Serious LC Car Crash - Thoughts on Future Prevention (1 Viewer)

Joined
Jul 8, 2010
Messages
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Hi All,

Had a pretty serious accident in my 1999 100 Series on the Maine Turnpike the other day, and need some advice.

Was heading up to the Ski Mountains in Maine to meet some friends for a weekend of fun. Left Boston at 10:30AM with heavy rain falling, it stayed raining all the way until about 10 miles across the border into Maine where the rain turned to sleet and subsequently freezing rain. Traffic was moving and plows were out however they could not keep up with the accumulation of slush and inevitably people were using only the 2 right lanes (out of three). Went across a birdge just south of Kennebunkport and felt my rear end slip a little... knowing how bridges freeze first, I attributed the slip to that, but nonetheless slowed down to about 40mph. Because of my slower speeds I needed to move into the far right lane to allow others to pass. While attempting to move into the right lane and across the slush pile that had built in between the two lanes, my rear end came completely around 90 degrees to the right at which time it propelled me across all three lanes and into the guard rail that separated the north/south sections of the highway. I was then hit by a semi trailer across my front end and whipped across the highway again and came to rest in the far right lane. After quickly coming to my senses. I was remarkably able to start the vehicle and drove it as far into the snow bank on the right side of the breakdown lane, where I used the last of my brake fluid in the lines to stop me.

Needless to say I have thanked God for sparing my life and allowing me to make it home to my pregnant wife. The only thing that came loose in the cockpit during the crash, was the change that I keep in the ashtray for parking meters and such. The LC was absolutely perfect in protecting my life after being hit by a fully loaded semi on his way to Portland to drop off a load.

Knowing there might be numerous reasons why this accident was allowed to happen and/or if it was just a bad bit of luck with treacherous conditions (over 100 cars in Maine off the road that morning), I turn to you all for some expertise and advice, as I like to learn from my experiences.

If forum readers could please help with my questions below I would be most grateful!

  1. The tires on the LC were the Michelin LTX M/S. The front tires had great tread on them but the rears were able to pass inspection 2 weeks ago, there was enough tread to pass inspection but maybe should have been replaced...
    1. When driving in normal HI range with does more of the force come from the front or rear drive trains?
    2. Should the tires with less tread have been on the front?
  2. I grew up in Maine and since the late 1980's have never used snow tires. I have primarily owned front wheel drive cars and all season radials have usually allowed me to go freely. I have always used judgement of when to drive, but have never really had any issues.
    1. Do you think snow tires would have made a difference?
    2. Do others ever use studs?
    3. Are the Michens OE good/cr*p in this type of conditions?
  3. When reaching the icy/slushy portion of the highway, would locking the center differential have made a difference? Made things better/worse? Pros/Cons?
  4. Being that the LC is going to be totaled by the insurance, I will be searching to replace the '99 model I had with the optional rear lockers. Note: I have never had to use the rear lockers before and I fish quite a bit in the summer on the beach and encounter some really deep soft sand. I do reduce the pressure properly in the tires to 12 psi, while doing so. I don't even think I have ever even had to lock the center differential but have merely floated over the sand.
    1. Should I look to replace the '99 with another '99 with the rear lockers option? (I have secretly always liked having the option although have had no situation to require them?
    2. Is the 2000 with the VSC and A-TRAC a safer option?
    3. I know on the 80 Series, people always wanted the locking rear lockers as an option... on the 100 Series are they as useful/sought after? Thoughts?
Thank you everyone for your thoughts, and make sure you kiss your family when you head out you never know what is going to happen.

Ryan Goodwin
 
Last edited:

Trunk Monkey

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[*]When driving in normal HI range with does more of the force come from the front or rear drive trains? The center diff splits the power 50/50 until something slips, then it sends all power that way (or you lock the center)


[*]Should the tires with less tread have been on the front?Doesn't matter, unless they're bald enough that you shouldn't be driving on them. As long as the tires on the same axle have about the same tread wear, you should be okay. It's when you put tires with significantly different wear on teh same axle that you run into possible problems


[*]Do you think snow tires would have made a difference?Probably not. Sounds like what started your wreck was crossing the piled up snow.


[*]Do others ever use studs?I know some do. We don't see enough snow around here for me to justify them, but when I lived in Idaho, they certainly helped on my car


[*]Are the Michens OE good/cr*p in this type of conditions?Michelins are an excellent all season tire and I have never had a problem with them in snow, they perform really well


[*]When reaching the icy/slushy portion of the highway, would locking the center differential have made a difference? Made things better/worse? Pros/Cons?I lock the center in snow and ice, but only when it's that as a constant surface.


[*]Should I look to replace the '99 with another '99 with the rear lockers option? (I have secretly always liked having the option although have had no situation to require them?I would replace with a newer model with ATRAC and VSC


[*]Is the 2000 with the VSC and A-TRAC a safer option?Your type of driving ultimately determines how safe of a driver you are. If you get a vehicle that has VSC and ATRAC I would definitely spend some time in a snow covered parking lot learning how they respond


[*]I know on the 80 Series, people always wanted the locking rear lockers as an option... on the 100 Series are they as useful/sought after? Thoughts?For off-roading, a rear locker is a great option, it's better than an open diff
 
Joined
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Glad you're ok. These trucks are built tough. In answer to your questions:
1(1) More power goes to the rear under normal driving conditions. (2) depends who you ask. My dealer says more tread depth in the front where the weight is, Discount Tire says the opposite.
2(1) Good snow/ice tires would have helped in the traction department, though it might not have prevented the incident. (2) studs are usually only advisable if you live in an area with seasonal snow/ice coverage. (3) Your OE tires are the minimum you could get away with under these conditions.
3 Opinion here, locking the center diff would probably have made things worse, though not unsafe. Under such slick conditions having open diffs should make the truck easier to control and less prone to breaking traction.
4 get the most LC you can get. Newer, lower mileage etc.
 

Nottajeep

Enemies of the State
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Here in the last ice storm earlier this month (DFW, TX), I locked the center diff in 4W HI and never slipped a tire. I am using Michelins too. But, I did not drive as fast as it sounds like you were going.
 
Joined
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Dallas
 
First off im glad to hear youre ok and werent hurt. Great testament to the LC as a civilian tank of sorts.

If youre driving in the snow I think what trunk said is definitely something to consider and something inwas going to say. I would definitely look for a 2000+ or better yet a 2002+ to replace youre 99. The reasons here are two fold.

1) You will see with a simole search here that a lof of people find that ATRAC provides enough traction without the need for lockers. What the 4wd system does is transfer power to the point of least resistance. ATRAC moniters for wheel slip and uses the brakes to automatically apply more resistance the the slipping wheels so the wheels with traction get the power and (hopefully) pull you out. Its a good alternative to lockers and enough for what most people do.

2) the vsc is on road traction control. Would it have helped in your situation? Who knows. I do kniw that before my 100 series I had an infiniti and its traction control saved my ass when i should have had new tires. I should have had new tires but those systems are nice to have. I didnt know the 98-99 didnt have it before i bought or id have bought an 02+...more for the atrac but vsc is nice too.

Btw if you dont know, i keep saying 02+ because although all 100s after 99 had vsc and atrac some (a very very small %) of the 01 and 02 had tranny problems and thats just not something i want to or can afford to deal with unexpectedly. Of course a lot of people drive them with no problems and im sure someone will have something to the contrary to say on this.

Anyway welcome and hope you stick around, this is a great resource for anything TLC.
 

Copenhagen1

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We just had a round of snow and ice here that is not our norm. We really don't get that much so I am not an expert. I think the obvious answer to your wreck was that you were travelling too fast to change lanes over that pile of slush between the two lanes.

I drove all around here while we were having the weather but the only time I even came close to damage was when I changed lanes and went across that pile up of slush between the lanes.

You effectively hydroplaned when you hit that tiny little ramp at 40 mph and I personally don't believe it matters what kind of car you drive if you don't have traction between you and the pavement. Just my .02.

I am really glad you are ok and sad to see a LC in that shape but it did its job.
 
Joined
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Always sad to see another LC go down. If that semi had hit another foot back this might have been a different story LC or any other car.

Being from Texas and not seeing much snow, except our recent crazy ice storms, I drive slow and extremely carefully and try to be as smooth with everything as possible. This eems to have done me well thus far. Its crazy to me seeing people drive in colorado on the snowy interstates when i go skiing. Nuts i tell you. Id be going like 45 and theyre zooming along like its sunny, dry, and 75 degrees.

I agree with cope though, a sudden change in traction with the momentum of a 6k Lbs car changing lanes....
 
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Wow, glad you are ok. It's always great to hear stories when people walk away from their accidents.

Doesn't sound like there is much you can do in those situations, ice is ice. The Michelin LTX MS is the best non fully dedicated snow tire. ATRAC or VSC may have helped, maybe not. Like you said 100 cars where off the road that day.
 
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Glad you're ok. F=MA... it's always good to be in a big, strong vehicle in any accident. i would imagine that at the moment of the accident fuel economy was furthest from you mind.

that said, some comments:

1) I'm with trunk. It's 50/50. Because your center was open, all power started going to the rear once it broke free. ATRAC/VSC would have definitely helped.

2) There is huge risk in trying to bridge a rut at those speeds. I too have been ejected before, although in a lesser vehicle. Weight acts in your favor to plow through, but in this case there wasn't enough available traction to overcome the lateral force. Your fronts steered through it, but your rears were pushed laterally, eventually swinging around as they spun. ATRAC/VSC would have helped to prevent this although it would be pure speculation if it would have been avoided all together.

3) The tires with less tread should always be on the front. Your accident clearly illustrates why. It's way more dangerous to spin than to 'push'. Same theory applies to a blowout (better on the rear). Again, this isn't to imply that good/better tires on the rear would have prevented this particular accident.

4) Lockers (rear or center) aren't really designed to help with a high-speed spin. They're for low speed traction.
 
Joined
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Reminds me why I moved out of a snowy state...

Good to hear you're ok, but you were driving too fast under those conditions. The LC gives owners a lot of confidence (rightly so) but sometimes too much. Newer tires would have helped but I don't think it would have prevented the accident.
 
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hello glad your ok; my crash was in the rain and on a steep curve. a bmw came into my lane and I slammed on the brakes not to hit him and then by back end came around the spun into gaurd rail.honestly i think the new VSC and traction controls they have on the new ones help. I have a 06 now.
DSC01294.JPG
 
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(1) More power goes to the rear under normal driving conditions.

I believe the heavier construction of the rear drivetrain supports this assumption.

(2) My dealer says more tread depth in the front where the weight is, Discount Tire says the opposite.

Weight distribution on the 100 is almost exactly 50/50. But why have mismatched tires at all. Time to buy four new tires.

(1) Good snow/ice tires would have helped in the traction department, though it might not have prevented the incident.

Tires are the #1 most important piece of safety (and performance) equipment. They are not something to "Save" money on. Just because a tire has a 60k warranty or passes state inspection (or covers Lincolns head) does not mean it is safe for winter driving. Reduced tread depth is death to winter performance. Older tires also harden and when cold no longer "grip" like new. You need to really evaluate an older tire before winter driving season starts. A cheaper "less advanced" tire fresh with full tread depth is probably a better winter tire than a "premium" tire a couple of seasons old and half worn.
littleking - glad you were OK. Get a new 100. For your driving ATRAC/ VSC sounds better than lockers but not sure is that is true for loose sand.
 
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Your best tires should go on the rear to lesson the chances of oversteering. I lifted this from Popular Mechanics Some tire stores insist on installing two new tires on the rear wheels of vehicles when the fronts are worn, and moving the old rear tires to the front--much to the dismay of many customers who want the new tires on the front. So, who's right?

Actually, I agree with the stores, as do the tire companies. Here's why: In dry, clear weather it really doesn't make much difference. But if the road is wet, the new, full-treaded tires are less likely to lose traction than the partly worn ones. If you're hauling ants down the road and come to a wet curve, the full-treaded tires on the rear will stay behind you, where they belong.

If the rear tires have less tread, there's a greater chance that they will slip, putting your rear bumper into the ditch. Okay, if the front tires skid, there's the chance you might go off the road, too--but at least it'll be headfirst, where your seatbelts and airbags offer more protection.
 
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Thank you everyone for your thoughts and your well wishes. I do not really post here often, but have utilized this forum and it's past threads as research in my first LC purchase. It is truly an informative group here.

I fully realize that if I could go back in time, that I would have slowed down even further. The reason I was moving into the far right lane was the uncomfortable distance between the semi behind me and the middle lane I was in. There is always that balance of 'going too fast is dangerous' and also going too slow for the traffic can be dangerous too. Alas, hindsight is 20/20.

I am thankful for my safety. I am thankful for being able to go home to my wife, and I am thankful for all your thoughts, such that I can hopefully never be in that situation again. Actually the only thing that I regret, is that I miss my cruiser!

Ryan Goodwin
 
Last edited:

Trunk Monkey

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AFAIK, there's nothing in the t-case that can variably split the power front and rear during normal driving, it's an open diff just like the front and rear axles.
 

uHu

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  1. The tires on the LC were the Michelin LTX M/S. The front tires had great tread on them but the rears were able to pass inspection 2 weeks ago, there was enough tread to pass inspection but maybe should have been replaced...
    1. When driving in normal HI range with does more of the force come from the front or rear drive trains?
    2. Should the tires with less tread have been on the front?
  2. I grew up in Maine and since the late 1980's have never used snow tires. I have primarily owned front wheel drive cars and all season radials have usually allowed me to go freely. I have always used judgement of when to drive, but have never really had any issues.
    1. Do you think snow tires would have made a difference?
    2. Do others ever use studs?
    3. Are the Michens OE good/cr*p in this type of conditions?
  3. When reaching the icy/slushy portion of the highway, would locking the center differential have made a difference? Made things better/worse? Pros/Cons?
  4. Being that the LC is going to be totaled by the insurance, I will be searching to replace the '99 model I had with the optional rear lockers. Note: I have never had to use the rear lockers before and I fish quite a bit in the summer on the beach and encounter some really deep soft sand. I do reduce the pressure properly in the tires to 12 psi, while doing so. I don't even think I have ever even had to lock the center differential but have merely floated over the sand.
    1. Should I look to replace the '99 with another '99 with the rear lockers option? (I have secretly always liked having the option although have had no situation to require them?
    2. Is the 2000 with the VSC and A-TRAC a safer option?
    3. I know on the 80 Series, people always wanted the locking rear lockers as an option... on the 100 Series are they as useful/sought after? Thoughts?
Ryan Goodwin
1
The driving force is equally distributed as long as you have traction on all wheels. But, because of open diffs, the wheel with the least traction easily spins free. (1.2: See below)

2
Mich LTX MS is great if you don't need a dedicated snow tire. My experience is that it is better than e.g. what Cooper markets as a dedicated snow tire.
BUT, for snow and slush, the pattern should be at least 6-7 mm. So buy new LTXs in the fall if the pattern is down to 7 mm by then.

Studs help only on ice. And, studded tires have a harder rubber, so in some conditions, and when the studs are worn, they give less traction.
The good thing with studded is that they are great on ice when new, and they are better for summer use than dedicated snow tires with a soft rubber:)

3
Locking center diff would definitely help. Much more stable in exactly those conditions. Like driving on rails. Only when manouvering slowly with sharp turns in tight spaces the diff lock gets in the way.

4
Sounds like VSC/Atrac would be right. Can always put in an arb locker later in addition.


Sounds like the speed should have been under 40 km/h instead, but as you say: hindsight....
I lost my best friend (and my mechanic) this winter in just this situation, only he hit the truck/trailer head on. (No center divider)
Glad you are safe.


Your best tires should go on the rear to lesson the chances of oversteering. .... If the rear tires have less tread, there's a greater chance that they will slip, putting your rear bumper into the ditch. Okay, if the front tires skid, there's the chance you might go off the road, too--but at least it'll be headfirst, where your seatbelts and airbags offer more protection.
Agree with PeteB
.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2004
Messages
10
I bought my 06 LX last August partly because we had had had two winters with over 80" of snow and I was tired of getting snowed in or stuck. I also gulped and bought four Bridgestone Blizzaks on aftermarket wheels from Tire Rack. We have had over 60" of snow so far this winter, more is forecast, and I haven't had a moment of drama.

That said, I don't think I would go over 5mph in freezing rain conditions, even with the Blizzaks. If I can't even walk on the sidewalk or driveway, I'm not going anywhere except to the emergency room if I had to in bad freezing rain..
 

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