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Old 12-31-2015, 04:30 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by LeonW View Post
Since we live in the city we got a FWD model. It was lower cost and presumably there is less to go wrong.
This logic makes sense to me.

On the other hand, if I were going to live with the relatively higher cost, higher weight, and poorer fuel economy of an SUV (compared to a non-SUV car or van), I might as well get the AWD for poor road conditions... especially for towing which adds drag and takes traction from the front tires. It's essentially an academic question here, anyway, as 2WD SUVs are rare, and one would have difficulty finding a 2WD Highlander (which is currently only available as 2WD in the base trim level).
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Old 12-31-2015, 05:04 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
I'm not sure what difference you're expecting, since "AWD" and "4WD" don't really mean anything different. At one point Toyota put "AWD" badges on Siennas and "4WD" badges on Highlanders... and those two models used exactly the same system.
Brian, I understand that there is indeed a big difference between AWD and 4WD. A Honda Element has AWD and I do not think that it is the same as 4WD on a Toyota 4Runner. Are you saying that they are the same? And you know that the Element and others automatically go into AWD whereas the 4Runner has to be manually put into 4WD.

A vehicle may be mislabeled to make people think they are the same, perhaps? I would think that what is on an Element is not at all what is on a 4Runner.


I see that you are referring to "traditional" 4WD in a later post.
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Old 12-31-2015, 05:45 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by thoer View Post
The only options now are AWD or 2WD and living in Wisconsin, AWD is much more practical for us.

And as conservative as Toyota is, there is no way they are going to rate a vehicle at 5000# if that vehicle in not totally capable of towing 5000#. The way we travel, I expect our real weight of the 21 will be fairly close to 4000# or less: making it at least 20% less than the Highlander's rating.
In the last couple of years, they are using the towing tests so don't need to wonder about that and also can compare one manufacturer to another. That is a big improvement.

Common loaded weight of a 21' is 4200-4300 lbs. apparently. We weighed everything we were putting into the 21' and weighed our vehicle with and without. We had the weight with our options from Escape paperwork and then we added the other weight. We have a Sherline scale so we could then tell what we needed for tongue weight after pick-up. We then loaded accordingly for the tongue as it was too light at first. Had one propane tank filled by Escape and then filled the other later to add tongue weight.

Now I have to also wonder if the 4WD on a 4Runner is the same as the AWD you are referring to on the Highlander!
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Old 12-31-2015, 08:05 PM   #74
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Why not buy an old tow vehicle

The only thing I have to say is that if it doesn't have 4 LO then it isn't a 4WD as far as I'm concerned (I'm afraid I lowered my standards, years ago it would have required front posi and warn hubs and winch to qualify as a 4X4).

Cheers and Happy New Year

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Old 12-31-2015, 10:39 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by Floating Cloud View Post
Brian, I understand that there is indeed a big difference between AWD and 4WD. A Honda Element has AWD and I do not think that it is the same as 4WD on a Toyota 4Runner. Are you saying that they are the same? And you know that the Element and others automatically go into AWD whereas the 4Runner has to be manually put into 4WD.
The Element and 4Runner have quite different systems, and manual shifting is just part of it.

What I'm saying is not that these two systems are the same - there are many systems with a huge variety of characteristics - but just that the terms "AWD" and "4WD" don't tell you what you're getting.

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Originally Posted by Floating Cloud View Post
A vehicle may be mislabeled to make people think they are the same, perhaps? I would think that what is on an Element is not at all what is on a 4Runner.
They're not the same, but no one is mislabeling anything in this case. These are four-wheeled vehicles, so "all wheel drive" and "four wheel drive" literally mean the same thing. The differences which people imply from the two terms are not defined anywhere - there is no standard to follow, so each manufacturer can pick whichever term they want.

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Originally Posted by Floating Cloud View Post
I see that you are referring to "traditional" 4WD in a later post.
Yes, among the ways to label the systems would be by comparison with the first 4WD systems which people commonly encountered - what I'm calling "traditional". The best known traditional system includes
  • a transfer case which is separate from the transmission
  • the transfer case can connect only the driveshaft to the rear wheels, so when in this 2WD mode the vehicle is rear-drive ("2-High" or "2H" on Jim's F-150 selector)
  • a mechanism in the transfer case which allows the driveshaft to the front wheels to be connected as well, making it 4WD ("4-High" or "4H" on Jim's F-150 selector)
  • an auxiliary transmission in the transfer case, which usually works only when in 4WD, to provide extra-low gearing ("4-Low" or "4L" on Jim's F-150 selector)
This is all great stuff for off-roaders, but there's nothing good about this system for a typical person towing a travel trailer, because
  • the low range isn't needed
  • the 4WD can't be used on pavement
  • the 4WD doesn't engage when needed - you need to shift it, and in some cases can't even do that while moving.
An Element or Highlander - like most modern 4WD vehicles - has a much more useful system for most people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floating Cloud View Post
Now I have to also wonder if the 4WD on a 4Runner is the same as the AWD you are referring to on the Highlander!
Good question.
No, the current Highlander and 4Runner have very different systems. Both are from Toyota, but they don't have much more than that in common.
The Highlander's systems is simple: it drives the front wheels, plus automatically applies drive force to the rear wheels when needed, with no driver action required - this is suitable for towing.
The 4Runner has a traditional system (high and low gear ranges, rear-wheel-drive only mode available) as base equipment, but the optional system is much more complex: it adds a full-time 4WD mode that includes a centre differential (like the older Highlander) so drive power is applied to all wheels all the time, and the axles are allowed to turn at different speeds so you can safely turn on pavement. It also has a traction-control system, and I haven't looked through all of details yet. This better optional 4Runner system would be good for both towing and off-roading.

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Originally Posted by PGDriver View Post
The only thing I have to say is that if it doesn't have 4 LO then it isn't a 4WD as far as I'm concerned...
That's a common viewpoint, and I understand it, but it is really confusing for new buyers. For one thing, very few people ever use the low range, and with automatic transmissions extremely few people have any reason to need it; more importantly, the existence of a low range has nothing to do with the characteristics which do matter... which wheels are driven and what differences are allowed in wheel speeds.
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Old 01-01-2016, 01:45 AM   #76
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There is a button on my RAV4 dash to lock in 4X4.
I've never pressed it, and because I've never done that, I'm afraid if I do that something bad will happen, since it's never been engaged.
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Old 01-01-2016, 02:23 AM   #77
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Brian, I see that you mean that the terms are never defined which makes knowing what any vehicle has on it an unknown, without looking into it. Yep, that's the case.
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Old 01-01-2016, 02:24 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
There is a button on my RAV4 dash to lock in 4X4.
I've never pressed it, and because I've never done that, I'm afraid if I do that something bad will happen, since it's never been engaged.
It is now 2016. Time to press the button.

Happy New Year, all.
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Old 01-01-2016, 04:36 AM   #79
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Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
There is a button on my RAV4 dash to lock in 4X4.
I've never pressed it, and because I've never done that, I'm afraid if I do that something bad will happen, since it's never been engaged.
I'm pretty sure that this third-generation RAV4 has a clutch-type AWD system (same as the current Highlander): it is front-wheel-drive, plus some degree of rear drive determined by a clutch. I'm sure there's no additional hardware to achieve "locked" 4WD - it's just a control mode that clamps that clutch full-on so front and rear axles are forced to run at the same speed, like a crude part-time 4X4 in 4WD mode, which is useful in some conditions. No additional hardware means no never-exercised stuff (other than the switch) to stick on or break. The system will disengage when it needs to.

The 2011 RAV4 owner's manual (which should be the same as for 2008) says
Quote:
Four-wheel drive lock mode
  • Four-wheel drive lock mode is canceled when the brakes are applied to ensure the ABS and VSC systems operate effectively.
  • Four-wheel drive lock mode is canceled when the vehicle speed exceeds 25 mph (40 km/h).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Floating Cloud View Post
Brian, I see that you mean that the terms are never defined which makes knowing what any vehicle has on it an unknown, without looking into it. Yep, that's the case.
Yes, that's what I'm thinking.
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Old 01-01-2016, 08:23 AM   #80
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I have used the lock-in 4wd twice since i had my 2012 rav. It got me out of snow filled park in situations. Once you hit breaks, or 25mph, it goes to awd, i think. I also used that hill assist on a gravel mountain road in the slick wet muddy condition going down a steep hill. It helped but i think any lower gear will do the same. I also have that other thing which will not let you creep back while on a steep grade when pulling out, never needed it, so no use. Carl
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