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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is probably a question I should be asking a driving instructor, but has anybody found driving an AWD car a PITA when you're on ice? I mean the way it behaves is confounding me. Just recently (last night actually) I hit a section of road ( about 3 miles) that had frozen over and I found myself fighting to keep the rear end from taking over the front. It's as if I had better traction from the rear wheels and the front was trying to slow down... Not sure if I'm explaining myself right...

I've never felt this behavior before even from my 04 Laramie that was also AWD. I'm running on new winter rubber, Hankook iPike same diameter as the stock rubber from Dodge but on 16" steelies (stock is 18" alloy). The winter tires I had on those 16" wheels before was some no name crap that wore out as fast as if I had the car on a race track and were louder than what I have on my ATV.

So my question: Is this normal behavior coming from the logic behind the TCM distributing power to the four wheels? or am I looking at a problem with the TCM?

This is an '07 R/T AWD 2.4l with CVT but no traction control. A related question, since most of the parts are there to enable traction control on this car, ABS brakes on all 4 wheels being the main component, is it possible to retrofit traction control in this car? If so is it cost effective?
 

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This is probably a question I should be asking a driving instructor, but has anybody found driving an AWD car a PITA when you're on ice? I mean the way it behaves is confounding me. Just recently (last night actually) I hit a section of road ( about 3 miles) that had frozen over and I found myself fighting to keep the rear end from taking over the front. It's as if I had better traction from the rear wheels and the front was trying to slow down... Not sure if I'm explaining myself right...

I've never felt this behavior before even from my 04 Laramie that was also AWD. I'm running on new winter rubber, Hankook iPike same diameter as the stock rubber from Dodge but on 16" steelies (stock is 18" alloy). The winter tires I had on those 16" wheels before was some no name crap that wore out as fast as if I had the car on a race track and were louder than what I have on my ATV.

So my question: Is this normal behavior coming from the logic behind the TCM distributing power to the four wheels? or am I looking at a problem with the TCM?

This is an '07 R/T AWD 2.4l with CVT but no traction control. A related question, since most of the parts are there to enable traction control on this car, ABS brakes on all 4 wheels being the main component, is it possible to retrofit traction control in this car? If so is it cost effective?
To your first question; no it's not normal. The Caliber has asymmetrical AWD and always produces more drive to the front wheels. Either the transfer system is messed up, or you could have front brakes that are hanging.

On your second question; adding traction control would be more expensive than buying another car that already has it.
 

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Same new winter rubber all round ?

Symptoms are of less rear adhesion as if they have less tread than the fronts.
 

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Same new winter rubber all round ?

Symptoms are of less rear adhesion as if they have less tread than the fronts.
Less adhesion on the rear would cause the fronts to pull the car along, not the other way around as you state.
 

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I hit a section of road ( about 3 miles) that had frozen over and I found myself fighting to keep the rear end from taking over the front. It's as if I had better traction from the rear wheels and the front was trying to slow down... Not sure if I'm explaining myself right...
He's not explaining himself right. The effect is where the fronts have traction and the rears lose it causing fishtailing and if not caught results in the rear overtaking the front in a spin.
 

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He's not explaining himself right. The effect is where the fronts have traction and the rears lose it causing fishtailing and if not caught results in the rear overtaking the front in a spin.
That would only happen if you had [only] rear wheel drive. Being that the Caliber has asymmetrical AWD; the fronts will always be getting better than 50% of the drive. Since he has new rubber all around; his AWD isn't working as engineered, or his brakes are dragging in the front. Either way; it would cause the rears to try to over take the front. Causing what he describes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
All four tires are new and identical. Now that you mention sticky brakes, my rears are very pitted and could be the cause of my issue. I do have new rotors and pads sitting at home that I was waiting for a decent day to install so I will throw those on ASAP and see if that will fix it. Thanks for all the help.

It was wishful thinking to think that traction control could be an easy add-on but hey, you don't know until you ask!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks a lot for all the help guys. I replaced the rotors, pads and calipers as well because they were sticking on the guides and the right side one was completely seized on the guides. now just waiting for similar conditions to see if it's all fixed. I'm pretty certain because I believe the right side was locking up on me causing the slippage I described in my first post...
 

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I look forward to your next update.
 

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Or do folks expect too much of AWD / 4WD vehicles. Over the years, I've met many non-off-roaders that were thoroughly disappointed with AWD/4WD performance. I know more than one soccer mom or dad who has "high centered" their luxury SUV, simply because they did not understand what AWD/4WD can and cannot do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Or do folks expect too much of AWD / 4WD vehicles. Over the years, I've met many non-off-roaders that were thoroughly disappointed with AWD/4WD performance. I know more than one soccer mom or dad who has "high centered" their luxury SUV, simply because they did not understand what AWD/4WD can and cannot do.
I can see where you're going with this but this is my 4th AWD vehicle. My first was a Ford Aerostar AWD with a 4.0l SOHC. I had such a good time driving that beater through snow that I promised myself that I would keep buying AWD/4WD vehicles because of where I live. My next one was a '98 Dodge Dakota Sport 4x4, then moved up to an '04 Ram Laramie AWD which I traded in for this '07 Caliber R/T AWD. This was the first time I experienced this behaviour.

I'm always a careful driver and always adjust my driving to the road conditions. My older brother once bought a brand new 1984 Jeep Commanche 4x4. First snowfall landed him in the ditch.... LOL I don't think more powered wheels means driving on rails. If all wheels lock up, you have no control of your vehicle.

My question stemmed from quite a few angles, but mainly due to having new rubber. I didn't end up needing to drive the car just yet, but will let you know when my fiance comes back later today. The roads are covered in sticky snow at the moment, so the testing is on! :Racing:
 

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I can also see where Dave is coming from. You have a certain group that think once they have 4 wheels driving they are invincible.

My suggestion of the front brakes being the issue comes from a Land Rover forum where someone complained of the same exact issue with their AWD Freelander. It was due to warn dragging front brakes. So I hope your new brakes have fixed your same issue as well. It will definitely take a load off your mind as you are driving.
 

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I can also see where Dave is coming from. You have a certain group that think once they have 4 wheels driving they are invincible.
The "invincible" mentality is especially noticeable around here. We get several minor snow and ice storms here every winter, and every few years a major one. You can ride a motorcycle in the minor ones, and the AWD/4WD owners get the feeling of invincibility because their vehicles made it through these. The AWD/4WD did such a good job, they got home even before the snow started sticking to the roads!

Couple years back a woman in our neighborhood was crying in frustration after she high centerd her "invincible" RAV 4. The front driver's side and rear passenger's side wheels were spinning futilely as they both sat a couple inches above the almost dry pavement below. (this was after one of our major storms)
 

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:hah:RAV4??? LOL. Please. That's another one of those "girlie" SUVs that should never go off-road or leave the garage on a snowy day.
 
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:hah:RAV4??? LOL. Please. That's another one of those "girlie" SUVs that should never go off-road or leave the garage on a snowy day.
Exactly what I mean - Many folks believe that if you slap an AWD or 4WD emblem on the back of a car - you're good to go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just like the guy who spends 100k on a full size Hummer that never sees more dirt than that which flies off the back of a snow plow...
 

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Dad always said 4WD will get you moving a little faster, but that doesn't help you when you can't stop any faster than anyone else.
Around here there are a lot of southerners trying to drive in snow (oil boom). There are almost always 3 or 4 different trucks/suvs in the ditch while I'm driving for work. Many are at intersections, but some are just on straight tracks of highway.
 

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, but some are just on straight tracks of highway.
I came off on an embarassingly unchallenging bit of WI back roads, just a slight curve maybe. Next thing I knew facing the wrong way - but very flat country with no ditches and long run off before any fencing. Managed to drive out. (in a FWD)
 
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