Ford Escape Automobiles Forum banner
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
250 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I must stress that I am the greenest of green novices :stifle: when it comes to off-road driving of any kind.

That said, I figure this was as good a place as any to ruffle and crow about my first excursion into Unknown Territory (see the other thread in Pictures, "Woods run!"). I'm certain that most on this board could appreciate, or otherwise sympathize.

The setting: a trail about a mile up the side of a hill into forest land that had only previously been visited by 4WD micro-truck (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kei_truck) and narrow-track excavator. The trail ends at a large rock formation precariously balanced on an outcropping that looks like it would topple right over in a stiff wind.

The owner of the property had recently taken his little excavator (with a track width considerably narrower than my Escape) all the way up to clear brush from around this rock so he could plant some cherry trees. Since he left a clear trail behind, I figured why not try to negotiate this with my new vee-hickle?

Getting back to the previous statement about being a complete four-wheel-drive n00b, I didn't really know what to expect, but I tried it anyway. (I'd be willing to bet that most of you have already surmised that my wife was not with me at the time. :whistle: )

It certainly was a thrill, and worth every minute, even though it was probably a little foolhardy on my part to pass through such narrow spaces without any experience. But I did go up the trail on foot to scout it out first, and made sure to take my time.

Since the terrain was loose dirt, gravel, leaves, branches, and rocks, I expected to lose a lot of traction since the Escape doesn't have any 4WD LOW setting. But even with this limitation I found that I went up grades as much as 10 degrees without any problem at all, since the V6 engine is easy to "read" (meaning, I can feel when the torque is beginning to take off so it's easier to control how much gas I'm giving it).

At one point I was faced with a rock on my left that was taller than my ground clearance, and a stump on the right that made the trail too narrow to continue, so I had to give up and do a U-turn. But the deed was done, and I've been bitten by the bug. :calvin:

Now I suppose my question to the more experienced off-road Escapists on this board would be: All the online materials I've read have firmly stated that viscous-coupling part-time 4WD for anything other than level dirt roads is definitely a BAD IDEA!!!!{@1!`!+!{`!;1[1!{ and anyone who tries it is (to recite one of the more tasteful labels applied to this sort of person) a total moron. Just how far would I be able to reasonably push this rig before getting myself into Real Trouble and become the subject of endless ribbing from heartless internet commenters and possible decapitation by rusty letter opener from my wife?

Or, more to the point: what shouldn't I try with an Escape?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
420 Posts
nice write-up... i say push the limits man, when u get stuck u know thats how much it can handle. i would like to test mine out, but so far i dont know of any place (close) to take it... it did really good in deep snow though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,220 Posts
I'm not all that experienced either, but like you I've got the off road bug.

I think this is a great place to show off a little in the off road dept. I don't think any of us expect the Escape to have great capabilities off the pavement, so we aren't going to sling insults just because it's not doing anything that would impress the owner of a lifted Jeep, so I think as far as off road we should be an easy bunch to impress, at least I am.

Or, more to the point: what shouldn't I try with an Escape?
Honestly with a rig shiny as yours you probably won't want to go where an Escape shouldn't go. I been using my best guess, and I'd say it will go anywhere the ground clearance will let you for the most part since it's so low that you should bottom out or get hung up before you get into anything too extreme.

My more extreme off-road adventures have came by accident. Maybe my accidents will give you an idea of what an Escape can pull off if it has to.

I slid off the road in an ice storm once and nearly rolled my Escape over, I had the passenger side completely in the air, with the view out my drivers door window consisting of dirt and grass. I fell back down on all 4 wheels thank goodness. After I realized I didn't need to change my shorts after all, I had to think about getting out. (I couldn't even get my drivers door open very far, it was against the ground in the ditch.) I ended up saving myself a wrecker bill by getting it out of the ditch on my own. I had to ride it pretty hard, revving the engine up and throwing mud everywhere, but after working it back and forth a few times, managed to get it at an angle to the ditch and back it out on the road, the ditch was probably 3-4 ft lower than the road and the angle into it 30 degrees or so. It was also wet and muddy, I was very impressed the Escape pulled itself out, as I didn't really expect it to, I just wanted to try before giving up. The only damage I had was a severely warped rim ($90) and my running board was pressed up. (I jumped up and down on it and it went back into place, those running boards bend rather easily I found.)

I found myself in a similar position one day when I absent mindedly backed into a ditch. (I had intended to back into a driveway, but it wasn't quite where I thought it was.) Oddly enough my back wheels went on through the ditch with ease, and my front wheels hung in it. Now the bank behind the ditch as about a 45 degree incline. I flipped it in 4x4, and it didn't want to do anything, wheels didn't want to spin even. I was afraid I'd burn the clutch up. I gave it a load of gas and dropped the clutch, forcing wheel spin and got me moving, I managed to get the front wheels out of the ditch, and then I backed on up the steep bank, and proceeded to find the driveway so I could make a quick exit before anyone seen my silly predicament.

I will mention I really don't like putting that amount of stress on my poor Escape, but in a pinch you push it some and it has come through like a champ.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
250 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Airmapper said:
Honestly with a rig shiny as yours you probably won't want to go where an Escape shouldn't go. I been using my best guess, and I'd say it will go anywhere the ground clearance will let you for the most part since it's so low that you should bottom out or get hung up before you get into anything too extreme.
I doubt there are many places with terrain that demanding around here in the first place, but there are plenty of locations similar to the one in your .sig (earthen trails) that would be a blast to conquer. Near my house there is also a river bank with loose round gravel (some of the stones can get to be soccer ball sized, but there are no sharp edges) onto which many people take their 4WD vehicles during summer barbecue season; this is something I've never had the guts to attempt in either of the other two cars I've owned (they were bought new, which is part of the reason).

My Escape may look shiny now, but I didn't buy her to look good on da bad streetz. The wife and I both decided on getting a rig that was a little weathered to begin with, for the purpose of getting it a little more dinged up. We don't want to fret over every little scratch anymore. Nearing 40, I'm done with looking shiny; I'm ready to be a grizzled vet. :cigar:
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top