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Old 07-19-2009, 10:44 PM
f_m
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deepcynic View Post
"putting weight in the trunk" is not a myth. It helps with RWD, no debate.
Yes, increasing the pressure between surfaces increases the friction, that's physics.
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Old 07-19-2009, 10:53 PM
 
Location: Lafayette, Louisiana
14,089 posts, read 26,171,811 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f_m View Post
Yes, increasing the pressure between surfaces increases the friction, that's physics.
That's how drag racing "funny cars" got started. Someone got the idea to move the rear wheels more towards the front so more weight sat on the wheels and those cars looked funny hence the name.
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Old 07-19-2009, 11:26 PM
 
Location: Suffolk County, NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Egobop View Post
The "putting weight in the trunk" idea is a myth. Tires are definitely the key with front wheel, rear wheel or all wheel drive cars. My first car was a 1981 Ford Fairmont and my second was a 1971 Chevrolet Nova. I never had any problems with these cars in the snow since I put good snow tires on them in the winter. I never had to put any weight in the trunks either. Six inches or less of snow and I never had any problems. I decided on my own not to drive it in the snow if there was more than six inches until the roads were cleared by the plows.
I completely phrased this wrong when I wrote it. What I meant by it is that if you put weight in the trunk and have worn tires, low profile tires or performance tires putting weight in the trunk is not going to help you. With the correct tires you should not need to put weight in the trunk to get the traction you need to travel through light snow.

Weight transfer does make a big difference when it comes to drag racing. I had a 1985 Cutlass and rebuilt and installed a Pontiac 400 from a 1969 GTO in it. One of the modifications I made was to put in a posi-traction rear with 3.73 gears. I added adjustable rear control arms so that I was able to get the weight to transfer over the center of the rear upon acceleration instead of slightly off to the drive wheel as it was from the factory.
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Old 03-03-2011, 05:17 PM
 
Location: Tulsa, OK
21 posts, read 40,090 times
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Growing up in MT, I drove several RWD cars with snow tires and positraction. They did great in the snow - drove them up the ski hill on snow/ice all the time. Was fun too, a little controlled extra pressure on the accelerator and you can just slide the rear end around the corner. Yes, it does take practice to control it! I'll take a RWD with LSD (limited slip differential) over a front wheel drive with no LSD or traction control any day.
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Old 03-04-2011, 08:31 AM
 
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The last snow and ice storm left pretty bad roads and we had to take it easy going home. It wasn't too bad, but stopping was dicey and we made sure to stay under the speed limit. We saw one driver that had an accident, in a 4WD truck. He over estimated his ability to handle the road in those conditions. Sedans were making it through with no problems.
Drive sensibly and you should be okay but a front wheel drive or all wheel drive and traction control is better.
Then again I remember watching a camaro slide all over the place in a parking lot with a couple inches of snow.
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Old 03-09-2011, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Torrance, CA
95 posts, read 214,386 times
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Here in Sothern Bavaria we have pretty snowy and icy conditions almost every winter. You can always watch all the Beamer and Mercedes drivers having problems. Especially when the plow formed a nice ridge of dirty snow along the roadside between the right lane and the parking lane they usually can't climb over that ridge to get on the road... I personally would never ever buy an RWD car when living in such an area with regular snow in the winter.
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Old 04-03-2013, 10:53 AM
 
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I am glad the importance of tires was brought up. The only advantage FWD has in winter driving is getting started. The weight over the drive tires in some instances will give you that last bit of traction necesary to get moving. I counter that with the control provided by RWD. Tap the brake to load the front tires and start a turn goose the gas to bring the rear around. And they both can't stop, same with 4wd. So in my opinion a RWD is easier to drive in the winter than FWD but again I value control over being able to plow through the initial snow drift that can be removed with a shovel.

FWD in my opinion is a curse laid upon the moroting public by the car companies in the name of profit, they are less expensive to make.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Funkotron, MA
1,203 posts, read 3,650,536 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toyman at Jewel Lake View Post
I actually prefer RWD for winter driving, with the right tires. It doesn't have the traction due to lack of weight over the tires, and won't go through as much snow as FWD. On the other hand, FWD cars tend to plow (understeer) badly on snow, going straight when you really want to turn. With a RWD in the hands of an experienced driver, a little throttle will bring the rear out enough to make the turn. Earlier FWDs without antilock brakes also had a bad habbit of locking the rear tires on slick surfaces (due to too little weight for decent traction). This tends to lead to a spin, with the rear end swapping directions with the front pretty quickly.

One thing about "spins" or slides, with a RWD getting off the gas (the natural tendency) will often correct the spin, allowing the rear wheels to grab and straighten you out. With a FWD the only thing to do is get ON the gas so the front end pulls out of the spin...not what you want to do when out of control anyway. Getting off the gas makes things worse, since engine braking slows the front wheels only, tending to bring the rear end around even faster.

Either FWD or RWD will work OK, the techniques to do well are different.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nmoky View Post
Growing up in MT, I drove several RWD cars with snow tires and positraction. They did great in the snow - drove them up the ski hill on snow/ice all the time. Was fun too, a little controlled extra pressure on the accelerator and you can just slide the rear end around the corner. Yes, it does take practice to control it! I'll take a RWD with LSD (limited slip differential) over a front wheel drive with no LSD or traction control any day.
All things being equal, I'd take RWD with LSD over AWD or FWD.

90% of the time you're not driving on snow so I'd take into account dry handling as well. RWD beats AWD & FWD on dry roads any day.

In the snow? Yes, AWD (with snow tires) is better than RWD (with snow tires). But RWD is still plenty capable. And I think that FWD is terrible in the snow. When a car starts to understeer, it's a little scary because there's really not much you can do. As mentioned before, with RWD you have more control options with the throttle to rotate the car.
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Old 04-04-2013, 01:44 AM
 
Location: Chicago
38,706 posts, read 96,177,581 times
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I'm not sure what's so scary about understeer with FWD. You let off the accelerator and the nose comes right back in line, unless you've overcooked it so much that recovery isn't possible -- in which case you're driving like an idiot and you probably would have binned a RWD car even sooner. And if the front end is too hot for a tidy recovery, a quick yank on the e-brake does wonders to bring the back end around.
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:57 AM
 
Location: WI
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growing up in WI in the 70's, all we had was rwd.... but with good snow tires and weight in the trunk, i never got stuck. Cant say how well they stopped and turned though, those big winter beaters were boats i tell ya! lol.
Up until we moved south in 2009, we had plenty of fwd and 4/awd vehicles as well up there. Found that some of the fwd cars were good in snow and some near useless--it's all about tires. Actual snow tires on any car makes a huge difference (my .02, disagree if you must). In fact most of the time our suv's didnt handle snow better then our fwd with snow tires, with the main exception being deep snow when clearance was needed.
I will add though i still keep an awd suv even down here, it ahs come in handy when we make our trips back home. And glad i had it, when they got 20" of snow on a Dec day during our visit, and when we had to drive back thru a bad storm in Indiana.

Final point-- anyone who thinks having 4/awd will make them skid-proof is an idiot. I dont know how many times in that drive thru IN in the storm, we were passed by others in their suvs.... only to find them spun around in the ditch just down the road. For them, one knows where sympathy can be found in a dictionary.....
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