Which 4WD or AWD for snow/ice?

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by mdaniel, Feb 8, 2008.

  1. mdaniel

    mdaniel S is for Shiksa

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    I always hear how great Subaru's AWD is but their cars don't really appeal to me. I saw that video done by a Subaru dealer and the Highlander 4WD couldn't make it up the hill when the front wheels had zero traction. If the rears alone can't push the car, why not just get FWD? How do Acura's SH-AWD and Infiniti's G35x compare measure up? What about Toyota's truck based 4WD like the 4Runner?
     
  2. ez4me2c3d

    ez4me2c3d Cold Member

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    lancer evolution /thread
     
  3. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    a real truck/suv with true 4x4 and good tires are going to be way better than anything subie can give you.


    yota 4x4 is very good. Nissan and chevy also have great 4x4.
     
  4. alltracman78

    alltracman78 New Member

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    Not necessarily.
    Assuming the snow isn't too deep, AWD with at least 2 LSDS [usually center and rear] will give you better overall driving ability.
    The problem with 4WD is that when it's engaged it's normally locked, which can be a problem when you're turning [if the front is locked, and the rear to a lesser extent]; which makes driving on curvy roads in the snow interesting [at any reasonable speed anyways].
    In addition, to be really useful it needs front and rear lockers as well as a locked center diff. Otherwise you just have 2 open diffs, front and rear.
    You're also usually stuck either with it on or off unless you stop or slow way down.
    If the snow is really deep [mainly because 4WD trucks tend to be higher than AWD vehicles], or if you're driving offroad the 4WD will work great.

    IIRC the Highlander only has a LSD center diff and the front and rear are both open. The center might also be open, but I don't think so.

    I don't know how good Acuras or Nissans AWD is, I would assume they both have at least 2 LSDs, because they're higher end vehicles, but that's not a guarantee.

    There's also Audi, and Bimmer has a few AWD cars; along with a whole bunch of used AWD cars that aren't available any more brand new, though I'm guessing you want new.

    Have you tried snow tires on your current vehicle?
    They make a huge difference, even with 2WD.
     
  5. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    as I said... CHEVY makes good 4x4.... Locker in the rear, and if in "auto 4x4" it will slip the center diff. The front is left open but that's not the end of the world.

    With nissan you can get a locker in the rear, auto 4x4 that will slip the center diff, and 4wheel ABLS so the brakes can pulse the front to emulate a lsd in the front (not perfect but an improvement over open).
     
  6. alltracman78

    alltracman78 New Member

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    I didn't say 4WD was bad, just that it's not as good as AWD in certain circumstances.
    Toyota has a TORSEN center diff in some of their trucks.
    The front and/or rear is still locked, just like the ones you mentioned.
    They also [just like most other manufacturers] have traction control via the ABS system.

    It's still not as good as a LSD center/rear when you're driving down the road.
     
  7. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    Dunno man. I live in Southern Oregon and we get snow. I had to drive several people to work a couple weeks ago in my 4x4... One of them has a Subie Outback that couldn't get down it's own driveway without getting stuck, and the other has a mitsu outlander which just slides everywhere it goes.


    AWD is great for dry driving.... But for extreme conditions, it doesn't have shit on 4x4.
     
  8. alltracman78

    alltracman78 New Member

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    I know all about snow, I grew up in Ma [live there again]. :)

    That's why I had the center AND at least rear LSD as a qualifier. Open front and rear is a different matter, which is what both of those probably have.
    My AWD has a viscous center and TORSEN rear and I can outdo any of the big trucks around here. :)
    I haven't been able to get stuck yet, even on a sheet of ice.
    I can spin great though. :big grin:
     
  9. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    Sorry, but I don't care how great you think your AWD is.... trucks can have all the same "features" and can also get much better tires.... You lose this battle, dude.
     
  10. alltracman78

    alltracman78 New Member

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    :rofl:

    We could go on all night.
     
  11. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    not really... you just sit there spinning your wheels and I hold the same fact.

    Every feature you've mentioned a truck can have.... So if you want to continue then you need to tell me what makes your car better than a truck -- what feature helps you in snow that a truck can't have?
     
  12. IslanderOffRoad

    IslanderOffRoad Do you even lift kit? OT Supporter

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    You want something with "full time" 4wd
     
  13. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    as I have already mentioned the chevy and nissan have.
     
  14. alltracman78

    alltracman78 New Member

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    I apologize for the long post, I was trying to avoid it.

    Limited slip front and rear.
    A truck could have this, but as far as I know none do [production models].

    Before we go any further let's establish a couple of things.

    First, I'm talking about your normal snowy roads, not unpaved or backwoods roads that aren't used by most people and don't get plowed. I'm also not talking about offroading in deep snow or having to drive up your neighbors 1/2 mile uncleared driveway.

    In these instances a 4WD truck will have a definite advantage, and I totally agree are better. If that's what the OP is looking for, a truck is definitely what they need.
    However, the majority of people looking for good snow vehicles aren't going to use them for that [yes I know some do, but many more don't]. I don't think you mentioned any of those situations specifically [I'm not sure what you meant by "extreme conditions"], but I want to make sure we're on the same page. I alluded to them in my first post, but it might not have been clear enough.

    Trucks don't have any better tires for snow available than cars do.
    Offroad tires are NOT meant for snow and do not work as well. The tread pattern is different and they're too hard for ice and hard packed snow [snow tires are softer].
    In addition, offroad tires tend to be large and wide. Snow tires work best when they're thin, to cut through the snow instead of riding on top of it.
    Offroad tires aren't necessarily bad in the snow, but they don't perform as well as snow tires; there's a reason offroad and snow tires aren't the same thing [yes I know you can get M&S tires, but they're a compromise, just like all season tires].

    Now that we have that cleared up, back to the front and rear LSD.
    Locked diffs vs LSD. The locked diff is slightly stronger [I believe, correct me if I'm wrong, and that's assuming the same size gears and such], less complicated and has slightly less drive line loss. It's also cheaper. So why not have them instead of LSD?
    Turns. [self evident I'm assuming]. Not so big a deal offroad, but on pavement a different story. Bad for the tires, bad for the diff [long term] and bad for vehicle stability. I know it won't necessarily send a truck careening out of control, but it does matter.
    Especially when the front is locked, it creates some instability around curves. Even if you leave the front open and just lock the rear you still have instability to a point [if you don't understand thrust angle please don't tell me I'm wrong until you learn about it]. Not so big a deal when the pavement is dry and will "catch" the tire when it slips, or in deep snow/mud where it can't slide as far, but on ice/packed snow [and rain] it causes a loss of traction every time the tire has to "hop" to match the opposite tire.
    The faster you go the more magnified it becomes. It doesn't matter so when you're bombing down dirt trails, but when you're on a 2 lane road, in a curve and there's traffic coming the other way, you can't take the curve as fast or steady as you could if you had LSD [I'm not talking about hauling ass, I'm talking about normal driving speeds]. And whether you like it or not, it's annoying to other motorists and causes backups [more chance of accidents] if you have to slow down every time you hit a curve.
    In addition, if the snow/ice is patchy, and not completely covering the road you have to either deal with a locked diff on bare pavement, keep the diff open the whole time, or turn the lockers on and off [if you can].
    LSD diffs don't have these problems, which gives them a clear advantage in those circumstances [which are everyday normal occurrences].
    Why do you think they run LSDs instead of locked diffs in rally racing?
    Why do you think cars don't have locking diffs?
    Why do trucks [which at least on paper are for offroad]have the locking diffs?
    Why do you think they're starting to put LSD in truck center diffs now [less people with trucks taking them offroad]?
    For what most people will experience on the road, LSD > locker.

    All of this doesn't make a 4WD truck bad in the snow, nor does it make an AWD car [with LSD] worlds better.
    But it is an advantage, and makes the car a better choice for driving in the snow for most people, aside from plowing or if you just plain prefer trucks.
     
  15. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    Ignorance is bliss, dude.

    Every time I go up to the mountain I end up towing a few people out of the ditch -- and the most common vehicles I find stuck are subarus with their "infamous" AWD.

    So in your opinion what mortal-man car beats a 4x4 truck?
     
  16. IslanderOffRoad

    IslanderOffRoad Do you even lift kit? OT Supporter

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    True, but you're also stating it in a way that could infer nobody else has it.

    Jeep offers it as well. So does Toyota.
     
  17. IslanderOffRoad

    IslanderOffRoad Do you even lift kit? OT Supporter

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    I'm sorry but this is dead wrong. My Mud Terrains work great in the snow. I was out playing in it last weekend and was very impressed.
     
  18. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    toyota doesn't have it on their trucks, I don't think... maybe some of their suvs have it.


    Jeep does have it.


    I'm not sure where the relationship with dodge and jeep 4x4 is, tho.. I have had nothing but HORRIBLE experiences with dodge 4x4 in the 1500 and 2500 pickups.

    I assume the grand cherokee has a diff system?
     
  19. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    I agree.

    Not to mention that BFGoodrich has a snowflake-rated AllTerrain.
     
  20. IslanderOffRoad

    IslanderOffRoad Do you even lift kit? OT Supporter

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    Grand Cherokee (and I think the Libby) has available full time 4wd with a center diff. Not sure if it has a center locking diff.

    Cherokee had full time available too, NP242 case.

    Toyota does on their SUV's. I know my buddy's 4 Runner has it.

    after reading alltrac's post I'm still going :ugh:
     
  21. P07r0457

    P07r0457 New Member

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    yea he's definitely not very well educated in this area... There's a reason trucks are trucks... They're designed for extreme conditions.
     
  22. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    So, I guess your recommendation is 4WD then. Because the Evo has a locked center differential that forces a 50/50 torque split.

    Not saying that's bad, but next time be clearer.
     
  23. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    I thought trucks were trucks because they could carry shit? I dunno about you, but I wouldn't go offroading in a Mitsubishi FUSO, but it's still a truck.

    :fawk:
     
  24. alltracman78

    alltracman78 New Member

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    I think that this
    covers this
    If he lives in the mountains I agree that he needs a truck, I've already said that.

    Furthermore, I specifically was talking about LSD equipped cars. Most Subies have open rear diffs. Most of the Subies you pulled out are probably no better off than a 4WD truck with open front and rear [no lockers] on the road.
    In addition to that, how many had snow tires? AWD [or 4WD] isn't as good if you're running all seasons or summer tires, LSD or not.


    As for what cars, whatever he likes that has a LSD rear. I believe the Infiniti has it, some Subies, the STI and Lancer Evo [I know they're "tuner" cars, but they have what it takes], some Audis and BMWs I believe, as well as some AWD SUVs.
    There are also a few used car models that have rear LSD.
     
  25. dew

    dew Banned

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    subaru dccd ftw
     

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