2WD in Snow


Wilabong
10-26-2006, 09:30 PM
As winter approaches and snow will soon be in the forecast for those of us in the north I was wondering if anyone has any tips for snow driving with 2WD. My rodeo has the winter drive button, and I read that itís basically the same as using 3rd gear. This is my first car with rear wheel drive so I was looking for some tips on snow driving. Thanks a lot. (I also plan to change my oil to 5W 30 within the month because Iíve already had some tough starts.)

amigo-2k
10-26-2006, 10:30 PM
I have 2wd and live in WI and never had any issues. I put 3 80lbs tube bags of sand in the rear and when I start from a dead stop tap the winter button and she goes straight with no wheel spin. You have to tap the winter button at each stop since it turns itself off at 24mph. Also if you have over 50k on your tires I would suggest new tires.

Ramblin Fever
10-27-2006, 07:38 AM
I have a 4x2 as well, living in Colorado's high country.

We just had 16" of snow-fall yesterday - aside from our new Tacoma, our 4x2 Rodeo was the only other vehicle to make it off our mountain.

I've had this truck for 9yrs, in mud, sand, ice, snow - nothing's stopped her yet, I've never been stranded either.

Good tips, get yourself some GOOD A/T tires, i.e Bridgestone Revo tires are FANTASTIC in the snow, as well as the Yokohama Geolander A/T II's I'm currently running. And put yourself some good-weight in the rear-end and you'll be fine.

5w-30 for winter oil is great.

BTW - I've only ever twice had to use my winter mode button.

highlandlake
10-27-2006, 11:59 AM
Wilabong,

Folks here in Maine get by OK with 2WD on trucks, so you should be OK in Penn.
It all depends on your driving habits and tires. Like Ryan suggested above, get good new tires, but I would recommend to change them out when the original tread depth is approaching half way gone. (front or rear) Some people can wear out tires after 20K miles.
It's good you're thinking about it now, and asking for opinions. With that approach, you'll probably NOT be one of the folks in the ditch this winter.

I like the idea of using tube sand - it doesn't take up much room and won't be shifting around as you make corners.

Take care,
Tom

ECMgarrett
11-19-2006, 01:51 PM
this will be my first winter in the beast and my first winter not having a FWD car to resort to in the case we do get snow (very rare, maybe one day a yeat and usually not that bad, but ever few years we get a good one), so im glad to hear that they are good to use in snow, cause i hate being cooped up at home cause of bad weather.

Stites
11-21-2006, 12:27 AM
Take it from a Southerner whose been up north in the winter. You should be fine... I drove a RWD car through a snowstorm in upstate NY. Scary considering the plows weren't out, but after a couple of "fun" curves, I got the hang of it. Hills were a whole other story altogether.

What most folks don't realize is that when the South gets a heap of snow, most of our road departments aren't equipped with plows galore and all the goodies, so I've actually seen lots of Northerners wreck on the roads down here in the snow.

jcb18
11-21-2006, 12:25 PM
Echoing that, last winter I was in western North Carolina for a decent sized snowstorm and had an overnight drive to Pittsburgh, PA ahead of me, about 500 miles total. The first 200 miles or so were in North Carolina and Tennessee mountains, then into Virginia. Those roads were covered in snow (the highway literally looked like a field of snow with guardrails) without a plow or salt truck in sight. The roads through West Virginia and Pennsylvania were completely clear, even though the snowfall was worse and the temperatures colder. Needless to say, at no point in the entire 500 mile trip did I have a shred of doubt that my Zu would get me there. For peace of mind I used 4WD when I only had guardrails separating me from cliffs, but I probably didn't need it. I was literally the only one on the road except for some moron in a neon.

ogfooman
11-22-2006, 03:57 PM
Contrary to popular belief, fwd vehicles are not better in the snow than rwd, assuming there is decent weight distribution (everything but pickups). Rwd takes more skill to drive in the snow, as the actions can be less intuitive. Rwd will be better for going up slippery hills. Rwd is much better for very convex roads or inclined surfaces. My two suggestions:

Good tires, as mentioned before, are vital. I second the suggestion of dueler revos.
Practice can be just as vital. Go into a snow filled parking lot clear of hazards and practice. Find out how the car reacts to your inputs in different situations. What does it do when you hit the gas while turning? While slowing down and turning, going straight, etc. etc.

Good luck!

rodeo02
11-22-2006, 07:03 PM
...Hills were a whole other story altogether..

That's the way I see it as well. I've lived in the Buffalo NY area my whole life. Not the worst as fas as snow goes, but certainly not the best either. I live in the outskirts in ski country. IMO- that's where 4x4 really shines. Getting you up the twisty rolling hills, getting you up inclined driveway skirts, unplowed parking lots, etc.. I know 2wd + weight and good tires will do. Been there. I've had lots of rear wheel drive 2wd vehicles (still have 2 2wd trucks in the family), but how much weight do you want to carry and still be safe, economical and practical? 4x4 doesnt do anything magical for you. You can still loose it easily and wind up in a ditch just like anything else. Anything has to be driven slow and deliberately in slippery conditions. It's those trying to take off up a hill or in the deep stuff that 4x4 really shines, that's about it. 4x4 helps your resale value greatly, but can empty your wallet when it comes to maintenance and repairs. You can tip one way or another with that. Bottom line for me? I'll never own another 2wd/RWD truck based vehicle as long as I live in the N.East.

Joel

Stites
11-23-2006, 12:25 AM
Go into a snow filled parking lot clear of hazards and practice.

That's the fun part.

Ramblin Fever
11-23-2006, 02:02 AM
In regards to most RWD/2wd trucks trying to go from a dead stop up a hill, I agree - have had my share of those times, in which without weight, vehicle is deemed almost worthless.

But, I can't agree to that with this RWD set-up on the Isuzu Rodeo's anyway - don't know if it's their weight variance or what, but that 16" of snow this Rodeo passed through in October was with an empty bed, only load it had in it, was the weight of one single adult.

I've kept this truck for it's reliability, mechanically as well as durability; and the fact that it's proven itself from Montana in the winter, down to Alabama and Georgia in the hot summer.

But, at the same time, I can't say my previous '91 Rodeo 4x4 was any more expensive to own being a 4x4, living/traveling through the majority of the same country.

My reason for having bought the 4x2 to begin with - one who had been DEAD set on ONLY 4x4 trucks since my young teenage years of being stranded in heavy 4x2 Chevy 3/4 ton trucks in Colorado's mountains - Las Vegas dealership had rebates going on any remaining '97 model year trucks. The 4x4's on the lot were boring colors, going for rediculous prices, and completely bone stock.

And, at the time, I already had two older, but then still reliable 4x4's - both were paid for, but only one was halfway powerful enough to tow my boat; even then, the 3.1L GM engine in the '91 Isuzu Rodeo only put out 140hp. At it's 100k then, the boat could almost walk itself up a good mountain pass faster then that poor truck could pull it.

But, in the end, I agree with Rodeo02 - unless it's another '96-97 4x2 Rodeo; only vehicles that will ever be parked at this house in the future is a 4x4 with good ground clearance. We live in fairly isolated territory, no snowplows, muddy roads that turn to deep rutts.

rodeo02
11-23-2006, 12:42 PM
... don't know if it's their weight variance or what, but that 16" of snow this Rodeo passed through in October was with an empty bed, only load it had in it, was the weight of one single adult...

Now that I think about it, my 2002 LS 4x4 wasn't as bad as a 2wd pickup. Gotta be the weight distribution, plus the G80 limited slip rear on our rodeo helped on take-off. One of the worst snow vehicles I had was a 1994 2wd Jeep Cherokee 5spd, 4.0L. It was fun to drive since it had so much power, just scarry in the winter.

Joel

Ramblin Fever
11-23-2006, 01:43 PM
It's so funny whenever I hear of a Jeep that's a 4x2 versus a 4x4 - I mean, I've always been amazed that Jeep even had the option of a 4x2.

Friend of my sister's has a 4x2 Jeep as well - she drives her little car in the winter :disappoin

I'll definitely admit that 2wd pickups as well as RWD full-size vans being the pit of all evil in the winter. Use to drive a company RWD Ford van - couldn't even get out of it's own way with an inch of snow, truly was a shame; but that thing had the power let me tell you.

I think pickups in general are so light-weight in the rear; even this 4x4 TRD Off-road Tacoma we have requires a few sand-bags to keep the rear seated in the snow, and it does have good A/T tires.

highlandlake
11-23-2006, 05:06 PM
It's so funny whenever I hear of a Jeep that's a 4x2 versus a 4x4 - I mean, I've always been amazed that Jeep even had the option of a 4x2.



Another quote: "rodeo02 - I had a 1994 2wd Jeep Cherokee 5spd, 4.0L. It was fun to drive since it had so much power, just scarry in the winter".

Here in Maine people call the two wheel drive Jeep Cherokees - ....CHICKADEES :p .....
They really are a disaster in snow or ice - and I think Corvettes have more traction.
They should be avoided or simply banned north of the Mason/Dixon line. When others say 'just put weight in the back of 'em' I think that the 'weight' should be in the form of 200 feet of heavy recovery strap, a winch, and a huge oak sign with neon lights that says 'please help me out of the ditch!'.

rodeo02
11-23-2006, 06:33 PM
..Here in Maine people call the two wheel drive Jeep Cherokees - ....CHICKADEES :p .....
They really are a disaster in snow or ice - and I think Corvettes have more traction.

Hehe.. yeah. I drove that Cherokee for about 3yrs & traded it for an almost new 1997 Wrangler TJ 4x4 2.5L 5spd. My very first 4x4. That was a fun little truck, pretty good in the snow, but a horrible daily driver for long hywy runs. Terrible for anything other than moving a driver and 1 passenger. 2 hands on the wheel at all times, had to keep the pedal mashed to the floor for it to get out of it's own way, cold as a mofo in the winter, but the heater did blast pretty good! IMO- wranglers are great for a 'fun' vehicle, not a DD.

Joel

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