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-   -   JKU Rubicon good for a ski vehicle (http://www.wranglerforum.com/f274/jku-rubicon-good-for-a-ski-vehicle-255222.html)

Littlehouse 07-11-2013 10:15 PM

JKU Rubicon good for a ski vehicle
 
Hey guys, i've been researching 4wd/awd vehicles since i almost spun off Big Bear mountain last winter. I was going extremely slow, hit a downhill left hander with snow/ice and had a major tank slapper. I hit a mandatory chain point a couple turns later, and still couldn't make it up the back roads when in town.

Is a JKU Rubicon good for this type of mountain driving? I don't think i'd be able to throw it in 4wd hi up the mountain because it was only intermittently icy/snowy in the dark areas. All other areas would be dry. Maybe i'm wrong? I know it would be perfect in deep snow, have the advantage of a full convertible for Southern California sunny days, and I would definitely take it on trails but I also need a vehicle to take up to the mountains a dozen or more times a year in addition to these things.

Thanks guys!

HillbillyJeeper 07-11-2013 10:18 PM

About the best thing your gonna find stock.

Txrdstr 07-11-2013 10:22 PM

If not off roading, a Runicon is a little overkill for what you described. A Sahara or sport is probably all ever need. Lockers and discos pare not needed for kice and snow on normal roads!

Lowerumble 07-11-2013 10:24 PM

Just heading to the mountain? Give me a suby wagon I suppose. Way more comfortable, easier to load/unload skis from a rocket box and better gas mileage. That being said, I live in a ski town and drive an unlimited and wouldn't have it any other way. It is optimal for me...

Lusus_Naturae 07-12-2013 02:13 AM

If you get a Rubicon for snow you'll probably want winter tires like Duratracs for it too - some people like the stock Rubi tires though.

kgg 07-12-2013 08:51 AM

Tires are going to play a huge role in this. I had mine siped soon after I bought the jeep because I was concerned about traction in the snow and ice going up and down the canyons in the winter. It's been great in the snow - actually better than our Subaru. I also find the jeep to be more comfortable than the Subaru - I like the more upright driving position.

If I were to buy a tire specifically because I was worried about driving in the snow I'd probably get Duratracs for a jeep, or a specific snow tire for a car (Blizzaks?).

ahsumtoy 07-12-2013 09:25 AM

Ice
 
I have KM2's and they are great in fresh snow. However, I don't know of any tire that is great on ICE, unless you are using chains.

thomm99 07-12-2013 09:32 AM

Until Jeep decides to offer a full time transfer case (like select-trac) in the wranglers it really isn't the best for the patchy road conditions you describe. Something AWD like the Suby Lowerumble suggested is best for those conditions. On the flip side, if you want something you can take top down, go through deep snow, and hit summer trails there isn't anything better than a JKU. You will have to decide which is more important. Jeeps are much cooler than a Suby so you have to factor that in too. :)

michiganadam 07-12-2013 09:38 AM

You can put it in and out of four wheel drive while moving as long as you let off the power and your wheels are not moving at significantly different speeds......dont do it when youre spinning the crap out of the tires, you'll break something. try not to do it when you're turning, but even if you do, it'll just go CLUNK....not really a big deal, but not the best.

i drive my jeep in patchy crap all the time in the winter. it doesnt hurt it to shift in and out of 4 wheel drive any more than it hurts a manual transmission to shift it

i would use normal winter specific STREET tires. off road tires are not what you want to have in such circumstances. Keep tire chains with you as well... and dont forget a recovery strap, incase something happens.

I would not buy a rubicon unless you're offroading a lot (you'll never use lockers on the street, you'll never need a dana 44 on the street, you'll never need a 4:1 4lo ratio on the street, you'll never even need the tires it comes with on the street...) and have no intention of significant mods (you end up paying high dollar for a bunch of crap you're taking off anyway)

Sure, an all wheel drive would be easier to use, but the part time 4x4 system will actually get around better in the winter.

kurtz265 07-12-2013 09:53 AM

Throw some 285/70/17 duratracs on the Rubi and you will have an SUV that will perform as good as most vehicles out there on snow, short of something equipped with snow chains, etc.

That said, I've driven in some scary conditions chasing powder in my past, and you cant underestimate how important braking technique is combined with good tires in 4WD.

Lbear 07-12-2013 09:53 AM

To add to what's here, it's all about the tires. The stock BFG MTs on the Rubicon suck in packed snow and ice. I changed them out to Goodyear SilentArmor ATs (I'm not into hard core off roading) and they are amazing in the spotty hard pack/ice. Tire dealer said they are better than the DuraTracs for DD/moderate off road and better warranty. I switch into 4 wheel hi on long packed stretches and out where it's mostly pavement. On our last long trip in icy conditions there were wrecks all over but we never slipped once.

Littlehouse 07-12-2013 11:09 AM

Thanks for the info! :thumb:

It seems as though the JKU should do what I need. The tires will definitely be switched over to Duratracs if I like them on my current truck. I'm thinking 35s and flat fenders with a budget boost will work off the bat.

Snowboard One 07-12-2013 11:47 AM

I snowboard and that's one of my major reasons for buying my Brand new 2013 JKU Rubi. I have owned a 99 Jeep Cherokee classic, a Chevy Avalanche Z71 which I moded out, a 2006 Hummer H2 kept it stock which also had all wheel drive when it needed it, 2011F150 SCREW 4X4. The two jeeps I owned are the best off-road capable and snow and ice capable of all the others I have owned. Small and compact and you feel like you have 4 solid feet on the ground when you treck anywhere. The H2 would be a close second.

NFRs2000NYC 07-12-2013 12:03 PM

Unless we are talking about deep offroad snow, the Wrangler isn't actually the best. Yes, it will get you there, but if I was driving a mountain road covered in some snow and ice, is the wrangler what I want as my #1 choice? No way. I would much rather have a vehicle with a centerdiff and AWD like a subaru or an audi. If your goal is to use roads to get to a ski slope, I would prefer an AWD vehicle. Again, the Wrangler will have no problem making it anywhere, but as far as safety and control, I'd prefer fulltime AWD on compacted snow and ice.

JKjingle 07-12-2013 12:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lowerumble (Post 3952894)
Just heading to the mountain? Give me a suby wagon I suppose. Way more comfortable, easier to load/unload skis from a rocket box and better gas mileage. That being said, I live in a ski town and drive an unlimited and wouldn't have it any other way. It is optimal for me...

I vote this! I had an old 93 subie wagon an it was bulletproof and solid in any terrain

2013JKBulldog 07-12-2013 12:45 PM

Take a look at the snow test by The Fast Lane Car for the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara on you tube

lexington01 07-12-2013 12:53 PM

I bought a set of rims off Craigslist and had Firestone snow tires mounted on them. I don't know if it's the tires, but I was still slipping and sliding this past winter. Duratracks have good reviews here so my suggestion would be to try those. The stock bfgs are not made for ice.

Littlehouse 07-12-2013 02:46 PM

The real problem is finding a happy medium. It's got to be my DD, able hit some trails, and shuttle me, my girl, and my pup back and forth to the mountains. I may be wrong, but I don't think AWD would cut it on the trails.

If the Trailhawk 2 comes without air suspension that may be the best compromise, but I doubt that will happen. First world problems... haha

michiganadam 07-12-2013 02:53 PM

Duratracs suck on the street. period.

jkjeeper06 07-12-2013 03:08 PM

My jeep is my ski car. I ski 2-3 days a week every week there is snow on the ground so I'm up and down the mountain a lot. My camp up there tho doesn't get plowed out too soon after a storm so if it snows 3 feet I have to get out by driving up 1/2 a mile on an unplowed road with a nice uphill at the end. No way an AWD car can do that. However, if this is not your situation, you may be better off with a low slung AWD car being more comfortable and getting better mileage. Just for the fact that with winter tires and only a small amount of snow, AWD will be better. Once you hit deep snow its all about ground clearance and 4x4

Lbear 07-12-2013 03:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NFRs2000NYC (Post 3954615)
Unless we are talking about deep offroad snow, the Wrangler isn't actually the best. Yes, it will get you there, but if I was driving a mountain road covered in some snow and ice, is the wrangler what I want as my #1 choice? No way. I would much rather have a vehicle with a centerdiff and AWD like a subaru or an audi. If your goal is to use roads to get to a ski slope, I would prefer an AWD vehicle. Again, the Wrangler will have no problem making it anywhere, but as far as safety and control, I'd prefer fulltime AWD on compacted snow and ice.

Beg to differ.:nonono: Drove up 7 miles of forest road with 14" snow and drifts. Except for two high centers, which we dug out of, the Jeep was a champ and never stopped. Your Audi or Suburu would have never had the ground clearance and wouldn't have made it 100 yards in that stuff. Fellow Jeepers, get the tar and feathers. :rofl:

panthermark 07-12-2013 03:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 2013JKBulldog (Post 3954752)
Take a look at the snow test by The Fast Lane Car for the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara on you tube

2013 Jeep Wrangler Snow Drive Freedom Top Review: Jeep Week Video #7 - YouTube
2013 Jeep Wrangler Sahara 0-60 MPH On Road Review: Jeep Week Video # 2 - YouTube

jkjeeper06 07-12-2013 03:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lbear (Post 3955245)

Beg to differ.:nonono: Drove up 7 miles of forest road with 14" snow and drifts. Except for two high centers, which we dug out of, the Jeep was a champ and never stopped. Your Audi or Suburu would have never had the ground clearance and wouldn't have made it 100 yards in that stuff. Fellow Jeepers, get the tar and feathers. :rofl:

I think you are reiterating the same point NFR is saying. He says in deep snow the jeep will win. The reason he says deep off road snow is that most states have a clear roads act meaning DPW cannot just wait for the snow to stop falling before they plow to save money by just plowing once. They have to plow the whole time. This would mean that a normal road shouldn't have deep snow(although I wouldn't necessarily call 7-14" deep, but its deeper than a subie bumper) and an AWD car would be fine. Most roads don't get more than 4" on them at a time between plows an other people packing them down. If that is the case then the extra ground clearance that the jeep has actually becomes a hindrance by raising the center of gravity and making it less stable

michiganadam 07-12-2013 03:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lbear (Post 3955245)
Beg to differ.:nonono: Drove up 7 miles of forest road with 14" snow and drifts. Except for two high centers, which we dug out of, the Jeep was a champ and never stopped. Your Audi or Suburu would have never had the ground clearance and wouldn't have made it 100 yards in that stuff. Fellow Jeepers, get the tar and feathers. :rofl:

dont think that guy has seen a real mountain in the winter.

When the road crews are using giant SNOW BLOWERS to clear the snow off the highway, instead of plows, ..........

When you're going skiing in *JUNE*................

And OK, the jeep might not be the best. But it's a fine choice. If i was going to choose something else for this, i'd get a silverado 2500 4x4, f250 4x4, even a toyota tacoma 4x4.

The 2 door wrangler has a weight distribution advantage, because the front seats are directly centered between front and rear axles. Those pickup trucks will get almost no traction on the rear axle when not loaded up with cargo. You can fix that with a couple hundred pounds of aluminum cans...or bags of sand.

The 4 door wrangler gets back into the "need weight in the back" category. But atleast it has seats back there. Need more rear traction? Get bigger rear passengers. :)

michiganadam 07-12-2013 03:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jkjeeper06 (Post 3955265)
I think you are reiterating the same point NFR is saying. He says in deep snow the jeep will win. The reason he says deep off road snow is that most states have a clear roads act meaning DPW cannot just wait for the snow to stop falling before they plow to save money by just plowing once. They have to plow the whole time. This would mean that a normal road shouldn't have deep snow(although I wouldn't necessarily call 7-14" deep, but its deeper than a subie bumper) and an AWD car would be fine. Most roads don't get more than 4" on them at a time between plows an other people packing them down. If that is the case then the extra ground clearance that the jeep has actually becomes a hindrance by raising the center of gravity and making it less stable

Sure, they have to keep plowing while its snowing. But what do they plow first? The busiest highways. When the snow keeps falling faster than they can clear it, what do they keep plowing? The busiest highways.

I used to live right on lake michigan. The last 2 winters, we had atleast one storm that dumped 3 feet on us. Infact, that kind of shite is why i bought a jeep. But my thinking process was more like....man i wish i had 4 wheel drive.....Man jeeps are cool.....Man why dont i have a jeep? haha.

So around here, the highway will have 3 to 4 inches of snow on it, they plow it and the plow truck gets a mile down the highway and it doesnt even look plowed anymore. And they keep working the high traffic routes. Only. So you get off the well traveled route, and suddenly you're driving in 3 feet of snow.

There's nothing like waking up in the morning and the snow is up to the hood of your car and you have to go somewhere. And i've pretty much driven my hyundai santa fe (2 wheel drive!!) in snow almost up to its hood.... just rock it back and forth a couple of times to get it rolling...


oh yeah, and DPW doesnt plow my driveway. If you're sleeping when the storm hits, you do have to leave somehow. haha.

joeuncool 07-12-2013 03:38 PM

Here is a bit of a different angle to consider about a JKU for a ski vehicle. First I can say the my JKU is the best vehicle I have ever driven in 2wd on snowy/icy slick roads. There are many times around town I don't even put it in 4wd when there is snow/ice on the roads. I am amazed at how good it is. I have also had over 30 years of driving on winter roads so 2wd to me is no big deal though many vehicles are worse than others. Put it in 4wd and a JKU is awesome on winter roads.

Here are the things to consider. First, where to you put the skis/snowboards. Roof rack will be quite high and awkward for access. They do make hitch and spare tire racks that would be better. Also, you could probably fit the equipment inside with the back seat down though long skis would still be difficult. With the back seat down you just made the Jeep a 2 seater. Not sure how many people you were planning on taking with you. Another thing to consider is that if 4 people are going skiing, the back seat is not that comfortable. It is a little better than a medieval torture device. It might be the same as a padded park bench, however, the park bench might beat it.

It gets down to what you might want to do with the vehicle in the summer. If you have thoughts of adventures through the back country, or want the fun or running with roof and doors off then Jeep it is. If you really need a "car" for the summer then I would suggest one of the eleventy thousand AWD cars out there. Subaru would be a good place to start.

Tweak 07-12-2013 03:48 PM

for a ski vehicle, there is no other vehicle better suited than a JKUR.

Lbear 07-12-2013 04:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by michiganadam (Post 3955274)
dont think that guy has seen a real mountain in the winter.

When the road crews are using giant SNOW BLOWERS to clear the snow off the highway, instead of plows, ..........

When you're going skiing in *JUNE*................

And OK, the jeep might not be the best. But it's a fine choice. If i was going to choose something else for this, i'd get a silverado 2500 4x4, f250 4x4, even a toyota tacoma 4x4.

The 2 door wrangler has a weight distribution advantage, because the front seats are directly centered between front and rear axles. Those pickup trucks will get almost no traction on the rear axle when not loaded up with cargo. You can fix that with a couple hundred pounds of aluminum cans...or bags of sand.

The 4 door wrangler gets back into the "need weight in the back" category. But atleast it has seats back there. Need more rear traction? Get bigger rear passengers. :)

Um, I've seen lots of "real mountains" in winter- Like Hood, Bachelor and Baldy, to name a few, and skied them all in all kinds of weather. The plows don't always run on all the roads and sometimes get there way late. The plows also don't always provide bare pavement or remove ice. I don't debate that Audis (had two of them) and Suburus are good cars in the snow but after my experience with packed stuff mixed with ice patches and dry pavement I will take my Jeep any day. On that last trip we saw 4wd vehicles crashed off the road all over and there were 7 fatalities in one week. Not so much as a skitter from the Jeep. To each their own.

ahsumtoy 07-12-2013 04:16 PM

I agree
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by NFRs2000NYC (Post 3954615)
Unless we are talking about deep offroad snow, the Wrangler isn't actually the best. Yes, it will get you there, but if I was driving a mountain road covered in some snow and ice, is the wrangler what I want as my #1 choice? No way. I would much rather have a vehicle with a centerdiff and AWD like a subaru or an audi. If your goal is to use roads to get to a ski slope, I would prefer an AWD vehicle. Again, the Wrangler will have no problem making it anywhere, but as far as safety and control, I'd prefer fulltime AWD on compacted snow and ice.

I have both, a 2013 JKU and a 2012 Audi A6. I have taken them both on packed snow and ice. I love my Jeep for off-roading, even deep snow but when the highway or road is packed snow and ice, I like being in my Audi better. But, do you want to take that Audi A6 which is $50-$60k in the snow? Probably not, it's too nice of a car. But the AWD is incredible on ice.

NFRs2000NYC 07-12-2013 04:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ahsumtoy (Post 3955403)
I have both, a 2013 JKU and a 2012 Audi A6. I have taken them both on packed snow and ice. I love my Jeep for off-roading, even deep snow but when the highway or road is packed snow and ice, I like being in my Audi better. But, do you want to take that Audi A6 which is $50-$60k in the snow? Probably not, it's too nice of a car. But the AWD is incredible on ice.

I don't see why not. It's safer (including if you crash) and if you do suffer damage, that's why you have insurance. When it comes to safety, it's just a hunk of metal...an insured hunk of metal. I wouldn't hesitate in the slightest, otherwise, why bother buying a vehicle like that in the first place?


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