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Old 09-20-2011, 07:59 AM   #1
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Hill Descent Control

No really understanding what hill descent control is or how it works.

Also I notice there is a button for it at the bottom of the center dash on automatics, but no button on the manuals (2012)

Does this feature only apply to automatics? Does the button turn it on or off?

Sorry, just confused by this. Thanks.

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Old 09-20-2011, 08:33 AM   #2
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According to the manual it only works in 4 low, I have yet to use it.

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Old 09-20-2011, 08:52 AM   #3
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mine kicked in without activating it, felt kind of strange but kept me from gaining to much speed going down a steep incline
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:04 AM   #4
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Does it only apply to automatic transmissions? I guess just keeping a manual in 1st gear would essentially be doing the same thing.

I test drove a 12 manual and the button to turn it off was not on there
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:24 AM   #5
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I tried it on my auto trans model this week in the mountains. I have not read the directions but it seemed to hold the Jeep at what ever speed you pushed the button at by pulsing the brakes the same way antilock does. In other words, it rides the brakes for you so you don't have to use your foot but the brakes pulse. Thanks anyway but I'll use my foot.

I was on a steep shelf road and it scared the crap out of me with all the vibrating, felt like my life was in the hands of a computer and I would rather do it myself.
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:25 AM   #6
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It just keeps the auto transmission in a lower gear--despite rising RPMs--to prevent it from gaining too much speed. There's no need for it in a manual trans jeep because you can readily keep your manual transmission in a lower gear by simply not upshifting. I've never heard of it working only in 4L, as it could certainly be useful driving down long highway grades in mountainous areas.
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverton34 View Post
I have not read the directions but it seemed to hold the Jeep at what ever speed you pushed the button at by pulsing the brakes the same way antilock does. In other words, it rides the brakes for you so you don't have to use your foot but the brakes pulse.
I'd be pretty surprised if this is it. The point is to function like a manual trans can by using engine braking to control your descent, rather than simply riding (and potentially overheating) your brakes. The ESP function will pulse your brakes, HDC should not.
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTH View Post
I'd be pretty surprised if this is it. The point is to function like a manual trans can by using engine braking to control your descent, rather than simply riding (and potentially overheating) your brakes. The ESP function will pulse your brakes, HDC should not.
My 2012 is so full of electrical gremlins right now it could very well be that it was not supposed to pulse the brakes, I'll give it another try.
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:59 AM   #9
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Hill Descent Control (HDC) – If Equipped
HDC is only intended for low speed off-road driving.
HDC maintains vehicle speed while descending hills in
off-road driving conditions by applying the brakes when
necessary.
The symbol indicates the status of the Hill
Descent Control (HDC) feature. The lamp will
be on solid when HDC is armed. HDC can only
be armed when the transfer case is in the “4WD
LOW” position and the vehicle speed is less then 30 mph
(48 km/h). If these conditions are not met while attempting
to use the HDC feature, the HDC indicator light will
flash on/off.
When enabled, HDC senses the terrain and activates
when the vehicle is descending a hill. HDC speed may be
adjusted by the driver to suit the driving conditions. The
speed corresponds to the transmission gear selected.
Gear Approximate HDC Set
Speed
1st 1 mph (1.5 km/h)
2nd 2.5 mph (4 km/h)
DRIVE 7.5 mph (12 km/h)
REVERSE 1 mph (1.5 km/h)
However, the driver can override HDC operation by
applying the brake to slow the vehicle down below the
HDC control speed. If more speed is desired during HDC
control, the accelerator pedal will increase vehicle speed
in the usual manner. When either the brake or the
accelerator is released, HDC will control the vehicle at the
original set speed.
Enabling HDC
1. Shift the transfer case into 4WD LOW range. Refer to
“Four-Wheel Drive Operation” in “Starting and Operating”
for further information.
2. Press the “Hill Descent” button. The “Hill Descent
Control Indicator Light” in the instrument cluster will
turn on solid.
NOTE:
If the transfer case is not in 4WD LOW range,
the “Hill Descent Control Indicator Light” will flash for
five seconds and HDC will not be enabled.

Disabling HDC
1. Press the “Hill Descent” button or shift the transfer
case out of 4WD LOW range. The “Hill Descent Control
Indicator” light in the instrument cluster will turn off.
5
STARTING AND OPERATING 425
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:02 AM   #10
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^^Interesting. So I totally misunderstood the point of the feature, which I had always understood to be an effort to replicate one of the quite useful features of a manual trans.

Silverton, this means that unless you were in 4L, you were having an ESP-type of issue with your descent or had HDC improperly activating. Electrictal gremlins indeed.
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:09 AM   #11
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So it is installed ONLY on automatic transmission equipped vehicles? Why doesn't it specifically state that somewhere? Even on the Jeep website there is no mention, just says "standard on Sport, Sahara, Rubicon, etc"
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:30 AM   #12
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Old 09-20-2011, 12:05 PM   #13
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I've crept down very steep hills in 4L before with my manual tranny and never saw an HDC light activate on my dash nor the ESP. My jeep handled it like a pro with no use of the brakes. It crawled all the way down very very slowly. Was pretty awesome.
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Old 09-20-2011, 03:36 PM   #14
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My understanding is the grade has to exceed 8% also for HDC to operate. Additionally, this was taken from the 2011 manual while the 2012 has the new auto transmission. The 2012 also has pretty decent engine braking while going down hills in 2 or 4 hi. I know some do not like this but I do. It's always more dangerous going down a hill than up, especially in slippery weather.Limiting gravity speed and brake usage downhill is a good thing. It's why truckers have jake brakes.

I used HDC on a trail and liked it.
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Old 10-16-2011, 05:22 PM   #15
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I just used my hill desent feature. It works GREAT. 2012 Wrangler Auto trans. When 4X4 low is enabled, ESP is Set to OFF automatically. Comming down a hill you press the HD button and it will light up and start working. It feal like is pulses the ABS, not sure but is WORKS GREAT on steep wet off road areas. No slip or slide. I was able to accelerate a little and use my breaks.
BTW the documentation is NO where to be found in the jeep manual.
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Old 10-16-2011, 05:45 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by owltown View Post
I just used my hill desent feature. It works GREAT. 2012 Wrangler Auto trans. When 4X4 low is enabled, ESP is Set to OFF automatically. Comming down a hill you press the HD button and it will light up and start working. It feal like is pulses the ABS, not sure but is WORKS GREAT on steep wet off road areas. No slip or slide. I was able to accelerate a little and use my breaks.
BTW the documentation is NO where to be found in the jeep manual.
+1

Used it in steep wet decents over rocks and wet dirt, and loved the way it worked. There was no ABS pulsing at all, but steady brake application that actually felt like it was differentially applied to each specific wheel.
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Old 10-16-2011, 08:06 PM   #17
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I have, (and use), HDC in the 2011 WK2 Grand Cherokee Overland, (an automatic). I do not have HDC in the 2012 Rubi 6 speed (a manual).

All the relevant info is posted above by sandbaja. You need to be in 4 Low, below 30 MPH and going down a grade. It works by limiting speed to a set amount by Brake Application only. Speed is set by whether you are in "1", "2" or "D" and you can slow the speed with brake application or go faster down the hill with application of throttle. ABS will kick in and the brakes will pulse only if wheel slip is detected. On a slippery surface, it pulses quite a bit because the system is "riding the brakes" for you. It works very well on the automatic.

Manual users are stuck with engine braking, gear selection and riding our own brakes. With the Rubi's low speed crawl gears, I don't anticipate having a problem going down steep and/or slippery hills. Either way, nothing trumps the laws of momentum and friction and if a decent is steep enough and slippery enough, you will be sliding down the hill with no control.
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Old 02-25-2014, 05:54 AM   #18
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I need to play with mine more but seems more like marketing to me. I don't see the difference between hitting the button and just putting it in 4L 1st or Second gear manually and let it crawl down the hill. I guess if it were to pick speed the brakes come in to play. At 1 MPH how much braking do you need? My Rubi has a 4 to 1 ratio and that slows things down when combined with the 4:10 gears. I have already dropped down some steep stuff in 1st low lock and just let it walk down. No over reving or increasing speed at all. I am sure it is more useful if you taller geared and
don't have the Rubi transfer case. I do notice on the trails if I go to first gear L on the ugly stuff the people behind have a hard time going that slow. Guy smoked his clutch in manual Rubi last week trying follow along in 4H. We thought the rig was on fire. Once it cooled down and got him in 4L he was fine.

First time I have ever wheeled with an Auto and frankly I am very surprised how much I like it. In 4L I just control the speed with the slap shift stick. It only drops to 2nd unless you manually select 1st. 2nd in the Rubi in 4 LOW is about equal to say a sport in 1st Low. Decents and speed are control with the transmission more that the throttle off road. If it not technical than just keep it in drive for the washes and faster sections. If it is stout enough the new 8 speed auto is going to be very sweat. Linked to a diesel I think they will have a winner.
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Old 02-25-2014, 09:51 AM   #19
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Sandbaja,

THANK YOU!!

I could not find that info anywhere.
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Old 02-25-2014, 12:18 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ESP View Post
I've crept down very steep hills in 4L before with my manual tranny and never saw an HDC light activate on my dash nor the ESP. My jeep handled it like a pro with no use of the brakes. It crawled all the way down very very slowly. Was pretty awesome.
Quote:
Originally Posted by owltown View Post
I just used my hill desent feature. It works GREAT. 2012 Wrangler Auto trans. When 4X4 low is enabled, ESP is Set to OFF automatically. Comming down a hill you press the HD button and it will light up and start working. It feal like is pulses the ABS, not sure but is WORKS GREAT on steep wet off road areas. No slip or slide. I was able to accelerate a little and use my breaks.
BTW the documentation is NO where to be found in the jeep manual.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwim View Post
+1

Used it in steep wet decents over rocks and wet dirt, and loved the way it worked. There was no ABS pulsing at all, but steady brake application that actually felt like it was differentially applied to each specific wheel.
Quote:
Originally Posted by redvettx2 View Post
I need to play with mine more but seems more like marketing to me.<snip>
Yes, definitely go mess with it if you have the chance. I think you'll notice a difference.

As the others above have stated, this feature is great. We were at Hardrock in Ocala over the weekend and encountered some steep hills - example shown below.

We watched guys in Jeeps get too much speed even in 4LO and 1st gear, get a little sideways, and have a tough time with it. I hit the DC button and it, with ZERO input from me (other than keeping it pointed in the right direction), crawled right down it. I agree with the above post that says it felt like it applied the brakes independently to each wheel to keep things on track. Amazing feature to say the least.

Here's one of the hills we went down -
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Old 07-14-2014, 02:19 PM   #21
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Hello everyone, I am new to the forum. But I just had a great time in Rattlesnake Canyon outside of Salt lake city last Tuesday testing some tires on a 2014 Rubicon with the Hill descent option. It was a great experience. The hill descent works the brakes to control the tires that are slipping on the rocks to keep you from rolling out of control. Once you engage the hill descent you don't touch the gas or the brake. It does all the foot work for you so you can concentrate on the trails. For me it was cool to use, but it works the same as leaving a manual trans in first gear.

Just my 2 cents
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Old 07-14-2014, 02:33 PM   #22
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Word of warning. The system doesn't know when you're rear wheels are coming off a ledge so be prepared to ride the brake when you come off of one. Slammed my rear a few times before I realized this. LOL

Also, for an automatic it will shift gears as it gains RPMs. So start in first and shift up if you want more speed

1st is usually way to slow for my needs so I usually descend in 2nd.
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Old 07-14-2014, 05:22 PM   #23
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HDC has been around for a long time. LandRover had it as a standard feature starting back in 1999 with the Discover II. I have used HDC in both LandRovers and Jeeps, and have found it to be useless most of the time. HDC is either to slow or to fast depending on terrain type. IME rocky and rutted hills = to fast, solid rock/hard packed dirt = to slow, soft/loose sandy dirt = kinda ok. HDC does do very well on icy surfaces though.

Putting your Jeep into 4L and 1st while controlling the brake/throttle does a better job IMO (given you have 3.73/4.10 gears or better). What HDC offers is help with the learning curve for those that have little to no time to gain experience and find themselves in a spot they are not ready for.

One more thing to be aware of is HDC can overheat the braking system on long step descents. So one must watch the amount of time the system is in use.

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