Honda Element Owners Club banner

1 - 20 of 82 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
As I understand it, the AWD system is totally automatic allowing no imput from the driver, unless he intentionally spins the front wheels which would engage the rears for the duration of the spin. Could one fool the system in some fashion so the AWD could be manually engaged at will?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
126 Posts
The Honda AWD system uses a limited slip clutch to engage the rear wheels. Basically, when the front wheels slip, but the rears do not, a pressure difference builds in the transfer case fluid. This pressure difference causes the clutch plate to move, and engage the gear for the rear wheels. The greater the pressure the more power is transfered to the back wheels. It is the same principle as a normal floor clutch pedal. As you release the pedal, you are causing the clutch plate to slowly engage the gears in the transmission. The only difference is fluid is doing the work of your left foot in the AWD system. There is no way to engage the rear wheels whithout the pressure difference, so the modification to get this process to work at will would be expensive, and extensive. You'd pretty much have to replace every drivetrain part. Sorry.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Sometimes when driving off-road it would be a BIG help if the 4WD was engaged BEFORE any of the wheels start to slip. Is there a conversion or any other way to turn on the 4WD for off-roading?

Jennifer
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
539 Posts
Re: full-time 4WD for off-road driving?

The 4WD system is set up to engage through a hydraulic clutch when the front wheels start to slip. Without completely changing the way the front and rear are connected, I suspect that you cannot make this system work in full-time 4WD.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,263 Posts
Re: full-time 4WD for off-road driving?

There is no way of directly activating the AWD; there are no wires or computer to trick. It's the spin of the front wheels that actually engages the clutch that sends power to the rear wheels.

Could you describe some of the situations where you think the Element would perform better if it had this 'full-time 4wd'? How do you manipulate the power, brakes and gearing to over come this 'deficiency'? Assuming, of course, that you are talking from experience.

paulj
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Re: full-time 4WD for off-road driving?

I live in the Yukon in northern Canada. I've always driven (old) Jeep and Ford 4x4s. Generally I'm pretty pleased with the Element. However, going up a steep hill with lots of big boulders to climb over I want to go real slow. With an old-fashioned 4x4 with the hubs locked in, I've got all 4 wheels pulling all the time. The problem ... and I admit I was testing my new Element to see how serious a 4x4 it was ... was that the front wheels had to start spinning before the rear wheels would help out. With enough gas to make this happen, I'm suddenly going lots faster than I want to. My Element is an automatic, but I don't think it would be better to have a manual transmission.

Something similar happens in snow (which we have for many months out of the year in this country). Spinning the tires just creates ice.

To get max use of 4x4 it is definitely better to have power to all 4 wheels. However, I admit this is only rarely needed.

I'm sorry my Element won't carry me to all the same places my old Jeeps and Fords would go ... but otherwise, I love my Element!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,263 Posts
Re: full-time 4WD for off-road driving?

To go real slow over rocks you also need a low range (normally implemented in the transfer case), drive components that can handle the higher torque, and good ground clearance. Good articulation (suspension travel) also helps to keep the wheels in contact with the ground.

Lacking those things, it is hard to say whether locking in 4wd (driving the rear wheels at the same rpm as the front) would make much difference on rocky surfaces. It might be argued that driving all wheels will distribute the torque equally all around (strickly speaking only an open differential distributes torque equally), and reduce the chance of any one wheel spinning. But I suspect the border line between spinning a wheel while in 2wd and while in 4wd is narrow.

If it is not too steep, the automatic transmission allows me to crawl over rough spots (such as waterbars on decommissioned forest service roads). But for steeper stretches I need more power (not just more traction), and that means rpms in the 4000 range, which translates to ground speeds more like 10 or 20 mph. The manual is geared a bit lower, but does not have the torque multiplier, and requires feathering the clutch at low speeds.

In snow I think your best friend (besides proper tires) is 2nd gear. To avoid spinning (or either front or rear wheels) you want just enough torque to get you moving; too much breaks the wheels loose. The Element's automatic transmission does not downshift to 1st when in '2', limiting the torque you put on the ground.

paulj
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Re: full-time 4WD for off-road driving?

Thanks for your replies, Paul. Like most people with 4x4s, I don't go off road all that much. But it's always good to know the limits of what your vehicle can do. Thanks again.

BTW, in the winter the mileage really drops off. I suspect the 4x4 clutch might be engaging more because of the effect of the cold (-20 and colder)
temperatures on the fluid.

Jennifer
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,733 Posts
Re: full-time 4WD for off-road driving?

jenalms said:
...BTW, in the winter the mileage really drops off. ...
Yeah, its quite a drop isn't it? Some of this is related to the winter formulation gas however as my other vehicle (an "economy " car) also experiences a drop in mileage in the winter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Real Time AWD

I have a 2005, and wondered if the new models had a light that came on when the rear wheels kick in. I drove a 2006 Ridgeline and it does, just curious. Thanks!
 

·
Moderator Eh?
Joined
·
12,102 Posts
mboston said:
I have a 2005, and wondered if the new models had a light that came on when the rear wheels kick in. I drove a 2006 Ridgeline and it does, just curious. Thanks!
Is it possible the light you seen come on was for the VSA or VTM lock?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts
1fastvx said:
Elements are 4WD not AWD and no there are no lights for the 4WD activation in any of the E's so far.

John
Perhaps if you had used the search function thoroughly you would find varying information on drive-wheel terminology. To wit:


Recently some new "automatic" AWD systems have emerged. Fancy names like "Real Time 4WD", "intelligent AWD" or "active AWD" are hiding the fact that they are essentially sophisticated 2WD systems. Automatic asymmetric AWD would be the best term for them. Unfortunately, since they offer AWD only part of the time, some magazines have now called it "part time 4WD" - but that term has been used since WW II for cars like the Willys and Jeep Wrangler and their part time 4WD - the name coming from the fact that 4WD can only be used part of the time (when off-road), most of the time they have to operate in 2WD (on-road). Automatic asymmetric AWD is much less capable in off-road settings than full time AWD systems and inferior to full time 4WD. However, automatic asymmetrical AWD is becoming more and more sophisticated and offers pretty much everything consumers expect for everyday (pavement) driving
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,645 Posts
buckeye96 said:
The only car company that has "true" AWD is subaru.
and Audi, Peugeot, BMW, Nissan, Toyota, Suzuki, Porsche, VW, Lamborgini, Mitsubishi, and probably a bunch of others. :wink:

I also omited GMC's excellent performace type AWD system used on some versions of the Sierra P/U....'cause you said "car company."

BTW...one of the reasons we have a Subaru is because of it's wonderfull AWD system. :)

Will
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
559 Posts
Some random web site calls it automatic asymmetrical AWD so we should take that as fact? Since Honda makes the vehicle and calls it 4WD I'll keep calling it that. While it is true it is not a conventonal 4WD system it is in no way an AWD system. Honda's 4WD works in only very narrowly defind situations and only works for very short periods of time unlike AWD which by defination works all of the time. It should be called automatic asymmetrical 4WD... so there, it's on a web site so it must be true :wink:
 

·
EOC Rank: Crankypants
Joined
·
14,898 Posts
There have been so many 4WD/AWD systems over the years that two broad categories don't begin to cover it. Imagine if we tried to describe all gasoline engines, regardless of the number of cylinders, cooling method, induction type, valve arrangement, etc., as either Type A or Type B. It just doesn't bear fighting over.

I remember the first time I heard someone say "It's not four wheel drive, it's all wheel drive." Oh, does that mean there are more than four wheels?
 

·
Moderator Eh?
Joined
·
12,102 Posts
HobbyTalk said:
, it's on a web site so it must be true :wink:

I have lost count of how many times some one has called me at work and said I read it on the internet ....so it must be true.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
242 Posts
how to disable real time 4wd system?

Does anyone know of a way to disable the 4wd system so the drivetrain will be in neutral? Since its computer controlled, could there be a plug/wiring harness that I can unplug?
 
1 - 20 of 82 Posts
Top