Low range gearing is mainly used when slow speed and extra torque is required, below are 15 tips on when to use low range and which gears are best;
1. Basics first, you can use 2nd gear low as a starting gear and use 1st gear low for hill starts or where you need to start really slow.
2. Driving on rocks and rock crawling 1st gear low is the best gear to use for maximum control and minimises damage due to the low crawl speed. Some situations 2nd gear low will be slow enough.
3. On tracks where speeds of 30-40kph is the max allowed or max safe speed just stick to low range and if the track provides and nice ride at a steady 25-35kph you can get away with leaving it in 4th gear low most of the way. Even a petrol engine shouldn’t stall at 1000rpm should you drop that low.
4. Hill climbs require 1st – 2nd gear low, 3rd and 4th is too fast and will bounce, skip, skid and risk damage and injury.
5. Climbing sand dunes is a bit different, 2nd-4th gear low and even 2nd gear high may be needed, each vehicle and dune is different so play around with it to learn the best options.
6. Descending hard hill (general hills) 1st-2nd gear low is best (most of the time 1st gear low), avoid the clutch and avoid changing gear downhill as this will send you down before you realize it’s too late.
7. Going down sand dunes is again very different, 1st gear low is too slow in the soft sand, 2nd gear low of the other hand will keep up with the falling sand being push in front and will less likely cause the rear to slide sideways when the front wheels are not dead straight.
8. 5th gear low should be avoided when off road in low range as it’s the weak point of the gear box, using 5th gear low under intense labour can rip the gears apart. The same thing goes for 5th gear high range when towing up hills under labour.
9. Crawl speeds will suffer losses from fitting bigger tyres, in most cases 1-2 tyre sizes is ok but more than that can take away important crawling speed.
10. River crossings are best done in 2nd gear low as it has a good range of slow to medium speed. It fits as the best gear to keep up with the bow wave and not overtake it. 3rd & 4th are too fast for water crossings and have a bigger risk of stalling while in low rpm. Avoid changing gears while in the water too.
11. Snatch strap recoveries are best done in 1st or 2nd gear low, any faster is just outright dangerous. The vehicle being recovered should be in 2nd gear low and the recovery vehicle can use either 1st or 2nd gear low.
12. Maxtrax recoveries are best done in 1st or 2nd gear low (mainly 1st)
13. Reversing on the tracks is so much easier in low range and will save the clutch from wear as less riding the clutch is done due to being able to focus on the direction at low range speed rather than jerking the vehicle, gears and clutch.
14. Reversing a trailer in low range is simply awesome! Just make sure you disengaged the front manual hubs before you do it on the black top.
15. When semi bogged on the beach you can try 1st gear low and idle out of the hole you are in, this mainly works with diesel engines combined with diff lockers.