Low Range - yes or no?





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  1. #1
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    Default Low Range - yes or no?

    We drove down to Sedgefield from Gauteng via Baviaanskloof in my Amarok. Entered at Willowmore and came out on the Patensie side. Going up the mountain where the 2 spoor concrete is, I used 4 wheel drive but did not engage low range. The Amarok conquered the ling steep climb without any problem in 1st gear.

    However, I wondered afterwards what is the best: using high range 1st gear like I did, or going to low range and use 2nd or even perhaps 3rd gear.

    I have to add that this was my first time doing the Baviaans and nothing could prepare me for its size and majestic beauty ...

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    Default Re: Low Range - yes or no?

    The advantages of using low range in a situation like this is that, if you select a total ratio lower than 1H (which will probably only be 1st and 2nd low) the engine will lug less, and if the terrain unexpectedly gets steeper, you may be able to change down quickly enough to not lose momentum completely.

    So yes, it would be good practise, but it's also probably not the end of the world.
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    Default Re: Low Range - yes or no?

    Good question and I'm afraid I don't know the answer.

    It does raise another question though. You say it was concrete strips? I would have gone back to 2WD to prevent any windup in the drivetrain since there isn't any slippage on concrete. Would I have been correct or not?

    (I'm petrified of using 4WD on anything that isn't gravel or worse)

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    Default Re: Low Range - yes or no?

    I've never been there but I assume it's quite a steep climb. A vehicle can slip on concrete so 4x4 is probably best and safer.

    The more mechanically minded must please correct me if I'm wrong but keeping mainly straight on concrete will be fine but sharp turns can cause a big issue because the front wheels travel a longer distance then the back causing tension in the drive train.
    Last edited by GarethHAllen; 2020/12/18 at 05:42 AM.

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    Default Re: Low Range - yes or no?

    So keep in mind that some vehicles are permanent 4 wheel drive like land Rovers and Hummers and it depends on the design of the centre diff. If you lock it, it could get some wind-up on concrete strips if there are a number of bends.

    Is the Amorok manual or auto? One of the advantages of auto is you can put it into low range and select Drive and it will select the right gear itself.

    Putting an auto into 1st will lock it in 1st. Put it into 2nd and it will have access to 2nd and 1st, etc. Some autos have selectable gear locks so if you put it into 3rd and lock it, it will stay in 3rd (RR P38 Sport Button in high range doubles as a gear lock in low range)

    My low range 1st is usually only used for steep descents. Other obstacles I select 2nd or Drive, particularly steep ascents.
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    Default Re: Low Range - yes or no?

    I've been up that specific climb in the Baviaans many times, I leave the Jeep in 2WD and the box in D as there is lots of traction especially on the concrete patches.
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    Default Re: Low Range - yes or no?

    When in doubt, I use low range. IMHO low range prevents stress on mechanical components (drivetrain). 1st or 2nd LR much better than 1st or 2nd HR and when you encounter an unexpected problem / obstacle right foot is ample to solve problem, without changing gear.

    However, beach driving "HR is plenty" - exact words used by a Scotsman when he saw i was driving his Hilux in LR on a beach in Moz many moons ago
    Last edited by julius caesar; 2020/12/18 at 07:22 AM.
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    Default Re: Low Range - yes or no?

    My general rule of thumb - if doing less than 30km/h, I use low rage
    I can quite happily cruise along on game trails in LR 4th gear
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    Default Re: Low Range - yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by cainslie View Post
    Good question and I'm afraid I don't know the answer.

    It does raise another question though. You say it was concrete strips? I would have gone back to 2WD to prevent any windup in the drivetrain since there isn't any slippage on concrete. Would I have been correct or not?

    (I'm petrified of using 4WD on anything that isn't gravel or worse)
    Looking forward to hearing the opinion on this one.
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    Default Re: Low Range - yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by cainslie View Post
    Good question and I'm afraid I don't know the answer.

    It does raise another question though. You say it was concrete strips? I would have gone back to 2WD to prevent any windup in the drivetrain since there isn't any slippage on concrete. Would I have been correct or not?

    (I'm petrified of using 4WD on anything that isn't gravel or worse)
    Thank you for your responses! But now another question based on the above: is wind-up a danger in normal 4x4? And if it is then it would still be the case in LR as well?

    My Amarok is manual.

    Another option would be to disengage 4x4 before the hairpins and engage again afterwards?

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    Default Re: Low Range - yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by HeinrichC View Post
    I've been up that specific climb in the Baviaans many times, I leave the Jeep in 2WD and the box in D as there is lots of traction especially on the concrete patches.
    Thanks. I seriously considered 2WD as well, but in some places the gaps are uneven and I was concerned about loosing grip there.

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    Default Re: Low Range - yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by Swannie1960 View Post
    Thank you for your responses! But now another question based on the above: is wind-up a danger in normal 4x4? And if it is then it would still be the case in LR as well?

    My Amarok is manual.

    Another option would be to disengage 4x4 before the hairpins and engage again afterwards?
    Do you have a locking central diff or a viscous coupling?

    Its horses for courses.
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    Default Re: Low Range - yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by cainslie View Post
    Good question and I'm afraid I don't know the answer.

    It does raise another question though. You say it was concrete strips? I would have gone back to 2WD to prevent any windup in the drivetrain since there isn't any slippage on concrete. Would I have been correct or not?

    (I'm petrified of using 4WD on anything that isn't gravel or worse)
    My experince is that the real issue starts when the gradient is too steep for high range ie 1:5 and you sit with a combination of concrete turns and straights. This is where the danger of serious diff wind up comes and despite ones best efforts to prevent it one need to get rid of it as to prevent serious damage. The only way I know how to prevent it is to at least try where possible to have one side of the wheels off the concrete strip to minimize the wind up and the moment you feel the steering goes hard when you try to turn, is to stop and do a controlled reverse to get rid of the diff wind up. For obvious reasons towing anything will can make this s dangerous exercise. When I plan on driving steep gradient passes I normally would do my homework very well in this regard ie watching youtube videos of the passes in south africa where one gets first hand info on road conditions. Hope this helps a bit

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    Default Re: Low Range - yes or no?

    I did Crombrink and Holgat passes in Nov20 in a Toyota Fortuner 2.8GD6 4x4 AT

    I used 4WD and selected S3 for much of the way Apart from one gnarly steep section on Holgat Pass, I never felt the need to use low range. The engine didn’t sound like it was labouring.

    The concrete strips on Holgat are pretty broken up so I reckon there will have been sufficient tyre slippage to prevent any damage. The biggest risk there is a sidewall cut.

    The Crombrink Pass on the other hand, has been sorted with 20m sections that have been fully paved that come up on the steep sections every now and then. There would be no wheel slippage there but because they are all in a straight section, I never considered that there would be any damage done.

    it really is worthwhile doing and you should not damage your vehicle at all. I had been told not to drive the passes beforehand because they were in a very bad condition. That is just not true.
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    Default Re: Low Range - yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by Voyageur View Post
    I did Crombrink and Holgat passes in Nov20 in a Toyota Fortuner 2.8GD6 4x4 AT

    I used 4WD and selected S3 for much of the way Apart from one gnarly steep section on Holgat Pass, I never felt the need to use low range. The engine didnít sound like it was labouring.

    The concrete strips on Holgat are pretty broken up so I reckon there will have been sufficient tyre slippage to prevent any damage. The biggest risk there is a sidewall cut.

    The Crombrink Pass on the other hand, has been sorted with 20m sections that have been fully paved that come up on the steep sections every now and then. There would be no wheel slippage there but because they are all in a straight section, I never considered that there would be any damage done.

    it really is worthwhile doing and you should not damage your vehicle at all. I had been told not to drive the passes beforehand because they were in a very bad condition. That is just not true.
    thanks for the info..makes perfect sense what you're saying!

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    Default Re: Low Range - yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by Swannie1960 View Post
    Thanks. I seriously considered 2WD as well, but in some places the gaps are uneven and I was concerned about loosing grip there.
    u didnt had to use 4h, just select the off road function and the traction control will do the rest, manual amaroks are very good off road, i have done baviaans towing my explorer with my old 120kw amarok and had no issues
    Last edited by hein100; 2020/12/18 at 08:50 AM.


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    Default Re: Low Range - yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by Estee View Post
    Do you have a locking central diff or a viscous coupling?

    Its horses for courses.
    The manual Amarok doesn't have any sort of centre differential, it's selectable 4x4 which locks front and rear axle together, like in most other bakkies, too. That trip, with hairpin turns according to the op, has put a lot of strain on the transfer case.

    Quote Originally Posted by Swannie1960 View Post
    Thank you for your responses! But now another question based on the above: is wind-up a danger in normal 4x4? And if it is then it would still be the case in LR as well?

    My Amarok is manual.

    Another option would be to disengage 4x4 before the hairpins and engage again afterwards?
    Wind up of the drive train is a danger in any kind of 4x4 vehicle without centre differential, like your Amarok, when 4x4 is engaged. It locks both axles together. When turning, the front and rear axles travel slightly different tracks and distances, which causes wind up of the drive train. On loose ground this is easily relieved by one or other wheel slipping here and there. On a hard surface such as concrete the wheels can't slip this easily and the transfer case usually takes the most of the strain. I'm not sure, but the Amarok's transfer case might well have a chain linking the front and rear drive shafts together. This chain can get stretched quite badly when the vehicle is driven through sharp turns in 4x4 on a hard surface such as concrete.
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    Default Re: Low Range - yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by Swannie1960 View Post
    We drove down to Sedgefield from Gauteng via Baviaanskloof in my Amarok. Entered at Willowmore and came out on the Patensie side. Going up the mountain where the 2 spoor concrete is, I used 4 wheel drive but did not engage low range. The Amarok conquered the ling steep climb without any problem in 1st gear.

    However, I wondered afterwards what is the best: using high range 1st gear like I did, or going to low range and use 2nd or even perhaps 3rd gear.

    I have to add that this was my first time doing the Baviaans and nothing could prepare me for its size and majestic beauty ...
    Whahaha, 4x4 Low range... I did also did the big mountain drive coming out at Doringkloof camp sites in me old 250d Isuzu 4x2 without using difflock... There again, I'm guessing the Isuzu 1st and 2nd gears are equivalent to the 4x4 low range gears. The old girl just idled up the trail, no wheel spins..
    Last edited by hunter26; 2020/12/18 at 08:18 AM.
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    Default Re: Low Range - yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by hunter26 View Post
    Whahaha, 4x4 Low range... I did also did the big mountain drive coming out at Doringkloof camp sites in me old 250d Isuzu 4x2 without using difflock... There again, I'm guessing the Isuzu 1st and 2nd gears are equivalent to the 4x4 low range gears. The old girl just idled up the trail, no wheel spins..
    why u laugh and your point being what?


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    Default Re: Low Range - yes or no?

    Quote Originally Posted by hein100 View Post
    why u laugh and your point being what?
    it's called low range envy
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