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Old 10-11-2015, 10:56 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rossue View Post
I remember having to replace a few half-shafts & CV joints on a Saab.
I did replace one halfshaft to get a rebuilt CV joint for one side of my 1984 Tercel, because the boot was torn. I also replaced one or two CV joint boots (not the joints) on other cars over thirty years of front-wheel-drive cars. Saab built interesting cars, but an old Saab isn't a shining example of durability.

If halfshafts are the concern, the front of 4WD trucks and truck-based SUVs will also be a concern (all 1/2 tons are IFS). If halfshafts are the concern, the Expedition and Sequia are also out of consideration, since they have independent rear suspension and so have jointed halfshafts.
But then, if jointed halfshafts are bad, HummVees and Hummer H1s are out, too, along with most recent large U.S. military trucks. It's just a matter of sizing for the purpose.

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Originally Posted by Rossue View Post
Don't agree any FWD trans unit is as durable as a truck-sized trans/differential, but you might come up with some facts to refute.
I think this is just a matter of size. Front wheel drive transaxles are not commonly used with vehicles as large as "full sized" pickup trucks, so they're typically not built as heavily. They can be:
  • The previous generation of Ford Transit came in both rear-wheel-drive and front-wheel-drive... and the front drive version is used commercially at combined loads higher than an SUV with a loaded Escape 21'; true, you can't buy that Transit (or any SUV with its transaxle) here.
  • Remember the GMC Motohome? Built in the 1970's, it used GM truck components assembled in a front-wheel-drive configuration with a transaxle, and a 12,000 pound GVWR. That transaxle (THM425) had the Turbo-Hydramatic transmission of the day (THM400) inside it. GM may doesn't see any need to build a transaxle at this capacity now, as their light trucks don't use transaxles.

I don't know what Toyota puts inside a Highlander's transaxle; for all I know it could be the same internals as used for a 4Runner (which I assume qualifies as a real SUV even though no pickup is built on the same Landcruiser chassis).

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Originally Posted by Rossue View Post
I also believe that a traditional definition of SUV is body on frame vs. unibody design. Much has been discussed here regarding that, however as far as strength of a drive train I think it is a stretch to say a unibody's is as durable or capable as a truck or its SUV equivelant.
I agree that's the traditional definition. Of course, by that definition a Jeep Grand Cherokee (which has been unibody since its first generation in 1993) isn't an SUV.
I think some of that is a traditional North American bias. Light commercial vehicles - and any Escape is very comfortably in the "light" category for commercial vehicles - are routinely unibody now, including all the recent commercial vans (Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit, Ram ProMaster).

I understand the concern with the relatively thin panels of a unibody structure. On the other hand, I've never heard of anyone having any structural issue with any unibody tow vehicle using a hitch attached as specifically approved by the vehicle manufacturer and used within the manufacturer's rated limits.


It seems to be just a matter of size overall and thus size for drivetrain components, too - pickup trucks come only in large and very large, while station wagons (called "crossovers" and "SUVs") come in all sizes.
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Old 10-11-2015, 11:01 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by Mike Lewis View Post
Although my Tacoma pulls the trailer very well, I think that an SUV that was a bit heavier over the rear wheels than a pickup is would be more stable, towing and not towing. Again, I haven't noticed a stability problem but in theory an SUV should be more stable, I would think.
The problem is wheelbase. Longer wheelbase means greater stability, and any pickup truck has a longer wheelbase than the great majority of SUVs; the crew-cab F-150s now popular with SUVs are longer than available SUV.
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Old 10-12-2015, 12:25 AM   #53
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We just bought a Ford F-150, 2009, rwd, 5.4 triton, supercab to tow our 2014 21 with. We just got back to Spokane from Moab, about 2000mi. round trip, and really enjoyed pulling with the F-150. We had bought the 21 early this year and pulled with our Highlander, designed to pull up to 5K. We went to the rally in Osoyoos and pulled with the Highlander which did fine, but I just didn't feel as safe as I would have liked, so reason I bought the F-150. After pulling with the F-150 I thought the following analogy seemed to fit. Was like when my kids were growing up and I would put them on my shoulders and carry them around. The Highlander felt like I was carrying an 8 year old and the F-150 felt like I was carrying a 2 year old. I got close to the same gas mi. with both vehicles (13 to 14 mi per gal.). And I love the Highlander for non towing uses, which is one of the best cars I have owned. But now I also like the ride of the F-150, so easy to see out of and love the roomy feel. Also was able to haul more stuff and our bicycles under the tonneau cover.
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Old 10-12-2015, 12:33 AM   #54
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Hi Brian- Not as concerned with panels of unibody as the overall durability difference of a transaxel vs differential drivetrain. With a 4000 pound trailer what do you really think will be be more durable?
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