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Snow Mode

Discussion in 'Stock 2011 - 2019 Ford Explorer Discussion' started by Halwg, January 6, 2015.

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  1. Halwg

    Halwg Active Member

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    We finally had out first snow of the season about 4". When I went to work at 5:30 am none of the roads had been plowed or treated and I got to see how the "snow mode" worked. It seemed to do rather well, because on 2 hills where cars were having great difficulty making it up without spinning and sliding, I made it quite easily.

    Maybe it was "snow Mode" or maybe it's my Cooper Winter tires. What I am wondering is what exactly "snow mode" does to the vehicle? It seemed like in initial take-off it cut the power somewhat to where I couldn't actually spin any wheels. But other than that, what is the real advantage? Snow tires may be more of an advantage than playing around with the terrain management system.
     
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  3. peterk9

    peterk9 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    In 3 Winters of driving my 2011 Limited, I used 'Snow' mode just once. That was when I had to enter a major street from a side street and was faced with a plowed snow bank right at the stop sign. The Ex, with Winter tires, walked right through the bank without any issue at all. I used 'Normal' mode at all other times since I never had to drive through more than a few inches of snow/slush. Dedicated Winter tires make a world of difference.

    http://ford-life.com/2012/12/13/2013-ford-explorer-can-save-you-winter-season/

    Terrain Management Settings
    Normal: Biases torque to the front wheels and sends it to the rear only as needed
    Mud/Ruts: Switches the throttle to a more aggressive mode, limits upshifting and desensitizes stability control, allowing the tires to spin as needed
    Sand: The throttle throws maximum torque to the wheels, placing the transmission in lower gears for as long as possible, which allows the wheels to spin aggressively
    Snow/ Grass/Gravel: Places the throttle in a setting to minimize wheelslip.

    Happy Winter motoring and Happy New Year.:thumbsup:

    Peter
     
  4. Odrapnew

    Odrapnew Active Member

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    I played a little with the settings a few weeks ago on some snow covered roads(less than 1"). I don't have winter tires on my Ex, but I did notice a difference in the traction between the modes. I will say that winter tires make a huge difference when it comes to snow traction.

    I set the display to show the power distribution and notice a few things.

    Normal: The front wheel bars would light up before the rear as expected and the traction control would kick in quite easily.
    Mud/Ruts: Didn't do much with this setting, no comment.
    Sand: The rear wheel bars would light up at about the same rate as the front, maybe a touch before in some instances. The throttle was amplified and yes, keeps in lower gears for longer.
    Snow: Similar to the sand mode regarding the bars with maybe a little more rear bias. Throttle is cut way down and also the upshifts are much lower rpm to minimize wheel spin as mentioned above.

    Sand and Snow modes definately felt like it accelerated better(Snow required a bigger boot, and Sand a smaller boot) compared to the normal mode even without getting into the traction control power cut.

    If I was in Peter's shoes(and really depending on the situation) with getting through a plow bank onto a busy road, I would probably have used Sand mode just for the extra throttle response and to reduce the chance that the traction control would cut power when you want it. Again, personal preference.
     
  5. BMan5150

    BMan5150 Active Member

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    I used snow mode this am in my neighborhood. You guys already did a good job explaining pretty much exactly what I felt going on-particularly the muted throttle response. It helped a little. I don't have winter tires on the ex but my 3 series does... World of difference with winter tires.
     
  6. blwnsmoke

    blwnsmoke Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Yes, winter tires are amazing and one doesn't understand the difference until they drive with some. I used to put winters on my wife's A4 and I swear I could go anywhere in that car with the AWD and snow tires. Amazing vehicle.. never felt out of control or like anything could stop me.

    In the EX, the all season tires I feel do just fine. I drive in normal mode but my wife likes to drive in snow mode.
     
  7. ObsceneJesster

    ObsceneJesster Active Member

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    I also got to test out the Explorers snow mode today as well. I noticed on the "Power Distribution" display, the power went to all 4 wheels at the same time where in normal mode, most of the power stayed to the front wheels and every once in a while, the rear wheels would get power. Like others said, Snow Mode also cut throttle response which makes perfect sense.

    I only kept it in snow mode until I got on the highway today. I did have to climb a very steep hill in which a vehicle was already stuck on. "It looked like a Chevy Equinox." Multiple other vehicles were spinning and sliding as well. I just stayed well behind them, gave the Explorer some light constant throttle and it powered up the hill without spinning a single wheel. I was very impressed. I don't think I felt the wheels slipping once this morning. The ABS system also performed very well in once instant where I had to apply the breaks relatively quick.

    I only have the OEM Hankooks on there but seeing as how they performed today, I don't think I need dedicated Winter Tires here in Baltimore. If I lived up North then that would be a different story. The Hankooks performed much much better than what some have led on in their Tire Rack interviews. Either Hankook changed the Optimo design and or the material used in them or some people have no driving skills and don't know how to drive in snowy conditions.
     
  8. MikeFreas

    MikeFreas Active Member

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  9. ObsceneJesster

    ObsceneJesster Active Member

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  10. peterk9

    peterk9 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Just keep in mind that 'Sand' and 'Mud & Rut' modes are meant for off road use only according to the Owner's Guide. I'm guessing that means they are not to be used for regular highway/road speed type driving.

    Peter
     
  11. jrgoffin

    jrgoffin Member

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    I thought Brad (Sgt1411) had said the Police calibration was very similar to the "Sand" mode since it's a bit more "aggressive"? He also may have mentioned that he drives his Sport in this mode all the time:thumbsup: I tried it in mine very briefly on dry road and noticed a bit more zip, but I didn't leave it there for any extended driving!

    In any case also have been able to try the snow mode in the last few days and have been impressed, even with the OEM Hankook tires.
     
  12. MikeFreas

    MikeFreas Active Member

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    Sand mode shuts off all the traction control and sends most of the power to the rear wheels first. Truck does really nice doughnuts. After a storm last year I was playing again for quite a while when I got a traction system fault. I think I may have overheated the clutches that control the power to the rear wheels. Not sure.
     
  13. tmg19103

    tmg19103 Active Member

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    My 2009 AWD Escape only has one mode. It's just always in the factory set FW to AWD mode. I assume this is the same as normal mode in the Ex. I have had no prob driving the deep sandy beaches of Nantucket in my Escape nor 8" snow with only the one mode.

    Then again, the Escape is lighter, so it will certainly handle sand better.

    For me, I see no need to take the Ex out of normal mode for a couple inches of snow. Where I can see snow mode helping is very deep, wet snow. Then, I'd be worried about the front air dam getting the Ex stuck in the deep snow. Took the plastic front air dam off my Escape for that very reason when driving soft sand beaches.
     
  14. ObsceneJesster

    ObsceneJesster Active Member

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    I don't know how the front air dam is on the Escape but on my 15' Explorer I can bend it completely back using my hands. I'm sure Snow would have no problem bending it if need be. I don't think clearence means nearly as much in snow as it does in sand. I've taken my 12' Legacy out in a foot of snow with drifts half way up the bumper and it just plowed right through. My Legacy obviously sits much lower than my explorer.
     
  15. tmg19103

    tmg19103 Active Member

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    You are right that clearance in sand is much more important. The Escape is my beach vehicle so I took the front dam off, but I have left it on my Ex where I no doubt face some decent snow in Philly, so I am not too concerned.

    The concern with the front air dam would possibly be deep and very heavy and wet snow. Even with it bending a bit, I could see a potential problem, but you are right, probably not too much of a concern. Easy to plow through light, powdery snow even if quite deep.
     
  16. Fpo

    Fpo Active Member

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  17. jimbertrand514

    jimbertrand514 New Member

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    Hi All,

    One thing to be careful about when you switch from "Snow" mode back to "Normal" is the throttle position.

    It caught me the first time I did it, I had to apply more throttle with snow mode as it cuts a lot of power to the engine and I did not release the accelerator pedal when switching back to Normal mode, so the car really jumped forward because of the resumed full power.

    So beware of throttle position when changing back from snow mode to normal.

    However like Peter I have good brand new snow tires (Bridgestone Blizzak) and I don't see the need at all for snow mode, the normal mode and good winter tires can be way sufficient for 99% of the every day winter driving conditions.
     
  18. stonerhino

    stonerhino Member

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  19. Fpo

    Fpo Active Member

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  20. Odrapnew

    Odrapnew Active Member

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    Or if you make a "pitstop" in Sand mode(from Snow). That really gets her going.:)
     
  21. ObsceneJesster

    ObsceneJesster Active Member

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