I used to think like you, but after reading the above article I believe that in
4x4 mode, extra force is exerted, but it is still not a solid lock.
From the article -
"A second mode is also available. For off-road or "get-unstuck" use, the driver
may press a "4x4 On" button on the dash of the Tribute, or turn a switch on the
Escape. Each sends an electrical current to an electromagnetic coil adjacent to
the RBC. This engages a small multi-plate pilot clutch in the RBC unit, which in
turn applies the main clutch though a ball-ramp thrust-amplification device. The
drive torque available in this mode is nearly seven times greater than the
torque available in the on-demand mode."
Well, with all due respect to Automotive Journalism and their
descriptions of systems and the vehicles themselves, they know Jack!
I can quote a prominant 'Journalist' by the Name of Paul Glover in one
of our National Newspapers writing that the "Escape is a rebadged
I attempted to point out that he was wrong and the only external
things they share are the roof, front passenger and driver glass and
windscreen and rear mirrors.. I did concede that underneath they are
the same. I received a reply advising that I was wrong and that I
should look at one..... I own one and I should know the difference! So
this little experience has taught me that when a motoring journalist
writes something, it's generally not quite correct!
As an aside I have to agree that the ESCAPE/TRIBUTE cousins have to be
one of the best passenger SUV's out there! Now if only Ford could
persuade Land Rover to ditch the current Freelander and base the next
one on the Escape/Tribute - they'd actually have a nice car!
I question not only the journalists' descriptions of technical features, but
the credibility of their driving tests too. Please see the handling
description for the 2002 Escape at
http://www.newcarreviews.com/2002_ford_escape.html The guy states that the
Escape has *understeer* handling characteristics. Oh, really ;-) If the
Escape handles with understeer, then it would not merely handle like a sedan
(slides controllably before it rolls over) but like a good sports car.
AFAIK, generally only sports cars posess understeer handling
characteristics. Those sports car models that are certain to have it are
mid/rear engine with rear wheel drive. This is not to say that other
vehicles such as Corvettes and Mercedes don't have it, but they are less
common. And quite to the contrary of what was stated, front wheel drive
*sedans* having understeer characteristics are a very uncommon exception to
Understeer is common to almost all front wheel drive autos while over steer
is common to rear wheel drive autos. With Front wheel drive, over steer can
be simulated by pulling up sharply on the hand brake as one enters a turn.
Rally drivers have been doing this for years.
They were far from the first but they were mass produced like none before
had been. I drove a couple of Coopers back in 70 and 71 and I don't remember
them over steering without handbrake input. They had torque steer just as
is common to all FWD cars and IIRC, they were almost impossible to spin out
on dry pavement.
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