Going up a snowy/icy hill, I had to make frequent stops. My Liberty was sliding all over! I had it in part time 4wd. How can I tell if the 4wd is activated? Or if there is some other problem? I owned a Subaru for years, never encountered this type of problem.
If that system is, indeed, part-time 4wd, it is designed for off-road driving and for getting you out of a ditch–not for driving on roads and highways. When a part-time 4wd system is activated, the center differential is locked, meaning that the front and the rear wheels turn at the exact same speed–with resulting wheel slippage. This might not matter in off-road conditions, but when driving on roads, it can lead to some very disconcerting–and potentially dangerous-- conditions.
I would suggest that you read your Owner’s Manual to determine if your 4wd system is one of those that should not be used for highway driving, and if that is the case, use it accordingly. On the other hand, an AWD system, such as you had in your Subaru, is great in the type of conditions where you had problems. In any event, it sounds to me like you need a set of 4 winter tires.
Those aggressive-looking treads on your present tires are great for off-road conditions but might not be very good on ice. Something like a Michelin-X Ice tire or one of the Bridgestone Blizzacks could make a major difference for you.
And, of course, this leads to a discussion of why people buy vehicles that are intended for off-road driving and expect them to perform well on paved roads. While most of us realize that a Mercury Grand Marquis or a Buick Lucerne is not suited to off-road use, it seems to escape the minds of far too many people that a vehicle with part-time 4wd is not the best choice for daily driving on paved roads.
VD is 100%
4WD is not always the best choice. 4WD and AWD are good at getting you out of the ditch once you slide in there, but winter tyres are far better at keeping you out of the ditch and keep you from sliding into the car in front of you. Same thing with those off road tyres.
I don’t think you have ever even driven an AWD vehicle so your statement is likely backed by any real world experience.
AWD will keep you moving in the direction you want without any undue sliding in the situation of a snowy/icy hill whether with adequate all-season tires or winter tires. 4wd will work in the situation described although steering is much more difficult as primitive(system) 4wd’s simply like to go straight.
I have owned Subaru’s with all-seasons and winter tires and never encountered much they cannot get through. I vote that the Jeep Liberty unless on extreme conditions either does not have 4wd working or that tires are really poor on snow/ice. I have experience with primitive 4wd in a real Jeep (CJ-7.)
Have it looked at or on ice simply have a friend observe you gun the throttle quickly. They should see at least one front wheel and one rear wheel turn.
andrew–I have to assume that you are responding to Mr. Meehan, rather than to me. As the owner of an Outback VDC with VTD AWD, traction control, vehicle stability control AND a set of Michelin X-Ice tires in the winter, I too have never experienced any problems with winter traction.
However, with the original (crappy) Bridgestone Potenza RE-92 tires, the traction control and the vehicle stability control used to kick in VERY often, due to the absolute lack of traction of those RE-92s in wintery weather. So, although Mr. Meehan is correct about the need for a good set of winter tires, I also disagree with him regarding AWD, which is infinitely superior to part-time 4wd on paved roads.
You can run part-time 4x4 on the road just fine in snow and ice at highway speeds. They work perfectly fine.
The front and rear wheels do not turn at the same speed on a part time 4wd, the ring and pinion gears do. There is still a differential on each axle that allows the wheels to operate at different speeds from left to right.
Part time 4wd bind on high traction surfaces when turning because the front and rear differentials (ring and pinion gear) are forced to operate at the same speed. This is not a problem on snow and ice and the small amount of wheel slippage is unnoticeable
Part time only 4wds also do not have a center differential.
AWD with no traction aiding devices (electronic, lockers, etc) will produce less tractive force than a part time 4wd with no traction devices. This is why the old full time 4wds with the NP203 t-cases had the ability to lock the center diff. Many modern AWDs have this feature as well.
I also have an old POS jeep with real part-time 4WD (not AWD) and it certainly will work correctly on snowy roads, but you do want to disengage it when you hit clear pavement. If it’s working correctly it should go exactly where you point it, without sliding around (even in deep snow). I also have real M&S tires installed (this thing is a winter beater and only gets used in significant snow).
Can you check and see if the front wheels will spin on ice? If the 4WD is working correct, consider putting some serious tires on it.
100% correct. Not wanting to risk my Pacifica AWD to the snow gods, I drove my Dakota through the only bad snow we had this year (couldn’t go a weekend without visiting my fiancee!). The Dakota has p/t 4WD, which combined with fairly aggressive all-terrain tires, was absolutely wonderful on the highway and back roads. But I did have to shift in and out of 4WD as road conditions changed.
Nothing beats having a dedicated “snow car.”
I haven’t seen a 4wd system built in the past 20+ years that’s NOT rated for highway use.
And, of course, this leads to a discussion of why people buy vehicles that are intended for off-road driving and expect them to perform well on paved roads.
There is no reason what-so-ever a vehicle designed for Off-Road use can’t be used on the highway.
While most of us realize that a Mercury Grand Marquis or a Buick Lucerne is not suited to off-road use, it seems to escape the minds of far too many people that a vehicle with part-time 4wd is not the best choice for daily driving on paved roads.
But there are times I NEED the off-road capability…Skiiing during the winter…The cabin I own in the White Mountains is NOT on a main road…and many times I’m driving in and out of there for 2-3 miles LONG BEFORE the plow touches the road. Plus my son and I do a lot of camping with our camper AND backpacking where we drive to area’s that are just dirt trails. Try that with your Grand Marquis. NEVER EVER had a problem driving ANY 4wd vehicle on the highway in the past 30 years.
To the OP…
Not sure how your part-time 4wd system works…but if it works like others then it should easily handle a snowey hill. The ONLY thing I can think of is the tires. May 4wd trucks come with very NON aggressive highway tires. Sure putting it in 4wd will help tremendously…but to work really well you probably need more agressive tires. Something like the Cooper Discovery ATR’s…or the Michelin XLT or Michelin Cross Terrain. You don’t need anything more agressive unless you’re in deep snow or mud.
The transfer case on the Liberty is manually engaged, and rarely ever fails (np231 transfer case). It sounds more like the snow covered ICE was the problem. No vehicle can get up a snowy & icy hill without some good driving technique such as: keep it slow and easy on the gas at all times. Spinning a tire on ice doesn’t help you to get moving, it just eliminates that tires ability to get a good grip. Even 4wd will get stuck if you start spinning all the tires on ice.