AWD Impala?

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Why won't GM product an AWD version of the 5.3L Impala? Would that dissuade people from buying an SUV? Would an AWD Impala even be feasable in any way?

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It wouldn't dissuade me from owning an SUV because a car can't carry what I need to carry and can't go where I need to go (AWD is not 4WD). However, some people might buy it for the AWD feature but that's doubtful.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% "So why do I drive a big SUV? It's because I have to haul numerous people and things to places." ~ R. Lee Baxton ~
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Rich B wrote:

I understand that, but all that torque on FWD just doesn't make sense. 0-60 in 7.x seconds? Thats awful. The 2006 Acura RL can do it with a 3.5L in 6.7 seconds.
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So are you braggin or complaining? I can get numerous new and old vehicles that would do - 60 in under 5 seconds but why bother? I buy what I like and what I need and I neither like or need an Acura (a.k.a. Honda). When you can get 30 crates of produce in your Honda, then let me know. If I want good gas mileage, I drive my 3.4L Impala that regularly gets 35+ mpg on the highway (that's better than many smaller Hondas, Toyotas, etc.)

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% "So why do I drive a big SUV? It's because I have to haul numerous people and things to places." ~ R. Lee Baxton ~
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Rich B wrote:

Both. I just thing GM misses the mark everywhere.

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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

#1. Because that don't currently have any transmission/transaxle capable of driving the rear wheels so they would have to spend a lot of $$ designing it or but it from someone else and very few people would buy it. #2 AWD sucks on a front wheel drive platform, sucks gas and just plain sucks in every way,
We made the mistake of buying a Chrysler minivan with quality Audi AWD components. It had a 3.3L V6 engine which got a nice 14mpg city (my 5.3V8 4x4 has never gotten below 16mpg). When backing out of parking spaces sometimes the rear would bind up and bang so hard I thought I hit another car the first time it happened. In winter the front wheels would slip and then the rear would engage and it would start to slide the front end around. My 2wd S10 did better in the snow.
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"> #2 AWD sucks on a front wheel drive platform, sucks gas and just plain sucks

I'll probably start a posting war, but try telling that to Subaru.
RJ in WV
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wrote:

I think your mileage for the AWD caravan wasn't caused by the AWD system if it was in good repair. My 1994 AWD with 3.8 L got better mileage than that going up the mountains in Tennessee and Kentucky, loaded with 6 people and luggage for 6 for a week (including a luggage rack full on top). It certainly has its quirks, but there is an explanation for most of your complaints.
It's been a while since I was reading up on that system, but I'll give it a try. That loud thunk in the back when you backed up was caused by the mechanism that locks in the rear wheel drive when you back up. The dog clutch that engages the rear drive (when front traction is lost) only works when you are in a forward gear, so there is a separate (vacuum operated) shift mechanism that engages the rear wheel drive while in reverse. The vaccum lines on mine leaked right at the place where they connected to the 'tri-sphere' shaped reservoir conveniently placed on TOP of the clutch housing... and caused a loud thunk from the gear not quite fully engaging.
I don't recall having any sliding problems in the snow (that were not fully on purpose). If it were not for the terrible design of the transmission its self I would love to drive another.
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Olaf wrote:

It did get get mid 20's on the highway, it was just the city milage that suffered. Yes, your correct on the reversing, it just would bang so loud that you thought you hit someone, was quite scary the first couple times.
I kept it well maintainted, followed the severe use maintenance schedule for fluids and filters, replaced the spark plugs and wires a couple times, cleaned the carbon out of the throttle body when I thought it was the cause of the stalling. It was nice and roomy but even when I added stiffer shocks it would start rocking when on the highway like a long bus, had the ABS (and therefore power brakes) fail a couple times, whole electrical system burned up twice so I rewired it myself and separated the circuits that causing the issue, transmission would upshift back into OD when it was in drive and going down steep hills resulting overheating of the already poor brakes, left a trail of paint flakes behind everywhere it went, drove terrible in the snow because the rear end would always want to push the front and around, etc, etc. It was basically a poor design so its no wonder people abandoned them for SUV's
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wrote:

I have to agree it is a Mickey mouse design. I loved mine because it drove great in the snow and it was a rarity. Not too many AWD caravans around. They don't even offer AWD any more with the stow and go seats.
I never had trouble with the back pushing the front around.
Actually I don't really understand how it's possible. Between the viscous coupling in the rear drive shaft and the fact that the rear wheels don't engage until the front axle is slipping (or you're in reverse) I'd think that means the rear wheels are always lagging a little behind the front. I wonder if you perhaps had bad tires on it? Perhaps since the front wheels had to be spinning before the rear would engage that means the front has already lost some traction before the rear can start pushing it around?
I can't believe I'm actually 'arguing' FOR the AWD system in caravans. The system leaves a lot to be desired as far as noise and 3 or 4 more places to leak fluid (depending on whether you consider the viscous coupling a leak spot... my coupling never leaked). I just absolutely loved being able to take right off in the deepest snow, leaving the others in the dust in my grocery getter. I had to actually try to spin the wheels in the snow and ice to get it to slip. Otherwise it was pretty much like driving on a non-slippery surface (with no slip). I liked doing real forward donuts in a caravan, and fish-tailing the back of the van around. That will tend to turn a few heads.
The only really sucky part, I think, was realizing just how slippery it actually was when I tried to stop... and the abs system buzzed and pumped my way through a stop sign intersection or two. It was a little tough to gauge just how slippery it was.
For everyday driving on the slippery surfaces I prefer AWD to a 4X4. The axles aren't locked together and you don't have to worry about shifting out of 4WD on dry patches to save the drivetrain. The best for me would be a 4X4 with an AWD setting. Then the axles can rotate semi-independently and one doesn't lose control as easily in a slide (as I have done in my 4X4 Jeep with command trac T/C.).
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Olaf wrote:

Thats pretty much it, get a little too much on the gas and the front wheels slip so the back pushes, then since the front wheel grip was already lost it would tend to slide sideways a bit. The problem was it was unpredictable because there was that delay before the rear kicked in so you never knew you were slipping until the rear kicked. I still prefer a traditional rear wheel drive, get the rear spinning and you can feel it, let off the gas and it catches nd goes, predictable behavior.

Poorly designed ABS, I could stop my non ABS truck shorter and faster than the ABS systems of that era.

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I wonder if something was wrong with your overrunning clutches. I was surprised at how there wasn't really any detectable front wheel spin before the rears kicked in on my van. I've had a few discussions about whether front or rear wheel drive is best in the snow. I prefer front wheel drive myself, but many prefer rear wheel drive (although none of them are people I actually know since I live in Michigan.... everyone I know around here prefers front wheel drive in the snow versus rear wheel drive.
I'm not off topic by chance, am I? <G>

I'm not sure it's possible to design a hydraulic abs system that doesn't pretty much suck for emergency stopping. (I hear the electric brakes they're designing will help some.) I wonder why the safety of ABS is touted so heavily in automotive commercials (as they show a vehicle coming to a nice neat, presumably faster, stop). I think the safety of anti-skid is overridden by the danger of not being to stop QUICKLY. No matter how you cut it, when you remove brake pressure from the brakes for any length of time your stopping distance is going to be greater. I pretty much just like to play with abs systems, but I'm always aware that I won't be able to stop extremely quickly if I need to. Not to mention that when one front wheel starts to slip on ice it reduces brake pressure to both front wheels, but not enough for the wheel with good traction to not put the vehicle in to a spin. I have not quite made up my mind whether I think ABS is worth a crap. It's sure fun to play with though. Especially in a power-brake situation (on RWD vehicles). The ABS computer seems to get confused when the rear wheels are spinning and the front are not. It starts pumping the front brakes even though they haven't lost traction.

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Olaf wrote:

realize they are spinning. I see so many front wheel drives running around with the wheels going twice as fast as the vehicle. Those that think front wheel drive is better in snow are usually the more inexperienced drivers, those that grew up with rear wheel drive know how to let off the gas to keep from spinning. The problem I ran into is the van had so little feel of the wheels the fronts would spin like a normal front wheel drive then when the rear started pushing the front would start to slide sideways. Much like a rear wheel drive where when you break traction is would slide to one side or the other. problem with the AWD is the front would start spinning then the rear would push then the front would start to slide sideways so when you let off the gas it would still take a little bit for the inertia of the movement from the rear to quit pushing so you would slide sideways more. A regular front wheel drive won't get that extra traction so it won't get the sideways sliding and most people would just keep spinning. I'll take a rear wheel drive anyday, I never bothered to pull the 4x4 level once I moved to OH unless I needed a bit of extra traction when slowing down, never needed it to keep from spinning.

You would be surprised at how many people disagree with you on this as they have been led to believe that ABS makes a car stop faster and many will argue this. I experimented in my 2000 s10 by stopping fast in a snow covered parking so that the ABS engaged then pulling the ABS fuse and stopping fast beside the previous tracks from the last time, I could threshold brake and stop shorter every time without much thought. Hydraulic brakes are the problem. The people that think ABS makes you stop faster say that a human can't pulse the brakes thousands of times per second like a computer can don't realize that the hydraulic and mechanical parts cant move that fast and any more than just a few pulses per second the fluid will dampen out. Had many scary stops in that old minivan, someone cut you off and you touch the brakes and there was a drop of spit under your tire you would hear the valves start clicking and the van would lurch forward like it didn't have any brakes.
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Perhaps younger. I've only been driving (legally) for 16 years :-) My experience is that both rear and front wheel drive are ok in the snow to a certain point. When the snow gets really thick I find a front wheel drive will start to move easier and with less spin than a rear wheel drive. A front wheel drive will even take off fairly well with worn tires on the front. I've learned to leave the rear wheel drive cars in the driveway in the thick snow unless it has good tires and some weight in the back. Of course my rear drive vehicles have all been (and are currently) big ol boats that front wheel drive probably wouldnt help much anyway, while the front wheel drive vehicles are smaller. Plus, there's something about a reverse donut that's almost more fun than an old fashioned donut in a RWD car.

I think we agree fully on abs brakes. Even on dry pavement ABS increases emergency stopping distance. I can remember a few times when I needed to stop immediately. The abs re-applied the brake pressure so gradually I found myself standing on the brake pedal thinking I could pump them much faster than the computer was at that point.
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wrote:

The ABS is superior to your braking ability. Imperical evidence proves ABS results in short stopping distances, even on dry. When you are really wanting to stop any delay seems too long and it's easy to start second guessing things.
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SgtSilicon wrote:

See what I mean. So many people misunderstand how ABS works and what it was designed for.
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I do not misunderstand it. It was designed for shorter stopping distances by avoiding skidding. Braking without skidding comes up against the starting coefficient of friction which is greater than sliding co-efficient of friction which is what you get in a skid.
Cornering control is another, though secondary goal/benefit. I have already debated this with some other equally misinformed person as yourself and proved my case. I suggest you dig through the archives to find it.

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No, ABS was developed to reducing stopping distance.
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Then the developers have failed.
Your sliding co-efficient of friction statement sounds correct; however an abs system does not keep the wheels in such an effective state. In fact I've found the system does not even wait for the wheels to lock fully. So it seems to start releasing the brake as soon as it gets close to that magic sliding co-efficient of friction spot. The abs system releases the brakes way past the best friction point, and then takes longer than my foot to re-apply the brakes to just barely the sweet spot again before releasing too far again.
I have played around with just about every vehicle I've ever driven with abs. While I don't bust out the slide-rule to verify my results I conclude that abs systems certainly do increase emergency stopping distance on every surface I've driven on. (I live in Michigan so I get the full gamut.)
There have been several times while playing around that I began a mock 'emergency' stop on a snowy road. As the abs were pumping away and I was slowing down every so slightly (but under great control) I bumped the key to the start position momentarily which resets the abs system in the vehicle I was driving. I was able to stop much more quickly without the abs system. It was abrupt and I had to actually oscillate my foot pressure on the brake pedal to maintain control.
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