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Gear Selection, manual Transmission

Correct gear selection is the single most important factor for a successful off road experience. Know your vehicle and things like: what is it’s most effective engine rpm range? which gear to select for each situation?

These can be found in the owner’s manual and gained through experience. It is always advisable to stop short of an obstacle and consider the proper gear to use.

Here are some additional guidelines

  • The usual guideline is to use the highest possible gear you can. The lower the gear, the more chance there is of spinning wheels and digging yourself to a full stop. The main exception to this is down hill. Always use first gear (low) when descending and let the truck’s engine do the breaking.
  • Never use the clutch while negotiating difficult terrain. Wheels with out constant power could be brought to a halt by Hills, Mud, or Sand.
  • Do not slip the clutch. This only induces premature clutch wear. It is better to select a lower gear that allows the vehicle to continue through the obstacle without stopping.
  • Do not drive with your foot resting on the clutch pedal. If you should hit a bump or depression it could cause you to depress the clutch and loose momentum. It also leads to premature clutch wear.
  • When going up hill select your second gear, in low range, and allow enough throttle to give yourself a small amount of momentum but still giving you the control to make changes in direction if required. Always remember “slow as possible, fast as necessary”. Try to avoid going too fast and causing ‘bounce’ from your suspension, this will cause you to lose traction or break a half shaft (or even both). Look for the route you planned before, staying in ruts if possible. If and when gravity starts to beat traction, gently feather the throttle and slowly move the steering wheel side to side, hopefully this will allow you to gain some more traction.
  • When descending chose the most suitable and the safest route, trying to stay within the ruts to guide you down. Select first gear, low range and keep both feet off all the pedals. Use engine braking until you reach the base of the hill! Don’t fight the wheel but guide it gently, always allowing that you must descend the hill as near the gradient line as possible, i.e. the shortest way down the hill.
  • If you find that engine braking is not sufficient for a comfortable controlled decent gently and occasionally touch the beak pedal to the point where the break just engages. Use your left foot for the brake pedal, keeping your right foot over the accelerator in case a wheel locks up. If a wheel locks up, take your foot off the brake pedal and plant it firmly on the floor. You can gently ‘blip’ the throttle to bring the speed of the wheels up to the speed of the truck’s momentum.

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