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Winter Driving - are you prepared?

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  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028
    I'm sick of wiper blades that don't wipe. I've tried a bunch of the different expensive blades and the regular ol' Ancos, but none of them wipe. I'm constantly haing to open my door when I stop to snap the wiper, and it will wipe clean for a few seconds, but then it goes right back to the streaky, non-wiping BS. Are there ANY wipers that work well during the winter months?
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,382
    Have you tried Winter Blades, they have rubber over the netal arm to keep ice from sticking? Trico and Anco make 'em for most cars.

    Spraying the wiper arms w a silicon spray will repel ice as well.
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    I have found that cleaning the blades really helps. Each time that I stop for gas I use the "bug scrubber" side of the windshild squeege to scrub to road crud off the wiper rubber. It really extends the useful life of the blades. :shades:
  • bottgersbottgers Posts: 2,028
    I installed a pair of the Anco winter blades yesterday. I'll see how they do.
  • I just replace all three blades once a year. There's nothing like a brand new blade for the season's first rain storm! I have to travel a really treacherous road, often at night, to get home, and every little bit helps in terms of lighting and wipers.

    I do clean the blades though, with alcohol, about once a month. I live near the ocean and will get a light salt film sometimes..
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,382
    I've found that if the windshield is icing up badly, hitting the defroster will help so that the wipers can do their job. Once the windshield becomes warm enough to melt ice that hits it you can switch the climate control to the regular setting and simply redirect some of the warm air upwards. Your manual will tell you how.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    First, the "cause" for the state laws not allowing downhill coasting in neutral have long since passed. In days even before my time vehicular braking systems were sort of the "hang on and pray" type. So the gearbox was always then an important part of the braking system, often a VERY important part. And also not having synchros in the gearbox made it damn near impossible to put it back into gear once a level of speed had been attained wherein you now required braking.

    And keep in mind that FWD and F/AWD vehicles were not as commonplace in the days those laws went on the books.

    So..

    You are driving a F/AWD vehicle. Front engine torque biased (70/30 F/R) AWD vehicle. One of the foremost hazards, if not the MOST hazardous, in driving a FWD or F/AWD vehicle is inadvertent engine compression braking on the front, driven, wheels. You may notice that NO modern day FWD or F/AWD vehicle will automatically downshift during lift throttle coastdown, at any lower, lowering, speed absent the driver applying the brakes as a "signal" of the driver's awareness (hopefully...!!) of tractive roadbed conditions.

    So, coasting downhill on a slippery ice or snow covered roadbed in a FWD or F/AWD, slip the tranny into neutral, just as advised by none other than the AAA, and be SAFER.

    Or open the diff'l/PTO, remove the center diff'l's front drive spider gear, weld the rear spider gear in place so you have a much more safe RWD vehicle. If you have a VC then let the VC drive the front conditionally.

    Now you have a R/AWD RX350.

    Much safer....
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,931
    Thanks, but I'd rather put my FWD minivan in D (3rd - it's got an OD off switch) or 2 and ease down the 16 mile Bogus Basin road in gear rather than in neutral and burn up my brake pads while I lose ~3,400 feet in elevation, and negotiate 172 curves.

    You've harped on how dangerous FWD rigs are going downhill in the snow for years now. I'd be curious to see some links to accidents caused by such activity (or even links that you think could be attributed to your theory). I'd like to see a link to the AAA's statement too (I don't have access to their print publications).

    You can skip the links going to your posts around the net. :shades:

    I'll go nose around the NHTSA until I hear back from you.

    (someone drove off the road going up this morning and plunged 150', fwiw. Can't tell if the rig is FWD or RWD or some flavor of 4WD - KTVB).
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I haven't skiied Bogus for many years now but I do remember the road quite well. My best guess would be that at that time I would have been driving a 1978 Ford E150 work/cargo van with a straight 6 and stick shift, RWD only. We added seats and a side rack for skiis.

    Your local Porsche club has an event every year involving that "road" but I have yet to have been in the area to particpate. You might keep an eye out for a '79 Forrest Green 911 Targa with gold BBS 3 piece wheels and NYSSA license plates. North of you, McCall, there is now a '78 Seafoam Green (light metallic green) 911 Targa also with gold BBS 3 piece wheels.

    You're invited to breakfast or dinner at the Cracker Barrel if all three of us manage to make the event this year.

    Personally I would NEVER drive that downhill run in the wintertime in a FWD automatic, one with a clutch, maybe, but each to his own. IMMHO leaving a 4WD/4X4 in "locked" mode would probably be just as bad, HAZARDOUS, as FWD.

    In my opinion that is only ONE flavor of 4WD and yet another for a 4X4 (4WD w/low range) but a myriad of "flavors" of AWD.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    Things must be pretty quiet at the West residence for you to dig back five months to fabricate a controversy. :)

    The original question had to do with saving fuel and that was dispatched appropriately.

    First, the "cause" for the state laws not allowing downhill coasting in neutral have long since passed.

    Sorry, but you don't get to decide which laws are obsolete and can be neglected. Your pet theories won't hold water in a court of law and, in my humble opinion, it is irresponsible to advise others to ignore those laws. There are legislative procedures for repealing "obsolete" laws but until that is done they remain in force.

    In the meantime, if engine braking is excessive for your descent, then switch to a higher gear. You won't waste gas and you'll be in compliance with the law.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,931
    Personal opinions are one thing. Blanket statements about safety without any independent verification don't hold a lot of water. I appreciate voices in the wilderness and you have my respect for propping your vehicles up on 2x4s and testing stuff, but surely you can find me just one or two links that support your theory?

    I'd love to meet you at the Cracker Barrel (even if their ice box pie is kept frozen harder than a rock :) ). I'd even ride shotgun with you on the road - one of these years I'm going to remember to go watch the Bacchanalia. Or we can go skiing/riding up there (you can even drive my Outback).
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..in 2nd gear rather than in neutral and burn up my brake pads...."

    Well, first of all, brake pads are rather cheap to purchase and damnish easy to install vs transaxle clutch surfacing and install. But the more important point for me is your seeming willingness to put yourself, your passengers, and others on the road at risk only to conserve brake pads (and/or to make a point).

    There is, of course, the issue of overheating the brake components and thereby losing almost all, or all, braking capability but that can be prevented by pulling over once in awhile to allow them to cool. Our '71 Ford Station Wagon (oft referred to as the "Queen Mary", HEAVY, she was) was quite subject to that problem but mostly only on the downhill run from Mission Ridge outside Wenatchee.

    But think about ABS, what does it do, why is it so gold-darn important...??

    ABS has the ability to release braking on the front wheels (where 70-80% of brake HP is applied/expended) so you can still maintain directional control while braking as heavily (almost..) as conditions allow.

    How would you alleviate your van's 2nd gear engine compression braking to regain or maintain directional control on your FWD minivan should the need inadvertently arise...??

    Quickly shift into neutral..??

    That's why the AAA recommends practicing being able, and prepared, to quickly shift into neutral should the need inadvertently arise. (Hint: Knowing the "road", IT WILL...!!)
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,931
    I looked and couldn't find anything from the AAA and putting a car into neutral, other than trying to get unstuck. Seems like you had something one other time from them though. [edit, thanks for the link - note that they talk about putting the car in neutral after you skid, not while going down the snowy hill].

    As you may recall, Bogus Basin road is a narrow two lane road. There are lots of pull-outs but they are intended for letting people pass you, not for parking while your brakes cool down. I'll try to remember to snap a photo of the no parking signage next trip up.

    In all my 20 winters in Anchorage driving almost exclusively a FWD sedan and FWD minivans, I never experienced the back end passing me coming down the hill from Arctic Valley or just cruising around the area. And I'm not that skilled a driver.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Let's define "skid"...??!!

    Does it simply mean yaw is out of whack, out of line, or could it mean that the vehicle is still moving in the desired direction, say straight ahead, but the wheels are "locked" (skidding..??) due to low roadbed traction and engine compression braking (you choose, front, rear, or all four).

    Dangerous, potentially, either way, right...??

    Back in my days in MT I would often get down a slippery downhill slope, steep slope, (RWD/Auto) by lightly applying the e-brake. There were two positive effects from that, slight braking and sort of an anchor at the rear helping to hold the car in line, the behind remaining behind the front.

    Now think about why that may not work with FWD or F/AWD.

    You might ask why I didn't simply downshift, as you do.

    "control"
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I would, will ALWAYS, ignore the "No Parking" signs (or any "law") in favor of a life saving effort. If I got a ticket you better believe the judge would get an earfull.

    "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure..."

    Yes, the "shift into neutral is "after the fact", but the message is still quite clear.

    Luckily my days in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Barrow were pre-FWD.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "...Sorry, but you don't get to decide which laws are obsolete and can be neglected..."

    Well, actually I do, as do you.

    First, mostly, the law enforcement personnel typically do not attempt to enforce laws that are obsolete and are therefore unenforceable before a judge, at least a sensible judge. I have only been to court one time over one of these and the judge nearly laughed the prosecuting attorney out of the courtroom.

    But then the officer "read me out" in the hallway for having the gual to question her "authority". But I'd bet she never wrote another ticket for that reason.

    Can you really imagine any judge "validating" a parking ticket when a life saving decision was made adverse to the "law"...??

    NOT...!!

    Personally I can't even imagine an officer writing such a ticket.

    "..then switch to a higher gear.." "..be in compliance with the law"

    No.
  • I've raced cars on oval tracks and you know, severe compression braking will screw you up whether you are RWD or FWD. The only thing that's different is which way you hit the guard rails.

    I'm guilty of coasting down long straight hills just for the fun of it (how far can I go?) but never on an icy or snowy roads. I have an AWD car right now, but drove Saabs for many years, and a Scion xA, both FWD-ers. Touching the brakes in neutral will put you into a skid just as easily as engine compression but with ABS now the dangers are much less IMO, as the brakes do not lock (nor do the wheels lock in engine compression unless you are doing something quite radical, like downshifting to 1st gear at 40 mph).

    The trick of course on all slippery surfaces is "no sudden moves".
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,382
    Touching the brakes in neutral will put you into a skid just as easily as engine compression but with ABS now the dangers are much less IMO, as the brakes do not lock (nor do the wheels lock in engine compression unless you are doing something quite radical, like downshifting to 1st gear at 40 mph

    That says it all, Shifty, on a long slippery hill it is much safer to rely on engine braking while descending than coasting in neutral. Unlike Mr. West my experience on slippery roads is not limited to the occassional ski trip as I have lived in Northern New England for 35 years and driven AWD, FWD as well as RWD cars.
  • I certainly understand the effects of compression braking on a FWD car, but you know this would have to be a pretty radical maneuver, like downshifting from 5 to 2 racing downhill. Just lifting off the gas on a FWD car shouldn't make any difference.

    Of course, if you are on a snowy road, going fast around a turn, and you lift off abruptly to avoid an animal, say....well, that could get dicey with either FWD or RWD.

    I'd guess that on a RWD you'd get power-off understeer, and on a FWD, power-off oversteer.
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