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Old 07-11-2002, 13:04   #1 (permalink)
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Some Thoughts on Raptor 4WD System

It seems everyone in the car industry and its observers think they know what other people and places should buy. So, here we are desperately hoping for a 4WD system that is Rear Wheel Drive biased - a natural progression from the basic 2WD Falcon platform.

However, if Raptor is to succeed in export markets, a FWD bias would almost certainly be a necessity (talk to the Americans over here and they all say they prefer FWD :oo1: )

So, it will be interesting to see how this plays out. It is not necessarily an easy thing to do (the two configurations).

Some options:
- two different configs of center diff/viscous coupling/or whatever
- different final drive ratios in front or rear axle (using a numerically slightly different final drive at each end causes a bias in torque distribution)

I guess that's why there's smart people working in product development!
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Old 07-11-2002, 14:06   #2 (permalink)
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I can't see differing drive ratio's as being a solution to this. I'd have to say that the 'coupling' mechanism and the design is more important.

In Fwd-4WD combinations, the front wheels are usually always driven, it's the transfer to the rear wheels that changes - ala Subaru.

The same holds true for RWD 4WD (Look at a rear engined VW Vanagon/Caravelle Syncro).

In larger Offroad Full-Time 4WD's we might all be familiar with a transfer case, and if one of these is being used, then you could pick and chose electronically from full FWD to full RWD if you wanted to.

Because the Falcon is not publicly intended for Export, my guess is that a RWD bias will be mandatory. But how they are doing 4WD is anyone's guess right now. Perhaps we should look at the Explorer 4WD drivetrain and take guesses from there.

The bigger question for me is, if they are spending all this money on a unique 4WD, will they spend that money on giving it a Low Ratio?

The 4WD drivetrain under a normal ride-height body would give us a WRX chaser. 4WD under a raised standard sedan/wagon would give us a Soft Roader. But to go all the way and build a unique body with 4WD to me would imply they are tackling Patrols and Landcruisers, and to do so without Low Range would be questionable.



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Old 07-11-2002, 14:27   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Luke Plaizier
The 4WD drivetrain under a normal ride-height body would give us a WRX chaser. 4WD under a raised standard sedan/wagon would give us a Soft Roader. But to go all the way and build a unique body with 4WD to me would imply they are tackling Patrols and Landcruisers, and to do so without Low Range would be questionable.



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Old 07-11-2002, 15:07   #4 (permalink)
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Chasing WRXs? Mate, they are behind us already and we only got 2WD - with 4WD they'll never see which way we went! LOL

I expect the 4WD system to carry no bias - if designed properly it will be able to distribute the torque as demand requires.

Can't see Ford building another vehicle in the Landcruiser field - already got one (not quite succesful) vehicle there.

It will be a crossover vehicle and won't require low range.
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Old 07-11-2002, 15:42   #5 (permalink)
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AP you have been overseas too long.

Raptor should be RWD biased because that is what the Australian market wants. If it flops here it will never be considered for export anyway.

Ford in the US has a vehicle coming that is virtually identical to the Raptor concept in the CrossTrainer except that it is based on a FWD platform. If Raptor is exported I would expect it to be RHD markets.
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Old 07-11-2002, 16:23   #6 (permalink)
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I can't help thinking that Ford will have misjudged the Australian Public if they don't provide a low range option on at least one Raptor model.

The inclusion or absence of a low range will make or break my purchasing decision. Period.

Sure, not all consumers need or want low range. But how big is the Off-Road low-range 4WD market in Australia right now, and would Ford be silly if they ignored it? Up until recently, every 4WD owner worth his salt would have purchased a low-range off-Road 4WD. I'd wager that the traditional 4WD buyer is not going to go for a Soft-Roader, and that there are still a lot of them/us out there. While I don't deny that the Soft-Road market does have a lot of potential, I just hope Ford don't have the Soft-Road blinkers on.

I really don't see the point of building a unique-shell 4WD Softroader when it would be so much cheaper just to whack the drivetrain under a standard Wagon or Sedan. My only hope is to read between the lines in the hope that this new 4WD is going to be built as a true Off-Road Low-Range Landrcruiser/Patrol-Tackling 4WD.

Building a unique sheel could imply that they are re-inforcing the body significantly and offering a true Off-Road solution, and Geoff has mentioned on a number of occassions that their Raptor project is quite significant. So there is good reason to be optimistic.

T3Man, what is Ford's Landcruiser competitor right now? The Explorer is really only the same size as the Prado/4Runner. They didn't bring out the F150/Expedition because of the Raptor Ute, and the F150 has low range, but even then the F150/Expedition is slightly larger than the Landcruiser. If you are referring to the standard Toyota Cross-Model naming convention* Landcruiser-Prado then that's not what I meant.

(* See also Celica-Supra and the US original Camry-Avalon.)


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Old 07-11-2002, 16:43   #7 (permalink)
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Interesting thoughts Luke, though I'd be happy (happier) to see a single box with a similar gear spread. That is a 6-speeder with 1st being a (lock-out) "granny' low. Just consider the overlap that already exists in most transfer case arrangements. Below is the gear spread for a 100-series Landcruiser - Petrol GXL

10.151 Low 1st
5.707 Low 2nd
4.808 High 1st
3.707 Low 3rd
2.488 Low 4th
2.294 High 2nd
2.192 Low 5th
1.490 High 3rd
1.000 High 4th
0.881 High 5th


Surely in this day and age the better solution is a single box without the overlap. Especially with engines designed with plenty of low-down torque.
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Old 07-11-2002, 17:43   #8 (permalink)
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Yes, I'll consider a granny gear on the 6 speed to be an acceptable substitute for a low-range gearset. I had a Granny-Gear on a 1987 Vanagon Syncro (The Caravelle vans are called Vanagon in the US), but it was in a 5 speed box, so I only had 4 high-range gears.

Another thing, someone here mentioned on this site that the bread-and-butter 4.2 Litre Turbo-Diesel Inline Six is being dropped from the F-250 range. Which to me is curious if that is the mainstream F-250 seller.

Could it be that they are removing competition away from a Diesel powered Raptor 4WD utility? If so you think they would wait until the Raptor was on the market. Maybe the 4.2 TD I6 is an easy Raptor fit, although I'd rather see a diesel conversion of the new Falcon I6.


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Old 07-11-2002, 21:36   #9 (permalink)
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Question

I have another theory for those of the conspiracy bent:
The Raptor (& its 'lesser' GMH product) will allow both Ford & GM to apply for the import tariffs on passenger vehicles to be extended to cover 4WD.
The closer the Raptor specifications to 'full' 4WD to more likely the Government is to hear this claim sympathetically.
This will reduce price competition from 4WDs, against the large car & s/wagon market, an area that Ford & GM do not have much to loose but their competition sure does!!
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Old 07-11-2002, 21:50   #10 (permalink)
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Pete, how many average Joe's out there, when buying a soft 4WD, know whether or not it is FWD or RWD biased? Very few I imagine.
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