Return from rubicon 2005 Death of the explorers | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Return from rubicon 2005 Death of the explorers


Elite Ranger
Elite Explorer
January 14, 2001
Reaction score
City, State
Fresno CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
86 ranger no more
Well tracy and I made it back last night from an adventurous trip on the con.

It was a beautiful trip. The temps were high and the bugs were even higher. You spent the day layering sunscreen and insect repelent to keep the skeeters at bay.

We all meet up at loon lake dame friday morning a bit late. Once we all arive we start heading in. As soon as we hit gatekeeper the fun begins. It was much more washed out then I remember. Goliath has a bit of a problem with being so low, a quick strap and he is through but is clutch is hot and slipping. At the end of the line was thunderhorse. As he is going through he explodes a warn hub into about 10 pieces and at the same time bends his passangerside tierod. While trying to get him aout of the way it ends up breaking and purtting a hole it the side wall of his brand new bfg tire. Once we have him out of the gate keeper. His son in his TJ and him said they would take care of it and for us to continue on. So off we go. As we are dropping into the slabs Positive vibes reliezes his mecanic didnt fix his breaks all that well and they werent working to hot. A little later it is also discovered that ATF is coming out between the motor and tranny. So we get him to ellis creek where there is a fire road that will lead out. Goliath also decides not to ruin the clutch as it is still slipping pretty bad. I believe they set up camp at ellis creek and were going to take the fire road out saturday morning. Three of the 4 explorers wer out now.

Now the group is down to Tdavis, jefe. brother of jefe, and myself in tracy's cj7. So we continue onward. the whole trail was much rougher then I remember it being. We get to the little sluice and no one was there playing in it so we stop for a few minutes to relax. As we are leaving I notice a puddle of gear oil under tracys t case. I find a few loose bolts. Tighten them up and off we are.

Then we get to the part where you can eather go down the true old sluice or down the slabs. We decide to give the old sluice a shot. As we work are way down we had plenty of fun. When we get to the super challangng part you know you are it trouble when tom is having a hard time fitting the sammi throgh. He gets through then it is jefes turn. He ended up within about 1/8 of an inch from taking out a window then just about put it over on the passanger side trying to get the right line. Once in he ends up bending the driverside slider down about 2". He also managed to but some small dents in both fenders all 4 doors and both rear quarterpanels. Then brother of jefe goes in and manages to smach the passanger rear fender flair but comes through. Up until this point I hadnt told tracy there was a bypass :eek: :D Once I told her that she was :fire: . She managed to drive though it with a small tug from the winch and also just about put the jeep onto the passanger side. Even with her jeep on the edge of rolling and tires 5-6 feet in the air she stayed calm. drove it right out and on our way we were. We got down to buck island set up camp and had a good time. It was so warm no camp fire was needed and you didnt even need a jacket. We get up saturday morning. Tracy and I pack up as we are going to have to bail whe we hit the lookout point. Other then hitting some traffic the trip buck island to rubicon springs then up cadallac hill was challanging but pretty uneventful. Tracy and I bail at the lookout point and head to tahoe as we needed to get home. Tom, jefe, and brother of jefe get ready to head back in. They should be coming out today. My camera took a crap on me so I will try to get some of the pictures off of it but not sure I can.

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I'm home now..

Let's see.. after heading back down Cadillac Hill to get back to Buck Island, you have to go back up Big Sluice.

It kinda went like:

0) Not much problems going down Cadillac Hill and through the Springs (we did run into a Gen1 explorer with a Solid Axle front end..)
1) Jefe got high-centered, had to winch; this occurred at the pinch rock area.
2) Traffic.
3) More traffic. (the big group came back).
4) Jefe almost got stuck again, on another VW size boulder (ok, not that big..)
5) More traffic. The rest of the big group showed up..
6) Finally, we get to the turn into Big Sluice, and.... No, Jefe didn't get stuck, I found the smallest rock you could think of, and it would not let me pass. After several tries, I finally get past that rock and we get back to Buck Island about 4pm.

Jefe destroyed a rim in Old Sluice we think, he bent another rim on the same axle/side going up thousand dollar hill, and I had my clutch cable sheathing blow apart (nothing that duct tape and zip ties couldn't fix..)

Otherwise, we left Buck Island this morning about 8am, and was at Loon Lake at Noon.

It was a blast. However, this was the roughest I've seen the trail in 3 years. Big Sluice was just terrible - I almost made it past the two big pinch rocks, but decided that was NOT the place to try and put the zuk back on 4 wheels if I rolled it.

Can't wait for next year!

Well that tells me what the rains did to the trails up there this year. :rolleyes:

Glad to here everyone made it out ok. Sound like it was a real exsperience! ;)

John and I are home after limping at 55mph all the way. I had a vibration at 30 and then from 60+ from what we think is the rear driveshaft (I think I had most of the weight of the vehicle on it when I got stuck in the two pinch rocks on Big Sluice). And about halfway home we realized that Johns CV joint on his rear driveshaft was taking a dump. However by going slow I think we saved enough money on gas to fix both of our problems. :D I got 17mpg averaging the two legs home :eek: (vs my normal 10-13)

I'll have pics up tommorrow. Amazingly we took about 75 the first day :thumbsup: but 2 both other days :rolleyes:

I'll also wash my truck and get pics of it. . .Managed to put a dent in every fender, door & quarter panel. :rolleyes: Guess its time to learn a little about body work.

However, other than killing the body, two rims, a belt, and a driveshaft it was a blast :thumbsup: :confused:

WOW!! Awesome run!
It seems like Jefe and I have been waiting forever to do the Rubicon - now it's finally "Been there . . . .done that"

I think we got to run everything we wanted to - TDavis was a great trail boss. (succeeded in getting everyone stuck -including himself - at least once)

Like Jefe said, the drive home was slow, but it actually worked out much better - for mileage and temps -
-it was 112 to 109 through the central valley on our way up and doing 85 (ignore that part, Brian) forced us to give up on air conditioning, or even run the heater to bleed off some heat.

I've got some pics from the first day, but I've got to charge up the camera battery before I can even pull them off.

the solid axled ex you saw was me, wish i could have met you all, i think tdavis was talking to my wife at the bottom of the sluice after the bridge. tried to signal you guys into our camp at the springs but, it looked like you guys were on a mission. maybe next time you can stop by for a cold one ;)

Looks great guys.

Nice pics Jefe. Can't wait to see the rest. :D

"Been there but.....didn't do it"

Judging from the pics I think I made the right decision by stopping.

We camped Fri night. Hiked to the lake.

Sat. we got up and hiked up the trail to see what it looked like. Pretty tough, lots of rigs broken on the side. Hung out at Little Sluice and watched two toyota truck/buggys go up it. Talk about extreme!!! That was awsome.

Sun broke camp and headed home. The tranny is leaking but I didn't have to add any fluid. The brakes are still funky. Tom what was that piece your were talking about to prime the abs????

Any body heard from Josh?? He took off Fri night by himself.

I need to rethink my 4x4 plans. That trail made my X look like a pathetic.

Jefe, I'm not sure this a trail. It just looks pile of bolders you wanted to play in :D


I guess the rain must have moved some boulders or something. FAKRWEE, Paul B. and I did old sluice 4 or 5 years ago and it wasn't very tight even with all of us having fiberglass on our trucks.

Stic-o said:
Jefe, I'm not sure this a trail. It just looks pile of bolders you wanted to play in :D
Tom got his zuk through it, therefore it IS a trail. :D

Seriously though, that is the big obstacle on Old Sluice. The rest of Old Sluice wasn't much easier. I had to use my front locker a few times to go downhill. :eek:

Positive Vibes said:
"Been there but.....didn't do it"

Judging from the pics I think I made the right decision by stopping.

Any body heard from Josh?? He took off Fri night by himself.

I need to rethink my 4x4 plans. That trail made my X look like a pathetic.

I made it home, glad i left when i did though. When i got to the highway i had no clutch, it was stuck engaged, so i drove it home like a trucker with no clutch. Im pretty sure i BOILED the clutch fluid on gatekeeper. the reservoir was empty, and when filled it and purged the air, all i got was black sludge for brake flud for a good 10 minutes of pumping. The clutch works great now though :confused:

Im rethinking the explorers purpose right now. Without an automatic, atlas II and way more lift i wont be able to do the trails i want, and for the price of the conversions i could build something else.

Looks like you guys better get your trucks put back together before Summer Run. I'm sure swamp will be tougher this year :(

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Old Sluice has been decimated with all of the rain. Last year, the two boulders was closer together making it easier to get over them.

Almost forgot - Jefe also bent *down* his rock slider in that location.

I built the zuk to run this trail - it's a short wheel base trail, that's for sure.

I did give everyone the option to not go down it - I didn't know how rough it would be this year.