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Got a question for those with 4 wheel drive. Do you normally have it in 2WD or Auto? So far I've always been in 2WD, but thinking during the rainy season might be good to have it in Auto.

Thoughts?
 

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Hecdog said:
I usually keep in 2wd. When It's raining or with questionable road conditions, I switch to Auto.
Me too. In rain, if you hit an unexpected puddle, etc. its nice to have. I keep it in 2wd mostly but I have been happy to have had 4wd on many occasions. ;)
 

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I've never had a need for AWD so most of my vehicle didn't have it. All o fmy vehicles had 4Hi and 4Lo though.

In normal situations, I leave in 2WD. Only in severe rain, and snow/ice covered roads do I need 4WD. For standard rain, the VDC works excellent as AWD is really just a traction control especially on the Nissans.

The Auto mode only engages the front wheels when slip is detected. It uses a electronic clutch that engages the front axle when slip is detected on the rear axle. When there is no slip it goes back to RWD. So it's essentially like flipping the 2WD mode to 4HI when needed, it just does it automatically. Honda uses the same AWD in their cars(SUVs if you could consider them such).

If your in decent snow, skip the AUTO altogether and put it straight in 4HI. The reason is that lag in time where slip is detected and the clutch is engaged, can get you stuck or stop your momentum. AUTO is a great traction control on top of VDC for oil spots and rain, but it sucks gas with little benefit IMO. With VDC's excellent results, I really see no benefit to Auto mode. Back in the day where you couldn't switch 4Hi in easily, AWD had it's benefits. Of course if your spouse isn't mechanically inclined and doesn't want to switch back and forth from 2WD to 4Hi as needed, the Auto has the benefit there.

I just see so many people using AWD in snow and muddy conditions and that's what gets people in trouble, USE 4HI. AWD can give a sense of false security when it's function isn't understood. It's not the same as 4WD hence why it's called AWD (or Auto in Nissan's terms).

Have a good one.
 

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Take my wife, Please take my wife

If you only knew my wife, 4 AUTO is a god-send, they made it for her. It eliminates all thought on what to to do and when.
 

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With VDC's excellent results, I really see no benefit to Auto mode. Back in the day where you couldn't switch 4Hi in easily, AWD had it's benefits. Of course if your spouse isn't mechanically inclined and doesn't want to switch back and forth from 2WD to 4Hi as needed, the Auto has the benefit there.
My dad engaged the 4hi switch when it rained here about a month back(hes not really they much of a Gear head) and when he came home he complained that the car haulted to a stop while he made a turn. Suprisingly that week a found a thread that said 4hi/4lo should not be used in grippy surfaces (you can bind something if you do it simultaneously).
 

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SilverQShip said:
My dad engaged the 4hi switch when it rained here about a month back(hes not really they much of a Gear head) and when he came home he complained that the car haulted to a stop while he made a turn. Suprisingly that week a found a thread that said 4hi/4lo should not be used in grippy surfaces (you can bind something if you simultaneously).
Wow that's weird, because I have engaged my 4Hi intentially on dry surfaces to verify that the 4WD system was working. It's easily confirmed when you turn as you said at a very low speed, because you'll feel tires skipping. Higher speed just make the truck hard to steer with a lot of understeer. With all 3 4WD trucks I've had, I've never had any come to hault when making a turn in this way. It's definitely not a good thing. With rain of any kind except very light drizzle, the road should had been slick enough for a skip when turning.

With tires today, they shed water very good and have excellent grip on normal rains. Therefore you really shouldn't use 4Hi except for heavy downpours and flashflooding.

In fact with the flash flooding or even smaller puddles, 4WD helps greatly I found. With 2WD engaged (would be same with AWD/AUTO), when a puddle is hit with the front tires, they tend to surf on top of the water, called hydroplaning. Usually I really white knuckle it around here because your front end will dart towards the ditches or on coming traffic when you hit a good size puddle. With 4Hi engaged, I get none of that because the spinning front tires now cut through the water instead of riding on top of it. Since AUTO doesn't engage the front axle until slippage is felt on the rear axle, AWD will not help with this situation. Here at least, it's very common.

Well anyway, have a good one. :)
 

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No difference

I find that there is absolutely no difference in gas milage buy running the Armada in Auto mode. the 2wd mode does seems to make the vehicle steer a bit easier but by leaving it in Auto does nothing to reduce fuel consumption. Also living in South Western Pennsylvania in winter I have found that even with 6 inches of fresh snow on the roads there is no reason to shift into 4hi to make it through the snow. I have a post on this fact which I posted in January of 2004.
I have driven four wheel drive vehicles in many areas of the country including Alaska, and the Armada, like its little cousin the xterra is a very good 4wd truck.
 

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Mike said:
.... Also living in South Western Pennsylvania in winter I have found that even with 6 inches of fresh snow on the roads there is no reason to shift into 4hi to make it through the snow..... .
Yes, driving in 4hi should never be done on dry or wet pavement. Only Auto. As you note, your really don't even need it in the snow. Haven't been in enough snow yet to give it a shot. Hopefully that will change Saturday. 3' of new snow in the mountains here!!!
 

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armoody said:
Yes, driving in 4hi should never be done on dry or wet pavement. Only Auto. As you note, your really don't even need it in the snow. Haven't been in enough snow yet to give it a shot. Hopefully that will change Saturday. 3' of new snow in the mountains here!!!
Correct. If you use 4 Hi or 4 Lo on pavement, you can blow your transfer case. The manual and warning labels on the vehicle all state to use this only on loose terrain like dirt or snow. ;) If you blow it, I would think your warranty may be in jeopardy to cover as they have warnings everywhere. ;)
 

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I use AWD all the time in NE MA. I tried to switch over to 2WD once and I did not like the way the truck handled. Not sure why. When we had a large storm here a few weeks before Xmas I put it in 4HI. AWD was working OK but in 4HI it really "locks it down". I had the same response from my old Eddie Bauer Expedition. Auto all the time - but when driving in plowable snow put it in 4HI. My opinion is that by the time that the 4X4 kicks in with Auto in plowable snow - you may already find yourself in trouble. But I never run the 4HI on dry pavement. For the record, the Armada was MUCH better in snow than the Expo even with my 305mm 50 series w/ 20inch rims. I still need to put my factory rims on cuz I am starting to notice some minor corrosion on the chrome. Oh well! Only 2-3 more months of this crap. Actually i am dying to see the difference in handling.
 

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My preference is Auto. 2WD for towing. 4HI for significant snow - driving through several inches on an unplowed road.

Auto gives you all the fuel advantages of 2WD plus the safety advantages of AWD when you put wheels onto the shoulder, hit a patch of ice, etc.
 
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