Slippery Hill - nearly ended in tears

We were coming out of a place we've stayed at numerous times before on a dirt road after rain on the weekend, not even a rough 4WD track . NPWS have done the road up, it's the best I've seen it in 25yrs so figured I'd not need 4WD in the old Hilux to get out - wrong! There were sections of clay like an ice rink.
Started spinning and came to a halt half way up the steepest hill. Stuck it in neutral to roll back down about 20m so I could put it in 4WD and have another go. After rolling back about 3m under brakes, we were just passengers, the thing started going sideways, went into the drain, rear hit an embankment and it tipped up on 2 wheels. Thought we were going to roll it and tumble down the hill, but luckily it stayed right side up.

Somehow I got it out of the drain, into 4WD and off we went. No damage to the rear either thanks to the rear step bar & soft soil. Can't recall if I did go back down, or just managed to get the auto-hubs to engage while stationary now?

So what is the right way to do this?

I'm thinking as soon as I started to spin on the way up, I should have hit the 4WD auto engage button. I think the old LN106 has to be moving forward for the auto hubs to engage (I could be wrong?).

If you stop and have to go back down to start moving forward & get it into 4WD for another run, I'm guessing doing it in neutral under brakes is a bad move! Should I have put it in reverse?
 

Rusty Panels

Well-Known Member
For starters, neutral is never an option. Why couldn't you have selected 4wd at the point where you stopped and then reversed down the hill?
You probably would have had more control in L4 in reverse without brakes. Not sure if the hubs will lock in reverse, some will apparently. But regardless you still would have been better off rather than using "Angel Gear". ;)
 

Lost1?

Well-Known Member
Yep, it is called angel gear for a good reason. Select 4wd low on the spot. This will ensure wheel spin is minimised when you start moving. Try to drive forward. If that doesn't work then reverse using reverse gear in low range.

You only need a tiny bit of braking bias on the front or rear axle, or perhaps a wheel cylinder that is sticking by the slightest bit to lose traction in that scenario when applying the brakes. So I don't recommend riding the brakes if you can avoid it.

You had luck on your side and got to tell the tale. Some aren't so fortunate.
 
At the end of the day you’ve learnt something, we all make mistakes when the heat is on. Some little some big.


The problem with clay is it’s sticks in the treads whether you have all terrain tyres or mud.
Learn the reverse hill start.

Glad your hear to talk about it…

Yes, I've been driving the old girl for 21yrs now & never done anything quite that stupid before :oops:

As you say, lesson learned. It will be 4WD out of there from the word go in the future if it is wet. There were a few more slippery bits on the way out but in 4WD High, no probs.

Got brand new tyres on it too - Maxxis 700 Bravo A/Ts.
 

CTL

Well-Known Member
Glad you survived to tell the tale. And a valuable lesson learnt.

Personally as soon as I go off the black stuff, I engage 4WD high, every time. You never know what is around the corner.
 

Kippie

Well-Known Member
No matter how long you've been 4wding, I reckon best thing to do is get regular 4wd training. Join a club or get into a course. There you can practice under controlled conditions any difficult situation you can think of. The situation you described is one of the basic elements in a decent course. I found that during training I've put myself into such scary situations and successfully (ofcourse) got out, but vowed that I'd never put myself in such a situation in real life travelling on my own. Recognising the danger and avoiding it is far better than getting out of it. Learning your limits is the key takeout from training.
 

Lost1?

Well-Known Member
Agreed Kippie. We are always learning. Having grown up in western NSW you quickly appreciate how slippery clay surfaces get with just a little bit of rain.
 

John U

Well-Known Member
We were coming out of a place we've stayed at numerous times before on a dirt road after rain on the weekend, not even a rough 4WD track . NPWS have done the road up, it's the best I've seen it in 25yrs so figured I'd not need 4WD in the old Hilux to get out - wrong! There were sections of clay like an ice rink.
Started spinning and came to a halt half way up the steepest hill. Stuck it in neutral to roll back down about 20m so I could put it in 4WD and have another go. After rolling back about 3m under brakes, we were just passengers, the thing started going sideways, went into the drain, rear hit an embankment and it tipped up on 2 wheels. Thought we were going to roll it and tumble down the hill, but luckily it stayed right side up.

Somehow I got it out of the drain, into 4WD and off we went. No damage to the rear either thanks to the rear step bar & soft soil. Can't recall if I did go back down, or just managed to get the auto-hubs to engage while stationary now?

So what is the right way to do this?

I'm thinking as soon as I started to spin on the way up, I should have hit the 4WD auto engage button. I think the old LN106 has to be moving forward for the auto hubs to engage (I could be wrong?).

If you stop and have to go back down to start moving forward & get it into 4WD for another run, I'm guessing doing it in neutral under brakes is a bad move! Should I have put it in reverse?
Respect for getting on here and sharing your 'almost disastrous experience. Hope others can learn from it.

Luckily for me I don't have manual locking hubs, and I have an auto. Much easier to engage if looks like it's about to get steep or slippery.

Glad you're OK.
 

Skurfer

Active Member
I agree with CTL and go into 4wd high as soon as off the sealed road. Is also consistent with what has been taught to me on a few 4wd course I have done for work.

It doesn't cause any harm being in 4wd high on a non sealed road, and is actually easier on the vehicle as if you for example have corrugations you're accelerating on, having 4wd engaged will work much better than spinning tyres due to the bumps and will have less tendency to under/oversteer if travelling at speed as you might tend to do on for example a gravel road. And in your example, if something unexpected comes along, you are better prepared for it already.

If you need to do a tight 3 point turn or something on an unsealed but higher traction surface like a hardpack dirt road, disengage 4wd for the turn so you can turn tighter and not wind up the driveline.

I have never understood the people that love to go on about doing a 4wd section or whatever in 2wd or a hard section without the lockers engaged. Haven't yet seen the ribbon/medal you get for it. Increases the chance of a breakages and being stranded somewhere far from home.
 

a1bert

Active Member
My son sent me a recent youtube clip, similar to your experience, think an 80 series which he had in 4 wheel drive.
Got 2/3rds way up and still came down backwards, luckily he kept it straight but still was a whiter shade of pale :)
so even in 4 wheel drive you can end up with the same result
 

Skurfer

Active Member
It's not a natural thing to do but sometimes the best thing is to let off the brake pedal and accelerate in the direction you're sliding. So if going backwards, accelerating in reverse to get the wheels turning again and hopefully regain some control. If you're wheels locked up sliding you're just a passenger. Works pretty well to get the car pointing in the right direction if you start going side on to the hill while sliding.
 
Respect for getting on here and sharing your 'almost disastrous experience. Hope others can learn from it.

Luckily for me I don't have manual locking hubs, and I have an auto. Much easier to engage if looks like it's about to get steep or slippery.

Glad you're OK.
My old Hilux has auto hubs! I just didn't press the button, should have done as soon as it started slipping. I've done that before to save it when I drove into an unseen boghole on a farm.

Interestingly, some people take normal 2WD cars all the way to that homestead. No way they would get out after a little rain without being towed by a 4WD.

Does anyone know if the LN106 SR5 Hilux needs to be moving to engage the auto hubs? I've only ever hit the button while moving forwards at less than 20kmh, though the instructions on the sun visor say it can be engaged at anywhere up to 100kmh! That's only happened once when the Muppet sitting next to me pushed the button at 100kmh on the bitumen o_O.

It makes a very interesting sort of metallic 'Zzzzzziiipppppp' noise as it engages - which is good, because then I know it is actually in 4WD as the 4WD indicator on the dash stopped working years ago and the local autoelectrician 'bypassed the computer?' to make it work again, so it lights up now as soon as you hit the button - though as I discovered once when the front diff worm-drive gear ran out of grease - having the 4WD indicator light up does not necessarily mean you are in 4WD! That metallic 'Zzzzzziiipppppp' noise is the thing that tells you it has actually engaged. I always listen for that noise now to know I'm good to go.
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
We were coming out of a place we've stayed at numerous times before on a dirt road after rain on the weekend, not even a rough 4WD track . NPWS have done the road up, it's the best I've seen it in 25yrs so figured I'd not need 4WD in the old Hilux to get out - wrong! There were sections of clay like an ice rink.
Started spinning and came to a halt half way up the steepest hill. Stuck it in neutral to roll back down about 20m so I could put it in 4WD and have another go. After rolling back about 3m under brakes, we were just passengers, the thing started going sideways, went into the drain, rear hit an embankment and it tipped up on 2 wheels. Thought we were going to roll it and tumble down the hill, but luckily it stayed right side up.

Somehow I got it out of the drain, into 4WD and off we went. No damage to the rear either thanks to the rear step bar & soft soil. Can't recall if I did go back down, or just managed to get the auto-hubs to engage while stationary now?

So what is the right way to do this?

I'm thinking as soon as I started to spin on the way up, I should have hit the 4WD auto engage button. I think the old LN106 has to be moving forward for the auto hubs to engage (I could be wrong?).

If you stop and have to go back down to start moving forward & get it into 4WD for another run, I'm guessing doing it in neutral under brakes is a bad move! Should I have put it in reverse?
In modern vehicles with ABS and traction control it isn't so important anymore, but in cars like yours the rule is to never ever use the brakes down hill or exactly what happened to you, will happen. Engine braking only, using either low or high range. If it super slippery, sometimes low range isn't an option either as the compression locks the wheels.

"started spinning and came to a halt halfway up the steepest hill" is how all stall out recoveries start. At that point in a manual car you jamb both feet on the brake and stall the car in whatever gear you are in - no clutch. Leave the ignition on, keep foot on brake, clutch and select reverse (4wd of course, and low range so that the car will hold on engine compression), foot off clutch and still on brake, slowly ease brake until the car sits on engine compression alone. Plan your escape route, know which way the steering wheel is pointed, confirm sphincter is trying to suck seat off its mounts, keep both feet away from all pedals, hit the starter with the key and the car will take off backwards in the most controlled fashion you can hope for in the circumstance. All manual 4wders planning on running out of traction on slopes need this skill. With autos the whole thing is simpler because you don't need to stall and restart the car.
 
In modern vehicles with ABS and traction control it isn't so important anymore, but in cars like yours the rule is to never ever use the brakes down hill or exactly what happened to you, will happen. Engine braking only, using either low or high range. If it super slippery, sometimes low range isn't an option either as the compression locks the wheels.

"started spinning and came to a halt halfway up the steepest hill" is how all stall out recoveries start. At that point in a manual car you jamb both feet on the brake and stall the car in whatever gear you are in - no clutch. Leave the ignition on, keep foot on brake, clutch and select reverse (4wd of course, and low range so that the car will hold on engine compression), foot off clutch and still on brake, slowly ease brake until the car sits on engine compression alone. Plan your escape route, know which way the steering wheel is pointed, confirm sphincter is trying to suck seat off its mounts, keep both feet away from all pedals, hit the starter with the key and the car will take off backwards in the most controlled fashion you can hope for in the circumstance. All manual 4wders planning on running out of traction on slopes need this skill. With autos the whole thing is simpler because you don't need to stall and restart the car.
Damn that sounds hairy :eek:

I'll try to avoid that in future by being clever enough to select 4WD from the word go if it is wet.

I should add, my wife who was in the passenger seat claims credit for the thing not rolling, as she leaned her massive 55kg frame inwards when the 2 wheels lifted off.

Me, I was just sitting there in total denial :D
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
Damn that sounds hairy :eek:

I'll try to avoid that in future by being clever enough to select 4WD from the word go if it is wet.

I should add, my wife who was in the passenger seat claims credit for the thing not rolling, as she leaned her massive 55kg frame inwards when the 2 wheels lifted off.

Me, I was just sitting there in total denial :D
You know its bad when you have to engage the 'safety thumb' on the top of the stubby haha - too many years crawling around landcruiser park.
 

Skurfer

Active Member
I should add, my wife who was in the passenger seat claims credit for the thing not rolling, as she leaned her massive 55kg frame inwards when the 2 wheels lifted off.

Me, I was just sitting there in total denial :D
Haha this rings a bell. We went for a slide going forwards one day in the high country when a rain squall came through and the track we were on had a clay section I didn't know about. Lucky there were ruts that we slid in, but my wife was moving around like she was on a bobsled team haha. Was a good laugh once we stopped and calmed down a bit and I managed to break the suction of my sphincter and the seat.
 
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