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Old 12th August 2018, 14:41   #166
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Default Re: What's your technique when driving uphill?

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I came across an article today from CarTorq (Link) regarding a video of a ZoomCar Ecosport finding it difficult to climb a slippery section of the Kasol-Tosh road which Alto 800s could do so easily (as per CarTorq)
After watching that video I am hard put to call that road as a climb. Sure there are a few bumps that the car will have to climb over but it is mostly a flat road.

The way the front tyres are spinning, the primary culprit seems to be the tyres indeed. Apart from being worn the tread pattern is straight grooves meant to pick up speed on a tarred road, but useless in the slippery terrain shown in the video.

Initially I too thought it was driver error, but multiple drivers and two cars struggling indicates it's the tyres.

It's a good thing one of the passers by got the passengers out.

Last edited by honeybee : 12th August 2018 at 14:55.
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Old 22nd November 2018, 00:03   #167
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Default Re: What's your technique when driving uphill?

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The way the front tyres are spinning, the primary culprit seems to be the tyres indeed. Apart from being worn the tread pattern is straight grooves meant to pick up speed on a tarred road, but useless in the slippery terrain shown in the video.

It's a good thing one of the passers by got the passengers out.
Any ideas for mainstream tyres in 155/70R13 that will work better on such terrains? Asking because i travel such roads and need to change my tyres soon.

You say its good that the passengers got out.
As you said above the road is mostly flat. It does not look like the car is running out of power to climb up the road which would be helped by reducing weight of the car. The problem seems to be less traction of the tyres which causes them to spin.

In such a case, shouldnt more weight lead to more traction between tyre and road (assuming engine develops enough torque to move that load)? So shouldn't more weight in the car actually help in such a situation?

Last edited by guptavis : 22nd November 2018 at 00:04.
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Old 22nd November 2018, 05:06   #168
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Default Re: What's your technique when driving uphill?

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1. Evaluate the gradient before you start the climb from the plains. This does not mean you have to stop, get down and peer at the hill! Merely a studied glance will help you understand how steep the incline is.

2. Understand your car and its limitations especially low end tractability / driveability. For example an Esteem with its tall gearing and tepid mid range needs to be in a gear lower than compared to say a crude Tata Sumo 3.0Litre D.I. with oodles of low end torque.

3. Based on Point - 2, choose your "climbing gear".

4. Remember, if you are driving a manual transmission car, please treat the clutch as a switch: Its "ON" or "OFF". Restrict temptation to slip the clutch. A fried clutch lining is the last thing you need at altitudes!

5. Never ever shift / change gears mid-bend/mid-hairpin. Before approaching a hairpin, SHIFT down and take the curve in one smooth motion under steady throttle, which keeps the engine in the meat of the powerband. (People who have driven up Pankhabari Road in Darjeeling district in column-shift Ye Ole Ambassadors will understand what I mean)

6. When climbing steep slopes, keep an eye out and above for vehicles coming down. Chances are if you spot a descending vehicle in advance you can "line-up" your "climbing vehicle" more appropriately along the road, yet maintain a smooth momentum.

7. Climbing gradients at night, use dip beams as the main beams will only throw the light beam off the cliff


Clearly Sir, you are either a permanent resident of the “hills” or you are an expert driver.

For me, it is such a pleasure to see such solid advice on hill driving techniques in plain black and white.

Having spent my entire growing up years in the hills and having indeed “cut my teeth” (in a driving sense) on those old Massey Ferguson Tractors, Mahindra Jeeps and Hindustan Ambassadors of old, amongst the verdant hills and valleys of the Nilgiris, Coorg, Chikmagalur and Munnar and Anamalais, I cannot agree more with all that you have said above.

It is far too often I observe, that the “plainsmen”, under-estimate the nuances of hill driving and consequently end up paying the price.
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Old 22nd November 2018, 07:28   #169
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Default Re: What's your technique when driving uphill?

Recently we went on a vacation to Sikkim. I was totally in love with the way one of the drivers was handling the hills. It was literally a poetry in the making - best hill driving I have experienced till date.

Non-aggressive, defensive, very respectful of other road users, diligent use of high and low beams, the right speed where even as a passenger I could absolutely relate to being in total control without being either too fast or too slow, smooth acceleration and declarations even on bad road stretches, not once in that entire journey of north and south Sikkim did the vehicle shudder or gear grind, not a single instance of riding the clutch, very fluent travel up and downhill, no instance of panic breaking - I was in love.

If people have visited Rabindranath's residence (museum?) in Kolkata, there is a place where during his travel he's describing men at work. Most elegant expressions I have read on such description. I totally wished Mr. Tagore could have experienced this driving and given us the opportunity to read his description of it!
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Old 22nd November 2018, 07:48   #170
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Default Re: What's your technique when driving uphill?

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...
In such a case, shouldnt more weight lead to more traction between tyre and road (assuming engine develops enough torque to move that load)? So shouldn't more weight in the car actually help in such a situation?
Added weight of the passengers would hinder the car from getting momentum is what I think. Lighter the car, easier to gain momentum and pass the stretch.
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Old 22nd November 2018, 13:31   #171
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Default Re: What's your technique when driving uphill?

I follow the technique of slow and constant rpm on lower gear method when driving uphill. I try to maintain a consistent speed, so don't shift gears often. I stay close to outer edge of the road and follow the curves, this gives me lot of time to react at hairpin bends. I think slow and steady driving is the best approach to drive uphill.
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Old 23rd November 2018, 18:42   #172
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Default Re: What's your technique when driving uphill?

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Clearly Sir, you are either a permanent resident of the “hills” or you are an expert driver.

For me, it is such a pleasure to see such solid advice on hill driving techniques in plain black and white.

Having spent my entire growing up years in the hills and having indeed “cut my teeth” (in a driving sense) on those old Massey Ferguson Tractors, Mahindra Jeeps and Hindustan Ambassadors of old, amongst the verdant hills and valleys of the Nilgiris, Coorg, Chikmagalur and Munnar and Anamalais, I cannot agree more with all that you have said above.

It is far too often I observe, that the “plainsmen”, under-estimate the nuances of hill driving and consequently end up paying the price.
Hardly an expert Shankar! Like you, I too have grown up driving in the hills of North Bengal and Sikkim in vehicles you so name!
Those were the days of underpowered automobiles with unassisted steering systems , non-booster brakes, non synchro gearboxes, SOLEX carb (for Amby's) and DeLLorto carb fed Fiat's and handbrakes mounted in impossible positions for you to reach for hill starts!
But it was fun! It honed your skills behind the wheel, taught you understand your own limits and ingrained an extra sensor in your brain to understand every millimetre of the car to push it to the limit but not a millimetre beyond, for the simple reason your life depended on the blessed machine ! You had to understand the car, it's myriad moods, how to coax it out of its many whims, appreciate its goodness and gently rebuke it's recalcitrance with a firm hand & foot :-)

Now with ultra reliable cars and powerful engines the youngsters of today will never know the thrill of double de-clutching with a non-synchro gearbox in a one - in - five gradient or pumping the brake pedal furiously , on an equivalent descent , of a drum brake setup, on an aging Ambassador, trying to simulate in vain, a crude version of a human operated ABS system , AND at the same time toggling with your left foot , (in an Ambassador)the left foot operated headlight dipper !
Boy , oh boy , those were the days of "Live To Drive" 👍
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Old 23rd November 2018, 18:51   #173
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Default Re: What's your technique when driving uphill?

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s with unassisted steering systems , non-booster brakes, non synchro gearboxes, SOLEX carb (for Amby's) and DeLLorto carb fed Fiat's and handbrakes mounted in impossible positions for you to reach for hill starts!

r life depended on the blessed machine ! You had to understand the car, it's myriad moods, how to coax it out of its many whims, appreciate its goodness and gently rebuke it's recalcitrance with a firm hand & foot :-)

Now with ultra reliable cars and powerful engines the youngsters of today will never know the thrill of double de-clutching with a non-synchro gearbox in a one - in - five gradient or pumping the brake pedal furiously , on an equivalent descent , of a drum brake setup, on an aging Ambassador, trying to simulate in vain, a crude version of a human operated ABS system , AND at the same time toggling with your left foot , (in an Ambassador)the left foot operated headlight dipper !
Boy , oh boy , those were the days of "Live To Drive" 👍

Ooh yes! The old Solex Carb (changed for a Mikuni in our Amby a little later) and then the double de clutching technique, heel and toe method and yes most certainly, pumping the brakes furiously during rainy weather to rid them of any water logging...and of course that foot operated silver dipper.

We had a good set of Dunlop 2001 Radials on our Amby and they were fun to drive on, since their grip was just soooo much more than the old Firestone Nylons which were on that car before these...

And driving our old MM540DP at good speeds on the 14Kms of scenic, lovely, winding road between Kotagiri and Coonoor or the 32 km stretch between Kotagiri and Ooty via Doddabetta.

Even today, those roads give me a lot of happiness, to drive along....carefree...

A good life.
Great experiences.

Today’s young ‘uns will never even understand those old thrills.
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Old 23rd November 2018, 21:00   #174
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Default Re: What's your technique when driving uphill?

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Hardly an expert Shankar! Like you, I too have grown up driving in the hills of North Bengal and Sikkim in vehicles you so name!
Tried coming down Pankhabari in an Ambassador?!


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Those were the days of underpowered automobiles with unassisted steering systems , non-booster brakes, non synchro gearboxes, SOLEX carb (for Amby's) and DeLLorto carb fed Fiat's and handbrakes mounted in impossible positions for you to reach for hill starts!
And before the Solex, there was the SU. For initial grunt, the Solex was better.

Incidentally could always smoothly double declutch into first in the Jeep 3 speed. Not so in the 4 speed. Considering that the 4 speed was more 'modern' (it was a Kia design) wonder why it had an unsynchronised first.

Though I don't baby my cars, I do think I have mechanical empathy. Still twice gearboxes have given way with me driving in the hills.

Never fried a clutch though. But with these modern turbodiesels, guess it is only a matter of time.

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 23rd November 2018, 21:13   #175
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Default Re: What's your technique when driving uphill?

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Tried coming down Pankhabari in an Ambassador?!



And before the Solex, there was the SU. For initial grunt, the Solex was better.

Incidentally could always smoothly double declutch into first in the Jeep 3 speed. Not so in the 4 speed. Considering that the 4 speed was more 'modern' (it was a Kia design) wonder why it had an unsynchronised first.

Though I don't baby my cars, I do think I have mechanical empathy. Still twice gearboxes have given way with me driving in the hills.

Never fried a clutch though. But with these modern turbodiesels, guess it is only a matter of time.

Regards
Sutripta

The modern Turbodiesels - like my Yeti. Climbing up the Sigur Ghats and the steep hairpin bends there, it is useful to create a little momentum on the straights and take the bends in second, provided one has the experience to do so. Else it is far more sensible to come to a dead halt and take the bend in first. However bad for the ego, this may be, it certainly helps save some serious pocket damage on account of fried clutches and assorted garnishing...
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