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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Man, I love this club. Someone always has an answer to ANY question. I've searched for a definitive answer until my eyes are dry and blurry but I'm still not sure. On the 2007 Element EX AWD - is this a viscous differential, a viscous differential with hydraulics, or something else? Oh please help me understand this. I hate the idea that I have to buy 4 new tires when at least 2 are still good. (I pick up a lot of nails so this could be a huge expense.) And can I buy Kumho Solus 21 for one axle and leave the OEM Goodyear Wranglers on the back? Different tire stores and mechanics have differing opinions. Online, I have seen that the E is supposed to be an old style viscous but that Honda uses hydraulics in the CR-V. Kinda hard to get a definitive answer. I need to buy pronto as one tire is now BALD and has a side to side cut - not deep but runs a half inch across. I just don't feel safe. Can you help? Thanks so much!
 

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the system is hydro-mechanical. it's all internal, so you can't get at it.
simplistically, there's a pump from the front that tries to close a clutch between the propellor shaft and the rear differential, and a pump from the rear that tries to open the clutch. if the front wheels are spinning faster, the clutch is closed (connected) and the rear wheels are brought up to speed. as soon as they get up to speed the clutch starts to open (disconnect) again. the clutch is not intended for long term use, so there are sensors for overheating, pump pressure, etc.
if you install rear tires that are larger than the fronts, the system will try to engage the rear diff to bring them up to speed. since the rear tires are larger, they'll never get up to speed, unless they're on something slippery. meanwhile, the clutch and pumps are getting all worked up and probably go into overheating timeout. and then the cycle repeats itself, 'til the clutches and the pump fluid are worn and need to be replaced. clutche$$$, fluid is inexpensive.
this explanation is simplified but i hope it makes the point. the system works in reverse, also.
bottom line: same size tires all around are necessary, unless you like replacing rear wheel drive system.
 

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Like said its best to get rid of those Badyears and get all the same tires. Keep the others for spares or swings. There are some threads one here showing how the rear differential works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks but still confused....

I would use the stock size but different brand on 2 tires until the old ones wear out. (New ones on front.) That leaves a difference in amount of tread and tread pattern. Would that still be too different and wreck the differential? I appreciate the earlier reply, but you were talking in car-ese, a dialect which I do not speak well. But your answer gave me more to look up online. Thanks! Hope you will get back to me on the question above.....
 

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AS long as your tire store can promise that all 4 tires are the same diameter and you avoid slippery things like snow, etc, it'll probably be OK.

A couple ideas? If your tire store sells road hazard insurance, it might be a good idea. Discount tire is very good on this.

Unless I'm mistaken, the CR-V and the Element have the exact same system. If they told you the two were different, try to find a better place to get your work done.
 
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