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Thread: 2nd gear in snow...O/D on, or off?

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    Not A Dude That American Girl's Avatar
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    2nd gear in snow...O/D on, or off?

    Got a question about my car.

    Today we got a bunch of snow (4 freaking whole inches!) and of course the city didn't plow or salt.

    I know to use 2nd gear on my automatic when starting out and for braking to help reduce sliding around, but my car also has Overdrive. The Overdrive is normally on, but I can turn it off with the little button on the gear lever. My question is this:

    When I know I'll be shifting into 2nd due to the snow, do I have the O/D on, or off? Or does it even matter? The manual was useless......
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    OD does not matter at slow speeds. Turning OD off means that, at highway speeds, of it's especially hilly, or your car is loaded, it won't keep going back and forth between your second highest gear, and OD. It'll keep you in that 2nd-highest gear letting you have the power you need to maintain your speed. You'll use more fuel, but it won't be shifting every 5 seconds.
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    As Necro says, doesn't matter at all. All it does on your Taurus transmission is keep it from shifting up into 4th from 3rd.
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    Get a manual I've never really understood the whole starting-out-in-second-gear thing. What's the point? Most people don't have any torque or power
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    It's necessary in my car. 1st gear spins the tires way too easily.

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    Re: 2nd gear in snow...O/D on, or off?

    I too find starts in snow easier in 2nd gear. But thats likely because im a manual n00b.
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    Sgt. Maj. Buzzkill narf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickhamilton620 View Post
    I too find starts in snow easier in 2nd gear. But thats likely because im a manual n00b.
    First gear, no gas, and off you go. If stuck you start rocking, again no gas. If the snow/ice hills you're stuck in are too tall you use a bit of gas when in the middle of the forward rock, not when at the end - spinning just makes things worse.
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    Teen Wankeler thevictor390's Avatar
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    1st gear, no gas, and you go nowhere as you have no torque and the engine stalls

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    Quote Originally Posted by thevictor390 View Post
    1st gear, no gas, and you go nowhere as you have no torque and the engine stalls
    QFT. My Vtec engine has no low end torque.

    I just start normally in first. Little bit of spin but after a few feet, its fine. I don't like starting in second because it feels like I'm abusing the clutch.
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    My car won't move off in second.
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    Quote Originally Posted by thevictor390 View Post
    1st gear, no gas, and you go nowhere as you have no torque and the engine stalls
    Worked in my n/a 1.2 3cyl VW Fox that had negative torque all you need is nerve endings in your left foot.
    Besides, there must be a point between going nowhere and spinning the wheels, provided they aren't up in the air.
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    Teen Wankeler thevictor390's Avatar
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    You take everything in absolutes

    Of course it is possible to launch in 1st without gas, I just find it very difficult. The throttle is extremely touchy and the gearing is very low so once you need to start moving more it's very easy to spin the wheels. Second gear makes things much easier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thevictor390 View Post
    You take everything in absolutes

    Of course it is possible to launch in 1st without gas, I just find it very difficult. The throttle is extremely touchy and the gearing is very low so once you need to start moving more it's very easy to spin the wheels. Second gear makes things much easier.
    Once you're moving you can shift up
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeVeL View Post
    Get a manual I've never really understood the whole starting-out-in-second-gear thing. What's the point? Most people don't have any torque or power
    I helped out a little hatchback's driver with this tip during a good snow last year. I heard him outside my house spinning his wheels for a good five minutes. When I told him to try it in second he looked like I was an idiot. He then got up the hill with no problem.

    Off-roading tips are useful on road too! I use 2nd probably 90% of the time I'm on the rough stuff.
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    Thanks guys! And my car does seem to have a nice chunk of torque in 2nd. I have no idea where it comes from but..I'll take it. 1st just seems to spin the tires even with a minimum of gas on the ice, which is freaking everywhere right now.

    I actually came home from work the whole way in 2nd. Didn't slide once, but saw 3 people off the sides of the roads.
    Including a Range Rover. :p
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sevs753 View Post
    QFT. My Vtec engine has no low end torque.

    I just start normally in first. Little bit of spin but after a few feet, its fine. I don't like starting in second because it feels like I'm abusing the clutch.
    *shrug* I can get my vtec motor rolling in 3rd without gas, it's just not a good idea for the clutch.
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    Automatic is easy as pie to drive in winter, IMO. I've never used anything but normal D in any of the cars I've owned. Just go easy on the throttle. I haven't ever given it any thought, tbh. Two of my cars have had a special winter mode that made the transmissions only use the gears from third and up. Made for very smooth starts. They also became very reluctant to shift down, you basically have to push the pedal past the kickdown switch. I was never in a situation where I found it to be useful though. D and a light foot was enough.

    The thing about some Ford transmissions AFAIK is that "2" on the selector means only second gear, and not first and second like in most other transmissions.

    Of course, if you have wrong tires for the weather (which it sort of sounds like you do) nothing you do with the gearbox is going to help you. I've driven on snow with summer tires a few times and it's useless.
    Last edited by Perc; December 30th, 2012 at 12:44 AM.

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    has a fetish for terrible cars rickhamilton620's Avatar
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    Re: 2nd gear in snow...O/D on, or off?

    Quote Originally Posted by Perc View Post
    Automatic is easy as pie to drive in winter, IMO. I've never used anything but normal D in any of the cars I've owned. Just go easy on the throttle. I haven't ever given it any thought, tbh. Two of my cars have had a special winter mode that made the transmissions only use the gears from third and up. Made for very smooth starts. They also became very reluctant to shift down, you basically have to push the pedal past the kickdown switch. I was never in a situation where I found it to be useful though. D and a light foot was enough.

    The thing about some Ford transmissions AFAIK is that "2" on the selector means only second gear, and not first and second like in most other transmissions.

    Of course, if you have wrong tires for the weather (which it sort of sounds like you do) nothing you do with the gearbox is going to help you. I've driven on snow with summer tires a few times and it's useless.
    That reminds me...i have no clue what tires are on my car....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perc View Post

    Of course, if you have wrong tires for the weather (which it sort of sounds like you do) nothing you do with the gearbox is going to help you. I've driven on snow with summer tires a few times and it's useless.
    I have Pirelli P4's on there now. I was going to get Blizzaks, but the weather here in Ohio is just too unpredictable.

    We'll get a heavy snow one day, then everything will be cleared up and back to warmer weather just a few days later.

    It's not out of the norm to get 6 inches of snow, then less than a week later have the temps up in the mid 60's or even touching 70. I'd be switching my tires out every few days and to be honest, I'm to lazy for that.
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