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Old 12-07-2012, 03:10 PM   #85
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Summer car only! I got stuck in a Trans Am company car once and an early sleet/ice then snow storm came in up around the Quad Cities. Absolutely the worst drive I've had in my entire life. I was never in control of the car. It felt like flying a small plane in a hurricane.
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:31 PM   #86
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Those are referred, most often as AWD. And they are THE BEST at on road traction. Computer controlled and can send power to each slipping wheel independently in some of the more advanced cases. They, however, are complicated mechanically and are not as robust as 4wd. Other than electronic controls and some auto engagement add ons, 4wd is pretty much the same as it was in your Dad's old Jeep, mechanically.

The Yukon XL Denali I'm driving now, Escalade and others are AWD. No low set though
I'm unclear about that. I think you're talking about vehicle skid control, something that was developed after anti-locking brake systems became common. Both use computers to regulate the brakes and wheel rotation. AWD, as I understand, it sends power to all wheels, usually more to the front than the back, but is different from anti lock and anti skid systems, but it could all be integrated into one computer operated system.

Some 4WD can be engaged with VSC remaining in operation (our '06 4Runner) and some turn off VSC (our '07 Tundra).

Like Ken, I find it hard to keep up with all these variations.

Let's not forget tires. Bad tires can make every system invented pretty useless. I use the best tires for traction (within some reason because wear is also important) and haven't gotten stuck in decades. The 4Runner does have a locking differential, but I've only used it once to see if it worked (I drove the 4Runner up a grade with a foot of unbroken snow once with 4WD only and the OEM Michelin "Crosstrainer" [all weather?] tires; it plowed through as if the driveway was bare). By the way, I believe differential lockers are only to be used if driving straight, slow and briefly. Several years ago I pulled out a Tacoma stuck in 2' of hard crusted snow about 100' until I could get him back on the driveway while the Tundra was on slick wet snow and had no problem though "all" I had was 4WD. I had pretty new Michelin LTX A/T2 tires and he had "all weather" tires. I think all weather tires are not very good in snow, but they're supposed to ride smoother and last longer.

Comparisons between different drive systems get confusing because the systems vary a lot, some are combined into one, different companies' systems can vary in efficiency, systems change constantly, drivers differ, and tires make a big difference too.

Gene
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:45 PM   #87
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Gene, Yes you are correct. Some (older...maybe still some on lower priced entry level vehicles) AWD systems are dumb. For example my old Astro van was set at a default 60% rear, 40% front with a viscous clutch in the transfer case. There was no "active" parts to those systems.

Newer high end systems can now vary the split (front to rear) and use the brakes (individual wheel) while driving down the road, without touching the brake pedal, to split the (applied to the ground) torque unevenly wheel to wheel. This is all computer controlled and does share some of the same hardware with ABS, traction control, and sway control.

In addition, there are some really advanced systems which have torque splitting inside the differentials as well. I am not familiar with them very much though.
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:50 PM   #88
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Gene, the Eaton locker can and will engage and disengage completely on it's own regardless of road conditions. If it sees 100RPM difference between rear axle shafts and less than 20mph, it will engage. It will stay engaged until it sees a little left steer input (seen as rpm or "pressure" difference between the two rear axle shafts) then it disengages.

It is a really cool and robust unit. I am not familiar with Toyota's setup.
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:57 PM   #89
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Watch this:

Eaton Locking Differential Demonstration - YouTube
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:58 PM   #90
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The '06 4Runner system is ancient by today's technology. I don't recall anything automatic about the locker. I thought the old GM AWD sent more power to the front than the back, but I may have that backwards. After all you owned one and ought to know.

I think I mentioned this once before, but Ken, you can have a Jeepster just like that '49. I know where a Jeepster is for sale in Delta Co, less than 300 miles from your home. It may have an extra convertible top plus the hardtop. Every time I drive by I know I want it, but I have remained sensible. I have instructed Barb to not allow me to buy it, though she isn't always with me. I am afraid of stopping and looking at it or talking to the owner. Beat me to it.

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Old 12-07-2012, 04:02 PM   #91
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And this:

Eaton Mechanical Locking Differential - YouTube
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:50 PM   #92
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If you REALLY want traction, buy a 4wd and slap some electronic lockers, front and rear on it. All 4 tires spinnin at the same speed. Cant be beat! Once your out, turn em off and youve got an open diff!
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:52 PM   #93
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Yup, for the off roader. I prefer the mechanical simplicity over the electronic for everyday use. For a mudder, I'd want to control it with a switch.
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:42 AM   #94
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^^^ You gotta good point there. And a mechanical is cheaper!
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:42 AM   #95
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That's a very convincing video. My wife and I watched it, and she asked, "Do we have those?" I said, "No. But if we ever have to replace the differentials in the truck, that's what we'll get."
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Old 12-08-2012, 11:18 AM   #96
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dzn', those videos are cool. Looks pretty complicated and I can kinda understand how it works. I'd rather have one to fiddle with to figure out how it works. If you make it tough enough, it'll last a long time, but it is made tough enough and how long is a long time?

More than I need. Chains are cheaper. I have had chains in case I got stuck in clay mud in Utah canyon country, but never had to use them. My general rule is if you need chains to drive, stay where you are.

Off road is different than on road, but I've not needed anything but 4WD to explore some really bad roads. On road can be worse because of traffic. One person has an accident and you spend hours slowly moving a few miles. This is the lowest common denominator—one guy with bad tires driving a rear drive 1980's badly made car can hold up thousands of people for hours. No traffic roads are much easier because no accidents and the snow hasn't been pounded into ice or slippery slush by thousands of vehicles.

I-70 in Colorado gets closed a lot in the winter because of high traffic with accidents and trucks without chains stuck on highways blocking the road. US 50 also crosses the mountains, but I've only been stuck in a traffic jam in the winter once—Cerro Summit had 2" of wet snow and a couple of 18 wheelers skidded, partially blocking the road. Traffic stuck in place seems to turn snow into ice fast and make the road worse. A benefit to living in very cold places is dry, very cold snow is far less slippery than wet snow around 32˚.

Experience helps too. People from warm winter states need a training course in winter driving and some never seem to learn. Some people think 4WD makes you invincible and they give 4WD a bad rap though natural selection seems to reduce their numbers.

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Old 12-08-2012, 01:13 PM   #97
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I've had four wheel drive on several vehicles in the past because I used them for hunting. Never needed the four wheel drive, but by golly I had it.

My current tow vehicle ('08 GMC 3/4 ton pickup) is the first that has had 4WD, and since I've been driving it (two years because I bought it used) the 4WD has saved my butt three times. One of those times was in the middle of a state highway in a construction area, and the others in campgrounds.

When it comes time to replace the GMC, I'll probably look for another 4X4.
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Old 12-08-2012, 01:23 PM   #98
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The most sensible way to drive a vehicle with selectable 4WD is to use 2WD until you start to feel you need 4WD. Then think seriously about where you are going and what you are doing before proceeding. If you go somewhere in 2WD it is very likely you can get back out even if you have to use 4WD. However if you go in using 4WD, you may find yourself staying there for a while.

Ken
Well said.. So true..
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