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Unread 02-05-2014, 11:04 AM   #1
RedJeepPirates
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Strategies for a steep snowy hill?

This might be a silly question, but what are the best features for this situation on a 2014 JGC Limited? (4WD Low? Hill decent control? just Snow model on the selecTerrain?)

Visiting my in-laws this weekend and they're expecting to get a lot of winter weather (not sure if it will be snow, sleet, freezing rain). They have a famously steep and curving drive way that's always a nightmare in the snow. AWD cars often have problems getting up or down the hill. Also, at the bottom of the hill is a stone wall, so many people have lost control on the way down and slid into the wall. They own a Cadillac Escalade that does a little better, but still causes problems even for that.

I grew up in upstate NY so I generally know how to drive in snow, but we only have the tires from the factory on the JGC.

Will hill decent control help on a snowy hill?
Will "4WD Low" mode help going up or down the snowy hill?
Are either of those two options incompatible with Snow-mode on the Selec-Terrain?

Thanks!

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Unread 02-05-2014, 11:30 AM   #2
Bullheadbud
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Good question. Had a house several years back in the AZ. desert, view lot with a steep driveway about 100 feet up from the flat street probably 30% grade. Had an 06 Jeep Libby CRD 4x4 at that time and going up wasn't so bad with a lot of sand on the driveway, but if you made a complete stop coming down, I'd slowly slide all the way down to the road. Hated it.
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Unread 02-05-2014, 11:47 AM   #3
ColdCase
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We have a steep driveway.

Tires tires tires.

The family has learned to drive down slowly in neutral, carefully using brakes only, that way there is no interference from the drivetrain.

Driving up, get a run at it use snow mode. If that doesn't work, try 4 low... if you have QL, raise it to OR1.

If you don't have tires with decent thread.... have fun parking at the bottom and walking up

On the way up, throttle up and let the traction control work... regardless of the noise, keep your foot into it.. that is until you get going too fast for comfort or get sideways. My spouse used to annoy me by often parking sideways in the middle of the driveway.
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Unread 02-05-2014, 01:17 PM   #4
jacko15
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Wait till spring to visit. Seriously, why do people cut driveways like that. I have a friend with a driveway that he cut almost straight up a steep hill. He could have taken it diagonally, and made it a much easier, and safer climb. He rarely gets visitors in the winter.
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Unread 02-05-2014, 01:52 PM   #5
Dave2002ti
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacko15 View Post
Wait till spring to visit. Seriously, why do people cut driveways like that. I have a friend with a driveway that he cut almost straight up a steep hill. He could have taken it diagonally, and made it a much easier, and safer climb. He rarely gets visitors in the winter.

Its cheaper to build and then fill with dirt or gravel. They also believe its cheaper to maintain since its shorter. A dump truck load of good gravel is expensive

And maybe they dont want folks stopping by?
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Unread 02-06-2014, 06:38 AM   #6
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I would turn off the traction control going up so you can spin and the vehicle doesn't power down.
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Unread 02-06-2014, 06:47 AM   #7
ColdCase
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsc View Post
I would turn off the traction control going up so you can spin and the vehicle doesn't power down.
Joking... right?
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Unread 02-14-2014, 11:01 AM   #8
amr40509
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColdCase View Post
Joking... right?
I have a steep section of driveway that is also in the shade. I've had ice packed on it for about 2 weeks now.

I've found that I can not get up it with my Quadra-Drive II in Auto mode and traction control "on" - it will sense the spin and stop me (the 'power down' the previous poster described). If I am in Snow mode it'll allow a little spin and take me up, or if I turn off traction control it'll walk up in Auto.
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Unread 02-14-2014, 11:03 AM   #9
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Interesting info!
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Unread 02-14-2014, 01:22 PM   #10
ColdCase
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amr40509 View Post
I have a steep section of driveway that is also in the shade. I've had ice packed on it for about 2 weeks now.

I've found that I can not get up it with my Quadra-Drive II in Auto mode and traction control "on" - it will sense the spin and stop me (the 'power down' the previous poster described). If I am in Snow mode it'll allow a little spin and take me up, or if I turn off traction control it'll walk up in Auto.
Whatever works for you, but folks here seem to have have good results just stomping on the throttle and let traction control work. Don't be throttling down just because traction control throttles down. Every situation is different
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Unread 02-14-2014, 02:01 PM   #11
amr40509
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Quote:
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Whatever works for you, but folks here seem to have have good results just stomping on the throttle and let traction control work. Don't be throttling down just because traction control throttles down. Every situation is different
I've tried that - no dice in my diesel. When it throttles down it REALLY cuts it down and all forward momentum is lost.

To clarify, I'm talking about a couple of tires on "glare ice" that I couldn't walk on in good boots. Also steep/slick enough that it's impossible to stop without sliding backwards all the way down the driveway.

I also played a little last week on the hill trying out different modes- slick enough that no mode had a chance of climbing the hill from a dead stop, only possible with a little momentum. By stopping right at the base of where it gets steep I figured out:

Traction control turned OFF for all of this:
1) Auto/Sport mode, the rear wheels slid first and fishtailing starts when traction is lost
2) Auto/normal (ECO off) - front broke loose first and got squirrelly fast
3) Snow - starts in second gear and does a good job of keeping the truck straight by shifting power around but was a little hairy in that as the turbo boost came on it was impossible to keep it from quickly overpowering the traction on this super steep ice
4) Mud - Felt a lot like snow except that it started in first gear
5) Rock - Required 4LOW - I didn't touch the accelerator and just let it crawl. Made it the highest up the hill like this as the turbo boost never caused a power surge that broke it free. Felt really planted.

I didn't try Sand mode.

In all cases it would climb the hill, then when it lost traction to the point where it was 'done' I'd stop and there was so little traction it would just slide down to the bottom will all tires locked up.

Last edited by amr40509; 02-14-2014 at 02:12 PM..
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Unread 02-14-2014, 02:17 PM   #12
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Slide down to the bottom with all tires locked up??? YIKES!!!
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Unread 02-14-2014, 05:37 PM   #13
amr40509
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It's steep enough that once on the brakes, there is no hope of holding the hill. It's all a backwards slide from there :-)
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Unread 02-16-2014, 04:32 PM   #14
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In a similar situation, I found that Sand mode allows to go furthest.

I feel snow mode is for actually driving on a street with traffic. It's the safest setting in snow and the nannies kick in quickly to make sure you're not going to end up in the guard rail. Although, the slightest wheel spin around an incline, etc., the traction control cuts off the power, bogs down, and slowly goes up.

With sand mode, and being careful on the throttle, you can go up the incline or through deep snow drifts. As the traction gets weak, you can give it power, spin all 4 and keep going. The brake differential setup does a decent job of getting all 4 wheels to keep going.

I did find that if you're stuck on a steep hill with no traction and can't back up, then 4 low is pretty much your only option. It does a decent job of getting you up. But at some point, traction is traction and no 4x4 system will help you out. So if you're in similar situations often, get some good tires!

And to add- I drove my Jeep a few weeks ago through a ski resort that was covered in snow. The drive was very difficult with the stock tires and I was constantly worried about getting stuck, not stopping, turning and ending up going straight, etc. I just switched to some Duratracs a week before the 18" of snow we got in MD, and what a huge difference. I felt more confident in not getting stuck, stopping, turning, and basic road handling through 18" of snow then I felt with the stock tires in 2" of snow, and for that matter, even some wet roads. Tires are everything.
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Unread 02-18-2014, 11:08 AM   #15
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Like ColdCase mentioned. Tires! Tires! Tires!

I live on the side of a mountain with a steep driveway and snow tires are my only hope.
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