4x4 or Front wheel drive?

Re: 4x4 or Front wheel drive?

PostBy: LsFarm On: Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:46 am

Mud will get my 4x4 stuck, or glare ice uphill loaded, or if I'm stupid and go bashing through snow drifts that I don't know how deep they are... I did that once, when I was 20 years old... I 'high-centered' my 4x4 ford F250, it tooktwo of us about 4 hours to dig it out!! it was dangerous too, you have to get under the truck to chip out/dig out the hard compacted snow... I had no winch, no money for a tow truck, and ... well I just had to dig it out...
Obviously, the truck didn't fall on me. :lol: :lol: :D

Greg L
LsFarm
 
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Re: 4x4 or Front wheel drive?

PostBy: stockingfull On: Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:49 pm

e.alleg wrote:why don't they make a front wheel drive P/U?


Greg's right; when you load a vehicle aft, it has the effect of "unweighting" the front wheels. If those happen to be the drive wheels, that's not good. So, apart from whatever economic reasons there might be, it just doesn't make engineering sense to have a FWD pickup -- at least not if you're gonna put anything in it! Same thing occurs when you take FWD up a steep hill: putting the vehicle on a slope shifts the load back toward the rear wheels and that can make a critical difference in slippery conditions. If the weight is far enough forward for that not to be a significant problem, the car will understeer badly ("push" is the NASCAR term) when you lose traction on level ground.

OTOH, if loading doesn't change much and you don't have steep slopes to climb, a good FWD setup (I had a great one with traction control a few years back) can do real well. But don't let anybody tell you that FWD is as good as 4WD or AWD, because it just ain't so. It's a law of nature.

But take heart; it's not necessarily an "either or" decision. There are economical AWD choices out there. Look at low-mass (Suzuki SX4, Subaru Impreza) or, as Greg suggests, diesel choices. My AWD Audi S4 has gobs of power, gets 27 honest-injin MPG on the highway, and can pass a plow in the snow.

And don't forget: before 4WD/AWD became common, our parents got around pretty well in the winter by loading a few hundred pounds of weight (bagged coal seems like a pretty convenient idea) over the rear axles of their RWD cars and trucks. And they usually had only 2 "snow tires"!
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Re: 4x4 or Front wheel drive?

PostBy: watkinsdr On: Mon Feb 25, 2008 10:02 pm

I have a 2003 Dodge Ram 2500 4 door 5.7L HEMI---2 wheel drive!! Here are some reasons I went 2 wheel drive:

1. Saved major money when ordering the vehicle ~$4000

2. Compared insurance on 4x2 vs 4x4 truck---major savings again. Guess the actuaries at the insurance companies assume 'yer not going "muddin" in a 4x2 and end up destroying the vehicle... They factor that directly into the premium.

3. Great handling. My Dodge has rack and pinion steering; and, it drives great!

4. Here in southern New Hampshire, the roads are almost 100% paved, and plowed within hours of every snow storm.

5. The truck sits nice and low to the ground---kinda looks like one of those "stylin" trucks from California!

Further...

6. I carry ~900 lbs of bagged sand for extra traction all winter--- I see no difference in gas mileage.

7. Bought a set of those new fangled cable tire chains that are really easy to install and take off. With these cable chains on I have excellent traction. I'm routinely passing front wheel drive cars with white knuckle drivers; and, keep right up with 4x4 SUVs and trucks.

8. A guy at work has an identical truck like mine except his is 4x4: he gets between 10 - 12 MPG, I get between 14 -18 MPG.

9. The truck was delivered new with Michelin LTX 265/70R-17 tires. I've rotated the tires every 5000 miles since new in December 2003. My odometer just turned 124,000 miles; and, the tires are still going strong! I'm planning on running the tires until 150,000! If you don't believe this; well, I can't believe it either. The tires still have excellent tread. They may go well past 150,000 miles!!

10. The truck has always stayed in amazingly good alignment. I've only had the truck aligned once---when replacing front ball joints, which were destroyed by Interstate 495 which I drive 90 miles round trip each day...

11. And last but not least, with 345 HP, the truck can haul some serious A$$ and haul some serious coal!!

12. BTW: I wouldn't recommend a 4x2 truck to any novice driver. You really have to pay attention to what's going on; and, understand the feedback the vehicle is giving you on snowy/icy roads via the throttle, brakes, and steering---it's not for the faint of heart.
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Re: 4x4 or Front wheel drive?

PostBy: e.alleg On: Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:03 pm

I drove a G20 van for a while when I was poor, it was terrible in the snow. I remember having to go 4 miles out of the way because I would only make right turns to avoid spinning out in the traffic lane but I didn't have any weight in it. I like 4x4 trucks, no doubt, but like watkinsdr says there is a serious premium to pay for it that I'm not sure is really necessary. I guess my original question was if a 2wd pickup with weight in the bed can perform equally as well as a front wheel drive car in the snow.
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Re: 4x4 or Front wheel drive?

PostBy: LsFarm On: Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:34 pm

In my life, I just can't put up with the limitations of 2wd, but as stated above, if you have control of when you drive, where you go, what you haul, then a 2wd is a viable option.

But I live on 1.5 miles of dirt road, that has once swallowed my FWD minivan, [I didn't think I needed to take the 4x4 truck, didn't realize the bottom had thawed out of the roadbed]. I pull all kinds of equipment in any and all weather, and when I have to get to the airport, I HAVE to get to the airport.. I have more than once driven all back roads all the way to the airport, bypassing the gridlock on the freeways and main roads during a snow storm... this was only an option with 4wd. I just don't have options, I have to go when I need to go. Or it costs me serious coin in lost income.

My Dodge diesel Pickup got 17mpg when new and unmodified, had 235hp/455ftlbs torque at the flywheel, It turned the rollers on a chassis dynamometer at 198hp/410ftlbs torque at the rear wheels... it now turns the rollers at ~480 hp, and 980ftlbs torque.. and it now gets between 19-21mpg on the highway. Towing empty, about 15mpg, towing at 22,000# at 70 mph, 12mpg.

It just depends on your needs and requirements if you can live with the limitations of a 4x2 over a 4x4.

Greg L

.
LsFarm
 
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Re: 4x4 or Front wheel drive?

PostBy: Hammer8 On: Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:39 am

it now turns the rollers at ~480 hp, and 980ftlbs torque.. and it now gets between 19-21mpg on the highway. Towing empty, about 15mpg, towing at 22,000# at 70 mph, 12mpg.


I'm wondering what you did to your truck to make the difference. You have to be running the 5.9. I'm wishing now I never traded my 2000 in on the new 6.7L. It's a great truck, but I went from 18-20 mpg to 16 tops. At 3.59/ gal, it makes a difference at the pumps.
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Re: 4x4 or Front wheel drive?

PostBy: watkinsdr On: Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:14 am

Three more points:

1. I wouldn't recommend a 4x2 1/2 ton chassis truck to anyone. Definitely go with a 3/4 ton chassis if 'yer considering a 2 wheel drive vehicle. When I was ordering my truck the 3/4 ton chassis only cost an extra $1800 bucks---money well spent in my humble opinion...

2. Factor in resale value too. I typically buy my vehicles (versus leasing), take good care of them, rack up serious miles on them, and drive them 8 to 10 years before trading again. Plus, north of the Mason Dixon line, 4x2 trucks have poor resale value. Basically 99% of the folks out there are convinced they need 4x4; especially, the person willing to buy your used vehicle... If you like to drive new vehicles---'yer probably better off leasing a 4x4.

3. Diesel vs. gas: I had a hard time choosing between the gas job (5.7L HEMI) and the diesel (5.9L Cummins) back when I was ordering my 4x2 Dodge in the fall of 2002. I finally did a payback analysis with EXCEL and calculated I needed to drive ~150,000 miles to payback the optional diesel engine---based on my driving profile. I don't do very much towing or hauling---it's 95% commuting to work. I believe the Cummins cost an extra $5000 bucks back then; and, the price differential between gas and diesel was minimal---back then...

Fast forward to 2008 and regular unleaded gas here in southern New Hampshire is ~$3.00/gal and diesel is ~$3.65/gal. I personally never thought I'd see the day when diesel cost more than gas. Diesel over my lifetime (I'm 48) has always been significantly cheaper than gas. I've been told the reason for diesel being so expensive is world wide demand for the product; and, the only way diesel prices will ever come down would be a major recession.

I'd love to have a few extra MPGs and gobbs of "he man" torque from a diesel; but, driving a diesel these days comes at a serious premium. Once upon a time you could "stick it to the man" by driving a diesel; but, in 2008 energy prices, it seems the man is sticking it to the diesel driver. Whadaya think Greg??
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Re: 4x4 or Front wheel drive?

PostBy: 69Drag On: Tue Feb 26, 2008 7:44 am

I had a 3/4 ton 2wd for many years and with good tires out back and weight in the bed it did reasonably well. However, now that I have a 4wd, I doubt I'll ever go back to 2wd. I've used it too many times and realized the benifts of having some extra pulling up front when needed. But I can't make any direct comparisons to a fwd minivan.

Tires play a huge role in how well something does in the snow. I noticed that several people here switch to snow tires or put on chains. Back when I was a kid my parents didn't have fwd or 4wd and also relied on snow tires thru the winter months. But for various reasons, most people, around here anyways, don't want to mess with changing tires like the old days. I had a 5.0 Mustang that normaly would be next to useless in the snow with the factory rubber. But with studded snow tires that car got me around great on snow and ice. If I can make a plug for a specific tire here, I once bought a complete set of Bridgestone Blizzaks for an ex's Neon. Those tires were amazing in the snow and even on ice. Turned out the tires were more reliable than the girl. Ha!

John
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Re: 4x4 or Front wheel drive?

PostBy: coaledsweat On: Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:44 am

Hammer8 wrote:
it now turns the rollers at ~480 hp, and 980ftlbs torque.. and it now gets between 19-21mpg on the highway. Towing empty, about 15mpg, towing at 22,000# at 70 mph, 12mpg.


I'm wondering what you did to your truck to make the difference. You have to be running the 5.9.


At 980 ft. lbs. I'll bet it's a diesel. A 5.9 would need a blower and some juice to make that #. :)
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Re: 4x4 or Front wheel drive?

PostBy: e.alleg On: Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:58 am

Holy crap almost 1000 # of torque! How do you keep drive shafts in the thing?
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Re: 4x4 or Front wheel drive?

PostBy: Steve.N On: Tue Feb 26, 2008 9:48 am

I have owned both front wheel and four wheel drive vehicles and have been stuck in both. We have a lot of snow here (currently the dogs have to stoop to look in the down stairs windows) and I have a 1/4 mile driveway. There is another 10 inches forcast for tonight. My current stable is a Ford Excape, A 12,000 gvw stakebody truck and a Subaru beater for gas economy, all 4wd. I have chains on the towmotor at my business and the sole two wheel drive that I own, a Maza Miata is stored for winter. Actually I should say my wife owns as she doesn't let me drive it. If I lived where the roads were clear after an occational snow I probably wouldn't pay the expense of 4wd and a lot of people here do drive front wd with few problems, but for me, it is a great relief to reach down and pull that lever on the floor when the wheels begin to spin

Steve
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