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Old 10-14-2011, 02:50 PM   #1
carlghoul
 
Drives: Fit, Scion XA, '91 Ford Festi
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Wink Dirt Road Yaris

The Yaris is one of the better non-SUV dirt road vehicles. It has one of the shortest front overhangs, which allows it to make it over dips in the road without scrunching the bottom of the bumper. The small overall length makes it less likely to bang the bottom going over rocks,and 5 1/2 " isn't bad for ground clearance.
There are a gazillion dirt roads in this country which don't require an expensive and gas guzzling SUV to enjoy. Particularly in the national forrests, you can visit beautiful places and explore so much without the crowds found elsewhere.
Car salespeople have convinced people you need awd for going off pavement, but that's not true for most dirt roads. You do need to use judgement, and be willing to turn around if you encounter anything too rough. I've driven through many stream crossings, but I stop and check the deph (no more than 4 or 5"). Always be looking for rocks large enough to hit the bottom: I stop and toss them aside. If a road is muddy don't go, and beware of the wheather forecast, so you don't get stuck overnight waiting for the road to dry. Very steep hills and mud are for 4wd. I carry a shovel and 1/2" mesh wire fence pieces (for putting under the wheels for traction) and a "come along", which is a $40 tool which includes a heavy 50' strap which I can run to a tree, should I get stuck. I carry this stuff because I like to go on rougher dirt roads, they certainly aren't neccessary for most dirt roads.
You can generally go on any road which isn't marked "4wd recommended" in the map key.
I'm interested in slightly larger tires which are still good on the road but not too bad off road. Dunlop made an excellent tire for this, the SP-60, but unfortunately discontinued it. I like 195/65/15's, the extra width provides more traction, and the slightly taller sidewalls add a little extra ground clearance. I want to see if I can fit springs from a Scion XD, which are an inch longer also. Nobody else, (except Crashy!) seems interested in MORE ground clearance. I know this won't help handling, but it's worth it for me.
Anyone else out there have any experience with these things? Again, you'll do fine on most dirt roads in a stock Yaris, I just like to push the limit, (I've been on jeep trails rated moderate).
There are books and web sites listing the more beautiful roads, they'll also provide descriptions of difficulty so you can pick appropiately. There's gorgeous places out there!
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Old 10-14-2011, 10:54 PM   #2
samuraivince
 
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i take mine around dirt roads all the time! and 4" of snow is no challenge for the Yaris. it is way better in the snow than my old 4x4 Chevy Blazer ever was. the car is just such a well balanced piece of engineering, i love it. i also tend to hit my E-brake when comeing around a snowy or dirt road real fast, lol. the only thing that does suck about our cars is that on dirt roads when driving behind another car, the small rocks hiting the hood tend to take small chunks of paint off
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Old 10-14-2011, 11:46 PM   #3
jekqmb
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Here is what I cruise around in on trails and through streams, our 2 shop vehicles, I drive the FJ a lot, probably more then my Yaris during the week, I just leave the Yaris at the shop !!!! Interesting thing your trying with the Yaris I must say ive never heard of anyone wanting to do this...

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Old 10-15-2011, 09:45 AM   #4
A-Dingo-Ate-My-Baby
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9asR96q2HA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViCfNfRQLhc

Go to 3:30
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Old 10-15-2011, 10:40 AM   #5
samuraivince
 
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damn, that looks rough man. how did that go down?
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Old 10-15-2011, 11:48 AM   #6
A-Dingo-Ate-My-Baby
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jekqmb View Post
Here is what I cruise around in on trails and through streams, our 2 shop vehicles, I drive the FJ a lot, probably more then my Yaris during the week, I just leave the Yaris at the shop !!!! Interesting thing your trying with the Yaris I must say ive never heard of anyone wanting to do this...
my bone stock 99 limited needs a handicap, just to be fair to everyone else
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:17 AM   #7
carlghoul
 
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Thumbs up Easy mod

You now have the front approach angle of a Jeep Wrangler. Do you have step by step photos?
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Old 10-16-2011, 06:22 PM   #8
CTScott
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I don't know if you've seen Crashy, but here's my ultimate off-road Yaris. Last winter she plowed two blizzards, each with over 3 feet of snow. She's even more fun in the dirt, without the plow.

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