
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2011 Escape limited AWD V6 (301A) sterling gray metallic
Currently:
Hidden hitch tow hitch, OEM all weather floor mats, ESCAPE third brake light overlay, sport appearance headlamps, strut tower brace, Drag Wheels DR-33 rims, Mazda Tribute tail lights
Firestone Destination A/Ts P235/75/R16
Plastidip: smoked tail lights, gloss black shifter bezel, gloss black air vent trim
OEM black moulding (grille, bumper, hatch)
LEDs: front turn signals, front side markers, Morimoto XB LED fog lights, VLEDs V3 Triton Switchbacks
Hopefully some more to come in the future...(suggestions welcome :D)
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Re: For those curious how 4wd E's do in sand....

Postby MadMax - September 29th, 2016, 8:16 am

After living in a part of Florida that allows beach driving I came to the same conclusions as you, Escapes do great on sand. Prior to getting my Tribute I had a Jeep Grand Cherokee and I can honestly say that on sand I preferred the Tribute. Being lighter, smaller and more agile the Tribute driving experience on sand was just over all better then the Jeep :thumb: But where EMTs really shine is MUD. EMTs just love to play in the mud :D
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2010 Escape XLT 3.0 V6 AWD, Sun and Sync. Mods: OEM Running boards modded with LED lighting and red accent. LED lighting lower bumper front and rear. Paramount Grille, LED DRLs and fog lights, Interior LED accents, Custom Mud Flaps, Body side and bumper moldings, Blackened fog light bezels and ESCAPE letters, Chrome wheel skins, Tail light guards, Chrome exhaust tip, Custom roof rack with Carbon Fiber and red accents, Strut Tower bar, K&N filter, AVS Vent Visors

Formerly: 2006 Mazda Tribute

"Because I can... and I did, sure won't do that again"
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Re: For those curious how 4wd E's do in sand....

Postby AusEscape - September 29th, 2016, 9:13 am

AmericanPatriot76 wrote:
AusEscape wrote:Sounds cool.
What size are your wheels and tyres?
Did you lower the tyre pressure?
What mod plans or dreams do you have?


Thank you sir! My wheels are 16's and my tires are 235/65. I dropped the pressure down to about 18-19 PSI. I have a decent list. Im getting some off road Cree led pods installed sometime next week, im going up to 245/75/r16 A/T's after I put on the 1.75" OME lift, I plan on getting the skid plate and rear adjustable control arms from FTS4x4, aFe power intake, magnaflow exhaust, Jet performance module, I already got my KYB struts put on and Im going to install my Gabriel gas shocks soon. That's about the extent of it right now.


That will look cool.
Skid plates and diff/transfer case breathers are on my list soon.
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Re: For those curious how 4wd E's do in sand....

Postby fugitive - October 14th, 2016, 1:36 am

Great to hear how well the Escape fared in the sand. I’m hoping to get my ’05 up to Pismo sometime to play in the sand. :yahoo:

I have the FTS skids on my ’05.

Pros:
-The 2 steel mounting bars make for a robust assembly. (They look a bit like leaf springs for the skids).
-The two piece skids make for a more manageable assembly.
-Easy to remove just the front skid for an oil change.
-Provides nice protection for oil sump and transmission/transfer case
-The only off-the-shelf skid plates I could find ANYWHERE on earth.

Cons:
-The steel mounting bars came up just a tad short to their mounting bolts under the bumper. The bars have a slot, not a hole and I was worried they might pop loose under stress. I remedied this by placing 2 large diameter washers on the head of each mounting bolt. This seems to relieve any concerns of it coming off.

-For the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to install the small rear steel mount that supports the back side of the transmission skid. I looked at the pics and crawled around underneath for hours and never figured it out. :?

Instead I had a shop weld two nuts over pre-existing holes on the rear of the sub-frame. I drilled two new holes in the rear of the skid plate to match the nuts. Then I screwed it in with two new bolts/washers. Simple and solid!

I like and recommend the FTS skid with the caveat that you will either have to figure out how the rear is supposed to attach, or do an end run and weld some nuts and drill a couple of holes in the rear skid. Hopefully they still have a set or two in stock.

I’ll dig around and see if I can find some pics of my installation. Cheers, TR
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Re: For those curious how 4wd E's do in sand....

Postby Escape94 - October 14th, 2016, 5:22 pm

Please, please, PLEASE post some pics of the skid plate and it's mounting points. I have been telling people that I'm 95% sure it'd fit the US escapes despite being made in Taiwan. I would love to see some pics. Great that you actually got it installed! :yahoo:
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2011 Escape limited AWD V6 (301A) sterling gray metallic
Currently:
Hidden hitch tow hitch, OEM all weather floor mats, ESCAPE third brake light overlay, sport appearance headlamps, strut tower brace, Drag Wheels DR-33 rims, Mazda Tribute tail lights
Firestone Destination A/Ts P235/75/R16
Plastidip: smoked tail lights, gloss black shifter bezel, gloss black air vent trim
OEM black moulding (grille, bumper, hatch)
LEDs: front turn signals, front side markers, Morimoto XB LED fog lights, VLEDs V3 Triton Switchbacks
Hopefully some more to come in the future...(suggestions welcome :D)
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Re: For those curious how 4wd E's do in sand....

Postby AmericanPatriot76 - October 14th, 2016, 7:18 pm

fugitive wrote:Great to hear how well the Escape fared in the sand. I’m hoping to get my ’05 up to Pismo sometime to play in the sand. :yahoo:

I have the FTS skids on my ’05.

Pros:
-The 2 steel mounting bars make for a robust assembly. (They look a bit like leaf springs for the skids).
-The two piece skids make for a more manageable assembly.
-Easy to remove just the front skid for an oil change.
-Provides nice protection for oil sump and transmission/transfer case
-The only off-the-shelf skid plates I could find ANYWHERE on earth.

Cons:
-The steel mounting bars came up just a tad short to their mounting bolts under the bumper. The bars have a slot, not a hole and I was worried they might pop loose under stress. I remedied this by placing 2 large diameter washers on the head of each mounting bolt. This seems to relieve any concerns of it coming off.

-For the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to install the small rear steel mount that supports the back side of the transmission skid. I looked at the pics and crawled around underneath for hours and never figured it out. :?

Instead I had a shop weld two nuts over pre-existing holes on the rear of the sub-frame. I drilled two new holes in the rear of the skid plate to match the nuts. Then I screwed it in with two new bolts/washers. Simple and solid!

I like and recommend the FTS skid with the caveat that you will either have to figure out how the rear is supposed to attach, or do an end run and weld some nuts and drill a couple of holes in the rear skid. Hopefully they still have a set or two in stock.

I’ll dig around and see if I can find some pics of my installation. Cheers, TR


Very good to know it fits (mostly)! The main reason I want the skid plate, is to aid in keeping water out of my alternator. Or at least keep the majority of it off. I be very greatful if you could let me know how well it keeps water out! All my buddies go up to big falls a lot and there are 7 creek crossings to go through if i remember correctly. I definitely need a solution for the poorly thought out alternator mounting point. I also heard that He's love mud... So that's another reason to get the plates. Just have to see if i wanna spend the $400 to get the plates :D
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My vehicle's name: "Speedy"

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