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Day off roading in a standard R.R. at Bala


C.J.
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My mate very kindly and trustingly lent me his 1996 Rangey HSE :blink: to discover it's merits off road on a purpose built off road site just outside Bala, N.Wales, today.

Bloody stunning is the only word I can use to describe it. :o

Standard road tyres, in fact totally standard car and it simply went places I would never have believed, and probably more if my bottle hadn't gone.

May have been something to do with his words before we all started though actually.

"Damage it, and you've bought it" ;)

Considering I've only really ever been serious off roading once before, and that was 12 years ago, I was quite amazed at what I'd remembered tbh. The so so big temptation to brake when going down a steep and slippy slope is so damned difficult to resist though, and I must admit to having a little dab now and again when things were getting a bit too fast and rough for my liking.

The low decent ratio on the auto box is just not low enough....IMO. Is that a general and valid observation, or was I just being a big wuss? Is the manual version easier to control in such conditions, or was I simply doing something wrong?

Anyway, the air suspension on high setting held up, and suprisingly the car didn't appear to bottom out at all considering some of the terrain on that site.

All in all, a damned good experience, and a cracking off road car, even though it recorded only 10mpg for the day. Good job it's had a gas conversion.

Biggest heartache was cleaning it afterwards! :D

Sorry. Just noticed the 'Getting out there' section. Should this have been posted in there?

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Considering I've only really ever been serious off roading once before, and that was 12 years ago, I was quite amazed at what I'd remembered tbh. The so so big temptation to brake when going down a steep and slippy slope is so damned difficult to resist though, and I must admit to having a little dab now and again when things were getting a bit too fast and rough for my liking.

The low decent ratio on the auto box is just not low enough....IMO. Is that a general and valid observation, or was I just being a big wuss? Is the manual version easier to control in such conditions, or was I simply doing something wrong?

As a flag waver for the slushbox, it is my preferred option. Yes, on very steep descents you do need to use cadence braking due to the slip from the torque convertor but it's a very small downside.

The manual is of course better for descents but in my opinion, that is it's only benefit.

With it's heritage the 38a is bound to be good, my only reservations are all the electrics and the fact that it's an ugly truck when compared to the 'Classic'. I have to say I have grown to respect the vehicle though despite my personal feelings. If the electrics can be maintained or worked around when the vehicle is past it's sell by date, we might well see a good few on the off road courses.

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Did you have that dropped in there by helicopter q-rover? ;)

Not very mucky.

Just given this beast a proper wash this morning....gonna have to 'dig' the path clean now. :rolleyes:

Much to my dismay, I've found some damage to the front bumper albeit fairly light, and the o/s fog lamp is full of muddy water.

Could do with some rain now to wash the underside properly.

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my only reservations are all the electrics

If the electrics can be maintained or worked around when the vehicle is past it's sell by date, we might well see a good few on the off road courses.

Yea, so I've noticed :rolleyes:

Radio goes off and on at random, front heated screen doesn't work, suspension can be very lazy going up sometimes, taking up to 10 minutes to rise, but apart from that and 14/15 mpg (but equating to the high 20's on gas by comparison around town, but high teens on a run,) it's a really fantastic 'sofa' to drive. All driving aggression has disappeared since driving it. Amazing machine!

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Did you have that dropped in there by helicopter q-rover? ;)

Not very mucky.

Just given this beast a proper wash this morning....gonna have to 'dig' the path clean now. :rolleyes:

Much to my dismay, I've found some damage to the front bumper albeit fairly light, and the o/s fog lamp is full of muddy water.

Could do with some rain now to wash the underside properly.

Nope got up there all by itself, hardly went over 1000RPM.

The thing is although it looks boggy, there is a lot of granite

bedrock. So not much wheelspinning, but there are some serious diff,

gearbox and suspension mount killers (and they have claimed killed)

out there if you do not pick the right path.

Oh and the sheer drops on one side as you drive up the mountain to the plateau.

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The so so big temptation to brake when going down a steep and slippy slope is so damned difficult to resist though, and I must admit to having a little dab now and again when things were getting a bit too fast and rough for my liking.

The low decent ratio on the auto box is just not low enough....IMO. Is that a general and valid observation, or was I just being a big wuss? Is the manual version easier to control in such conditions, or was I simply doing something wrong?

I remember buying into that one when I started off-roading...

Took a mate on a (very easy) off road course - talking him through a short descent went something like this:

me: "Low range first, stay off the brakes and and just let it down on the engine"

Whoosh, BANG!!!

me: "Okay, next time use the brakes..." :lol:

On the P38a you've got ABS, so you don't even need to worry about cadence braking.

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So come on then. We must have a BORDA or equivelant instructor in here.

What's the official and best way to descend a steep obstacle ridden hill off road? Careful and selective braking where deemed to be most 'grippy', or just hold your breath, hope and steer? :blink:

Just another quick question too. I asked was it ok to stop the car by simply turning the ignition off...being an automatic, as opposed to a manual that should and can be. No one seemed to be absolutely sure on that one, so I didn't, just to be on the safe side of potential gearbox damage.

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Ummm,

Just because it's an automatic doesn't prevent you selecting 1st gear manually for steep down hill bits.

P38a has low ratio descent option that I assume locks it into 1st low ratio with diff lock?

Feel free to correct me if i'm wrong.

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Both classic an 38a auto boxes can be held in 1st for decents. However, as stated right at the beginning of this thread, the gear ratio and the slip in the torque converter (don't know if the 38's box locks the converter in low range...?) results in more rapid decents than one would like. ABS is no good at low speed as it does cut out.

IMHO cadence braking is the only way to get down some slopes with an auto. Even then you' find yourself at the bottom pretty quickly!!

Would still have an auto over a manual though. :D

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I remember reading in one of the comics that the US 'guru' Bill Burke

uses N and brakes to descend the 'Lions Back' as he reckons this gives best control.

I would argue that the method of descendt would depend on the surface you are travelling on.

No way would I use that metod on a snow/ ice covered slope.

But after having 2 defenders ( both manual) and now my 2nd RR

(both Auto) I prefer auto over manual.

But diseasel does give better compression braking over petrol.

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The low decent ratio on the auto box is just not low enough....IMO. Is that a general and valid observation, or was I just being a big wuss? Is the manual version easier to control in such conditions, or was I simply doing something wrong?

Did you have the mode button pressed to make the gearbox go into manual mode when you were in low box?

You have to stick it in low, and then press the button to light up the green "MANUAL" indicator beside the button. That forces the gearbox to listen to the gearstick position and not make assumptions on changing gear. This comes in handy for hill decents when you pull the stick back to 1 and it'll force the box to stay in 1st the whole time regardless.

It can be a bit fast yes, the V8's dont have the same engine limiting ability as say the diesels, but it should be adequate.

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So come on then. We must have a BORDA or equivelant instructor in here.

What's the official and best way to descend a steep obstacle ridden hill off road? Careful and selective braking where deemed to be most 'grippy', or just hold your breath, hope and steer? :blink:

Sorry don't have that much money but I do give instruction to our members when required. Nothig formal, but it sets them up right and hopefully keeps them safe on our courses.

The basics of course as Geoff stated, "Feet off the pedals and away we go". I always tell them, even if they are driving a manual, that a slushbox needs special considerations. I normally (at least on the original RR's I've driven) on approach, left foot brake and rev the engine a bit. This increases the pressure in the box and helps provide a little more engine braking (or so i am reliably informed - it seems to work anyhow) although it seems a totally alien thing to do.

Just another quick question too. I asked was it ok to stop the car by simply turning the ignition off...being an automatic, as opposed to a manual that should and can be. No one seemed to be absolutely sure on that one, so I didn't, just to be on the safe side of potential gearbox damage.

Switching the engine off while driving will lose pressure through the box causing the motor to freewheel. I also never leave the vehicle in P with the engine running for more than a few seconds without shifting to N and applying the handbrake. When in P the oil pressure in the box is very low and will damage it if left for long periods.

I might just add that the notes above refer to my experiences with the ZF 4HP 22 with both LT230 and BW transfer cases.

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Switching the engine off while driving will lose pressure through the box causing the motor to freewheel. I also never leave the vehicle in P with the engine running for more than a few seconds without shifting to N and applying the handbrake. When in P the oil pressure in the box is very low and will damage it if left for long periods.

Thanks for that Deano.

Never having owned an auto before I find your commentts most helpful.

I find that 'on road' I'm using it just like a manual tbh.

Pull up at the traffic lights, slip it into neutral and apply the handbrake. Seems so alien to me to just leave my foot on the footbrake while the car is trying to pull away. Must put extra strain on the gearbox leaving it in D surely?

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Nope, it'll be ok as it's designed to accept the heat build-up during short stalls like that. However, the inconvenience to following road users especially at night while the brake lights blind them, is worth consideration.

For the amount of time required to engage D and slip the handbrake off it's worth doing in my opinion.

Re shifting manually, it's something I used to do while towing as I found I could determine better points for changes based on local knowledge and view of the road than the gearbox would. Didn't often do that while solo though.

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