SOT: Which car to use in snow?



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wrote:

Living on a similar sounding hill (which never gets gritted/cleared) front wheel drive and skinny tyres wins. Alfa 164 (front wheel drive V6 big tyres sat at bottom of hill making vroomy sounds but getting nowhere. Taking a good run at the hill got it up but it was quite exiting. Jaguar XJ8 Supercharged big tyres rear wheel drive - forget it until snow melts.
Old Honda Civic front wheel drive smaller tyres drove up hill without a problem.
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A front drive trying to go uphill is not ideal due to weight transfer. Turn it round and back up the hill will likely work better.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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On Thu, 11 Jan 2018 15:57:57 +0000 (GMT), "Dave Plowman (News)"

Good luck trying to reverse up a hill in snow particularly with any bends.
The answer is to have very low zero steering input and let the engine management system idle control drag you up the hill at the edge of traction. Zero user accelerator input, just idle speed in 2nd gear. Of course that needs a warm engine that can maintain say 700 rpm or less with varying wheel loads. In hindsight trying not to be distracted by the 4x4's 911's Jags and Beemers in the hedges is the hardest part. Been there done that got the t-shirt
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I had the nasty experience of trying to reverse a Range Rover downhill backwards on a snow/ice covered track because the vehicle I was following got stuck. Yes, at least one bend before I got to somewhere I could turn.
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from KT24 in Surrey, England

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A Range Rover being a 4X4 isn't going to make much difference traction wise going up a hill forwards or backwards. But with FWD only, it can make a very big difference.
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when some of the track was covered in ice, backwards became interesting, especially as the view for reversing in a RR isn't that great.
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from KT24 in Surrey, England

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Failed hill climb on latest RRs I hear can be pretty interesting if you start sliding backwards. ABS releases the sliding wheels - and you can't engage reverse whilst the wheels are rotating. Or so I've heard. No personal experience.
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Not all RRs are 4 wheel drive these days.

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You can't reverse other than in a straight line?
Best not to venture out in snow, then.
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Its a pity neither have a lockable diff, as from friends experience this gets cars out of more trouble than anything else. Brian
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Yes I imagine a 2WD with a lockable diff is a lot better than a 4WD where none of the three diffs are lockable so one loose wheel is enough to remove traction from the other three.
Whenever I've got stuck, it's always been the wheel closer to the kerb/verge that's spun. In one case, the other wheel was on firm dry tarmac - but no use to man nor beast since the other wheel couldn't get a grip. Carpet mats worked wonders. Turning the steering wheels towards the tarmac seems to help with mud because if the tyre does dig itself deeper (even with very slow controlled turning) it is more likely to find tarmac buried beneath the mud.
Of course the best thing is not to get buried in the first place. If I have to move off a single track road onto the verge to let an oncoming ca pass, I try to keep moving and not to come to a complete halt.
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A 4x4 without lockable diffs or some form of traction control would rapidly turn into a one wheel drive. ISTR ambulances are like that. Required for better grip at speed rather than getting through snow. BICBW

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4x4 SUVs advertise that they normally run as FWD and only engage the RWD as well when it is needed (when the front wheels start to turn faster that the rear, implying that they are slipping). I presume that as well as engaging the rear wheels, they also lock the three diffs, otherwise, as you say, they turn into a 1WD :-)
I've noticed that our Honda CRV emits a foul burnt-cabbage stench (as if it's farted!) if I have to do a hill start on a steep gradient. I wonder whether this is a stenching agent built into the linkage that engages 4WD mode, to indicate when it has been engaged and a significant load has been transmitted, as opposed to on the level on snow (*). I've only had it happen a couple of times - once was on a steep hill where I'd had to go close to a verge (though on mud on the road rather than on the verge itself) when I met a car on a narrow road and then had to set off; the other time was on good tarmac when I stopped at a junction on a hill and then had to set off, maybe with a bit of wheel slippage on loose gravel.
(*) I've never actually driven it on snow because it's not snowed since we got the car, even though there were several previous years where it snowed.
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On 11/01/2018 22:01, NY wrote:

I think some keep the cost down and just simulate locked diffs by using the brakes to slow a spinning wheel and thus transfer drive to one with more grip.
SteveW
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On 11/01/18 22:30, Steve Walker wrote:

yes.

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Ah, right. As long as it has the effect of transferring drive to the non-spinning wheels, how ever it is achieved, that's enough for most situations - a lot better than having a 2WD car with no transfer of drive.
So presumably it has three non-lockable diffs, with the middle one (between front and rear axles) including a clutch that is only engaged when 4WD is required.
I presume it has to release the brakes as soon as the car starts moving, otherwise the car will veer towards the side which was originally spinning.
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On 12/01/18 10:19, NY wrote:

Freelander 1 has no center diff - just a viscous couopling that locks up when it detects froint wheel spin. Not sure if it has brakes fdor traction control

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That can certainly help in less than ideal conditions like a wet road, but is useless on ice, etc.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Not even any drive, it's one wheel still, three wheels spin.
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