FWD Tow Vehicles? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-07-2002, 03:48 AM   #1
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FWD Tow Vehicles?

Some people have advised me that only rear wheel drive vehicles should be used to tow things like the eggs many of us have. But we just comleted an 1800 mile trip pulling our 16 with a FWD Sable with 3.0 V6, and it was OK; not great but got the job done. Now I'm trying to find a suitable small RWD vehicle to serve as both an around town family car and tow vehicle, but there just aren't many that are suitable.

So do I really need to go to RWD? How many of you tow with FWD and how many transmissions have you had to replace?

Thanx,

Jack Thomas
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Old 11-07-2002, 04:32 AM   #2
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Jack

Nothing wrong with 4WD vehicles. I drive my 4X4 Durango in 2WD with the overdrive off and at about 110 KMH max (70 MPH - no more)

Just don't ask me about fuel consumption! :)
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Old 11-07-2002, 06:34 AM   #3
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mini-van

Hi Jack!

Hey, we pulled our first two 16 footers with 6-cylinder front-wheel-drive mini-vans ... 1000s of miles, 100s of nights, without a problem.

Had to be careful in the mud or snow, because the added weight on the rear can make the front a little light ... but never really considered it a problem. A mini-van would be heavier than your Sable.

I now tow a 17 footer with a Suburban ... not because I need to tow with a Suburban ... but because I want to. (I used to drive Suburbans in the 70s/80s and always longed to have another. My wife made me buy one after I got critically ill in Louisana while traveling a couple of years ago ... you only go around once ...)

In my opinion, if you are in the market for a rear-wheel drive to tow a little trailer ... the Chevy Astro van offers the best towing bang for the bucks.
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Old 11-07-2002, 08:48 AM   #4
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FWD?

2nd vote for 'all round vehicle':

Chevy Astro van.
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Old 11-07-2002, 12:19 PM   #5
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PineConeDon

Don - looks like your bearings are seizing up on you. :laugh :laugh
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Old 11-07-2002, 12:41 PM   #6
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Glossary-

AWD all wheel drive
4WD four wheel drive
2WD two wheel drive
FWD front wheel drive

Pete and Rats
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Old 11-07-2002, 12:41 PM   #7
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Glossary-

AWD all wheel drive
4WD four wheel drive
2WD two wheel drive
FWD front wheel drive
RWD rear wheel drive

Jack-

I don't know that it's a transmission problem (it may be, for all I
know about it -- A LOT depends on the particular vehicle and its
ratings) as much as it is a loading problem. Packed for travel,
there tends to be a lot of stuf loaded in the back of anything. Then
you add in the tongue weight at 10-12% of the trailer's loaded
weight. All this tends to "seesaw" the truck/van, putting more
weight on rear axle and less weight on front.

In RWD, this leads to increased traction, but less
positive "tracking" of steering and odd angles on the frontend
alignment (which is usually done with the "normal" load on the
truck/van).

On FWD, you not only have the tracking and frontend problems, you now
have a potential traction problem.

The answer is a weight distributing hitch (WDH), which forms an
adjustable "bridge" between the truck and trailer, spreading some of
the rear axle weight to the front axle and trailer axle, which has
the effect of putting the front wheels back down on the ground where
they belong.

A side note: Altho I have never pulled a trailer of much size with a
FWD, I have owned three (a French Citroen 2CV6, an East German Trabbi and an Amurrikin Saturn--total HP between ALL of them was only 137!), and you certainly tend to have great traction under normal circumstances because the heavy end of the vehicle is over the traction wheels, plus I noticed in general that the back wheels are more likely than the front to be on slippery stuf. The same traction reasoning applies to the other end with things like VW dune buggies.

Pete and Rats
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Old 11-07-2002, 02:33 PM   #8
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AWD

You didn't say if an AWD was good or what could go wrong.
I think mines a FWD with AWD as needed

FWd = forward driven
AWd = allways driven
RWd = raceway driven
:ola
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Old 11-08-2002, 12:32 PM   #9
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AWD

I read something new to me the other day; I dunno for sure if it's true (esp because it was on a site promoting a limited slip differential device) but it does raise questions.

According to the site (and this I know is true), 2WD is actually 1WD, because the differential will put all the power to the wheel that is moving faster (like outside of turn, a good thing; and slipping in snow, a bad thing).

Likewise, on 4WD vehicles with standard differentials in the two driven axles, you really only have two wheels with power when wheels are slipping or turning at different rates. This still beats heck out of normal 2WD.

Here's the new to me part -- AWD not only has standard differentials in both axles, but there is a third differential connecting the two, resulting in transfer of power to the axle moving most, and then to the wheel moving most...effectively back to 1WD. If this is true, what is the point of AWD?


Pete, who doesn't understand all he thinks he knows, and Rats who have 4PawDrive All Time
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Old 11-08-2002, 01:16 PM   #10
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AWD

Pete,
What you stated about awd having 3 differentials that applies power to the wheel with the least traction was true on some of the earlier designs.
The link below discribes several of the systems that are used in AWD vehicles.
My Astro AWD has a viscous coupling included in the center differentail which will apply power to the front wheels after slippage is detected at the rear wheels. My van also has positraction at the rear which means that power will be applied to both rear wheels if one rear wheel is spinning.
I have owned and towed with 2wd, 4wd and now awd with the Astro and other than a 1 to 2 mpg decrease with awd verses 2wd I think it is the best of all the systems. I currently tow a 17SD with the Astro and get around 12.5 to 14mpg towing and 18 to 20 not towing on the highway.

http://home.attbi.com/~eliot_www/awd.html
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Old 11-08-2002, 01:35 PM   #11
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more confusing

And my Chrysler has a 'traction control' which applies 'power' to the wheel thats spinning most.......but the 'power' is a sensor that applies the brake on that wheel so that the 'engine power' is transferred to the other wheel. I guess it kinda, sorta works, sometimes on ice you can hear it grab?!

Yes, Pete: .... one of my inner 'funnies' :lol is that in our time of 4WD addiction, one ONLY has '4WD' IF the vehicle is equipped with limited slip differentials both front and rear.

'4WD' is such a misnomer..........but it sells!!!

.....I had a 2WD limited slip with a 'granny' low that would go lotsa places (along with some common :L sense)!!!
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Old 11-08-2002, 02:26 PM   #12
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mine

All I know is when I brought my Escape home there was snow and inches of ice all over. I put the lock for 4 on and felt like the rear was trying to pass the front. It was an effert to turn and manover. tried with the back on auto for sliping, and I could go anywhere. loved it :wub I'm glad mines is not AWD all the time. Ssooo I'm happy with my towing vehicle. Hope you find one that makes you just as happy.
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Old 11-08-2002, 02:45 PM   #13
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Oh No!!

I was so happy being ignorant, it was bliss ! Now I am jittery trying to absorb all this knowledge. I have a Windstar and have removed the centre seat and carry all the gear except food and clothing in the van. My Boler pulls smoothly and without vibration. I use my gears for up and down steep grades and travel at 100km on the highways.Do I go with the status quo? Rear wheel drive will not be good in the snow when not towing. So what does one do?:bh :weep
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Old 11-09-2002, 01:05 PM   #14
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Pippa, if your van is still reasonably level after you have loaded and hitched up, you prolly don't have much problem.

OTOH, if it's not, then you should consider either rebalancing the load (leave stuf home or carry it in trailer) or (safest) getting a WDH.

Pete and Rats
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