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Thread: Slippery Kansas mud roads..like ice

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    Default Slippery Kansas mud roads..like ice

    More than once I have been bogged down chasing on wet muddy back roads in Kansas. Vehicle slides to the ditch even when stopped! Worse than ice, brakes get caked with mud, yet I get passed by small front wheel drive cars like its a normal road.
    What works best on these roads? 4 wheel drive, AWD, or front wheel drive?

  2. #2
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    Four wheel drive with locked front and rear axles providing power to all wheels. This is somewhat rare outside the serious four wheel drive community.

    I was using an AWD Honda Element on a high altitude road near Moab, UT in April. The dirt road was crowned in the middle with drainage channels on each side. There surface layer was a very slippery mud. At one point it became necessary to use high wheel speed (slippage) to generate enough thrust to stay out of the ditch. I'll have to admit it was challenging and fun driving.

    Front wheel drive is something like a 60-40 advantage or better over rear wheel drive. This is mainly due to more weight over the front wheels in the average vehicle. The fact that drive wheels can be turned can be a benefit to control as well. In each case you want traction to more wheels. The worst case scenario for traction is an open rear differential, causing most power or all power to travel through one rear wheel on slippery surfaces.

    Better than the open rear for traction is a limited slip or better yet a locked rear differential. While forward traction is better, in certain circumstances the tendacy for the rear end to move right an left in an 'oversteering' fashion can make the vehicle harder to drive.

  3. #3

    Default mud

    thanks Chris! That is the info i was looking for.

  4. #4

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    LSD on my lexus saved me in west texas despite rwd and low profile tires......I am a believer of muddy roads while chasing....It was a close call....

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    Member Cris Schroeder's Avatar
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    True 4WD with lockers would be best, but I've had good luck with the AWD on my Venture. Many of the AWD setups imitate true lockers using various gerotor or clutch setups. The Versatrak system on the Venture does a good job avoiding wheel spin left-to-right, and will dump something like 30% of the torque to the rear if needed. It doesn't sound like much but 30% at the rear can make a huge difference when you need it.

    The systems work on wheel speed differential, so sometimes you have to get on it pretty hard to make it lock up and turn all four wheels. It's point-and-click...point the front where you want it to go, and step on the gas.

    If your car has a standard open diff, try to keep both drive wheels in the same conditions and go light on the throttle. It's tempting to keep one wheel where the traction looks better, but all that does is dump the power to the slipping wheel.
    Cris Schroeder, KA5TWD
    http://www.stormscalephoto.com

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    Member Andrew Stoller's Avatar
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    Tires and tire pressure can make a dramatic difference as well. Half worn crummy tires at 45 psi will get you no where fast; quality all season tires with the correct air pressure will help a ton on a passenger car on a muddy road.

    I've practically 4 wheeled my Toyota Corolla while chasing to get out of hairy situations (stuck on muddy road crown sliding towards ditch) with BFG Precept Touring tires (Beefy all season tread) and plowed right out with ease where others were having to be pushed.

  7. #7
    Stormtrack supporter Jerry Prsha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kem Poyner View Post
    More than once I have been bogged down chasing on wet muddy back roads in Kansas. Vehicle slides to the ditch even when stopped! Worse than ice, brakes get caked with mud, yet I get passed by small front wheel drive cars like its a normal road.
    What works best on these roads? 4 wheel drive, AWD, or front wheel drive?
    Kem,

    I think that the tires are the real culprit here. I own a 4 wheel drive Jeep and without the proper tires, you're going to get stuck, no matter what you drive. But then again, pick your poison. A stronger tread means lower gas mileage.

    I guess your best bet (safest) would be to stay off the muddy roads in the first place?
    Jerry Prsha - St. Louis, MO
    "I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do.
    When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." Stephen Roberts

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    Stormtrack supporter Wesley Luginbyhl's Avatar
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    AWD is very handy. I chased for a couple years in my Eagle Talon AWD. It was low to the ground, so if I sank any I was screwed, but with the turbo on there it had pretty good power. I have gone to a Grand Cherokee AWD now. That vehicle is the only reason I had any luck on May 5th this year in KS. Spent most that day going down roads that I would not have even considered in any other vehicle. It was like a muddy/sandy mess, but with bad ruts everywhere. I went down even worse roads in the Panhandle this year. One road was all clay type mud with big ditches on both sides of the road. I would have slid off the road except for the baseball size hail provided some traction and I kept my tires in a rut so I would keep going straight. Longest 3 mile road of my life. I like AWD myself just because you dont ever have to worry about turning it on or anything like that. Good tires are must on roads like that regardless on the drivetrain.
    "Wrap me in a bolt of lightning, Send me on my way still smiling" - Shinedown
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    Member Adam Lucio's Avatar
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    My vehicle is RWD only, I have yet to get stuck and have traveled several muddy roads in Kansas but game closest in west central Wisconsin on March 25th of this year. I knew I was in a bit of a situation when I passed a sign that had a picture of an ATV with the word "only" on it. I find what works best is to coast through and keep light pressure on the gas, mashing on the pedal will cause the wheel to slip before it even gets traction, and thats where the bad times begin. I have good thick treds on the tires. Mud has never been a problem but snow is another story...

    Altho my next vehicle will be AWD just for this reason.

  10. #10
    Dan Robinson
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    These roads are not to be underestimated no matter the vehicle. In some cases, the mud really is like ice in that there will be no traction no matter the vehicle or tires. While some 4WDs might survive on them, they will only do so slowly. Those roads are chase-enders and to be avoided at all costs when they are wet. Some of them are bad enough even dry!

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