Tow vehicles - choices, choices! - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-19-2013, 02:52 PM   #15
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......... As difficult as it seems to be to find out what drivetrains are in these vehicles, Grand Cherokees seem to be offered in RWD or 4wd, so I assume that is the same as the 4Runner?

Thanks!

Frank
A good source of information is brand specific forums. For instance - 4Runner Forum. If you post a question on the specific operation of the four wheel drive system, you will get more information than you can use and typically the enthusiasts know more about the product than most car salesmen.
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Old 06-19-2013, 02:54 PM   #16
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Thanks Tom, but with the help of the web, I know the 4Runner and Grand Cherokee are true 4wd vehicles, with primary rear wheel drive.

Frank
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Old 06-19-2013, 03:16 PM   #17
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Thanks Tom, but with the help of the web, I know the 4Runner and Grand Cherokee are true 4wd vehicles, with primary rear wheel drive.

Frank
Frank,

As Brian pointed out earlier though, there are two different 4WD systems available on the FourRunner, depending on SR5, Trail or Limited models. If you look at their pdf E-brochure, you can see which is which, although to be honest, I'd like to actually look at them in person to see how they exactly work.

http://www.toyota.com/content/ebroch..._ebrochure.pdf
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Old 06-19-2013, 03:20 PM   #18
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Frank,

...... although to be honest, I'd like to actually look at them in person to see how they exactly work.

http://www.toyota.com/content/ebroch..._ebrochure.pdf
Or post a question on the 4Runner Forum.....
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Old 06-19-2013, 03:53 PM   #19
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If we get one, it would be the low end model with standard 4wd. I understand there is another system in a model we would not be getting. Thanks guys.

Frank
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Old 06-19-2013, 04:33 PM   #20
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Ha ! ...Brian is kinda confusing me ( easy to do ! ) with some of his descriptions of 4WD and such !
I'm sorry if I have made this confusingly complex - that's certainly not my intention. The problem is that we're talking about inherently complex technology, and simplifying it in a way that doesn't match the requirements leads to misleading conclusions.

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To me, an easy way to think about it all is this: 4WD has a button, switch or lever that the driver must use to engage a transfer case to send power to the front wheels. I may be wrong on the following, but to my knowledge, there are no 4WD vehicles being made that use the primary drive as the front.
The other alternative is commonly called AWD, and these typically do not have any manual, driver selectable switch. The power is sent to the non-primary end of the car on an as needed basis, determined by the computer in the car...
That's arbitrarily defining "4WD" as rear-primary and manually activated. There is nothing about the number "four" which makes this make sense. Some people say that this is the "traditional" system, and anything new is "AWD", but then there are people who argue that it isn't 4WD unless it has a two-speed transfer case, which is why I wanted a more specific definition of what feature is desired.

Okay, so now we have rear-primary (the most traditional system), front-primary, and real all-wheels-all-the-time (rare, and getting more rare).

It is not safe to assume that the presence or absence of a switch or lever means anything about the fundamental system operation. Switches can turn on drive to wheels which don't get it otherwise, but they can also lock up parts of the system which are getting drive anyway. No-switch systems are not limited to car-like "soccer mom" vehicles, unless you consider the Grand Cherokee to be one of those... and it is a rear-primary system. Many no-switch AWD systems have had no computer control at all: there are mechanical ways to detect slip and apply drive to the extra wheels, although the computer controls now make the system more responsive and effective.

The latest quasi-Jeeps (the new Cherokee) are front-primary and (perhaps optionally ) have a button to entirely disengage the rear drive (as did a Toyota Tercel and Subaru in the mid 1980's): does that make them "4WD"? Does it matter?

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I want the main drive wheels in the back for pulling my boat out of steep launches. The tongue weight presses down on the drive wheels, making it much easier to haul a boat out. Even when I had just rear wheel drive vehicles, I never had problems pulling my cuddy cabin out of a launch.
Frank has explained what he is really looking for: it's not "true" four wheel drive or any sophisticated or rare feature, it's just that if only two wheels are driving they should be the rears. Frank, is manual selection or not (key to the definition of "4WD" above) relevant? "On Demand" more typically means "when the vehicle senses a need" than "when the driver turns it on". The preference to avoid front-primary makes sense to me, since if both axles are equally loaded the rear axle will have better traction when facing uphill, and when accelerating, which are of course the likely situations in which traction is important.

Many front-primary systems are always putting some power to the rear through some form of clutch, and may perform just as well as rear-primary in the boat ramp (or steep campsite exit) situation. If you don't trust the AWD control system to do this properly, then I suppose you stay with rear-primary or always four wheels driven.

That makes the selection:
Rear-primary:
  • any pickup truck other than the Ridgeline (so, yes, Tacoma... but also Frontier and Colorado/Canyon in the less-than-full size)
  • SUVs which share chassis with pickup trucks (Toyota 4Runner, FJ, Sequoia; GM/Chev/Cadillac Tahoe, Suburban, Escalade; Ford Expedition; Nissan Xterra, Armada)
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wrangler, and Dodge Durango
  • various expensive stuff (some Mercedes, etc)
All-the-time:
  • Toyota 4Runner Limited (and older versions of RAV4, Sienna)
  • Ford? GM? Chrysler? - I don't know of any
  • probably some high-performance cars unsuitable for towing
  • maybe still some Subaru variation
  • various expensive stuff

With that list as food for thought, someone might have specific suggestions that would appeal to Frank... or maybe he has already covered everything of interest.
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Old 06-19-2013, 04:38 PM   #21
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Or post a question on the 4Runner Forum.....
....or a guy could download the owner manual from the Toyota website. Get it straight from the horse mouth...
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Old 06-19-2013, 04:42 PM   #22
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....or a guy could download the owner manual from the Toyota website. Get it straight from the horse mouth...
If it in fact explains how it works, as opposed to how and when to operate it.
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Old 06-19-2013, 04:52 PM   #23
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I tow a 17' Burro with an '06 4runner, 4 litre 6 cyl. SR5 w/ tow package. Leaving behind the intricacies of multiple drive axles, the suspension in many SUVs is soft. Timbren "donuts" in the rear coils leveled out my ride while towing and limited the bucking or pitchpoling which I experienced initially.

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Old 06-19-2013, 04:53 PM   #24
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If it in fact explains how it works, as opposed to how and when to operate it.
Yes, you may be right on that Tom. When I looked on the toyota website, they list both styles of 4WD, and the description, but yet show one of them as be "not available" on all three models ! I thought....what the heck ? So that was when I went to the e-brochure I linked above.
So apparently, their webmaster hosed up the main webpage for that feature.

Kinda off on a tangent, but one of the reasons I prefer a pickup is because it has the "outside the cabin" area to safely stow and carry things like generators, gasoline, BBQ grills, etc.....things I don't want inside with me or inside the camper. Just personal preference I reckon.
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Old 06-19-2013, 09:39 PM   #25
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... the suspension in many SUVs is soft.
Yes, this is commonly observed with some pickups, too. It is the result of the compromise between stiffness for load handling and softness for ride when unloaded.

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Timbren "donuts" in the rear coils leveled out my ride while towing and limited the bucking or pitchpoling which I experienced initially.
Another option is air springs, which can be easily adjusted to suit the load and thus reach a better compromise over a range of conditions.

Several SUVs - including I believe the Grand Cherokee - and at least one pickup (Dodge 1500) have air suspension available from the factory as an option. Rear suspensions with coil springs and separately mounted shocks (such as the 4Runner and FJ) can easily have air springs added as simple polyurethane bags inside the coils; an example is Firestone's Coil-Rite. The 4Runner/FJ Coil-Rite install is more involved than for many vehicles, but it is still at the do-it-yourself level.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:05 PM   #26
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Yes, this is commonly observed with some pickups, too. It is the result of the compromise between stiffness for load handling and softness for ride when unloaded.

.....
Yes, that's true Brian, the Tacoma is known for being a bit softer in the rear suspension than for instance the Frontier. Yep....the Taco rides a little smoother empty.
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Old 06-20-2013, 04:06 AM   #27
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Boy, thanks for all the info folks, especially Brian! I'm getting quite the education here and I sure do appreciate everyone's concern and time.

Someone mentioned Ridgeline is done. I believe Colorado/Canyon is done too. I have a 4wd Canyon, and while I basically like it, it is a 4 cyl standard and limited for towing. Plus the only options are a locking differential and tow package. No power anything! I don't mind the standard really, but it decreases tow capacity. And after 3 shoulder surgeries over the years, I get tired of rolling up windows. In 2009 this truck was the best I could do.

Thanks again guys. Once we have some weekend time we'll be test driving.

Frank
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:15 AM   #28
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Be careful of Toyota, they have problems with frame rust.
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