Question about 2003 Saturn VUE

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The all wheel drive doesnt work only the front tires spin in the snow

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  • Anonymous Mar 23, 2014

    I've been left stranded in snow, rain and mud. The front tires spin a lot...the back tires do not. What is the problem?

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  • Saturn Master
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The 08 Vues AWD system is very different than from previous models. The new Vues system is more like the technology on the Outlook. I' don't know detail on the hardware, but from a function standpoint there are two big differences:

1)The system is PREDICTIVE, not reactive. It does not wait for wheel-slip to make it engage. The system monitors throttle position, steering angle ect. and re-directs torque before wheel spin occurs.

2) The old system sent extra torque to the wheels that were slipping to boost traction. The new system sends power to the wheels that are gripping.

The result is a better, smoother system that will do a better job of keeping the Vue from getting stuck.

The old system was a single gerotor type AWD system. Essentially, a gerotor AWD system uses differences in rotating speed to spin a pump and apply pressure to clutchs. The single gerotor system used in the Vue essentially engaged and disengaged the rear axle when a differences in rotating speed occurred between the drive shaft and rear differential (indicating the front wheels were spinning faster the rears). From here on out, power goes into an open differential and was distributed accordingly (i.e. not very well).

GM also uses a twin gerotor system in the form of Versatrak. This operation in much the same manner, using a difference in rotating speed to spin up a pump and apply pressure to clutches, except the Versatrak system has a pump for each output axle. This allows the rear differential to act of each rear axle much in the way a limited slip differential does, better managing torque distribution.

The new system used in the Vue (as well as the Outlook, Acadia, and Enclave) is controlled by a microprocessor and operates by means of an electromagnetic clutch. It is very similar to the Haldex system marketed by Haldex Traction AB. The main difference being that Haldex still uses hydraulic pressure to apply the clutches, while the electromagnetic system used by GM (which I believe is developed by Borg Warner) uses electromagnetic force to apply the clutches. The operating principles are the same though. The new GM system is well integrated with stability control, traction control, and ABS. The system actively monitors vehicle dynamics and driver input to determine when to being engaging AWD before it is actually needed. With the ability to manipulate power delivery using AWD and stability control (by selectively applying brakes at each individual corner), the new Vue is very robust in terms of torque management. For all you folks in the snow belt, it should be dynamite in slippery conditions!

Hope this helps answer your question. Good luck and be safe on the snow.

Posted on Dec 12, 2009

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What would make my 2006 Subaru forester, witch we all know is AWD, only have front wheel drive? I noticed it when the tires were spinning on the snow & ice. Only the front tires were spinning.


all wheel drive is not 4 wheel drive
there is a diff in the transmission that supplies power equally to the front and read wheels
when traction is lost on a drive set , the other set will remain stationary and the set without traction will spin as in your description
the same result will occur if you have both driver side wheels in a bog, the passenger wheels will be stationary and the drivers side wheels will spin
on some AWD vehicles and I thing yours has one there is a button that can be engaged that stops the transmission diff from acting like a diff and then the rear wheels will drive
read you owners hand book for driving in bad conditions

Mar 02, 2017 | Subaru Cars & Trucks

Tip

Winter driving tips.


WINTER TIRES
As a mechanic and a shop owner I get to try out various types of vehicles during test drives. So we get to try out different types of tires too. We learn what works well and what doesn't.
Don't kid yourself, all season tires don't come close to a quality winter tire on ice and snow. And when you add studs to a winter tire it makes them incredibly good. I hope they allow studded tires where you drive.
All season tires work well when they can contact the road surface directly, but when isolated from the road by ice and snow they just don't work. The compound of the tire is generally harder to resist summer heat that wears tires out and with the colder temperatures they just get stiffer.
The winter tire compound is a little softer which allows a better contact patch with whatever is under it and the larger tread gaps pinch the snow to gain traction.
Another big misconception with tires is putting them on the drive wheels only.
OK, why not you ask? Well lets start with one of the most common vehicles on the road today, a family sedan, front wheel drive.
On these cars your engine and transmission is front mounted, so a good part of the weight is front biased. So that puts lots of weight on your front wheels. Weight =traction, right? So you put your winter tires on the front and your already used all seasons on the back.
Imagine now cruising down the freeway in 4 inches of fresh snow, "man these winter tires are awesome !" But you need to brake in a hurry for a deer coming out. Well those fresh winters do their job OK but the lightweight back end of your car hasn't the traction to handle the maneuver, the back end is sliding around sideways...hang on to it!!!
Well you get the picture now. You need all 4.

DONT SPIN YOUR TIRES

How many times do you see it each slippery day? You know, the drivers wheels howling for mercy as they attempt to accelerate.
Many vehicles today are equipped with traction control, there is a good reason for this accessory to your vehicle. If you can accelerate without spinning you will get moving faster than someone who is, and under more control too. A spinning tire will often create a hot spot under itself, melt the ice or snow and make it even more slippery. You even run the risk of getting yourself stuck in the rut you create.
A spinning tire also will go sideways easier, as it loses traction it also loses some direction.
Granpa said to me sometimes...slow down and go faster ...I now have seen the truth in it.

on Dec 05, 2009 | Chevrolet Impala Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

When my car is stuck in the snow and doesnt seem to get traction only one wheel spins and not the other and its front wheel drive wouldnt both spin?


No, even a 4x4 will have only 1 wheel that will spin on each axle in this instance. It's called a floating differential. For stock vehicles with non locking differentials like you have, both cannot spin or have full power at the same time. Hard to explain on this, but picture your car making a hard right turn. Both front wheels would be spinning at different speeds because of the turn. The passenger side tire is spinning much slower than the drivers side tire, therefore if both were spinning at the same time, your tires would chirp and skip on the pavement which would eventually ruin your differential. In offroad applications, we WANT the differentials locked and turning at the same time with true 4x4. But in normal everyday vehicles, even standard stock 4x4's, only 1 tire will do the spinning per axle unless it has possitraction or full locked axle. Clear as snow?

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1 Answer

I'm stuck in the snow and I have front wheel drive. I'm in drive and my left side tire doesn't turn but my right one does is it broken


Not necessarily. That is the normal operation of the differential. If the Left tire is on dry pavement and/or getting good traction and the right tire is on snow and ice, the right tire will spin and the left tire will just sit there. If you can get something under the right tire (a board, large piece of cardboard, sand, salt.etc.) both tires will drive to get you out of the snow.

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Hi there , in order for your 4 wheel to work you have to drive a couple feet for everything to lock. If you are already stuck and you put it into 4 wheel, it won't engage. hope this helps you out

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I have the same car. Mine is automatic. What is yours?

Possible scenarios:

1/ Is the FWD on the dash panel lit up? This will tell you that only the front wheels are engaged without power to the rear wheels. The manual tells you if you have a flat tire in your car, you have to make it into a FWD by inserting a fuse in your fuse box. Check and see if the circuitry isn't shorting out your awd which is making it fwd.

2/ Because the car has open diffs in the front and rear axles, you (or your friend) might see only the front wheels spinning and not the rear wheels. The power is transfered to the wheel with lowest resistance. With the front wheel spinning, one of the rear wheel(s) should also spin. Might not be a solution but maybe you can't see the rear spinning wheel because it's spinning on the other side.

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