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Not Thrilled with 4x4

Old 02-06-2019, 08:10 AM
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Default Not Thrilled with 4x4

I'm trying not to rant here, but frankly I don't understand how this could be or why anyone likes dealing with it. I mean, after all these years, is this the best they can come up with for drivetrain on these vehicles?
Coming from all wheel drive and front wheel drive cars, I've never had this issue.
The truck encounters situations where it's temporarily stuck and/or sounds like it's damaging itself trying to get out.

Yesterday, I turn into dad's driveway and the truck stops dead, rear wheel spinning. The driveway is a steep grade and about 120 degree turn. I understand the right inside wheel gets unweighted. I made a couple of attempts being gentle on the throttle and it was no-go. Next, I switched into 4A and ditto. Really? Additionally, the sounds it was making didn't inspire confidence. Everything's clean and dry here.
I didn't try locking the rear end because of the turn. I wound up driving past the driveway and backing up the hill.

Couple weeks ago I pulled off the road to take a cell call. The road was flat. I had two tires on the paved shoulder and two on hard pack. The drive wheel was in a puddle. When it was time to leave, the rear wheel wouldn't grab. Sat there spinning. I tried 4A and ditto, except some nasty banging. I reversed it and went forward and was able to get out. Again, I wasn't killing it, just trying to be smooth and gentle.

Another time I got stuck in my yard. I was towing a flatbed loaded with firewood. Granted, I was on a slope and it was pretty soft and muddy. I tried 4L to no avail. In this situation I guess I should have locked the rear end. Someone also said 4H would have done better than 4L because of the traction control.

The thing is, my all wheel drive Ridgeline would NEVER have done this crap. That car goes anywhere with no perceptible wheel spin or herky-jerky clucks and bangs. I understand they are different systems etc. and I'm not going to plow with an AWD car but honestly, I have little confidence in this truck and it's ability. I can't imagine off-roading with it. It sounds like it's going to self destruct pulling out of a puddle. I don't know if the AWD would have beat the mud, but the other two situations were ridiculous.

Here's what I'm told:
2x2 = 1 wheel drive (rear, right side wheel)
4x4 = 2 wheel drive (both right side wheels)
4x4 with rear diff locked = 3 wheel drive (both rear and front right side)

4L = 4x4 without traction control
4H = 4x4 with traction control
4A ? Like 4H, but safe (for the car) to use on dry pavement. I use this when I expect slippery conditions and it seems to help. The sound of the transfer case is worrisome.

What's the point of using 4L? Why not use 4H with traction control and shift into first gear?

On the PLUS side, my 2015 V8 Larry with ICON shocks is going strong and drives like a sports car on clean pavement.
I use the pedal commander and shift manual most of the time and love the performance. Sorry, once you drive a stick, you gotta do it!

Last edited by tomjv; 02-06-2019 at 08:14 AM.
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Old 02-06-2019, 08:19 AM
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Wow, Have you tested your 4wd system when not stuck? How much time are you giving the system to engage before hitting the gas? I use 4wd at least 3-4 times a week and it works great with no unusual noised.

Not being a fanboy here, but you really have a driveway so steep that a truck can't get up it in 2wd and unlocked? If that were the case for me, I'd be redoing the drive before buying 4wd to deal with it.
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Old 02-06-2019, 08:21 AM
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how are the tires?
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Old 02-06-2019, 08:31 AM
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Yep, I always wait for it to engage. I don't know what the noises are. It's not the gears grinding.

The driveway is pretty steep, but that's not the issue. It's the angle. (unless I go down the street and turn around) It's a hard right turn. This unweights the inside tire. Don't get me wrong. It's not like I didn't suspect there would be an issue. I was curious to see what the F would do. ALL our other cars drive right up.

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Old 02-06-2019, 08:31 AM
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tires are new.
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Old 02-06-2019, 08:43 AM
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Your driveway must be ridiculously steep. Also the rear is not 1 wheel drive. Both wheels receive identical amounts of power from the drivetrain. Due to body torque, however, and the nature of open diffs, 1 wheel appears to get more power than the other. Independent rear suspensions resolve that issue on most cars.
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Old 02-06-2019, 08:50 AM
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Kinda hard to follow exactly what's going on with your scenarios, but sure seems like you have a defect or problem. I have a similar drive into my camp. HARD right turn immediately up a 13 degree grade, gravel drive....I have no issues going up. Of course, I go very slowly.

Wife drives a AWD CR-V, I've had Ridgelines in the past, I much prefer the 4x4 feel on snowy roads, vs. AWD. Feels way more planted and stable. The only down side is slowing for turns to minimize the the front drive wheel battle with the steering wheel.

I suggest you have your 4x4 system checked out....sure seems like you have a problem.
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Old 02-06-2019, 09:18 AM
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Seems to me if you're getting "banging" then something is wrong. I've used 4WD a few times this winter, while the truck would not really go anywhere in 2WD, in 4WD I could take off no problem.
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Old 02-06-2019, 09:26 AM
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Agree. Something is wrong with your truck.
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Old 02-06-2019, 09:27 AM
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You need to take it in to the dealer. There shouldn't be any noise. I'll bet it isn't fully engaging the hubs, hence the noise. You have a broken system.
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