Off-road with a manual and hill assist

zogby

Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2017
Messages
24
Reaction score
16
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Vehicle(s)
RWD coupe
I know that there are differing opinions about whether off-roading with a manual is better or worse, and I'm not looking to rehash that all here. Let's just say that automatics are at least as capable, and easier to manage, and manuals are more fun to some people.

Specifically, I'm curious if modern hill-assist features on manuals change the equation at all. I find it plausible that this would help out with what I assume is the trickiest part of off-roading with a manual; getting started when you're pointed steeply uphill.

But does it actually help? Hurt? Thoughts?





Advertisement

 

bam1111

Well-Known Member
First Name
Barry
Joined
Dec 28, 2017
Messages
251
Reaction score
357
Location
Maryland
Vehicle(s)
2018 JLUR
I currently drive a Volkswagen Passat with a 6 speed stick and Hill holder assist. It isn't too bad. It's like toeing the brake for a couple of seconds when you have the clutch in. You can time it to let out the clutch just as the hill holder lets loose, or it will disengage upon use of the accelerator. I think it will be fine. I'm planning on the 6 speed stick on my order as well.
 
OP

zogby

Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2017
Messages
24
Reaction score
16
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Vehicle(s)
RWD coupe
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
It isn't too bad. It's like toeing the brake for a couple of seconds when you have the clutch in.
I agree -- I should have mentioned that I have a manual car right now with hill hold, and I like it. I didn't at first, but it grew on me, and now I appreciate the benefits.

I'm wondering if the hill hold will [completely / partially / not at all] eliminate the extra difficulties some people say that manuals have off-roading.
 

macintux

Well-Known Member
First Name
John
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
828
Reaction score
875
Location
Indianapolis, IN
Vehicle(s)
2005 LJR
Given that I've never off-roaded with an automatic, I've never driven a vehicle with hill assist, and I don't do serious rock crawling, take this with a veritable lick of salt, but...

If people doing serious crawling using an automatic are actively using both feet, I can't imagine hill assist on a manual is enough to make up the difference.

Now, hill assist plus the clutch bypass? Trying to imagine how all of that would interact in the field starts to give me a headache, but again, automatic has to be simpler.
 

DanW

Well-Known Member
First Name
Dan
Joined
Mar 2, 2017
Messages
6,689
Reaction score
8,007
Location
Indiana
Vehicle(s)
18 JLUR, 08 JKUR, 15 Ford Transit 350, 04 WJ 4.7, 17 Renegade, 99 Merc E430 S
Vehicle Showcase
2
I know that there are differing opinions about whether off-roading with a manual is better or worse, and I'm not looking to rehash that all here. Let's just say that automatics are at least as capable, and easier to manage, and manuals are more fun to some people.

Specifically, I'm curious if modern hill-assist features on manuals change the equation at all. I find it plausible that this would help out with what I assume is the trickiest part of off-roading with a manual; getting started when you're pointed steeply uphill.

But does it actually help? Hurt? Thoughts?
The part you describe as tricky isn't tricky in low range, and is even less so in a Rubicon in low range. Plus, Jeeps have always had a feature for the steepest hills, where in low range, you just shut the engine off while in gear. The Jeep stops, then when you are ready to go, you keep your foot off the clutch, and while in gear, start it, and it resumes climbing.

There is just a huge misconception of the level of challenge it presents. Low range, 1st gear, requires no skill at all.

Update...The JL has hill start assist, which applies the brakes, preventing roll-back. This feature works great off-road, but again, in low range, it isn't that hard to begin with.
 
Last edited:

Sheepjeep

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2017
Messages
560
Reaction score
578
Location
Ma
Vehicle(s)
01 xj, 04 Silverado 2500hd
I have owned a 95 yj with a manual and I currently own a 01 xj with an automatic and have frequently take both down some major rock crawling trails. They both have their pros and cons, and honestly I wouldn't pick one over the other over in regards to performance especially in low range.


The one big disadvantage that I had with my yj which was a 4 cylinder also was getting a running start for a long hill climb. With the yj in 4l I could start from a stop in 3rd but needed to get to 4th for speed and the process of shifting would kill all forward momentum I would build.


In a rock crawling situation, manuals are nice because you have absolute control of what fear you are in and if you are crawling and not hanging up on stuff you just stay in gear. With some automatics (though I think the jl doesn't have this problem) even though you put the shifter in 1 it can jump into 2nd ok you hiring you torque. But there are plenty of times where you need to reposition yourself in the middle of an obstacle and you have to back up to the point where your rear tires are about to drop off the prior ledges that you just struggled to get up. In these cases you might have only a few inches of roll back. In this case a auto can be more helpful as you can minimize roll back but a skilled driver feathering the clutch can be just as good. The auto does win in the ease of use as you are not fumbling around with gears and pedals but unless you are doing buggy king of the hammers type stuff then you won't really be overwhelmed.


In the end get whatever you want, if you like stick shift and think it is fun go with that, if you just prefer a set it and forget it go with the auto. I'm the end it is the skill if the driver that will determine what will do well off road.
 

Jern26

Member
First Name
Justin
Joined
Dec 18, 2017
Messages
6
Reaction score
4
Location
Pennsylvania
Vehicle(s)
Toyota Tacoma, Willys CJ5
In my previous 6 spd manual jk, I've found hill start assist is a great feature offroad for the extra security/piece of mind. But realistically, these things make enough torque in 1st gear and low range that you could easily just slowly let out the clutch without giving it any throttle to get moving. Or as stated above if shit hits the fan you can turn the jeep off then just use the starter to get you moving again
 

DanW

Well-Known Member
First Name
Dan
Joined
Mar 2, 2017
Messages
6,689
Reaction score
8,007
Location
Indiana
Vehicle(s)
18 JLUR, 08 JKUR, 15 Ford Transit 350, 04 WJ 4.7, 17 Renegade, 99 Merc E430 S
Vehicle Showcase
2
I have owned a 95 yj with a manual and I currently own a 01 xj with an automatic and have frequently take both down some major rock crawling trails. They both have their pros and cons, and honestly I wouldn't pick one over the other over in regards to performance especially in low range.


The one big disadvantage that I had with my yj which was a 4 cylinder also was getting a running start for a long hill climb. With the yj in 4l I could start from a stop in 3rd but needed to get to 4th for speed and the process of shifting would kill all forward momentum I would build.


In a rock crawling situation, manuals are nice because you have absolute control of what fear you are in and if you are crawling and not hanging up on stuff you just stay in gear. With some automatics (though I think the jl doesn't have this problem) even though you put the shifter in 1 it can jump into 2nd ok you hiring you torque. But there are plenty of times where you need to reposition yourself in the middle of an obstacle and you have to back up to the point where your rear tires are about to drop off the prior ledges that you just struggled to get up. In these cases you might have only a few inches of roll back. In this case a auto can be more helpful as you can minimize roll back but a skilled driver feathering the clutch can be just as good. The auto does win in the ease of use as you are not fumbling around with gears and pedals but unless you are doing buggy king of the hammers type stuff then you won't really be overwhelmed.


In the end get whatever you want, if you like stick shift and think it is fun go with that, if you just prefer a set it and forget it go with the auto. I'm the end it is the skill if the driver that will determine what will do well off road.
I had the YJ, too, with the 4 and manual. The issue there was not the manual. It was the low power of the 4, and the need for higher rpm to make the climb. The 4.0/manual was fine in the same situation. I can also tell you the 3 speed auto didn't do any better on those kinds of hills. It couldn't get out of its own way. At least with the 4, you could stick it in the upper rpm range and still make climbs. It sounded like it was going to come out of the hood, but it would make it. With the auto, you'd have to manually hold it in a gear or it would try to down shift. That 3 speed auto was terrible off-road with the 4, in those kinds of situations.

The 3.6/manual doesn't suffer the way the YJ 4/manual did. It pulls strong from 1200 rpms on up, so it can give you a good start, and if you need it, you can put some revs on it. My 3.8 JK has to get some revs for that kind of hill climb, not too differently from that 4, but it will get it done. Mostly, though, I don't climb high speed hills. I'm more of a crawler, which is the Rubicon's element.
 

word302

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2017
Messages
2,911
Reaction score
3,059
Location
Oregon
Vehicle(s)
JLU
I have owned a 95 yj with a manual and I currently own a 01 xj with an automatic and have frequently take both down some major rock crawling trails. They both have their pros and cons, and honestly I wouldn't pick one over the other over in regards to performance especially in low range.


The one big disadvantage that I had with my yj which was a 4 cylinder also was getting a running start for a long hill climb. With the yj in 4l I could start from a stop in 3rd but needed to get to 4th for speed and the process of shifting would kill all forward momentum I would build.


In a rock crawling situation, manuals are nice because you have absolute control of what fear you are in and if you are crawling and not hanging up on stuff you just stay in gear. With some automatics (though I think the jl doesn't have this problem) even though you put the shifter in 1 it can jump into 2nd ok you hiring you torque. But there are plenty of times where you need to reposition yourself in the middle of an obstacle and you have to back up to the point where your rear tires are about to drop off the prior ledges that you just struggled to get up. In these cases you might have only a few inches of roll back. In this case a auto can be more helpful as you can minimize roll back but a skilled driver feathering the clutch can be just as good. The auto does win in the ease of use as you are not fumbling around with gears and pedals but unless you are doing buggy king of the hammers type stuff then you won't really be overwhelmed.


In the end get whatever you want, if you like stick shift and think it is fun go with that, if you just prefer a set it and forget it go with the auto. I'm the end it is the skill if the driver that will determine what will do well off road.
I don’t think I’ve ever done a hill climb in low. You need wheel speed to keep you moving forward.
 

doublethebass

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2017
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Location
Minneapolis
Vehicle(s)
2017 Tacoma TRD Pro MT
in the JL manual it says this Hill Start Assist can be disabled......does anybody know if that's a one-time thing or would it have to be done every time the engine is started?

In my old Subaru Impreza it was a one-time thing, but then there was permanently an annoying orange light on my dash indicating it was disabled. Hoping that's not the case for the JL
 

DanW

Well-Known Member
First Name
Dan
Joined
Mar 2, 2017
Messages
6,689
Reaction score
8,007
Location
Indiana
Vehicle(s)
18 JLUR, 08 JKUR, 15 Ford Transit 350, 04 WJ 4.7, 17 Renegade, 99 Merc E430 S
Vehicle Showcase
2
I don't know, but I do like the feature, even though I've never needed it. I'm guessing it will save a little wear on the clutch.
 

OldGuyNewJeep

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2017
Messages
2,637
Reaction score
4,247
Location
CT
Vehicle(s)
2018 Wrangler JL, 2016 Yukon XL
I don't know, but I do like the feature, even though I've never needed it. I'm guessing it will save a little wear on the clutch.
How does it work, Dan? Take foot off brake and it holds for a second? Disable it. Is UConnect, or is it always on?

If my 2 door ever gets built, I’ll be teaching my oldest to drive this summer. This feature sounds like it’ll give some peace of mind while he figures things out (I’m thinking he’ll be less likely to needlessly burn up my clutch. I remember that when I was learning, I had a tendency to overcompensate on hills due to nervousness - you know, too much gas and too slow on the clutch release to assure no stalling and no rollback).
 

DanW

Well-Known Member
First Name
Dan
Joined
Mar 2, 2017
Messages
6,689
Reaction score
8,007
Location
Indiana
Vehicle(s)
18 JLUR, 08 JKUR, 15 Ford Transit 350, 04 WJ 4.7, 17 Renegade, 99 Merc E430 S
Vehicle Showcase
2
How does it work, Dan? Take foot off brake and it holds for a second? Disable it. Is UConnect, or is it always on?

If my 2 door ever gets built, I’ll be teaching my oldest to drive this summer. This feature sounds like it’ll give some peace of mind while he figures things out (I’m thinking he’ll be less likely to needlessly burn up my clutch. I remember that when I was learning, I had a tendency to overcompensate on hills due to nervousness - you know, too much gas and too slow on the clutch release to assure no stalling and no rollback).
Yep, it just holds the brake for a couple seconds, keeping you from rolling back. It works beautifully.
 

doublethebass

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2017
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Location
Minneapolis
Vehicle(s)
2017 Tacoma TRD Pro MT
Yep, it just holds the brake for a couple seconds, keeping you from rolling back. It works beautifully.
Ideally i'd want it off all the time, then be belt o toggle it on when i want it. I hope that's the case
 

doublethebass

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2017
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Location
Minneapolis
Vehicle(s)
2017 Tacoma TRD Pro MT
The part you describe as tricky isn't tricky in low range, and is even less so in a Rubicon in low range. Plus, Jeeps have always had a feature for the steepest hills, where in low range, you just shut the engine off while in gear. The Jeep stops, then when you are ready to go, you keep your foot off the clutch, and while in gear, start it, and it resumes climbing.

There is just a huge misconception of the level of challenge it presents. Low range, 1st gear, requires no skill at all.
In my previous 6 spd manual jk, I've found hill start assist is a great feature offroad for the extra security/piece of mind. But realistically, these things make enough torque in 1st gear and low range that you could easily just slowly let out the clutch without giving it any throttle to get moving. Or as stated above if shit hits the fan you can turn the jeep off then just use the starter to get you moving again
This sounds like a Clutch-Start-Cancel type situation.....am I right about that? I've got a Tacoma MT that's got a CSC button, and it works exactly as you guys have described. I push the CSC button, clutch is up and truck's in gear, and by just turning the key she starts up and immediately begins to move. Really helpful if you're afraid of rolling back with the MT. Rather than having a CSC button, the Jeep just goes into CSC mode when in 4L? Epic

If you guys are saying what I think you're saying, I'd want to permanently disable Hill Start Assist on a JL and just use this CSC feature when I need it, no HSA required. That'd be great
 

Advertisement




Extreme Terrain
 



Advertisement
Top