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Old 03-30-2010, 07:20 PM   #15
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I have a 4 wheel drive Tahoe. It has 4 hi & 4 low as well as AWD and 2 wheel drive. I use awd on wet or slick roads and have never used 4 low since I must manually shift to 1st gear to use it. Have used 4 high on sand dunes and it worked great. It tows great behind my motorhome, but have to pull a fuse before towing.
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Old 03-30-2010, 07:55 PM   #16
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Wow!!! Opposite experience from me. I live up a long curvy drive. Had to walk home many times with 4WD pickups, Blazer etc. Since I got my first Subaru I have never walked home. My son is a ski racer and I do many thousands of miles on snow and ice every winter for the last 10 years. I have passed by many a 4WD pickup, Suburban etc spun out and stuck. Never a problem with my Subie Last winter I drove out in 25 inches of fresh snow, sheeting up over the hood/windshield. Never bogged down or had any problem. Not many people made it to work that day but I did.


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Personally, I'd stay away from AWD vehicles, like Subuarus. Great for some wet grass, little loose gravel and some hard pack sand, boat anchor if you get into anything worse.

I see Portlanders spinning their tires and spinning out with those little AWDs whenever we get a freeze and I've pulled more than one loose on the beach before. If you're going to enter the realm of 4WD, get the right rig. Either a Jeep, or a pickup with manual lockers.
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Old 03-31-2010, 10:59 AM   #17
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Driven through my fair share, wireless, but then I also know how to drift a 4x4 around a corner on a gravel road without having to touch the brakes . More folks get themselves into trouble with posi-lok rear ends than any thing else because they have no clue how its going to behave in non-ideal conditions.

I'd frankly think it should be required that anyone buying a 4x4 or awd to go and learn how to drive it off road before being able to take ownership, there's plenty of fools that own 4x4s and try to drive them like a porche on a race track.
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:27 AM   #18
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We have an AWD Honda element and a 4X4 chevy 2500. The AWD is a nice vehicle for all around use. It is really a FWD vehicle most of the time, when it loses traction you can hear it shift into AWD and it has decent traction. We live on a half mile lane in the country and get plenty of snow and drifting. The honda has only been stuck once. The Chevy is a better vehicle for real off road with a 4wd low and a front locker. It will go through the snow and mud and I have never been stuck in it even the deepest snow.

With that said in reality for most off road, a little mud and sand or some snow and ice a AWD should be fine. Thats why we have one it can handle 99% of what we need and gets good milage and is better than 2WD ever was for us. However if it snows a lot, is thick heavy wet snow or I want to go through some deep mud i will take the truck. You cant beat a low range and a locked front end. (well except with a fully locked front and rear with even a lower range, but then you are usually talking a speciality vehicle)

Also the AWD honda an be a toad without any add on, there is a sequence in the manual on how to shift the trans etc to tow it. Although we tow the truck instead but thats since it has the bed for the bikes and gear.

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Old 04-09-2010, 04:15 PM   #19
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I have an AWD dodge caravan and I would not do deep sand!! I have never gotten it stuck in the snow or ice but My old Isuzu rodeo was even better sand snow ice nothing stopped the beast until the rust rotted out the frame!!!I would go 4WD but as stated earlier make sure it has posie or limited slip both front and back. Also just a point the AWD vehicles have sensitive electronics at the wheels and salty sand will kill them.
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:00 PM   #20
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I have a 4x4 Jeep Wrangler, 4x4 Yukon and an AWD Honda CRV. In most snows the Honda is terrific and does just great outperforming many 4x4's. It has less weight therefore momentum and that is the vehicle we usually use. When the snow gets really deep and traffic bad we use the Yukon and when we had our 5 - 7' storm this winter I chained it up front. It has limited slip in the rear which can make your rear end spin around, the Honda doesn't do that. But it is also higher of the ground and can go through deeper snow because it has greater mass. It also is harder to stop because of this mass.

The Jeep is primarily for off roading where high clearance, armor, really big aggressive tires, rock craawling, stream crossing etc is required. It has Detroit lockers front and rear which give you true 4 wheel drive. In deep snow it can be quirky because of the lockers and fat tires but a lot of fun. Both the Jeep and the Yukon have a low range, the Honda doesn't. The jeep has also been regeared for the tires and offroading. It has custom made bumpers, tow points, sliders, a 9,000 winch, 5 tow points, 6" lift, 33" x 12.50 tires - which can act as toboggans on a down grade. It also has amazing articulation with the solid axles. This allows one wheel of an axle to be high on a rock and the other to be low in a hole and yet both are still touching terra firma allowing excellent traction. Other than lift and tires the degree of articulation is most important.

For sand the Jeep would be best with a tire pressure of about 12 psi. I also have onboard air to air them suckers back up. For black diamond trails the jeep is the only vehicle, for green and blues the Yukon is adequate. I usually don't take the Honda off road.

I yank nuts out too but for a fee from $300 to 700 depending upon the difficulty and the stupidity.
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Old 04-11-2010, 07:10 PM   #21
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We have a Honda CRV and a Jeep Liberty 4X4. We originally chose the CRV due to its light weight, good fuel economy, ease of towing and the AWD. We have towed it for 80,000 miles and used it for touring off-road in the U.P of Michigan, Maine, Colorado and Utah. We have used it in snow, rain, sand and rocks. It is not rock crawler, but is amazing as to how well the AWD has worked. It was only when we hit a stretch of deep mud on a trail near Rifle Falls, CO that we broke the vapor canister that went into the left rear CV joint that I realized I had passed the capabilities of the Honda.

We now have a Jeep Liberty 4X4 that we tow when we are heading to areas where we are planning on serious off-road fun. This weekend we lead a group of six other Jeep Liberty's through the Jeep trails of Ocala National Forest, FL. One of the Jeeps only had two-wheel drive. Of course all of the 4X4's made it through the deep sand through hill climbs and sharp turns. We wheeled 43 miles and the 2WD only need to be pulled one time. It was because we were going to slow at the time so that he lost momentum.

So here is my 2 cents;

There have been good points made by others in this thread. If you want an economical toad to go through some light off-road duties the right AWD is your ticket. If you want to tow a 4,000+ brick that gets less than 20 mpg average so that you can go rock crawling then get a 4X4 with locking differentials. There are always trade offs.

Either way, you need to learn how to drive off-road in the type of conditions that you expect to be driving. I have driven 2WD cars out of the sand where the driver has had their front wheels turned to lock and dug the rear tires down almost to the frame. Straightened wheels, a little digging and a little rocking and they are free again.
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Old 04-22-2010, 10:28 AM   #22
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I just rescued a family of six stuck in deep snow in the forest (high centered) in a jeep Cherokee 4x4 with dual ranges. This guy was an experienced off roader, his mistake was trying to go through 3 feet of wet deep snow. A Honda CRV AWD is not an off road vehicle unless the road is rated easy (green). Look underneath it, you will see lots of neat stuff to get hung up. It's articulation is zero. tow points suck. But it is very good for what it was designed to do. We love ours and I've never gotten it stuck. I know it's limitations.
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Old 04-22-2010, 11:03 AM   #23
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The old truism "That the better the four wheel drive, the better you get stuck" seems to apply here. It happens.
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Old 04-22-2010, 11:14 AM   #24
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That's what winches are for!
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Old 04-22-2010, 11:58 PM   #25
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Ah.... my heart palpitates over dreams of an electro/hydraulic driven Warn winch......
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