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Old 09-18-2008, 14:40   #1 (permalink)
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4x4 vs AWD

I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts about 4x4 vs AWD. I have always had 4x4 but just got a 04 eddie bauer with awd. Does one do better in snow driving?
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Old 09-22-2008, 23:51   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 4x4 vs AWD

AWD is excellent for Northern areas. The only problem with 4x4 is without locking hubs the vehicle has to be moving to engage. if you slide off a road in 2 wheel and try to engage 4 wheel with a dial you'd better hope the vehicle can move 4 to 5 feet to engage. With locking hubs you get out and engage by hand. With AWD the vehicle works like the old limited slip differentials whereas they supply power to the axle that needs it. You don't have to move the vehicle.
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Old 09-24-2008, 09:21   #3 (permalink)
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Re: 4x4 vs AWD

My wife drives an 04 EB AWD Explorer and I drive 05 ST 4x4 with 2WD, 4Low & 4High settings.
Here is how AWD work: Under normal conditions one axle gets 100% of the torque - meaning you are driving in 2WD. During traction loss at the driven axle a fully automatic system (hydraulic, mechanical or electronic) makes up to 50% of the torque to the axle with traction available. This means you have to lose traction in 2WD on your driven axle first and then the other axle will be added and try to keep the car moving and stable. Once the primary driven axle regains traction and both axles rotate at the same speed again, the system reverts back to 2WD.

On 4 WD, when "4-low" is selected the wheels create substantially more torque than in "4-high" - at the same time the vehicle moves at substantially slower speeds. 4-low does not create more traction - it creates more torque and that can be detrimental when traction is marginal. Slipping tires are more likely in "low" than in "high".

The low setting is an advantage for drivers who need to tow and maneuver a heavy trailer etc. and for drivers who at one point or another may want to negotiate difficult off-road terrain, when more torque and/or slower speed is needed.
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Old 09-24-2008, 23:07   #4 (permalink)
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Re: 4x4 vs AWD

Quote:
Originally Posted by artstang View Post
Here is how AWD work: Under normal conditions one axle gets 100% of the torque - meaning you are driving in 2WD.
Not necessarily ... it depends on the AWD make and model.

For instance, my 2004 Mercury Mountaineer AWD normally always delivers traction 30/70 front/rear unless traction demands otherwise. The smaller Mariner is normally 2WD at the front until tractions demands otherwise.
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