towing down hill on slick dirt road - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-25-2009, 08:56 AM   #1
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I have a 01 ranger with big wide tires that are very well suited for desert sand and rock and paved highway. On my alaska trip I will be going down long stretches of dirt/gravel road in the rain. Actually the road has a petro seal of some kind to keep the dust down but not enough to be considered a chip-seal road.
There is a six mile stretch of it that is18%!

Should I disconnect the sway bar? (probably)
put it in 4x4 low range?
2x4 low gear?
4x4 high range low gear?
How should the trailer bakes be used?

Any other hints?

Never done this one before on this kind of wet road. I feel safe going up it but right now a bit uncomfortable with going down.

My Casita should be around 3600 lbs and my ranger will be only say 5000 lbs

It is in encouraging to see RVs in photographs... like the one attached.

EDIT...
The tires on this truck have a huge footprint which makes it very easy to "ski".
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Old 04-25-2009, 02:50 PM   #2
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Should I disconnect the sway bar? (probably)
put it in 4x4 low range?
2x4 low gear?
4x4 high range low gear?
How should the trailer bakes be used?
Hi Ron,
You didn't say manual or automatic transmission. If it's automatic I believe you will find Ranger/Mazda don't hold in low gear. My 98 Mazda B2500 doesn't, and I did a test drive on an 08 4 x 4 which didn't either. I had to stop on a mountain service road 3 years ago in Vermont because the front brakes were smoking hot. I didn't have the trailer behind me but the brakes still got too hot because 2nd gear didn't hold the speed down low enough to negotiate all the turns(switchbacks). If it's a manual you should be ok. I was releasing the brakes as much as possible to reduce heat build up as opposed to dragging the brakes. You can usually tell who is dragging the brakes on a hill by the smell as they go by. Hot brakes don't smell very good.
Bill
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Old 04-25-2009, 04:47 PM   #3
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Hi Ron,
You didn't say manual or automatic transmission. If it's automatic I believe you will find Ranger/Mazda don't hold in low gear. My 98 Mazda B2500 doesn't, and I did a test drive on an 08 4 x 4 which didn't either. I had to stop on a mountain service road 3 years ago in Vermont because the front brakes were smoking hot. I didn't have the trailer behind me but the brakes still got too hot because 2nd gear didn't hold the speed down low enough to negotiate all the turns(switchbacks). If it's a manual you should be ok. I was releasing the brakes as much as possible to reduce heat build up as opposed to dragging the brakes. You can usually tell who is dragging the brakes on a hill by the smell as they go by. Hot brakes don't smell very good.
Bill
Thanks Bill.. it is an automatic 4x4 off road and I will definitely test that. I know I came down the tioga pass from Yosemite and I used very little (if any) brake. I think I was in 2x4 with overdrive clicked off but I don't remember but it was dry and paved so....

Anyway since I can select just about any back pressure I want with high/low range and can set the trailer brakes wherever I want... I would like to know if anyone has towed down a 18% grade with slick wet dirt.
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Old 04-25-2009, 09:39 PM   #4
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The makers of the friction sway control bars advise loosening or totally disconnecting the control on slippery roads (Wet, snow/ice or loose gravel -- You have two out of three...).

Definitely take it out of OD; my '98 Ranger 4.0L w/5spd auto has little engine braking power in OD, but it gets better the lower the gear, although I have yet to use mine on a serious grade with the trailer attached. Read your OM carefully as to transmission operation; for example, selecting 2 puts it in 2 ONLY, no 1 and no 3. I believe it has to be at a dead stop to shift into 4WD-Low, so keep that in mind.

Start slow and keep it slow -- Worst thing one can do is allow other drivers to dictate your speed in situations like that.

You can use 4WD safely on dirt or gravel because the wheels can slip if needed, unlike on pavement where you can get stressful 'windup' on curves/turns. That allows you access to much lower gearing, but it's still not like it was a manual transmission.

Also, you can apply the trailer brakes independently; I'd presume they are a lot less subject to brake fade because they don't have brake fluid to boil...

BTW, likely the road isn't 'dirt', but is gravel and there's a lot of difference between the two although many people (including myself once) use the terms interchangeably.

The road down into Telegraph Creek BC, off the Cassiar Hwy, is gravel and has stretches of 18% and 20% grades -- I've had my Scamp down there but had a stick at the time, so going in was not as much concern as getting back out!


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Old 04-26-2009, 10:07 AM   #5
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The makers of the friction sway control bars advise loosening or totally disconnecting the control on slippery roads (Wet, snow/ice or loose gravel -- You have two out of three...).


[b]I thought as much. I tend not to drive in snow and rain but going north this summer I am bound to get lots of wet roads

Definitely take it out of OD; my '98 Ranger 4.0L w/5spd auto has little engine braking power in OD, but it gets better the lower the gear, although I have yet to use mine on a serious grade with the trailer attached. Read your OM carefully as to transmission operation; for example, selecting 2 puts it in 2 ONLY, no 1 and no 3. I believe it has to be at a dead stop to shift into 4WD-Low, so keep that in mind.

[b]I am pretty sure you are right about clicking out of OD. I can stay in low and it wont kick out. I can be rolling and switch in and out of 4WD but have to dead stop in neutral to put it in and out of low range 4WD.

Start slow and keep it slow -- Worst thing one can do is allow other drivers to dictate your speed in situations like that.

[b]Slow... yeah. I may go so slow I don't go down. That's pretty slow.

You can use 4WD safely on dirt or gravel because the wheels can slip if needed, unlike on pavement where you can get stressful 'windup' on curves/turns. That allows you access to much lower gearing, but it's still not like it was a manual transmission.

Also, you can apply the trailer brakes independently; I'd presume they are a lot less subject to brake fade because they don't have brake fluid to boil...

[b]SO you do what? keep moving the prodigy lever back and forth? or just set a bit more drag than normal and let my tuck brakes work them.

BTW, likely the road isn't 'dirt', but is gravel and there's a lot of difference between the two although many people (including myself once) use the terms interchangeably.

[b]No, dirt. Dirt on top of gravel. Like my long driveway. Over time and with rain the gravel gets pushed down and dirt comes up over the top. But unlike a pure dirt road you don't sink in. Nevertheless I will have an inch of slick mud on top of the gravel. One person calls the hill "sliker'n snot" when it rains.

The road down into Telegraph Creek BC, off the Cassiar Hwy, is gravel and has stretches of 18% and 20% grades -- I've had my Scamp down there but had a stick at the time, so going in was not as much concern as getting back out!

[b]You are my HERO! You did the Telegraph Creek road? I was wanting to do it in my egg just to do it but from the pictures I have seen there is not that much to see. I don't believe the scary talk about don't take a trailer and you proved it!!! An egg is not anything like a normal "trailer".
Besides large truck and trailers get supplies back there and I am sure I can go anywhere they can.
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Old 04-26-2009, 01:46 PM   #6
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Oh now that's a clever work-around for not being able to quote and respond to discrete blocks of text. Thanks - I'm going to use that!

Raya
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Old 04-26-2009, 03:55 PM   #7
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That road is *nothing* compared to Utah 261 between Mexican Hat and Natural Bridges NM, aka Moki Dugway Road, in SE Utah. If you look very carefully at your Rand-McNally page for Utah, you will see that a part of the red road is not *solid* red, but just two thin red lines...

Although only 8% or 10% grade, it is about 2.5 miles of constant washboarded gravel road with no guardrails climbing up the side of the mesa. Originally cut as a road for uranium ore trucks to creep up and down, like trucks in an open pit mine, there are several sets of big signs warning No Trailers or Motorhomes!! before you get there.

I let a local RV park owner, who used to drive the ore trucks, talk me into hauling my over-weight Jayco 16' up that route and my seat cover will never be the same. When you are in first gear, bouncing towards the edge on the washboarding, the lack of guard rails suddenly gains importance! I quickly discovered that the washboarding is much less on the down side of the road and was fortunate enough to have little traffic that day -- Also, when making a right-hand switchback turn, keep to the left because the grade is not as steep.

Nothing like that feeling of being in your lowest gear, with pedal on the floor, feeling it all slowly slowing down.... Had that same feeling with same truck and trailer once in Vermont on the Lincoln and Warren Gap roads!

Much nicer having a lighter Scamp to pull!

BTW, at the top, Moki Dugway, if you take the first dirt road to the left and follow it long enough, it will take you out to Muley Point, a fantastic dry place to camp, just inside the border of the Glen Canyon Natl Rec Area. Spectacular views of Monument Valley and the Goosenecks of the San Juan River -- At night, the only lights are the aircraft heading to/from Salt Lake City.
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Old 04-26-2009, 04:26 PM   #8
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"I don't believe the scary talk about don't take a trailer and you proved it!!! An egg is not anything like a normal "trailer". Besides large truck and trailers get supplies back there and I am sure I can go anywhere they can."

I doubt they use a large truck to deliver supplies in there, just some short-bodied cargo truck. There was a bit of a problem getting it all turned around at the bottom and some disappointment that the restaurant was closed that day for a private birthday party, so I couldn't get a cup of coffee, but it was a fun side trip.

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Besides not fitting the usual definition of "Trailer" in terms of size, with the small trailers one has the option of unhitching and moving the egg around by hand.

I now also have a front receiver hitch on my Ranger for additional options -- By hitching the egg to the front, and removing the gravel guard so I can see through, I could move it a long ways backwards with relative ease compared to backing it -- Haven't needed to do that yet.

Got stuck in a Spring soft-shoulder ditch on my Alaska trip and didn't try to power it out -- Just unhitched, pulled truck up onto hard part of road, put towline on egg and dragged it out.

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That wasn't an option for this MH near Chicken AK (BTW, that was a heavily traveled road from Dawson YT, through Chicken and down to the AlCan near Tok AK.

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Old 04-27-2009, 02:40 PM   #9
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That road is *nothing* compared to Utah 261 between Mexican Hat and Natural Bridges NM, aka Moki Dugway Road, in SE Utah. If you look very carefully at your Rand-McNally page for Utah, you will see that a part of the red road is not *solid* red, but just two thin red lines...

Pete I have driven every state road in Southern Utah (where I have lived for eight years) at least all south of I 70 and on the Arizona strip and the most common county roads too. 261 is a well maintained state highway but it gets lots of traffic and traffic makes washboards so in some cases one dirt/gravel road could be better or worse than any other depending on when they were last graded and how many cars and at what speed the travel. 261 is way wide though compared to say Smoky Mountain county road out of Big Water. You wold not want to pull an egg up that one.


BTW, at the top, Moki Dugway, if you take the first dirt road to the left and follow it long enough, it will take you out to Muley Point, a fantastic dry place to camp, just inside the border of the Glen Canyon Natl Rec Area. Spectacular views of Monument Valley and the Goosenecks of the San Juan River -- At night, the only lights are the aircraft heading to/from Salt Lake City.

I have heard about muley many times here but I have never gone out there. Next time up I'll have a look see.
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Old 04-27-2009, 02:45 PM   #10
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I doubt they use a large truck to deliver supplies in there

this guy is pulling a 25-30 foot semi trailer down telegraph creek road in the winter on ice!
<a href="
/watch?v=yJC1RxYKdXo</a>
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Old 04-27-2009, 02:55 PM   #11
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Wow.
Don,t think I want to ever get that close to cliffs like that while towing especially.
Yikes
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Old 04-27-2009, 03:07 PM   #12
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but that view was spectacular!!! that was in Utah. man its nice out there!
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Old 04-27-2009, 07:01 PM   #13
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but that view was spectacular!!! that was in Utah. man its nice out there!
Oh no.. not Utah. This is the road into Telegraph Creek from Dease Lake British Columbia. I just got an email from my info-sink in Dease lake and he says it is more common to haul in supplies in The winter than in the summer. In the summer (as Pete showed) the road is too soft to swing a hauling tractor out to the clear edge as you see this guy doing in the video. They really want the ground frozen! LOL

Here is the other video showing the Truck and trailer going down the road.

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Old 04-27-2009, 11:18 PM   #14
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When I camped at Muley Point, during the day there were a lot of those tour SUVs with the luggage on top stopping by for the views. BTW, one wants to be careful where one walks around out there because the very fragile macrobiotic soil growths are easily damaged and the recovery time is in years!

My hat's off to guys who would drive a large truck into Telegraph Creek!
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