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Old 02-05-2014, 01:58 PM
 
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Interesting. Usually FWD are recommended over RWD for snow... I've had better luck in FWD over pure RWD on ice as well. I guess as they say YMMV.
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Old 02-05-2014, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Inland Empire, WA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakster View Post
Interesting. Usually FWD are recommended over RWD for snow... I've had better luck in FWD over pure RWD on ice as well. I guess as they say YMMV.
FWD is a big fail if one wants to get up a steep and slippery street, RWD is much better suited as traction to the drive wheels acutaly improves under weight transfer to the drive wheels. I also am of the opinion that "those who say"(in general) FWD is better than RWD are those who do not have real world experience with them, and to their benefit, a RWD drive car with an open rear differential(one wheel drive) as opposed to limited slip, there may a slight advantge to FWD in limited situations.


Ultimately it comes down to experience, ability and preference, I suppose.
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Old 02-05-2014, 03:46 PM
 
Location: NP
607 posts, read 850,536 times
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Here's a good article on vehicle drive systems...RWD, FWD, 4WD, AWD:


Automotive Tools Tips Advice - Kelley Blue Book
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Old 02-05-2014, 04:39 PM
 
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In my above missive on driving on ice or in snow I neglected to mention that I was driving a Ford F150 with traction control as part of the trailer package. It did not have 4WD and I always had new studded tires put on each season. I'm not sure how the traction control works but when it is engaged the brake system works differently when you have a trailer in tow. I can't recall ever sliding sideways when moving but on occasion starting at red lights or from a dead stop there was some slippage on the rear tires. I remember the owners manual suggested the traction control system be engaged when towing or when driving on ice or snow.

Last week when Atlanta and Birmingham had their disaster I had to go out to rescue my granddaughter who had problems coming up a hill off the Interstate. I now have an Escape with all wheel drive and all weather tires. It managed really well when others were ditch diving and sliding sideways. If I remember correctly the all wheel drive is computer controlled and automatically engages for what ever is best under the circumstances. I was driving slow and made sure to enter turns at a very slow rate of speed. I drove a total of about twenty miles in the three inches of snow on top of the freezing rain that had preceded the snow in most areas almost all on back roads. In the city they had spread some salt and sand but there the pickup trucks with 4WD were driving at much greater speeds than I was driving. I got off the road before the snow stopped so my experience was limited to before the traffic really got bad. I saw a number of various cars and trucks, SUVs and semis having problems however.

The most comical part was the people on their ATVs who were doing far worse than the cars and trucks I was trying to avoid. I saw groups and singles sliding sideways all over the road and all I'll say is they didn't understand how to make an ATV behave on ice. Lots of them had camo and they really looked foolish out there with the normal traffic. I saw many ATVs in Alaska driving in the snow and they seemed much more stable than what I saw in these mud runners.

Last edited by richelles; 02-05-2014 at 05:47 PM..
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Old 02-05-2014, 05:25 PM
 
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In ice and snow I would ideally want AWD with traction control.

I had trouble driving my Dad's RWD 5.0 V8 Cougar on snow/ice that well when I was still a relatively new driver - without sliding all over the place. It had a limited slip, it was limited and the car slipped all over the place. (j/k) This was in the 1980's. But I could drive his other car, a Pontiac 6000 which was a 4 cyl. FWD car. Neither car had traction control or ABS.

FWIW, My truck has an e-locker from Factory, so it can be an open or "locked" RWD, 4WD, or 4WD-LO. It also has traction control... Very familiar with the differences in RWD, FWD, AWD, 4x4, Open Rear, Limited Slip, and locked rear. Even FWD cars now have ways to prevent torque steer.

I drove a F150 up and nearly got stuck at a gravel rest area, even with the traction control. I knew enough to not go too far down the road towards the outhouses, which is why I didn't get stuck. (I pulled out even further onto the hard packed area of the rest area while the family used the facilities) Traction control isn't the cure all, catch all. You still need SOME traction, somewhere for it to work. And common sense and experience goes a long way. Sometimes I think traction control, ABS, yaw control, are safety ninnies that make worse drivers. IMHO, everyone should learn how to drive a manual and on a car without any electronic helpers. Then you can get the auto and all the helpers afterwards. Heck, some new cars park themselves and a lot of states are removing the parallel parking test. Wonder what the next generation of drivers will do when they get into a car that won't park itself?

Only thing I do know from personal experience, the older Crown Vics without traction control are poor slick road handling vehicles. I have more miles on 1997 - 2009 Crown Victoria's then any other vehicle.

Anyways, I take your word for it that RWD is better than FWD.
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Old 02-05-2014, 06:05 PM
 
Location: Inland Empire, WA
2,133 posts, read 1,688,834 times
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Richelles, in your recent experience relating to the 4x4 pickups and the drivers' behavior, that is what I would fully expect from those who are inexperienced with those driving conditions while possessing the great misconception that 4x4 or AWD automatically make them better drivers, on the contrary, they become a menace for the rest who have any experience, or competency is such conditions.

Dakster, AWD with traction control and an understanding of how it works is the best system available right now, it is especially beneficial if the vehicle is equipped with a traction control defeat ability for timies when the system is a hindrance, in otherwords, self defeating as it sometimes can be when just plain horsepower is needed to overcome the conditions.

I agree on the safety ninnies comment, advances are getting to the point that they are detrimental to the developement of good driving skills, instead many think the car will drive itself out of a bad decision or driving too fast for conditions, etc, IMO.

Back to Richelles, the way traction control works; it is coupled with the ABS system on the vehicle. The traction control module receives data from the wheel speed sensors, just as the ABS does, when the module detects a significant difference in wheel speed (slippage)when compared to the other wheels, the ABS applies the brakes to the offending wheel(s) in order to slow them down to match the others and distribute power to all wheels in an even manner increasing traction and control of the vehicle. It is not infallable by any means, but it is quite effective.
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Old 02-05-2014, 06:33 PM
 
Location: Valdez, Alaska
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We drive on all sorts of stuff out here. Lately it's been glare ice, but several times a winter (I won't even say "typical winter," because in four winters here I haven't figured out what "typical" is) you're likely to encounter up to a foot of unplowed snow or perhaps six inches or more of standing water/slush with ice underneath when we have a warm spell. Mostly it's packed snow or relatively rough ice that gets reasonable traction. I ran studs on a very lightweight 4wd Tacoma my first three winters here, and am now running studless all-weather's with not enough tread on an AWD Astro van. The Tacoma did great except in wind (A 1500 pound vehicle with a camper cover does not like a strong cross wind), but the Astro is doing okay. The first few snows made me nervous this year (but they were worse than anything I'd seen here yet), but you get used to whatever you're driving and figure out how to drive it in whatever conditions come your way. I'll probably run studs next year, though.

As for other drivers, it seems like it's mostly larger trucks going too fast and Subies and the like going too slow. Both are a problem. We get lots of snow and ice and people do fine in front-wheel-drive vehicles, as long as clearance doesn't become an issue (less likely in most places that don't get our snow). Just about nobody wants to drive a rear-wheel-drive vehicle here. I'd suggest to anyone moving up to sell something like that down south.

Also, can I just complain for a moment about those horrible HID lights? Good lord, I think I'm going to go blind.
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Old 02-05-2014, 08:29 PM
 
Location: Inland Empire, WA
2,133 posts, read 1,688,834 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tigre79 View Post
We drive on all sorts of stuff out here. Lately it's been glare ice, but several times a winter (I won't even say "typical winter," because in four winters here I haven't figured out what "typical" is) you're likely to encounter up to a foot of unplowed snow or perhaps six inches or more of standing water/slush with ice underneath when we have a warm spell. Mostly it's packed snow or relatively rough ice that gets reasonable traction. I ran studs on a very lightweight 4wd Tacoma my first three winters here, and am now running studless all-weather's with not enough tread on an AWD Astro van. The Tacoma did great except in wind (A 1500 pound vehicle with a camper cover does not like a strong cross wind), but the Astro is doing okay. The first few snows made me nervous this year (but they were worse than anything I'd seen here yet), but you get used to whatever you're driving and figure out how to drive it in whatever conditions come your way. I'll probably run studs next year, though.

As for other drivers, it seems like it's mostly larger trucks going too fast and Subies and the like going too slow. Both are a problem. We get lots of snow and ice and people do fine in front-wheel-drive vehicles, as long as clearance doesn't become an issue (less likely in most places that don't get our snow). Just about nobody wants to drive a rear-wheel-drive vehicle here. I'd suggest to anyone moving up to sell something like that down south.

Also, can I just complain for a moment about those horrible HID lights? Good lord, I think I'm going to go blind.

I lived in Valdez for 3 years, that happened to be 1 of the times I had a FWD vehicle and the 1 time I lost control of a vehicle, while driving to work from Alpine Woods, I was going around the corner there at Rainbo. The road had alot of wet/slushy unplowed snow fronm a recent storm on it, piled between the path of the wheels and the lanes. One of the front wheels caught some of it and the resistance sent me into a spin, a full 360*, I gathered it back together and kept right on driving.

Anyhow, Valdez is unique both in the quantity of snow it gets and the moisture content of the snow, then, of course, there is usually rain preceding and then following the huge dump of snow. Those things make for rapidly changing conditions, all combined there are very few places that experience such weather, in fact it has been labeled as the snowiest community in North America on more than one ocaission. What I am getting at in my rambling, is that comparing Valdez to most anyplace for a basis for vehicle choice and other drivers is, well, unique... limited. If that mkaes sense

HIDs, yes I HATE those things. They should be illegal as far as I am concerned.
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Old 02-05-2014, 10:26 PM
 
4,718 posts, read 8,694,070 times
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I think we can all agree on the HIDs. I don't mind extra lights that when there are other people on the road you can turn them off. I was actually thinking of getting a LED light bar for the front of my truck with wide and narrow angle LEDS in it. So that on a dark road I can see further and wider. It'll be hooked to an "upfitter" switch so I can turn it off and mounted LOW on the truck at the foglight level. BTW, BMW has laser headlights that make HIDs look like night lights.

AK76 - I agree on the AWD functionality although not all are created equal, the Acura I had (and now others have copied it) had traction control that read how slick the road was with sensors, so ahead of time it knew what to do. Even from a standstill. And yes all of it needs an "off" switch. Desert driving in my F350 proved traction control needed to have an off switch, and it does, and I used it. Otherwise I would have been hopping my truck out of the sand. Boy was that annoying... All I did was pull off the road onto the shoulder to take a picture of a sign. The F350's idea of traction control is mostly cutting power - if you slip when you are moving forward it defuels.
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Old 02-05-2014, 11:03 PM
 
Location: Valdez, Alaska
2,762 posts, read 4,197,941 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AK76 View Post
I lived in Valdez for 3 years, that happened to be 1 of the times I had a FWD vehicle and the 1 time I lost control of a vehicle, while driving to work from Alpine Woods, I was going around the corner there at Rainbo. The road had alot of wet/slushy unplowed snow fronm a recent storm on it, piled between the path of the wheels and the lanes. One of the front wheels caught some of it and the resistance sent me into a spin, a full 360*, I gathered it back together and kept right on driving.
Having a narrow wheelbase and low clearance doesn't help in that situation either, since you don't fit in the tracks very well. And lighter vehicles get caught in that heavy snow/slush pretty bad. Just don't have the mass to get through it without it throwing you off course. My little Taco used to get bounced around pretty good when I'd rally it around town on deep days. Had big tires and I kept on the gas and it did mostly what I wanted it to, though. Take it out of 4wd and it just slid all over the place, which is fun if you're not trying to get anywhere. Definitely not going to see me driving a RWD anything in any real winter situations.

Anyways, the only point was that people do drive small cars even here, but there are times when it's challenging. If you don't need a truck for some other reason, I'd recommend a Subie or AWD crossover of some kind.

Quote:
Anyhow, Valdez is unique both in the quantity of snow it gets and the moisture content of the snow, then, of course, there is usually rain preceding and then following the huge dump of snow. Those things make for rapidly changing conditions, all combined there are very few places that experience such weather, in fact it has been labeled as the snowiest community in North America on more than one ocaission. What I am getting at in my rambling, is that comparing Valdez to most anyplace for a basis for vehicle choice and other drivers is, well, unique... limited. If that mkaes sense
Well, it is the snowiest community in North America, but most of the time when it's not really dumping it's just a bit of snow on the road or packed snow or patchy ice. And the highway is usually plowed somewhat quickly. Similar conditions to snowy days elsewhere, just more often. We're at an advantage over Anchorage/MatSu and Fairbanks in that we don't have the same amount of traffic on the road (and don't have as many new or temporary residents). I'd much rather drive around here in the winter than in Anchorage.

At any rate, people do get used to the environment they're in and learn how to deal with the conditions, and driving in inclement weather is a skill that can be learned, which I think is a good thing for new residents to remember. Try to be cautious but not nervous and safely test out the traction before you need it if you're unsure of the road conditions. You'll get the hang of it.

Quote:
HIDs, yes I HATE those things. They should be illegal as far as I am concerned.
I kid you not, there is a vehicle here with bright pink headlights, and one with bright green headlights. Both totally blinding. What the heck. For the new people, just get some reasonable moose lights and use them on the highway, or replace your high beams if you can. Don't replace your normal low beams with something that blinds everyone on the road. You really don't need that in town.
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