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snow and lakes, need advice on getting unstuck

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Old 01-23-2011, 09:14 AM   #1
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Lightbulb snow and lakes, need advice on getting unstuck

So yesterday I got a chance to take the new Tacoma out to Big Sandy Lake (Northern MN) to do a little ice fishing. I got the Taco stuck a few times and managed to get it out OK. After I came back I read some off-roading posts here and wanted some more advice.

(The truck is an 07' Taco Off Road package 6spd with 5100s all around. ~1" up front and TSB done on the rear. No traction control. Michelin LTX A/T2 265/75R16 tires.)

To give you an idea of the terrain here, there was about 2-4" of fresh fluffy snow on top, 2-3" of packed snow below, then 2-3" of hard slush, before about 24" - 30" of solid ice. Combine this with temps between -25f degree (up to -40f with windchills) lows and 5f degree highs. We're in the heart of MN outdoors.

When I got stuck I was generally unable to rock myself forward. The truck basically kept digging itself through the soft snow and onto the ice. So 6"-9" deep in soft snow, I had to 4Lo reverse out and get a running start again. (Only once early in the morning did I have to throw on the e-lock.) I know now I probably could have saved myself some aggravation by deflating the tires.

So here are the questions:
1. Is it OK to reverse long distances in 4Hi / 4Lo / E-locker? The truck floats so much better in reverse.

2. A few times I got stuck, if I gave it too much gas in 4Lo the transmission/transfer would shake and the truck wouldn't budge. Everytime this happened I would ride the clutch to ease off the tranny or just press the clutch pedal down and try again. Is this normal? What's the proper technique when this happens?

3. When I got really stuck, I heard the front-end pop a few times. Not really loud, similar to what happens when you try to reverse-turn on dry-pavement 4Hi. When that happened, I let off the gas, straightened out the steering wheel if needed and reversed. Then I try to rock myself out again. Have I done any damage to the drivetrain? And am I doing something wrong?

Overall, the truck did very well. It is definitely a capable truck, but as we all know it really just depends on the driver. So any help is appreciated!

Picture related: The truck is parked on top of the packed snow. Hard slush is right below it.
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:39 AM   #2
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So here are the questions:
1. Is it OK to reverse long distances in 4Hi / 4Lo / E-locker? The truck floats so much better in reverse.

2. A few times I got stuck, if I gave it too much gas in 4Lo the transmission/transfer would shake and the truck wouldn't budge. Everytime this happened I would ride the clutch to ease off the tranny or just press the clutch pedal down and try again. Is this normal? What's the proper technique when this happens?

3. When I got really stuck, I heard the front-end pop a few times. Not really loud, similar to what happens when you try to reverse-turn on dry-pavement 4Hi. When that happened, I let off the gas, straightened out the steering wheel if needed and reversed. Then I try to rock myself out again. Have I done any damage to the drivetrain? And am I doing something wrong?

Overall, the truck did very well. It is definitely a capable truck, but as we all know it really just depends on the driver. So any help is appreciated!

Picture related: The truck is parked on top of the packed snow. Hard slush is right below it.[/QUOTE]

i love ice fishin! as far as your questions' i think its fine to reverse in 4hi/4lo, for miles if you have too its never hurt mine not sure about the popping. mine has never made any noises like that, but its a first gen and i dont know whats different about the new ones. the tranny shake is probably just because everything was loaded up and the clutch was slipping and trying to grab. im not an expert just my thoughts and bigger tires aired down will help you float way better on the snow. did you catch any fish?
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:08 AM   #3
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The shaking was the torque fighting the snow. Use your common sence as to when to back off the pedal.

Adding weight to an empty bed should make a world of difference... Why driving in reverse was better... the weight in back helps the natural effect of a heavy only front end plowing or knifing into the snow.

I am no snow driving expert, so I would like to hear from others, too.
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:08 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunTzu View Post
So here are the questions:
1. Is it OK to reverse long distances in 4Hi / 4Lo / E-locker? The truck floats so much better in reverse.

As far as I know, you're fine going in reverse. I did set off my ABS spinning in reverse though, trying to get unstuck... Not sure if that's related. Would be much easier driving forward though... Just deflate the tires already!

2. A few times I got stuck, if I gave it too much gas in 4Lo the transmission/transfer would shake and the truck wouldn't budge. Everytime this happened I would ride the clutch to ease off the tranny or just press the clutch pedal down and try again. Is this normal? What's the proper technique when this happens?

Was it axle hop you were experiencing?

3. When I got really stuck, I heard the front-end pop a few times. Not really loud, similar to what happens when you try to reverse-turn on dry-pavement 4Hi. When that happened, I let off the gas, straightened out the steering wheel if needed and reversed. Then I try to rock myself out again. Have I done any damage to the drivetrain? And am I doing something wrong?

Not a clue. The front is an open differential, maybe what you heard was one tire catching and the power then being shot to the other side. You might have been hearing some popping because your traction was changing side to side and the tires catching, then spinning put some strain on the diff. Whenever you get stuck and have to beat on it more than normal, it doesn't hurt to give it a visual inspection afterwards. I doubt you did anything to your truck. Does 4wd still engage and operate fine?

Overall, the truck did very well. It is definitely a capable truck, but as we all know it really just depends on the driver. So any help is appreciated!

Picture related: The truck is parked on top of the packed snow. Hard slush is right below it.
Sounds like a good time!!
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:41 AM   #5
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Rebaltec: did you catch any fish?
Not a single one! The other guys that went along caught 1-2 each. We cut a couple fishes open and their bellies were full of grubs. Big fish, but they just kept looking at us and didn't bite.

Pugga: Was it axle hop you were experiencing?
I would expect the rear wheels pushing snow out, minimizing axle hop. It felt like the shaking was from the front. Maybe a result of sudden traction or loss of traction. I'll also have to take a look at the transmission and engine mounts.

Goggle did find this product to solve "shifter slap" http://4xinnovations.com/p-TCC1326.html

Pugga: Does 4wd still engage and operate fine?
Works fine in Hi/Lo/e-lock. Drove home in 2WD and 4Hi in a few stretches. Everything engages and disengages smoothly, no audible clunks or anothing just like before. I also checked the place I parked on the lake and the day after in the driveway, no leaks or oils either.
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:03 AM   #6
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I'm betting airing down would have made all the difference.
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:53 PM   #7
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Did you get stuck driving or while parked? How fast were you driving?
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Old 01-25-2011, 12:00 AM   #8
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Think you want some studded tires and a bit of weight in the back. If you get stuck then you'll really be in a pickle. With that combination it is sort of difficult to get stuck.
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Old 01-25-2011, 12:11 AM   #9
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I would try chaining up to help give you better traction. The Michelin LTX A/T2 look to be kind of mild for trying to get traction in that stuff. Also weight in the bed should help. I always carry a shovel, just use the snow around to add weight. Just take it easy and choose good lines on the road Are you the only rig out there? I always travel in pairs so if you get stuck to help get you out or to go get help if you really get into trouble.

for your questions,
1# long distances in 4hi or even 4 low shouldn't be a problem, I wouldn't use the e-locker unless you really need it and to only get unstuck (it says not to use above 5 mph for a reason), but these trucks are designed to be used in 4wd. So as long as your aren't on dry pavement you should be fine.
2# I would highly advise against riding the clutch, if you start shaking like that, gear down, it sounds like you might be bogging the engine down. if you are using the locker, I wouldn't use it above 1st gear.
3# for the popping sound I am not sure, but if your visually ok and no leaking and it drives fine on the road you should be ok.
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:46 AM   #10
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Early morning, I was the only truck out there. I had some buddies in a Toyota Highlander AWD but... Later in the day there were 3-4 other trucks that joined us.

I was trying to maintain speed around 25mph and I only got stuck if going too slow or if I managed to get to an area with snow drifts. Once I parked, it was difficult to go forward without a running start.

Thanks for all the replies, I think I'm going to get a free brake inspection at the local Pep Boys and see if I can get under there myself to look around.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:33 AM   #11
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I'd say it all sounds normal. Try a higher gear in 4 lo next time perhaps.

Chains certainly will help in deep snow like that.
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Old 01-25-2011, 01:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Once I parked, it was difficult to go forward without a running start.
Learn from the wise. A trick I learned. Never ever just stop in snow. If you later try to go forward it will be forget it. So the simple trick is when you want to stop back up a couple of feet first leaving those tire tracks to be exposed to the weather and harden up. Later on you will just be able to drive away. Time you get to the point of breaking trail again you will be going fast enough that it will still be possible. Nothing like a dead stop to get you stuck on iffy terrain. So the key is leave a little broken trail in front so you can get going again.
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