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Old 07-19-2013, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Deep in the Woods
2,549 posts, read 2,655,711 times
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4WD > AWD > FWD > RWD

A true 4wd vehicle has a low range transfer case for really nasty stuff. Which makes it still better than AWD which is usually front biased anyway (like a Honda CR-V).

Logically, 2 front wheels pulling can't be better than 2 front wheels pulling + 2 rear wheels pushing at the same rate.
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Old 07-19-2013, 02:54 PM
 
Location: Syracuse, NY
186 posts, read 538,034 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean® View Post
That doesn't make any sense.

FWD is very good in the snow but not even close to 4WD.

I commute early morning long before the plows are out so I need 4WD. Wife goes in later after the plows and FWD hs fine.
I own a true 4 wheel drive truck and a FWD car and yes I agree front wheel drive is WAY better with 4 snow tires. Let me explain why.

A true 4 wheel drive is designed for extra traction in loose rocks/dirt and mud not snow. In the snow it's fights against you. Have you ever put your truck in 4 wheel drive on dry pavement and tried driving it? It's hard to steer and feels like it's binding. It feels that way because that's exactly what's going on. In loose dirt/rocks and mud that's not a problem at all because you're grabbing for any traction you can find to keep you moving forward. However in the snow it's a major problem. You're dealing with ice and slick roads. Binding will cause tires to break free and loose traction. Moving forward is not a problem in snow but turning and control once you get moving forward is quite a different experience. And this is where front wheel drive with 4 snow tires excel.

let me try and explain this a little better because I know it's not an easy thing to grasp and that's why you end out with people off to the sides of the road in slick conditions. They think they know but they don't.

When a car is in a slide the best way to correct the slide is to turn into the direction you are sliding and let off the gas and the brakes. In a slick road (ice and snow) situation a true 4x4 because of it's design will cause tires to spin at an unequal rate of speed especially in a turn causing one or more of them to loose traction. In ice or snow this could put you into a skid or a slide very easily. Front wheel drives do not have this problem because they don't have that bind you get on a true 4x4. Please keep in mind all wheel drive is different than a 4x4. And if you have a computer controlled 4 wheel drive system it's not a true 4x4 design. To be honest it's dramatically different and much closer related to an all wheel drive system than a 4x4. You won't have those problems with these systems.

On top off all that most people with a true 4x4 do not have tires rated for snow on them. That's another problem because in cold temps the rubber get's hard and doesn't perform. It's like driving with plastic tires on your big heavy truck. Snow tires have a different rubber compound that stays soft in cold weather. That's why they wear out so fast. This is the reason deep tread all seasons never perform as well as a snow tire in the snow. The rubber isn't soft enough in the cold weather. This is also why snow tires should be taken off when it warms up. The rubber is too soft and doesn't perform well in normal temp conditions or when it's hot.

Anyway that was pretty long winded but I hope it helps people understand a little better. I'm big into cars and 4 wheeling and have a very good understanding of how all that mechanical stuff works. Plus like I said I have a FWD Saab Wagon and a very capable 4x4 SUV. It's truly a night and day difference. It's not even a close comparison. The FWD with 4 show tires wins that battle hands down.
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:46 PM
 
Location: Syracuse, NY
186 posts, read 538,034 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VintageSunlight View Post
4WD > AWD > FWD > RWD

A true 4wd vehicle has a low range transfer case for really nasty stuff. Which makes it still better than AWD which is usually front biased anyway (like a Honda CR-V).

Logically, 2 front wheels pulling can't be better than 2 front wheels pulling + 2 rear wheels pushing at the same rate.
You think this because you have a complete missunderstanding of how any of those systems work. Low rang has nothing to do with nasty stuff. Lower gear are there to provide more torque when you need it. On slick roads more torque makes it easier to spin the tires.

The only thing you have correct is FWD > RWD. But that only applies in the snow.

I could get super technical with you guys because there are so many different variables when it comes to traction but I won't. Just know this. You are wrong.

Before I moved here I knew FWD was better in the snow when it came to handling but I thought is was a pretty close comparison and could go ether way depending on tires and the vehicle itself. I was completely wrong. There is a dramatic difference between the two and FWD wins that battle hands down if they have 4 snow tires.

If any of you still want to argue this point and want to put your money where you mouth is I'd gladly embarrass you this winter when we get a heavy snow if you want to do a little comparison in the parking lot across the street from my house.
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:58 PM
 
Location: Not Oneida
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Well I lost my truck in the flood so it will be tough.

I do realize my 30+ years of driving in heavy snow on country roads can't compare to you one mild winter on urban streets but ill try.

All else being equal no FWD can compare to my truck. It's not even close. More so on the unplowed roads I drive on. When a FWD car starts pushing snow with the bumper its done. Period. It would take a lot of snow to stop my truck. More then we have had in several years.

That said my wife's FWD car with traction control and good tires is good on plowed and salted roads.

RWD of which I have had many, is useless. Never a praying man its still a good idea with RWD.
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Old 07-19-2013, 04:39 PM
 
Location: Syracuse, NY
186 posts, read 538,034 times
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Having more ground clearance does not mean 4 wheel drive performs better than FWD in the snow and slick roads. With out getting all technical ground clearance is an advantage that has nothing to do with a vehicles drive system. It's an advantage outside of Syracuse where they aren't plowing the roads all night long. However that doesn't mean the 4 wheel drive system works better than FWD system in the snow. It just means a car is limited do it it's ground clearance. 4 wheel does a good job of getting you going but it does a terrible job of controlling that momentum once you get going. While offroading control comes 2nd to actually getting it to move forward. That's why those systems are not used on the street. Even your owner's manual will tell you not to run in 4 wheel drive unless you absolutely need it. They say that because it binds. You can't debate that. It's a fact.

As far as your 30+ years of experience goes... There are many members of CNYJeep and Finger Lakes 4x4 that have live in this region their whole lives and would completely agree with me.
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Old 07-19-2013, 06:34 PM
 
Location: Not Oneida
2,861 posts, read 3,503,776 times
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I think I already said if you stay in a city and keep bankers hours a car is ok.

When I leave for work its not uncommon to have a foot of snow in the road and I have seen several feet in the road. At that point all cars become useless. I had a front drive van that was pretty good until it started pushing snow.

Sounds like you stick to city roads and daylight hours. Like I said my wife does the same with no trouble.

I think I'm buying the Silverado I been using. This winter we will get together during one of our 24-48 inch storms and see how your little hippie car keeps up.
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Old 07-19-2013, 06:38 PM
 
Location: Deep in the Woods
2,549 posts, read 2,655,711 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Magicians Eye View Post
You think this because you have a complete missunderstanding of how any of those systems work. Low rang has nothing to do with nasty stuff. Lower gear are there to provide more torque when you need it. On slick roads more torque makes it easier to spin the tires.

The only thing you have correct is FWD > RWD. But that only applies in the snow.

I could get super technical with you guys because there are so many different variables when it comes to traction but I won't. Just know this. You are wrong.

Before I moved here I knew FWD was better in the snow when it came to handling but I thought is was a pretty close comparison and could go ether way depending on tires and the vehicle itself. I was completely wrong. There is a dramatic difference between the two and FWD wins that battle hands down if they have 4 snow tires.

If any of you still want to argue this point and want to put your money where you mouth is I'd gladly embarrass you this winter when we get a heavy snow if you want to do a little comparison in the parking lot across the street from my house.
AWD may be better than 4wd in the snow. I wasn't specifically mentioning snow in my post but overall capability. 4wd will bind in the snow, possibly causing some sliding in tight maneuvers. 4wd sucks in tight maneuvers- I know because I've owned Control-Trac Jeeps and Select-Trac Jeeps, and the Selec-Trac transaxle was better in snow but worse in beach sand, mud, etc. My current 4wd Runner has both 4wd with true 50/50 split locking differentials and an AWD system (essentially both "Control Trac" and "Selec-Trac" systems, controlled by a switch between the 2). Plus 4wd low range, which I agree would be silly to use in snow due to the high torque.

I kinda know what I'm talking about as an avid offroader and 4Runner enthusiast. I've also lived 30+ years in the Northeast. I'd be happy to put my 4Runner up against any FWD car in a typical Syracuse snowstorm.

Here's a short video (not my own) of a recent outing in the NJ Pine Barrens. You can tell by the slippage that most of these guys (including me) are in 4wd by the equal 50/50 wheelspin, and not awd. You can really see it around 0:45:


T4R Pine Run 1-6-13 - YouTube
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Old 07-23-2013, 02:30 PM
 
865 posts, read 1,548,690 times
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Uhoh the 4WD vs AWD vs FWD argument.

I have a 4x4 Jeep and a FWD car.

The Jeep spends all of the slippery / snowy days in the parking lot. Can't beat FWD and snow tires for predictability!

My Jeep will have snow tires this winter, but unless we get 3 feet of snow, I'll stick to the car.

For example, this winter, in my apartment complex, there was a 4x4 truck that could not get up the hill. Bald tires on a steep hill ... with 4x4 is no good. My little focus made it around him with no problems and I even managed to stop and start out on the hill again.
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Old 07-23-2013, 02:37 PM
 
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I gotta side with Sean here. If we equalize with new tires I'm going to choose the 4wd. But I am also rural, last winter we had to plow the roads home with the husbands Tahoe (plows stopped at midnight, storm went on as did the party until 2 am). There is no car that would have made it 3 miles home through the over one feet of snow on the road.

We also have to drive through fields and muddy ditches. 4wd trucks only.

However I think its six of one half dozen of another if we are talking about city or suburb driving.
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Old 07-23-2013, 02:58 PM
 
865 posts, read 1,548,690 times
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When I lived at home with my parents, I'd have to commute through the country on unplowed roads. Was always a bit nervous when the snow would come above the healights in the Taurus when bashing through snow drifts!

It depends on what you want to do. If I'm going to drive 55 through a snow storm, it's going to be an AWD or FWD vehicle (with snowtires). If I am going to plow through 3 feet of snow or go off roading (which I do a lot), it will be 4x4 properly equipped with snow or mud tires.

If we get 3' of snow overnight, I'll take my lifted Jeep with tall, skinny snow tires on it ... provided it's fixed by then. There was one big snow storm this year where i high centered my car once or twice.
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