Monday, October 05, 2015


It was my fault.  I was following the tracks of another vehicle.  They looked fairly recent, probably less than 10 days old.  While making the turns around the creosote, I noticed that the other vehicle had a much shorter wheelbase than I had.  I failed to realize that this means the other vehicle weighed a lot less than I do.  Then it happened.  I got stuck.  My 3 ton rover was axle-deep in the sand at all 4 wheels.

If you have another vehicle nearby, this would be a simple fix.  I'd simply yank my car out using my Bubba Rope (a kinetic rope reovery aid).  Since I was alone, I had to use my simple traction aids.  I have 2 authentic MAXTRAX from Australia, and 2 very cheap knock-off items.

The process is simple.  Dig enough of the sand so you can jam the traction mat under the tires, then drive out.  Don't stop the moment you're free.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I was glad that I carry a 3.5 foot shovel with me when I go off roading.  It's a lot easier to use than the small folding shovel that's packed away in the back of my rover.

This was the first time I'd used the MAXTRAX, but it's not complicated.  It took me less than 10 minutes to get out.  Yay.  The MAXTRAX are AWESOME!  I was surprised how easily I drove out of the holes my tires had dug.  I just put the car in reverse and drove out.  It was in "Sand Mode" so that limited wheel spin and when the computer sensed each tire was gripping something then they were given more torque and it drove right out.

You can see that the MAXTRAX (behind the rear tires) are different than the knock-offs (behind the front tires).  Those knock-offs have much smaller nubs and they got buried in the sand when the car drove over them, requiring me to use the shovel to find and recover them afterward.

I backed out of that spot and returned the way I came to find another route to Mesquite Spring.  Even though I was in the middle of nowhere, I wasn't concerned.  I know the area.  I was less than 1/4 mile from the spring and it's easy to reach Crucero Road from there.

Then I got stuck again!  Ten yards from the first spot.  LOL  What can ya do?  So I had to do it all again.  This time it took less than 8 minutes.  This is what I meant by not stopping the moment you're free.  This time, I scouted a spot 20 yards away that was firm enough to safely stop.  Then after getting free I raced to that spot with all the momentum I could muster.

Lesson of the day: MAXTRAX are great!  I think I'll buy 2 more.

The second time I was stuck, I decided to try something.  I wanted to know if the LR4 in "sand mode" can get itself out of axle-deep sand like the new 2016 Toyota Tacoma.  Answer: No.  It only dug itself a little deeper, bogged down the engine, and started to smell bad (like something was oveheating in a differential or transfer case or transmission).


Joe said...

Glad you made it out and didn't become buzzard fodder. Can you share the reference to the 2016 Tacoma's sand abilities?

Michael said...

There is one particular demonstration of this Crawl Control escape from sand that is shown in many videos online. Here is an article with videos: