Adrian_Thompson UltimaDork
7/20/15 10:43 a.m.

So, we haven’t been off roading for about 7 years. We used to take my wife’s old (and now very tired) Geo Tracker off roading at Silver lake Sand Dunes in Mears Mi. Silver lake is a 2,000 acre off road park of sand dunes with some serious hills and descents.

This last weekend we took our new 2016 Explorer Sport.
The good.
350lb/ft torque
Various modes for the trans inc Sand Mode
Hill decent

The bad
20” wheels
Very very much on road 255/50R20 tires – lowered to 12psi for the sand
Very little ground clearance being a sport
Spring rates and shocks very much geared to on road corner carving being a sport

The result?
Much win and fun.

For those that don’t know Silver lake there is the ‘Test hill’ A very steep, tall hill (dune) of soft sand. You see many many vehicles get stuck half way up and have to back out (no turning around for safety, it’s a one way area). It was hit and miss in the tracker with 90hp. A careful run up, hitting ridges hard and cringing, max two people in the car (three if two were small kids), timing and a bit of luck and you can make it. You see lots of Fiat’s best ‘trail rated’ vehicles get stuck with inexperienced divers. With the Explorer that 350lb/ft and the Sand mode on the trans/traction control meant that this ham fisted moron could overcome the lack of ground clearance and the (for off road sand use) crappy tires. It just plowed up there. Much fun. Hill descent was great two to play with. Press the button, select OK and hands off the pedals, just steer your way down.

People loved the fact that some idiot was hooning around in a brand new Explorer, I got hoots and hollers of approval as I was down doing donuts and figure of 8's on the flat area with sand going over the roof sideways

P.S. this was all six up. Three adults (questionable!) two teens and a six month old.

Note how far above the trees we are Lining up for a run up the hill Ground clearance? Pah, who needs ground clearance, or real tires when you have 350lb/ft and modern electronics?

Bad pic angle, but this is really steep down

Adrian_Thompson UltimaDork
7/20/15 10:45 a.m.

This was my favorite rig there. It was parked at the beach (within the ORV park) so no one was buy it to ask Q's

Ranger50 PowerDork
7/20/15 10:46 a.m.

Only crappy part of test hill is when the wind blows and makes a "shelf" at the top you have to drive through/over. Makes you think you are going to tip over....

Adrian_Thompson UltimaDork
7/20/15 10:48 a.m.

A couple of others.

I heart Volvo's

Don't forget, you have to be street legal to be in the park. This blows the minds of friends in Europe, and probably other States too. Gotta love Michigan, you can put a plate on anything that moves here.

Adrian_Thompson UltimaDork
7/20/15 11:04 a.m.

This was at the hotel we stayed at. At first I thought it was a bit OTT, an over the top Mall Crawler just to play in the sand. Turns out it's the only car of the guy who owns the hotel. He shuts down from December 1st to April 1st every every year and goes back packing, hiking and off roading all over the US and Canada in this.

TGMF New Reader
7/20/15 11:45 a.m.

Silver lake is great fun, but modern electronics aren't even needed. I've seen subaru outbacks out there make it up test hill. I made it many many times in my 2002 ford explorer sport bone stock. All you really need is a reasonably smooth line and a decent run at the bottom of the hill. Stay on the throttle hard all the way up and you're good. At least when its busy. If the park is mostly empty, the wind can make a huge lip at the top of the hill that takes a decent rig to get over...that and the balls to stay on it not knowing how fast it drops off the other side. (sometimes very sharply) Watching other people be stupid and destroy their brand new Raptors and Silverado's because they think they can fly is the best part of this place.

cdowd HalfDork
7/20/15 11:54 a.m.

In reply to Adrian_Thompson

On the last phot with the grand cherokee. there is a second steering wheel like a drivers training car. that could make for some tense moments.

Powar UltraDork
7/20/15 11:57 a.m.

That looks like a great time, man.

ultraclyde UltraDork
7/20/15 11:59 a.m.

Your 'Sploder looks very Range Rover in the shot with you in it. Nice truck.

And the black Jeep....I'll be damned, you CAN sleep in a Wrangler....

Gearheadotaku PowerDork
7/20/15 12:06 p.m.
cdowd wrote: In reply to Adrian_Thompson On the last phot with the grand cherokee. there is a second steering wheel like a drivers training car. that could make for some tense moments.

had too look close, but there's a UTV or something parked next to the Jeep giving the illusion.

cdowd HalfDork
7/20/15 12:09 p.m.

In reply to Gearheadotaku: so there is. It sure looked like a second steering wheel.

fornetti14 Dork
7/20/15 3:25 p.m.

I bet my 2010 Expedition would run up the hill. All-season 275/55R20's
Where to I buy one of those front flags? Any place down in Grand Rapids that would have them?

patgizz PowerDork
7/20/15 4:32 p.m.

we were there on july 4th weekend. did you eat at frickin chicken shack? that was pretty good stuff.

did not go out on the dunes, didn't have time. i'm guessing the saab would have done fine. we did other offroading in it, through the woods. i think for the 4th of july weekend you need to get your dune permit way early in the season or you're not going out.

Tom_Spangler SuperDork
7/20/15 4:33 p.m.

Ade, you are insane. I've been in the dunes there once in a rented Jeep, and I wanted nothing to do with Test Hill. For you to do it in a stock Exploder with stock rubber and the bloody BABY in the car.... Well, that's a good kind of nuts.

Vigo PowerDork
7/20/15 6:48 p.m.

Well, on some level if you're going to screw around on steep sand hills it make sense to do it in the most modern-engineering crash structure you can afford.

I have a friend whose Ram rolled down a sandy hill, after he'd parked and walked away, with a toddler in a car seat inside.

Anyway this looked like a lot of fun and i'm glad you're putting all 365hp and AWD to use in your family hauler!

Fitzauto Reader
7/20/15 7:55 p.m.

Your truck looks awesome at the top of the dune. I wanna see video of the donuts/figure 8s. Should be funny.

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