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Not impressed with Gladiator performance in snow

troverman

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I have a 2022 Gladiator I bought as a new leftover at the beginning of this year. We got 6-8" snow last night and I decided to see how it performed as I live near a windy, hilly road that climbs about 1,000 feet over the course of a mile and a half or so. My Gladiator is an Overland and completely stock except I installed 295/70/18 Falken Wildpeak AT3W tires during the summer and have 1.75" Terraflex spacers. I have the basic 4x4 system with no automatic setting.

Anyway, last night during the height of the snow storm, I headed up the hill to the store and back down, in 4x4. I came away quite unimpressed. The Jeep spun easily. slid sideways, the traction control was engaging a lot, and stability control intervened several times. It felt very light in the back end, like it could come around. At one point near the steepest section of the climb, I cam to a stop and took off to see how it could handle that. It did get moving again, but not with tons of spinning and crabwalking. Keep in mind I'm an experienced driver in snowy difficult conditions in addition to be an off-road enthusiast with years of experience. We're not talking about mashing the gas and spinning out. Gentle acceleration suitable for conditions.

I came away a bit disappointed and wondering if it was just an exceptionally slippery snow. I still have my old 2002 Range Rover, which is 100% stock and has factory sized Toyo Open Country AT3 tires on it. For comparison, both are "all terrain" tires and both have the 3-peak snowflake symbol on them. The Rover's stock tire size in 255/55/18, so they are much smaller. Being curious, once I came back with the Jeep, I jumped into the RR and took the same route. There was no doubt the Rover felt much better and more confident. I stopped near the same place on the steep hill and the Rover got going with little fanfare. It does not have stability control but did come with factory 4-wheel traction control. The traction light never came on.

So bottom line...what's the deal here? Are the Gladiators just very light in the back end and prone to sliding around and losing traction? Or is it the oversized tires on the Jeep acting as floats rather than digging in? The Jeep tires are also load range E in this size, but I'm only running about 35 psi, similar to the Rover tires. Thoughts?
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jac04

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So bottom line...what's the deal here?
Bottom line is that you don't have Selec-Trac. If you did, I suspect you would be here telling us how your JT is a beast in the snow (I know this because I ordered my JTM with Selec-Trac and AT3Ws). You really can't compare your 4H part-time 4WD system to the full time system in the Range Rover - they are different animals.

In 4H part-time, your transfer case is locking the front and rear driveshafts together with no type of center differential, forcing them to turn at the same speed. This causes all sorts of problems in on-road slippery conditions.
 

Zachanadandy

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I'm guessing the tire pressure is near 40psi in the gladiator? Drop it down to 30 and run the same test. It is a truck so it is light in the rear end. That's been my experience in slippery conditions in every pickup ever.
 

staying_tuned

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We ran dedicated snows and 300lbs of tube sand in the bed, which helped a ton. That said I'd typically take my wife's snow equipped CX-9 if both were sitting around. I didn't have select-trac though.
 

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48to49

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Sorry you're having issues. I recently bought my 2023 Rubicon and it has the Rock-Trac full time 4 wheel drive transfer case and it has been an absolute beast on the snow and ice. Much better than my 2019 Ford F-150 I traded in.
 

STACHES

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People like to bash on all the computerized traction control stuff they put in vehicles like the Range Rovers because it's not "true 4x4". But it works extremely well for things like snowy roads and day to day driving.
 

MPMB

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Washington has notoriously wet, heavy snow that compacts to ice after a few passes of 4000# vehicles.

My JTR had no problems navigating the snow the past couple years, including multiple trips to Jackson, WY in the snow. In my limited snow driving (few days/weeks per year, not months of driving), the JTR is feels/performs better than an Expedition, Explorer, S-10 Blazer, and Suburban in my experience.
 

Stuntman Mike

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I made a similiar experience on wet steep roads.

The car has very low traction (with the stock Duelers). But if I put it in 4-Auto everything is fine.

I am glad to have this option ...
 

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Almost

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It is a truck so it is light in the rear end. That's been my experience in slippery conditions in every pickup ever.
Not the Gladiator. It’s actually extremely well balanced and is actually on par with a BMW 3 series sedan. You can find the numbers posted on this forum somewhere, but the Gas F/R weight distribution is just 53/47 and 54/46 for the Diesel. A BMW sedan is around 55/45 (F/R) for comparison. It’s most likely the best balanced truck on the market.
 

LouisvEarlleJT

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That RR probably has more built in things keeping you from driving it like you did the gladiator, i.e. different traction control systems, etc.

But also, you're driving a truck. When driving a truck in the winter you need to put weight in the bed. Otherwise you will spin, slide, and generally have a negative experience.
 
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troverman

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Interesting responses. I'm very familiar with the 4x4 system in the Jeep, the Rover, and many other rigs out there (I said I was an experienced off-road enthusiast). The road was snow-covered with probably 3-4 inches of snow with maybe one set of tire tracks. No, I was not in 4-low. I can't think of any reason to use gear reduction on-road. As for people commenting about Select-Trac or whatever Jeep calls their automated 4x4 system vs the basic part-time system I have, its nonsense that Select-Trac would outperform Command-Trac on snow covered roads. After all, consider what the automatic system does...it supplies power to the front axle automatically when slip occurs using a clutch and sensors, up to 50-50 split front to rear. The Command-Trac part-time supplies 50-50 front to rear any time 4H or 4L is selected. The beauty of the Select-Trac is that it can be used seamlessly in changing conditions, and be left engaged on dry roads. Obviously Command-Trac is part time and needs to be disengaged on dry road. The old Range Rover has true permanent 4x4, using a geared center differential to send power to the front and rear 50-50 at all times; however that center diff is open and relies on a viscous coupling to control front-to-rear slip. It can apportion up to a 50-50 split as well, and it does so mechanically without the use of clutches or sensors. The thing is, I was on snow covered roads. I don't believe for a second "Select-Trac" would have performed any better, and frankly in these conditions I would have manually selected 4H "locked" anyway.

As for weight distribution, I did think the Gladiator probably had fairly good ratios. I've had (and still have) a heavy-duty pickup and in 2WD even with studded snows they are helpless. 4x4 is needed in snow basically all the time. But your typical half-ton crew cab short bed has pretty good weight distribution as well and they go much better in 2WD than the HD's.

I'm thinking its either my 10-ply Wildpeaks, possibly in combination with the wide footprint which might make the Jeep float on top of the snow vs dig into it.
 

Chief_jeep

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I have had no issues driving in the snow. My setup is very different from yours but if I had to guess it's weight, or lack there of and tire pressure. I run a 70 in the rear and have a lot of steel armor. I was on a 39x13.5 k02 last winter and had no issues driving on steep roads in the snow. I'd recommend some sand bags and lowering your psi to see if you get better traction.
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