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Old 01-29-2009, 10:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Power Loss in Moderate Snow on Driveway

I was all excited to try out my new SX4 Crossover AWD in a 8-9 inch snowstorm last night. My driveway is straight and about 700 feet long and the middle 300 ft has a 40-50 foot rise. In winter, all of my previous vehicles either made it up the hill or not. The "failure mode" in each was the tires would spin and the engine rev high rpms. Sometimes we could make it up the whole way with the tires spinning and the engine revvinat 5000+.

Last night, I put the new SX4 to the test. I pulled in the driveway switch the AWD to lock and gunned it up the hill. Well, I only made it 1/2 of the way up... the car did not stop because the wheels were spinning with no progeess, but the engine dogged right down to a complete loss of power. It took me three runs to make it up. Truthfully, I think the forenza wagon I traded in would have done better. What's up? This is the convienience model, so there is no traction control.

The car has failed the one test that was the reason I bought a 4wd car and sacrificed a little gas mileage.
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Snow Power Loss

I was just thinking, could it be the big pack boots I was wearing was depressing the brake as well as the accelerator? Don't know how I could have been able to tell on an automatic. My manual transmissions would have started bucking.
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Old 01-30-2009, 08:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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its possible youre "feet" were hitting both pedals. it happens sometimes.

another idea is since there was 8-9 inches, its possible that the car started getting too much snow packed under it, under the frame and body, and slowed it down. i spent an hour and a half trying to get my car out of a block of cie driveway yesterday and noticed that even in AWD auto or lock modes, only two tires will spin at any given time if its stuck. one front and one rear. remember, its an AWD car, not a true 4x4 truck. so not every wheel spins all the time, at the same time.
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Old 01-30-2009, 09:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I checked last night with the same boots on. I don't think unknoingly hitting the brake was it. I repeated the process on the now clear (hardpack) driveway. I switched to locked all wheel and headed up the hill. I slowed down about halfway up and noticed very little throttle response, felt like I was lacking power. I'm sure that having to push a little snow and "break trail" might be enough to overcome what little power the car was putting out and give me the results I experienced two days ago in the snow.

Does the transmission not downshift in locked AWD? I just can't figure this out.
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Old 02-01-2009, 06:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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How fast are you going. The transmission is probably still in first gear - therefore has nothing to shift down into.

How many miles do you have - and what kind of tires?
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Old 02-02-2009, 08:14 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Probably had gotten up to 10 or 15 mph. I had new factory tires on it.
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Old 02-02-2009, 08:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Just put a set of General snow with rims on my SX-4 Crossover and drove in about 10 inchs of snow, felt a little power lose but onno real issue. The snow was also heavy due to some weathery mix. I cannot be happier with the car, its no V-8 remember.
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Old 02-02-2009, 09:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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This sure sounds like traction control behavior. "The engine dogged down to a complete loss of power" really sounds like the computer was cutting power.

You're sure this car doesn't have traction control? Many traction control systems reduce power or apply the brakes, just as you describe the symptoms.

Also with about 6+" of ground clearance and 9-10" of snow, there is a limit to how much snow you can push. You have a 50 foot rise over about 300 feet? That's steep.

This is a small car, not a snow plow. The laws of physics still apply.

Last edited by LAMRONH; 02-02-2009 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 02-03-2009, 08:12 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for the responses. I think the problem was that because I am used to keeping a light foot on the accelerator to avoid losing traction on slippery surfaces, the transmission did not downshift effectively. The fact that it bogged down without downshifting on it's own mistifies me. I'm just not used to really kicking the accelerator in such situations. Next time I will shift down to low and leave it there. I wonder what mph corresponds to a redline in L?
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:59 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Somewhere not far there is a table of MPH/1000 RPM for each gear.
Do a search.
Or look up a Car and Driver road test, they publish those numbers in complete road tests or comparos.

You can also run it up to 2000 in whatever gear you're interested in, divide the MPH by two, and that is your MPH per 1000 RPM.

Multiply by red line or auto shift point, probably around 6000. Drop three zeros. =MPH/1000 RPM for that gear.
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