Scared of rear wheel drive in the snow? Shouldn't be.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 06, 2014 12:06 AM GMT
    And we've sure had enough snow this year ... such as last night. Had a big wet snow come in at about 8:00 pm last night. We had about 9 inches in certain areas around here by about 2:00 am, but it varied widely. We had about 8 1/2 to 9" here.

    I can't resist virgin snow with no tire tracks and the city would have it cleared by this morning so I took a little drive. I couldn't move in this stuff last year with summer compound RE-11s so in November of this year I went with a set of Bridgestone Blizzaks on all fours.

    It made a monster difference as can be seen. It was worse yet because it was a warm wet snow plus at the time of the video it had turned into an ice storm.

    The trick in this stuff is to start in 3rd gear and turn all the electronic nannies off .... that means stability system and traction control. I'd turn the ABS off if I could, but that can't be turned off.


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    Feb 06, 2014 2:38 AM GMT
    You ever need to put sandbags in your trunk? Or do you under inflate your tires a little?




    Also, wheeeeeeeeeeee..



    JPhjs0E.gif
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    Feb 06, 2014 3:51 AM GMT
    That gif was almost me one winter. I was driving back to the SF bay area from Reno in December. It was freezing cold and a light rain was falling as I was going through Tahoe or Truckee. I saw two cars over to the side that had had a fender bender and tapped the brakes to slow down and they started shuddering; it was the ABS or whatever it is that causes them to pulse. The rain was freezing on the freeway. At that point I let my foot off the gas and slowed down a lot. Scared the crap out of me when I realized I was driving 65 on sheet ice.

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    Feb 06, 2014 4:27 AM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal saidThat gif was almost me one winter. I was driving back to the SF bay area from Reno in December. It was freezing cold and a light rain was falling as I was going through Tahoe or Truckee. I saw two cars over to the side that had had a fender bender and tapped the brakes to slow down and they started shuddering; it was the ABS or whatever it is that causes them to pulse. The rain was freezing on the freeway. At that point I let my foot off the gas and slowed down a lot. Scared the crap out of me when I realized I was driving 65 on sheet ice.

    65MPH? Wow. Scary stuff. So glad to be in California. icon_cool.gif
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    Feb 06, 2014 5:51 AM GMT
    I used to have a couple of big steel blast-furnace doors that I'd put in the back of my old chevy in the winter. Well... actually still have the doors, but don't have the chevy. And of course, tire chains.

    Actually spun out in the 4-runner and ground-off the left front corner on the jersey barricade a couple of months ago. Got caught out in the left lane in way too much traffic and someone up front stopped to rubberneck at an accident in the other lane... and all the cars behind were suddenly waaay too close together for an icy road. Didn't want to slide under the semi to my right, or plow into the car in front...

    Anyhow, I probably could fix it, but I could probably buy something ten years newer for the same money. For now, it's parked in the back of the garage with the damaged side pointing away from the door. 24 years without a scratch and now this icon_cry.gif
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    Feb 06, 2014 5:54 AM GMT
    xrichx saidYou ever need to put sandbags in your trunk? Or do you under inflate your tires a little?



    No, but I do try to keep the gas tank full .... not just to add a little weight back there, but just in case something does go wrong and you're off in the woods or down in a ditch for a while and need to run the heater a bit to stay warm. And the other reason to keep a full tank is prevention of condensation in the top of the tank.

    Now tonight it was a little tough to get up the hill to get into the garage because the snow was high enough that once the tires dig down in the snow the undercarriage is high centered.
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    Feb 06, 2014 6:01 AM GMT
    I think the deepest snow I ever managed to get through was this in Bryce Canyon National Park. I was the first tracks in the snow and it was snowing so hard that I could barely tell where the road was.

    photo IMG_1281-1.jpg

    one little section was plowed but at the rate it was snowing it back under with in an hour.

    photo IMG_1283.jpg

    It was all well worth it for the photography I got once I was in there.
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    Feb 06, 2014 6:03 AM GMT
    photo IMG_1353-2-1.jpg
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    Feb 06, 2014 6:08 AM GMT
    mindgarden saidI used to have a couple of big steel blast-furnace doors that I'd put in the back of my old chevy in the winter. Well... actually still have the doors, but don't have the chevy. And of course, tire chains.

    Actually spun out in the 4-runner and ground-off the left front corner on the jersey barricade a couple of months ago. Got caught out in the left lane in way too much traffic and someone up front stopped to rubberneck at an accident in the other lane... and all the cars behind were suddenly waaay too close together for an icy road. Didn't want to slide under the semi to my right, or plow into the car in front...

    Anyhow, I probably could fix it, but I could probably buy something ten years newer for the same money. For now, it's parked in the back of the garage with the damaged side pointing away from the door. 24 years without a scratch and now this icon_cry.gif


    Good move. Not kewl to be trapped under an 18 wheeler ... not kewl at all.
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    Feb 06, 2014 6:37 AM GMT
    However, snow or not, if you ever get a chance to do something like the below in the middle of the winter then by all means, get the correct tires and do it. It's so well worth it.

    Starts with Eisenhower pass just west of Denver at about 11,000' altitude. then on west from there to Moab, UT. Then down through color country in Southern Utah.

    btn_geturs.gifscotth3886's 2009 winter cross country album on Photobucket
  • isuflyboy

    Posts: 363

    Feb 07, 2014 2:36 PM GMT
    xrichx saidYou ever need to put sandbags in your trunk? Or do you under inflate your tires a little?




    Also, wheeeeeeeeeeee..



    JPhjs0E.gif


    I did this once in my jeep, but it wasn't on the highway lol

    Then I got rid of it this summer and got a Toyota solara... Which is fwd
    It still sucks in the snow, and y'all are gonna think I'm crazy, but It has way too much power for slick surfaces.. I've always had SUVs and I can't wait to get rid of this car and get a jeep or a land rover again
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    Feb 07, 2014 2:53 PM GMT
    I don't live in the snow belt…. and I would only buy snow tyres if they quit salting the roads. I've got a nice little single cab Ford Ranger… I've got thinner truck tyres on it…. weight the back end down with snow or firewood… and that little four cylinder will go anywhere. The beauty of it is the standard transmission by gearing down and letting the rear end slow you down in a nice straight line. I had to get use to the ABS brakes on it…. I use to love stepping on the brakes in a turn and my rear end would precisely spin to a 90. Oh well. Yeah I almost forgot…. I always keep a long handled foot wide scoop shovel in the back for helping others.

    Hope that helps guys…. only 6 more weeks of this stuff…. and the coldest time of the month is usually the full moon…. next week…..aaaahhh…. i don't have a heating bill that would be harsh.
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    Feb 07, 2014 2:55 PM GMT
    pellaz saidnot all cars have the same geometry, a good site for reviews is edmunds.com
    for example:
    The Honda S2000 is a rear wheel drive car and is very unstable even in the rain, fair game to be scared of this car in the snow.

    Most 2 wheel drive pickup trucks are essentially rear wheel drive with not a lot of weight in back. Even a full tank of gas helps. The old fashion four wheel drives; typically the front wheels turn ever so slightly faster, ensuring the vehicle has a small tendency to point forward.


    "not all cars have the same geometry"

    no shit!
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    Feb 07, 2014 2:57 PM GMT
    For snow, I'd much rather have fwd over rwd, but gimme an awd any day. My next car is definitely going to be a small awd crossover.
  • LJay

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    Feb 07, 2014 3:00 PM GMT
    I had a VW bug that was a champ in the snow.
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    Feb 07, 2014 3:02 PM GMT
    robbee333 saidI don't live in the snow belt…. and I would only buy snow tyres if they quit salting the roads. I've got a nice little single cab Ford Ranger… I've got thinner truck tyres on it…. weight the back end down with snow or firewood… and that little four cylinder will go anywhere. The beauty of it is the standard transmission by gearing down and letting the rear end slow you down in a nice straight line. I had to get use to the ABS brakes on it…. I use to love stepping on the brakes in a turn and my rear end would precisely spin to a 90. Oh well. Yeah I almost forgot…. I always keep a long handled foot wide scoop shovel in the back for helping others.

    Hope that helps guys…. only 6 more weeks of this stuff…. and the coldest time of the month is usually the full moon…. next week…..aaaahhh…. i don't have a heating bill that would be harsh.


    I would actually prefer that the ABS was defeatable for this kind of deep snow driving. I think threshold braking gives you shorter stopping distances. I almost always turn the traction control and stability control completely off for snow driving.

    My point of all this was what a monster difference having the correct tires for the weather. I tried to limp by over the last couples of winters on the summer compound RE-50s, which is the OEM tire and the replacement RE-11s which could be a semi-track tire from looking at the size of the tread blocks. The car was almost undrivable in the snow. Not now
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    Feb 07, 2014 3:05 PM GMT
    LJay saidI had a VW bug that was a champ in the snow.


    I had a 1982 Porsche 911SC, and the one time that it was left outside during snowfall, I had to shovel the driveway just to get it back in the garage. Chains or snow tires would have made a huge difference, I'm sure.
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    Feb 07, 2014 3:13 PM GMT
    Yeah sorry about that. You're absolutely right with the snow tyres. I do a lot of snow storm driving and this works for me. When I did have a car I had two vehicles…. that way i could drive old dependable in the crap. We do have a couple feet of the stuff this year and i'm soooo tired of shovelling it. Can't wait to get the bike out again….aaaahhh
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    Feb 07, 2014 3:26 PM GMT
    I didn't mean to sound like an advertisement for advocating winter tires. I've known winter tires existed for decades and thought sure they would make some difference. What surprised me is to the extent that they would make a car totally unsuitable for winter driving into something that would get by just fine.
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    Feb 07, 2014 3:30 PM GMT
    pellaz said-tires that have a functional life time will not be as good in snow and if your winter tires are worn they probably lost their advantage in the snow.
    -a vehicle can put out 300hp will always be at a disadvantage; human nature being what it is and all.

    -studded tires are legal all year round in my state
    -a big advantage if your vehicle can disable the rear differential so power is applied to both back tires
    -chains are a big advantage. Its ass-holes & elbows to put them on say in a parking with snow on the ground. they self destruct if driving on dry pavement.


    "-a big advantage if your vehicle can disable the rear differential so power is applied to both back tires"

    Huh?

    That means you wouldn't move at all. I have a true LSD, which is why the car is capable of such lurid oversteering power slides in the dry. In the snow that can make it a handful. True, you have power directed to both rear wheels but when you break them loose you're unlikely to go in a straight line.
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    Feb 07, 2014 8:14 PM GMT
    All the tractors have a dif-loc lever. It's usually a momentary spring-loaded thing though. It's not unusual to have to apply it briefly when plowing, for example. Sometimes it stays locked until the next time you push the clutch in. Usually when I need it most, I don't have a free hand to reach for it icon_neutral.gif

    I used to keep a set of studded tires and a set of summer tires for the 4-runner. They're mostly good where the roads stay packed ice for extended periods. Where I live now, I would put them on for the first icy day, then it would be dry for a month and wear off the studs. icon_redface.gif I suppose they would still work if I wasn't too lazy to change the tires twice a week.

    Right now, we're in that pattern where I have to chain up to get down off the mountain, de-chain to go on the interstate, and re-chain to get home. PITA. I'd rather just stay home, but I have to go to the marina today and shovel snow off the boat.
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    Feb 07, 2014 8:37 PM GMT
    pellaz said
    freedomisntfree said
    pellaz said ...
    "-a big advantage if your vehicle can disable the rear differential so power is applied to both back tires"
    Huh?
    That means you wouldn't move at all. I have a true LSD, which is why the car is capable of such lurid oversteering power slides in the dry. In the snow that can make it a handful. True, you have power directed to both rear wheels but when you break them loose you're unlikely to go in a straight line.


    a 99 Toyota Tacoma has a oem differential lock, works well lasts a long time

    i have a 4x4 front loader tractor with a mechanical rear differential lock. You can be a lot more productive in deep snow or mud. You can see Both rear wheels move at the same speed no matter what.



    A true locking diff as in Ford's old Detroit Locker is not what I was talking about. A true locking diff sees application in 4x4 truck duty, but rarely ever did in cars. I was talking about a mechanical LSD, which is used for an example in the Chevy SS, my G8, M5 etc.

    The old GM posi was a also mechanical LSD so was Ford's Traction Lock, however, that name is a misnomer as it still allowed both rear wheels to turn at different speeds for tight turns such as parking, u-turns, residential street 90 degree turns, etc.

    http://youtu.be/oLG3f6ZK_eU

    A diff that allows hooning like this in the dry can be a handful in the snow, but it also keeps both rear wheels turning at 'approximately' the same speed. The 'approximately' is the difference as I illustrated in the paragraph above. You don't want a true locking diff for dry street driving ... you want a 'limited slip' so you can go around low speed, tight corners.
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    Feb 07, 2014 10:44 PM GMT
    i prefer RWD over FWD, and especially in the snow. Although i drive an AWD.. lol.
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    Feb 09, 2014 12:25 AM GMT
    The stockers were summer tires so that would explain why they performed so poorly. Summer tires turn into slicks in the snow.

    IMO... we should have the option of what tires come with our cars. They really make a world of difference.


    Of course, not many would be opting for winter tires on a new car unless they bought during winter time and lived in those conditions, however.. if I could have chosen I would have built my car with summer tires. I live in Las Vegas. It rarely if ever snows here.

    I just went from crappy Dunlop SP5000 tires to Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position tires on my 2014 Mazda6 and now.. the handling limit is the stock suspension. icon_lol.gif

    Only a few models offer this option on the option sheet, not nearly enough. Mazda.. a sport-oriented car maker sticks all-seasons on everything with no summer tire option but their Mazdaspeed variants come standard with them of course. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Feb 09, 2014 12:38 AM GMT