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ML270 driving in snow

Discussion in 'General Mercedes-Benz Related Discussion' started by Dan2k7, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. Dan2k7

    Dan2k7 Senior Member

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    Hi guys, apparently we will all be getting some snow in the next few weeks. The missus drives the ML more than I do. She is quite a nervous driver at best of time. Is there any special consideration needed reference the traction control on the MLs? Am I right in thinking that braking can be worse because of the effect of the ABS and gliding over icy surfaces? Any tips appreciated.
     
  2. M80

    M80 Senior Member

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    Mud and snow rated tyres, of no more than a few years old (6 years considered to be max) with adequate tread (4mm legal limit for Germany) make a big difference even on a 4x4.
    All driving smooth. erratic actions cause loss of traction.
    Switch off traction control if having difficulty setting off but restore when moving above a few mph.
    ABS can only help.
    Not sure if the 270 has low drive with locking diffs, but when extreme can be useful. But will scuff tyres if used on bends at more than a few mph.
    If problems in snow letting air out of the tyres can help.

    Often it's the people that are nervous that get their car stuck. Misplaced over confidence of course can be dangerous. Skid / drift practice in a safe area is excellent experience, I could never get Larisa to try it though.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
  3. Craiglxviii

    Craiglxviii Senior Member

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    As with anything very torquey, SLOW and STEADY wins the day. Change up early using tiptronic to keep revs low. Drive in W mode if you have it. Remember stopping distances are TEN TIMES those of dry conditions.
     
  4. EmilysDad

    EmilysDad Senior Member

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    Nearly ..... they say that you can stop sooner in soft snow without ABS than you can with, because the snow builds up in front of the locked up wheel.
     
  5. Wighty

    Wighty Senior Member

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    On a steep icy/snow downhill slope use the gears to set a lower gear to provide a drag on the car that avoids braking ....probably 2nd gear but if very steep or icy maybe even 1st gear .
     
  6. OP
    Dan2k7

    Dan2k7 Senior Member

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    Thanks guys, can't remember if I read the handbook right, I will read again but I seem to recall it mentioning turning the ESP off completely in the snow. Anyone recommend this or disagree?
     
  7. LostKiwi

    LostKiwi Senior Member

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    When slowing down in snow or ice conditions with a 4x4 let the transmission do the braking as much as possible.

    In an automatic it can be beneficial to knock it into neutral as you get close to a full stop as the transmission will attempt to push forward and can overpower the front wheels pushing the vehicle into intersections (more an issue in RWD cars).

    If conditions are very bad don't use 'D' - force the gearbox into a lower gear and use it to slow down. If you have a manually operated diff lock use it but remember to turn it off if you can see black tarmac with no snow or ice covering.

    Its better to go slowly under control than too fast and skid off the road. Everything needs to be done a smoothly as possible. Treat every control as though it was connected to you through an egg.

    Beware of stopping on a steep hill and exiting the vehicle. I have seen a 'parked' vehicle lose grip and slide down the hill with no one at the controls as the driver has got out to check something.

    If you have a transmission brake ensure the diff locks are engaged before getting out. Remember to disengage them when not needed. A transmission brake only works if both wheels on the rear axle have good grip. If one can slip it will allow the vehicle to roll down the hill as the slipping wheel spins in the opposite direction on the ice through differential action.

    Think about the route you use. If you go into a valley are you sure you can get back up the other side?
     
  8. Wighty

    Wighty Senior Member

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    You only turn it off briefly if you are struggling to gain grip on starting or on slow up hills in snow/ice . If you don't turn it off the wheels keep sensing that they are slipping and keep cutting the drive off to each wheel that slips ....letting you go nowhere :p
     
  9. PaulG

    PaulG Senior Member

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    It's the increase in stopping didtsances that catch most people out.

    Basically, just keep a More-than-generous gap between you and the car in front. Then Double it!

    Insurance rules still apply in icy conditions.....if you hit another car because you slid into it, the insurance company will still say it's your fault.

    There was no snow in my area last winter, so I don't know yet how the ML performs. But before that, I had a 4WD Audi Allroad. It used to be able to accelreate pretty much as fast on snow as on a dry road.....problem was, you couldn't stop it!
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
  10. Andy.M

    Andy.M Senior Member

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    I remember years ago I had a Suzuki Vitara, my first 4 wheel drive.
    Upon the first snow fall it was brilliant, I couldn't believe how I was travelling every where with complete ease. How ever the road approaching home is downhill and we merrily slid straight past the drive. Luckily there was an open farm track at the bottom and we went off roading. That was fun!!!
     
  11. Naraic

    Naraic Moderator

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    Set the gearbox to c, or w, or whatever your car has...to avoid first gear starts. Remember that a 4wd is just the same as any other car on the road when applying the brakes...it has no special powers.
     
  12. Taffy7hfa

    Taffy7hfa Senior Member

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    Absolutely right it, I can say from personal experience stopping one of these 2.3 Ton beasts on ice or snow especially downhill, can be virtually impossible ! they may have abs but sailing onto a busy junction without stopping is just as terrifying whether you have abs hammering away or not. so yes, my advice would be go steady, especially downhill ;)
     
  13. davemercedes

    davemercedes Senior Member

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    My 'two-pennorth' is to be very careful to avoid over confidence. The first time you go out in snow in a 4WD and you see 'normal' vehicles all around you skidding and sliding (especially up hill and trying to get up slip road ramps etc) so you start to chuckle because you can go just about anywhere.

    But being able to go definitely does not mean you're able to stop!
     
  14. Blobcat

    Blobcat Moderator

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    Stick some winter tyres on it, give plenty of space in front of you to allow for the extended braking distances. I'd also (if conditions safely allow) practice braking and steering feel.

    I'm off to Scotchland on Friday, I've winter tyres on my E220 and looking forward to it. My E320 on summer tyres was very very challenging in the winter as the traction control just wouldn't allow it to move on snow / ice.
     
  15. LostKiwi

    LostKiwi Senior Member

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    Totally this. And corners are not much different either. In some cases 4x4s can be more challenging to get round corners than a car due to the increased mass.
     
  16. Little Phil

    Little Phil Senior Member

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    +1 on this.
     
  17. OP
    Dan2k7

    Dan2k7 Senior Member

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    Thanks for input guys, good advice all round. I will let her know the pointers raised in this forum.
     
  18. EmilysDad

    EmilysDad Senior Member

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    You've also got to remember that you're only going as far as the 2 wheel drive car blocking the road in front of you ;-)
     
  19. Andy.M

    Andy.M Senior Member

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    Nah, you'll drive over it in an ML :)
     
  20. LostKiwi

    LostKiwi Senior Member

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    You can also expect people to demand you drive off the route because you have a 4x4 "and they can go anywhere can't they". Don't be tempted to. When snow is covering the verges its easy to find a ditch and then you have a world of problems unless you're well equipped to self extricate.

    People may also expect a tow - again be careful. If you don't know what you're doing don't do it. If you damage their vehicle they won't thank you even if they demanded you do it in the first place.

    In years gone by when I lived in the Peaks and previously near South Lakes and was part of response teams we were advised never to tow a car unless the driver signed a disclaimer.

    They were actually good times - we used to deliver meals on wheels around Preston when the roads were too icy for normal deliveries and we were also deployed to Carlisle to ferry nurses to visit the elderly who were cut off by the conditions. It was kind of fun driving a kitted out Defender in temps down to -17 degrees yet still being toasty warm inside. The nurses were hugely impressed by where we could get to as well :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017

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