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4A vs 4h (4x4 knob)

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Old 07-17-2017, 10:58 AM   #21
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thats just about the worst winter vehicle you could have driven! Open diffs, half the weight of a modern f150, recipe for winter disaster lol. If you got yourself through that, you are certainly fine now lol
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Old 07-17-2017, 11:03 AM   #22
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"to the OPs question: as everyone said, the 4A is really just a luxury item. Its going to put you in and out of 4H when it thinks your rear axle needs the additional assistance of the front. Personally I dont like them because I like to be positive control of whats happening, I don't like the instant steering change of hopping in and out of 4wd especially on a winter road. Thats just me, alot of people love it and if you have a spouse or kids or whatever, someone who isnt a 'truck driver', the 4A really shines for them. Or even if thats you, the primary driver, just want to get in and go its a good feature to have."

Good points. I have found that some 4A systems can get you stuck because it reacts to the road (or off road) conditions after your already in the situation. I prefer to see the conditions and be prepared for it when I get there.

But with that said, night time on an unknown road and bad weather conditions, 4A is pretty nice.
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Old 07-17-2017, 11:05 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by SilverSurfer15 View Post
fun facts about modern 2wd trucks, and just trucks in general:

1) Traction Control Systems designed to actually work properly

2) LSD/Lockers

In an old school setup, where both axles are open diff, you have ONE tire on each axle getting power. So your 2wd/rwd is really a 'one wheel peel'. Your 4wd only has 2 wheels turning at any time. Now this is where the magic happens...

With a LSD or TCS that mimics one, both of your rear wheels are turning at the 'same' time, thus you have 2 wheels fighting for traction to push you forward, not just the old school one where either tire was on a slick surface and instantly stuck. Yes, back then it was impossible to drive a 2wd truck in bad conditions. But in todays world, both tires pushing you forward, 90% as good as an old school 4wd situation.

The advantage to the 4wd system though, separation of axles, so if your rear is compromised, your front can pull you to help get your rear going again. The Front drive is almost always used to simply 'help' your rear axle gain traction, and that's only real purpose in most situations.

I think people have a really flawed understanding of how 4wd trucks work in general. Now if you live in the mountains with serious grades and harsh winters, obviously a 2wd truck is going to be stupid for you. But thats not the case for most people, people in the DC metro area think you CANNOT drive a 2wd truck in snow 3ft without getting stuck, but yet they think a prius is totally fine.

to the OPs question: as everyone said, the 4A is really just a luxury item. Its going to put you in and out of 4H when it thinks your rear axle needs the additional assistance of the front. Personally I dont like them because I like to be positive control of whats happening, I don't like the instant steering change of hopping in and out of 4wd especially on a winter road. Thats just me, alot of people love it and if you have a spouse or kids or whatever, someone who isnt a 'truck driver', the 4A really shines for them. Or even if thats you, the primary driver, just want to get in and go its a good feature to have.
I dont have 4A on my truck because its an XLT, so I cant comment on how it actually works in real life, but in 4A the truck dynamically moves power to the front wheels as needed, it shouldn't "bang" in and out of 4x4 like the GMC systems used to do. On a light weight pickup like these, 4A very much shines in poor weather because we don't have much weight over the rear axle of our trucks. I found this last winter there were many times that I had to switch to 4x4 really quick to get through some bad areas but then needed to turn it back off right away as the road cleared back up. With 4x4 Auto you don't have to think about it, it starts to come into play as needed.

In 2wd, with the stock tires and even my studded snows, I spun the rear tires alot while trying to take off from lights or on hills. Once in 4x4 the truck was a beast. I'm sure if i had thrown 300lbs of sand bags in the back of the truck it would do better. For 10 years I drove a 2wd F250 and it was worthless in the snow without that extra weight. Traction Control is great, but if you dont have any weight over your drive wheels its still not going to get you very far.

My GFs subaru felt 1000x more planted than the truck, and even compared to my Focus ST, in 2WD I think the ST did better than the truck most days.
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Old 07-17-2017, 11:19 AM   #24
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I always use my bed bladder thing, whatever its called you fill it up with water, its like 300lbs... I never really have issues, but I'm not driving around all the time in New England area in winter.

I'm just saying that 2wd trucks, when properly equipped, can handle most conditions. If there's a little honda or something on the same road you are on, your 2wd truck is fine.

But as I said, depending on where you live it would be stupid to have a 2wd truck (the whole North East). But 75% of the country doesnt need it, at least to get around on a normal daily routine. People act like a 2wd is worthless, yet most 4wd owners operate their truck in 2wd allllll the time.

I'm not doubting the 4A is nice, ive never used it, but ive driven trucks long enough to know I like to be in positive control. If I lived in an area where the winters were terrible all the time, I'm sure I would value it more. But I dont. If its that bad outside, im just going to 1) not drive 2) stay in 4H at lower speeds

I dont like the aspect of speeding up faster than you should really be going in the 'better' road spots and then 'slowing down back into 4wd' when you hit the 'bad' spots. To me thats a recipe for a black ice disaster, or even just hitting the brakes too hard because you came up too quick on something. More experienced people probably dont do that, but I think the system in general encourages that type of behavior. Im not a fan of auto driving aids in general.
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Old 07-17-2017, 11:37 AM   #25
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On the rare occasion that my wife takes my truck out in the winter, she always puts it in 4A, no matter how dry the roads are. For her, it's more of a psychological thing, I would think. Myself, its either in 4H or in 2 wheel drive, depending on the weather.
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Old 07-17-2017, 11:52 AM   #26
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I had a '97 Ranger that died recently, also purchased new. It was a pain to shift in and out of 4x4.

I'm glad to have the F150 4x4.

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Originally Posted by mraz72 View Post
My Ford Ranger was purchased new in 1994, and that was tough to drive in bad conditions, but I got through it.

It would seem all of that shifting in and out of 4H would wear things down quicker, I wouldn't use it enough to be an issue.

here in Rochester we get 120 inches of snow a year, lots of time to get good at driving in snow.

The good thing about Rochester is most know how to drive in the snow, unlike DC where people freak lol
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Old 07-17-2017, 12:58 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OuZtY4IMal12 View Post
I had a '97 Ranger that died recently, also purchased new. It was a pain to shift in and out of 4x4.

I'm glad to have the F150 4x4.
I couldn't afford the 4x4 back then lol

I believe the price was ~16k for the new truck, I was in heaven, first new vehicle. Over ten years, no issues sold it for $2500 with 130k miles

I remember the payment was 347 a month lol..... I thought it was expensive.
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Old 07-17-2017, 08:42 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msgtord View Post
Good points. I have found that some 4A systems can get you stuck because it reacts to the road (or off road) conditions after your already in the situation. I prefer to see the conditions and be prepared for it when I get there.

But with that said, night time on an unknown road and bad weather conditions, 4A is pretty nice.
Since the system with 4A also has 4H and 4L, you can have it both ways. When you see the need coming, shift from 4A to 4H.
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Old 07-17-2017, 09:35 PM   #29
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4A also will let you tow the truck on it's 4 wheels. 2WD and trucks with only 4L/4H have to be moved on a flatbed. Something to think about if you ever want to tow the truck, say behind a motor home or if it breaks down.
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Old 07-17-2017, 09:46 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ifallsguy View Post
4A also will let you tow the truck on it's 4 wheels. 2WD and trucks with only 4L/4H have to be moved on a flatbed. Something to think about if you ever want to tow the truck, say behind a motor home or if it breaks down.
Not correct. From my 2013 manual:

Four-wheel-down Towing
1. Turn the ignition to the on position. Do not start the engine.
2. Press and hold the brake pedal.
3. Shift the 4WD switch to 2H.
4. Shift the transmission to position N.
5. Rotate the 4WD switch from 2H to 4L and back to 2H five times
within seven seconds.
If completed successfully, the information display shows
NEUTRAL TOW LEAVE IN N or NEUTRAL TOW ENABLED
LEAVE TRANSMISSION IN NEUTRAL. This indicates that
your vehicle is safe to tow with all wheels on the ground.
If you do not see the message in the display, you must perform
the procedure again from the beginning.
You may hear an audible noise as the transfer case shifts into its
neutral position. This is normal.
6. Leave the transmission in position N and turn the ignition as far as it
will go toward the off position (it will not turn fully off when the
transmission is in position N. You must leave the key in the ignition
while towing. To lock and unlock your vehicle, use the keyless entry
keypad or extra set of keys.
7. Release the brake pedal.
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