Re: PSA regarding 4WD

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You know, this wouldn't have happened if you'd gone to Costa Rica. Just sayin'


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 4:45 PM
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1: I suspect that there are old jeeps and sand in Costa Rica, too.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 4:47 PM
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Important information, especially when hunting or fleeing from dangerous hippos.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 4:58 PM
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Wait, Becks, you didn't travel around in the back of sketchy buses, but in your own luxury Land Rover? You don't know how many houses you own, do you?


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 5:10 PM
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4: Becks has, like, thirty goddamn differentials.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 5:16 PM
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Do the knobs on the wheels actually lock the differentials? I thought they just locked the hubs themselves...


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 5:47 PM
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6: I was advised by some kind-hearted gents from New Jersey that they locked the differentials. I admit I don't even fully understand what this means. But they were from Jersey and hence eminently trustworthy and knowledgeable.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 5:50 PM
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I'm so familiar with the word "differential" describing a strictly impalpable mathematical concept that it's actually jarring and confusing to find out that there's a physical object which is also called a "differential".

It's like being told to attach a couple integrals to the back of the vicissitude.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 5:58 PM
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We always "locked the hubs" on my dad's F-150. Isn't the differential somewhere inside the beast?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 5:59 PM
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Isn't the differential somewhere inside the beast?

Yes, just up and back from the floating ribs. It's one of the tenderest morsels there is, so you want to be careful when butchering.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 6:02 PM
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It's like being told to attach a couple integrals to the back of the vicissitude.

You're going to want to use a dint for that.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 6:03 PM
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Just be sure to have a few orders of magnitude around just in case things don't seem to be going right. Usually an order of magnitude or two will set things straight.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 6:09 PM
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Isn't the differential 60% male vs. female?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 6:11 PM
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I admit I don't even fully understand what this means.

The differential allows the wheels to turn at different speeds (particular important when you're turning a corner, as the inside wheel will be turning more slowly than the outside wheel). Locking the differential forces the wheels to turn at the same speed, important when you're on a surface like sand. Otherwise the wheels spin.

Just make sure to unlock it when you're driving on a paved road or you'll screw it up something good.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 6:19 PM
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DAMN. I was sure I was going to be able to be the first to answer this.

Bave is kind of right, in that you lock the differential at the hubs, and people talk about locking hubs as a sort of shorthand.

Also, this is only true for real 4WD vehicles. If you're in an AWD vehicle the power is automatically rerouted to the wheels that aren't slipping, and you don't have to do any manual locking of anything. There are also shift-on-the-fly 4WD systems, where you don't have to get out of the car to lock the differential.

But then, Stanley knows all this now.

Oh! Also: if 4WD isn't working, try letting some air out of the tires. Amazing how much that helps!

ALSO ALSO, if you happen to be driving a honda civic across rutted desert roads, and you kick a rock into the transmission, busting a hole in it, find the dude at the party with the super-ultra AAA they give you if you don't have any service calls for like 5 years; those tow truck drivers will go to the ends of the earth.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 6:23 PM
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So, where was it you learned this lesson?

(For some reason I thought that you did take Beck's & Matt's suggestion for Costa Rica.)


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 6:23 PM
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Also driving in the sand is the opposite of driving in the snow, in the kind of good it does to gun the engine and get the wheels to melt the substance. Say, when you're getting out of a parking spot.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 6:26 PM
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If you can get your wheels to melt sand, my hat's off to you.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 6:30 PM
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(For some reason I thought that you did take Beck's & Matt's suggestion for Costa Rica.)

The ingrate decided to go to Puerto Rico instead.

Costa Rica really is awesome, though. You should all go there. Volcanoes!


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 6:31 PM
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Warm and sunny is very nice. to be sure. But I was browsing Kayak today and saw that I can go rt IAD - Rome for USD 700 on Iberia in November. I must confess, I am tempted.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 6:36 PM
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If you can get your wheels to melt sand, my hat's off to you.

Well, sure. How do you make glass?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 6:39 PM
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From a glass cutter and my neighbor's windows. You?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 6:45 PM
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Bave is kind of right, in that you lock the differential at the hubs, and people talk about locking hubs as a sort of shorthand.

Don't locking hubs freewheel relative to the front axle when unlocked? As I understand it, the diff ring gear / carrier spins when the front wheels are turning, and the spider gears turn when the axles are turning relative to each other. Disconnecting the front wheels (or hubs thereof) lets all that crap remain stationary.

Locking differentials are a different story, and are mostly deprecated these days in favor of limited slip differentials of various sorts. A lot of old-school 4wd trucks don't have center differentials, which can cause serious problems when driving on a hard road. Which is why you have to drive off a curb or do a burnout every now and then to let the axles unwind - fun!


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 6:50 PM
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water moccasin is the true four wheeler. Stanley why didn't you bring water moccasin along?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 6:57 PM
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Who wants to bring along strangers on their vacation, on the off chance that they have knowledge of purely academic interest? Not me, that's for sure.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 7:43 PM
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water moccasin: you may be able to answer my most pressing question. To wit, did we do damage to the vehicle by putting it into 4L without locking the differentials?

The knobs were hard to move when we tried, which was only after having put it into 4L and driving on it for a bit (say 1/8 mile). And there was a suggestion by the rental place that we damaged it and that we'd be charged.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 7:59 PM
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Say, that sounds like a crappy day indeed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 8:02 PM
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27: So you think we did damage it? I'm okay paying for damage that we did. But I suspect the things were stuck from the get-go. I just didn't know to check 'em ahead of time.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 8:10 PM
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28: no idea. Their mickey mouse laws don't apply to you; you're an American citizen! Don't pay a dime.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 8:11 PM
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Somebody needs to explain to Sifu what an "unincorporated territory of the United States" means.

How was it Stanley?


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 8:16 PM
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Fuck yeah! What would Bobby Knight do?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 8:17 PM
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30: wild west, that's what. Law of the jungle. Stanley should march into that rental place and piss right on their floor. Show dominance and they'll buckle.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 8:18 PM
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Which disputed zone is stanley vacationing in? My guess is the area between Saudi Arabia and Oman.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 8:20 PM
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How was it Stanley?

As the kids are saying, it was "wizard cocksucker" (minus the holy-fuck-we're-stuck moment, of course).


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 8:20 PM
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I bet come January the embalmed corpse of Bobby Knight will stand next to the embalmed corpse of Ted Kennedy in the People's Hall of Revolutionary Heroes.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 8:20 PM
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Which disputed zone is stanley vacationing in?

Puerto Rico, but "disputed" might bit of an overstatement. I saw only one sign advocating becoming an independent country, rather than a commonwealth, i.e. an estado libre asociado as they say. Still pretty much 50/50 on the question of becoming a state or staying the status quo.

Fun facts: distances are posted in kilometers, but speed limits are posted in miles-per-hour. Also, gas: sold in liters. Math!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 8:26 PM
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Heh.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 9:42 PM
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teofilo!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 9:44 PM
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Stanley!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 9:46 PM
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steofilo!

Tanley!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 9:46 PM
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Stweety!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 9:48 PM
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The truck I had in college had the sort of 4WD system where you had to turn the hubs. I would leave them turned pretty much all winter.

The SUV I drive now has a shift-on-the-fly system, but the one time I tried to use it it popped some crucial joint in the drivetrain or something and the damn thing wouldn't move at all. I had to get it towed.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 9:54 PM
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26: Very much doubt it. The knobs were probably hard to move because they hadn't been moved in a while and/or the moving bits in the hub were gunked up. Locking hubs are pretty simple, conceptually speaking, and are made of robust enough parts that you shouldn't be able to break them with your bare hands.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 10:08 PM
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43: Excellent news! I'll refer them to this thread.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 10:10 PM
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HI RENTAL CAR PEOPLE WELCOME TO THE USA!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 10:15 PM
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I hope my 4WD works now. I'm planning to go to town tomorrow and we've just had some pretty heavy rain.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 10:27 PM
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Rental car people: don't mind Sifu. He's commenting from a time-travel jetpack in the year 1897.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 10:27 PM
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I assume the rental people are talking about "drive line bind" per this article. But I believe that is something that happens over time when in 4WD and hubs not locked on dry pavement, not instantaneously or over a short distance.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 10:30 PM
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She is called Becks, like England's most famous footballer.

So this is why Becks was so busy in August.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 10:32 PM
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They're just trying to shake you down. Tell them that not only can you not damage 4wd by driving around with the hubs unlocked, but that they should be grateful that you didn't injure yourself in the poorly maintained P.O.S. that they rented you.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 11:16 PM
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50: Ooh, lawyering up without the lawyer.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-25-08 11:53 PM
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Minor clarification:
it is sometimes necessary (depending on the year, make, and model of the automobile) to lock the differentials, commonly done by turning knobs located on the front wheels.

That's locking (and/or unlocking) the hubs, not locking the differential. The hubs tie the wheels to the axle(s). So people mod their trucks to have four free-running hubs. If all four were unlocked at the same time, the vehicle wouldn't go anywhere, no matter how fast you spun the axles in whichever gear. If you had the hubs unlocked the whole time, the front half-axles just spun uselessly in 4HI/4LO... so the only time you were getting full power to the pavement/sand was in 2HI. It sounds like the hubs were unlocked when you were out on the sand, so you had to run in 4LO to get anywhere.

What you would have wanted to avoid was running with the hubs locked AND in 4LO AND on pavement, and probably faster than 40 mph or for a long distance. The wheels start to lock up and the tires will skip or run really rough or something and that's where any damage would occur. Maybe. Depends on the vehicle.

Locking the differential(s) is done from inside the cab, so there should've been a switch or setting on the shifter (LOCK/HI/N/LO/LOCK) or an indicator for automatic. All that does is sync one or both pairs of axles and gives you more traction for less power... which still wouldn't do any good if the hubs were unlocked.

At any rate, in a newer vehicle, most of this shit is automatic, and in an older vehicle, if you were able to shift from 4LO to 4HI or 2HI, you're fine.

max
['2HI, of course, is Apo's favorite gear.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 08-26-08 2:51 AM
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She is called Becks. Such a dilemma. A mass-market German beer or an over-the-hill football player.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08-26-08 8:04 AM
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52 pwned by water "sand rat" moccasin.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-26-08 8:09 AM
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Speaking of odd car problems, my wife had a problem with our Rav 4 while backing out of the driveway.

Turns out she had accidentally pressed the DAC button while cleaning the car.

I told her that meant she shouldn't be cleaning the car so often, but I had never heard of the DAC before that.

Turns out DAC is downhill assist control which, near as I can tell, is for when one is trying to creep down the side of a mountain.

Why in the world would they include a DAC in a Toyota Rav 4? To claim that one could really go off-roading in a Rav 4? To add one more function to the computer since they already had the sensors in place? Talk about teats on a bull.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08-26-08 8:57 AM
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Steep snow-covered driveways? I think that DAC falls out more or less for free once you have "stability control".

52: Heh. If we can't get our Corvair race car working, the motor would make for a bitchin dune buggy.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 08-26-08 9:39 AM
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56: Yes, the DAC drops out if you manually accelerate past a certain speed. I think. It spooked my wife because it slowed the car and she thought maybe a brake was locking or something.

Personally I'm not a big fan of feature creep - adding new mostly useless features purely as a selling point. I see it mostly on consumer electronics but I really appreciate the google move in the other direction.

Who among us hasn't struggled to find the certain button we need on a too-busy computer screen?


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08-26-08 9:55 AM
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On my work truck when you shift the transfer case into 4WD, the front axles are driven by the engine. When you get out and lock the hubs you are locking the front wheels to the axles. If you are in 4WD but the hubs are unlocked, all that will happen is the front axles turn freely and drive nothing. Conversely if you have the hubs locked but the transfer case is set to 2WD, then the front wheels are locked to the front axles (and to each other) but the front axles aren't connected to the engine.

You can feel it on my truck if you forget to unlock the hubs after you take it out of 4WD whenever you take a sharp turn, because when the truck is going around a curve so the tires want to rotate at different rates, but they are locked together so they scrub the pavement instead. So remember to unlock your hubs before you get out on dry pavement because you'll stress out your 4WD parts, you'll prematurely wear your front tires, and you car will handle badly.

Also if you have defective locking hubs you can put it in 4WD and lock those hubs but you're still only going to get pull from the back wheels. This happened to me once (in this truck - ain't I handsome?) when I was trying to leave a job site with deep mud everywhere in the driving rain. I could tell something was wrong because the rear tires were flinging up a rooster-tail of mud but the front tires weren't.


Posted by: W. Kiernan | Link to this comment | 08-26-08 2:53 PM
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