Hill climbing with auto's

Submitted: Friday, Mar 10, 2006 at 21:32
ThreadID: 31634 Views:1790 Replies:12 FollowUps:19
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Hi all,
I have a Q? re hill climbing with autos. I have read about techniques for stalling, and restarting manuals in reverse when you get stuck and have to reverse back down the hill. What is the best procedure to use for an auto if you get stuck and have to revers back down?

your advice much appreciated.

Paul.
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Reply By: Exploder - Friday, Mar 10, 2006 at 21:37

Friday, Mar 10, 2006 at 21:37
why not Just put it in reverse?
AnswerID: 159809

Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (QLD) - Friday, Mar 10, 2006 at 23:41

Friday, Mar 10, 2006 at 23:41
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Reply By: Member - Omaroo (NSW) - Friday, Mar 10, 2006 at 21:47

Friday, Mar 10, 2006 at 21:47
Paul - I gather that you are referring to a "stall" recovery where you start off with your brakes on, engine off and in reverse gear ...and then turn the key to fire up the engine whilst it is already in reverse.

In and auto - you can't do it. You have to start in "park" and then shift it to reverse.
AnswerID: 159811

Follow Up By: Rob from Cairns Offroad Training & Tours - Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 20:10

Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 20:10
Not a good idea to go to park, if the car should roll back a little while in park on a steep hill it can jam in park. If for some reason an auto wont climb and the only reasons I can think of are, not in low range run out of power or run out of grip. If you run out of grip try on off the throttle while you still have momentum If you have lost momentum you have no choice but to stop the car foot brake on hand brake on take a deep breath and assess the situation. Go from drive low range to reverse low range release the handbrake slowly then slowly release pressure on the footbrake ease the car back down the hill you can not go too slowly the slower the beter even if you stop start better than gaining too much momentum. Cheers Rob
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Follow Up By: Member - Omaroo (NSW) - Monday, Mar 13, 2006 at 10:29

Monday, Mar 13, 2006 at 10:29
Rob - I think that by "stall", the original poster implied that the engine has actually died..... i.e. it is not running. If this is the case, it has to be restarted by cycling the ignition key. Most (if not all) automatic vehicles will not let you start the car if the gearbox is not in "Park".

I agree with you on the rest if the engine is still running.
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Follow Up By: flappa - Monday, Mar 13, 2006 at 10:57

Monday, Mar 13, 2006 at 10:57
Most will start in Neutral , all mine have.

It keeps it out of the "Park" Lockup.
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Follow Up By: Member - Omaroo (NSW) - Monday, Mar 13, 2006 at 11:00

Monday, Mar 13, 2006 at 11:00
Thanks flappa - I guess some will. My current one won't. It must be in Park AND have the handbrake applied. :(

Smart electronic gearboxes...... arrhhgggg!!
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Reply By: Eric Experience. - Friday, Mar 10, 2006 at 22:13

Friday, Mar 10, 2006 at 22:13
Paul
It is unlikely that an auto will stall on a hill, so the problem is not common. Eric.
AnswerID: 159815

Reply By: ev700 - Friday, Mar 10, 2006 at 23:36

Friday, Mar 10, 2006 at 23:36
Paul
The motor is unlikely to stall. Don't turn the engine off.

If you are stuck and not making further progress and want to reverse, just put hoof on foot brake and then engage handbrake (to give you time to gather your thoughts and sight the best return path), when ready put hoof back on footbrake, select reverse, release handbrake and gently remove hoof from footbrake. Reverse back down hill.

EV700
AnswerID: 159827

Reply By: Gerhardp1 - Friday, Mar 10, 2006 at 23:47

Friday, Mar 10, 2006 at 23:47
You can also put it in drive and roll backwards down the hill to give engine braking. You apply a bit of throttle to slow you down.

Not sure how bad this is for the tranny, but it beats having no engine braking at all especially if it's a hair raising situation to start with.
AnswerID: 159832

Follow Up By: Mike DiD - Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 07:43

Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 07:43
Don't try this in current computer controlled autonatics !!!

Firstly the vehicle will start to shudder, ensuring the wheels lose any traction they had, and then the engine will stall.

That's my experience in a Pajero Did Auto

Mike
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Follow Up By: Kiwi Kia - Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 07:57

Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 07:57
Gerhardp1 - you must be new around here. Check the archives for previous mail on this subject.

DO NOT try this tecnique. It can either damage your transmission or get you into big trouble. As Mike DiD says above, modern computer controled autos may shut down leaving you with no power brakes and no power steering which means you are in a disaster situation when reverseing down a hill.
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Reply By: pauljohnston - Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 00:19

Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 00:19
I may not have explained properly , or understood properly. I thought the idea was that if you are trying to climb a hill and get to a point where you can't go further, you then deliberately stall the engine so the car stops with the car in gear, I guess making it safer for you to think about how you are going to get back down. One article I read said that autos needed to use other techniques, but didn't elaborate on what those techniques were. I guess you just put the breaks on, slip it into reverse and hope for the best.

Thanks for your comments,
Paul.
AnswerID: 159841

Follow Up By: Exploder - Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 00:36

Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 00:36
You could also stall up the T/Converter with the car in D.

I.E Go as far as you can or till you get stuck, then ease off the right boot until the car just sites there and asses the situation and then if need be select reverse and go back down or give it some more right boot and move off.
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Follow Up By: Member - Cocka - Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 01:19

Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 01:19
Don't just hope for the best, you are in control and must remain so. What all have said above is spot on for an automatic, however one thing remains paramount, you must keep the vehicle square to the slope ie straight up and down and keep it rolling slowly down with only enough weight on the brake to stop it rolling too fast, but it must remain in reverse gear.
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Follow Up By: Snowy 3.0iTD - Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 07:41

Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 07:41
Paul

One other important thing to remember is do not stick it in Park on the steep slope and let the weight rest on the transmission, the gearbox will lock up and you won't be able to get it out of Park. Luckily at the time I had a hand-winch and was able to use that to take the weight off of the gear box so that I could get it out of Park.

Regards

Snowy
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Follow Up By: V8Diesel - Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 08:26

Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 08:26
Very good point you raise there Snowy
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Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 07:37

Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 07:37
Paul,

Just a little back ground info.

The reason why the manual transmission vehicles are stalled is to avoid using the clutch.
Once the clutch is depressed the gear box is no longer driving the vehicle and stopping the vehicle from going back wards.

Applying the brakes is the only way to stop the vehicle and if the hill is steep enough the brakes will not hold.

Brakes are designed to stop the vehicle going in a forward direction, in reverse they will stop the vehicle but not as well.

What happens when you are driving up a steep hill in a manual transmission vehicle? The vehicle would be in either 2nd low or 1st low, the vehicle looses traction and the vehicle is not going forward. If the clutch is used there is nothing holding the vehicle. It is the split second from applying the clutch and applying the brakes that cause the vehicle to start to lose control and take off backwards. The front wheels will lock up so that all steering is lost, the brakes don't work that well in reverse, and this is when it gets ugly.

Avoiding the split second that the vehicle is out of control is what the stall start is all about. Stalling the vehicle in gear means that the gear box is still holding the vehicle and the brakes are holding a vehicle that is not moving.

Using the clutch, when the vehicle is held by the brakes, to engage reverse is OK. The vehicle is then started in reverse gear while using the brakes to control the speed of the decent.

In an auto transmission, apply the brakes until the vehicle stops. Select reverse gear and then drive down the hill applying the brakes to control the speed.

Wayne
AnswerID: 159859

Reply By: Member - Brian (Gold Coast) - Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 08:26

Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 08:26
EV 700 and Wayne have explained this well...... sorry but I think that Gerhardp1 is wrong by saying to reverse in drive..... auto's will NOT last long doing that........

In an auto hill recovery.... apply footbrake, then handbrake leaving the car in drive.

Do NOT turn the engine off.

Do NOT select Park or Neutral.

Check where you are and where your wheels are and where they're pointing...

Select reverse..... release handbrake and slowly release footbrake (gently, auto's usually want to "run" downhill..) and you will safely reverse down the hill...

This procedure (AFAIK) is taught nationally by club DAPS's and accredited trainers etc.....
AnswerID: 159867

Follow Up By: Wayne (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 08:41

Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 08:41
Brian,

There is one thing that I don't ask the driver to do in a stall recovery and that is to apply the hand brake.

The two reasons for this are
1.When the hand brake is applied the foot comes off the brake. The vehicle is only held by the gear box, and with some vehicles they can creep with the motor turning over under load.
This is a habit that the driver has gotten into and there is nothing wrong with it as long as the vehicle is not stopped on a steep hill about to do a stall start.

2.The brakes will hold the vehicle with out the hand brake and it is just another thing to do in the stall recovery.

Wayne
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Follow Up By: Member - Brian (Gold Coast) - Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 12:25

Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 12:25
Wayne...
Fair point you make there too! But that was the way I was taught and I have been practising it regularly since. I don't take my footbrake off when the handbrake is on, I keep them both on.... on my Patrol, the handbrake is a shaft brake on the drive shaft, so I have the brakes on and the shaft brake as well, so for what it's worth... I have more "brake" holding me there!

Cheers

Brian
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FollowupID: 414545

Reply By: Member - Brian (Gold Coast) - Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 08:30

Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 08:30
The other thing I meant to say was perhaps you might consider joining a club... most clubs run Driver Awareness Programs (DAP) and you will learn these techniques there...... if not, and you intend to learn from a book, practise it regularly..... it should be second nature so you don't have to think about it.... on a muddy slope and your car is starting to slide backwards out of control, you won't have time to read the book again!

We practise on our front lawn..... every month or so.....
AnswerID: 159868

Follow Up By: Pluto - Monday, Mar 13, 2006 at 14:58

Monday, Mar 13, 2006 at 14:58
You practice key starts on your front lawn??? It must be hell to mow! LOL
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Follow Up By: Member - Brian (Gold Coast) - Monday, Mar 13, 2006 at 17:00

Monday, Mar 13, 2006 at 17:00
LOL.... no... but it's just enough of a slope to be able to simulate the stall start!

I participate in our clubs DAP each month, and part of what I do is to demonstrate the stall start. But my lovely bride is the one who normally gets the practice in the front yard...... 'cos she doesn't go to the DAP every month.

And practice makes perfect!

I can tell you, if you get it wrong, it WILL hurt!
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Reply By: Mike Harding - Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 09:29

Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 09:29
Hi Paul

One other related point you may not be aware of which is more likely to occur with an auto vehicle is extended brake use causing the brake fluid to boil.

Particularly on long steep descents because there is very little engine braking from an auto it is necessary to use the brakes to control speed, this causes considerable heat to build up around the hubs and brake assembly. If the brake cylinders / pipes become hot enough the fluid will turn to vapour and you will immediately loose braking (don't know if split systems mean you still retain it on 2 wheels?). This situation is more likely to occur with old brake fluid which has absorbed water. Modern cars are pretty good in this regard but it can still happen. The only solution it to minimise brake use and/or stop from time-to-time on long descents to let things cool.

And make sure your brake fluid is changed at the appropriate service intervals.

Mike Harding
AnswerID: 159874

Follow Up By: Kiwi Kia - Sunday, Mar 12, 2006 at 11:06

Sunday, Mar 12, 2006 at 11:06
If you are traveling slowly on a steep off road track there will be VERY little heat build up. So little in fact you will never be bothered by it. The vapour lock that Mike refers to only occurs if there is water disolved in the hydraulic fluid (can happen in fluid several years old) but this also requires extreme heat which will not occur if you are traveling slowly.

If you are traveling down a mountain highway with a heavy trailer at normal road speed in a ten your old vehicle a vapour bubble could occur.
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FollowupID: 414678

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Monday, Mar 13, 2006 at 13:28

Monday, Mar 13, 2006 at 13:28
>If you are traveling slowly on a steep off road track there
>will be VERY little heat build up.

I would have thought that would be a direct function of the amount of brake use over a given time period and the ability of the brakes to dissipate that heat - sure a single 1:3 downhill for 1km isn't going to do it but a whole series of them over a 3 hour drive in the High Country...?

>The vapour lock that Mike refers to only occurs if there is water
>disolved in the hydraulic fluid

Most certainly the presence of water in brake fluid will significantly lower it's boiling point and make the problem more likely but my understanding is that brake fluid is hygroscopic and _will_ absorb water over time?

>If you are traveling down a mountain highway with a heavy
>trailer at normal road speed in a ten your old vehicle a vapour
>bubble could occur.

I had it happen in a 3 year old car in the Pyrenees – no trailer and lightly loaded.

Mike Harding
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Follow Up By: Kiwi Kia - Monday, Mar 13, 2006 at 14:08

Monday, Mar 13, 2006 at 14:08
Mike, You are right temp rise is dependant on the ability of the brakes to dissipate heat. modern brakes will easily dissipate the heat generated at SLOW speed. The energy required to slow a vehicle a little bit is a lot less then that required when slowing often from a cruising speed down to whatever on corners and hills when on the open road. All the metal connected to the discs (axles etc.) also acts as a heat sink. Try putting your hand near a disc after a long SLOW hill descent, they are only warm.

Yes, hydraulic fluid is hydroscopic thats why I mentioned the age of the vehicle. Most people never change their brake fluid. Modern hydraulic fluid does not give any problems. Car manufacturers do heaps of race track testing, lots of long high speed runs with lots of brake use to ensure that you do not get brake problems caused by the type of fluid being used, type of pads and size of brake discs.

Are you sure you had a vapour lock and not just brake fade caused by overheating of the discs or pads ?

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FollowupID: 414896

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Monday, Mar 13, 2006 at 14:21

Monday, Mar 13, 2006 at 14:21
>The energy required to slow a vehicle a little bit is a lot less
>then that required when slowing often from a cruising speed

Fair point - I see where you're coming from.

>Try putting your hand near a disc after a long SLOW hill
>descent, they are only warm.

I'll be doing lots of hilly stuff in the High Country shortly; I'll give the hubs the old "touch test" :)

>Are you sure you had a vapour lock and not just brake fade
>caused by overheating of the discs or pads ?

Oh yes! Pedal to the floor, no resistance. Had just come onto the flat in a small town after coming over a 7000 feet high pass. I was only doing about 30kph and pulled up on the handbrake - frightened the life out of me though and the wife went a bit white too! :)

Mike Harding
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Reply By: pauljohnston - Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 11:35

Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 11:35
Thanks to all,

Great points made and many things clarified.

Cheers,
Paul.
AnswerID: 159890

Reply By: Chucky - Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 13:56

Saturday, Mar 11, 2006 at 13:56
I have heard that you keep the revs at around 1800 revs and use teh brake pedal to control speed. This keep the stall converter locked up and allows for engine braking to help decents.

I have watched the bloke who told me this idea do it on a steep downhill run and it seemed to work well.
AnswerID: 159916

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