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Discussion Starter #1
This weekend found me up in VA, just in time for 10 inches of snow in my 06 E MT w/ RT4WD. I had occasion to venture down a few unplowed streets as I got arouns to see family. One family members house is in a cul-de-sac at the bottom of a fairly steep hill. Of course no problem getting down there, coming back up the hill was a little more challenging.

I started off in 1st, began climbing the hill, as it started to spin, I shifted to 2nd, and began just churning through the snow. As front wheelspin increased, I could hear and feel the rear wheels kick in. Now I think all wheels are spinning, and engine speed is at about 3K on the tach.

Now it gets odd. Somewhere from the front, a "hammering" begins. Don't know how else to describe it, but it's a violent bam-bam-bam-bam that continues (throttle speed related) until the traction increases and the Element eases forward.

Is this normal? Is this the "intermittent torque distribution" I read about in another thread? That violent banging just doesn't seem healthy.
 

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Traction Control

Does your E have traction control? If you do, maybe it's the ABS working to keep the front wheels from spinning.
 

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3k on the tach? Why would you up shift and keep the wheels spinning that fast when you know all the wheels are spinning?:shock:
The violent hammering from the front end was the sound of intermittent traction at high rpm trying to make your poor little E self destruct I'm thinking.:-(
The best advise I have to offer is to keep the rpm down, try to start out in 2nd and as the engine lugs down give a little more throttle until you move forward or if you break traction ease off and lightly apply the brakes to stop the wheels from spinning, wheel spin is the enemy in snow.
If you still cannot get up the hill try it in reverse. The E is front heavy and with a 100/0 bias it is primarily front drive. So with the weight over the front wheels it will get better traction going uphill in reverse. I've done it in all sort of fwd cars much to the chagrin of buddies in 4wd trucks standing at the ready with recovery straps!

Now get out there and tear it up man! :grin:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Maybe it was intermittent traction, but I'm not sure. It was very slick, and a steep hill.

Guess I have some old habits to unlearn with the E. In my previous 4wd vehicles, I would just power through the snow in that situation. Now I see that I'm going to have to work with the rt4wd to get it engaged with a little wheelspin and then lighten up on the throttle to keep wheelspin down.
 

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Maybe it was intermittent traction, but I'm not sure. It was very slick, and a steep hill.

Guess I have some old habits to unlearn with the E. In my previous 4wd vehicles, I would just power through the snow in that situation. Now I see that I'm going to have to work with the rt4wd to get it engaged with a little wheelspin and then lighten up on the throttle to keep wheelspin down.
Yeah if you're coming from more substantial 4wd trucks the RT4WD takes a while to get used to. Try doing a pendulum corner on dirt, nothing like a truck or even a Subie, it takes practice. After a while you will enjoy scaring the poo out of your rear seat passengers when the E is cornering in snow like it's on rails!
Before I bought the E I had a 01' Civic LX coupe and a lifted 98' Wrangler on 33's. The Element for me was like fusing those two vehicles into one. The Jeep went through or over anything but cornered like an over loaded Uhaul truck and the Civic was a screamer but would get floundered in 3" of snow. After seven winters in the E I don't think I could see myself driving anything else when the weather is at it's worst.
 

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I have only had my E for 10 days, so haven't really tested this yet, but the bam bam bam sound does not sound normal to me. When the rear engages, you may feel it but it should be silent. I have had the VSC go off when testing and messing around, and can't remember if it even clicks like the ABS, but either should not sound like bam bam bam. So my guess is something wrong is going on.

I would tend to think you were climbing the hill the right way: put it in second and keep power to the wheels as you climb. You don't want to shift into 3rd until you need to, and 3000 RPMs shouldn't really be winding it out. Upshifting into a higher gear should reduce wheel slip, but puts a lot of stress on the engine, and you don't want to risk losing momentum on a steep climb on snow or ice. But it is a judgmental call as to what the best gear is for any particular hill.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hmmm, differing opinion there.

If I understand the research I've been doing for the last few hours, I should have kept it in 1st gear, induced a little front wheel spin to get the rear diff to engage, then eased the throttle to minimize wheel spin.

I just rolled 30K on the E, and I know some people have recommended changing the rear diff fluid earlier than the manual's 60K. I've read the write-up on how to do that, so I'll do that next weekend.

Also, tires may be part of my issue, I'm not exactly rolling on premium rubber. When I bought the E about a month ago, the dealer had just mounted Mesa A/P tires. Seems these are a low end tire produced by Cooper Tires. I was hoping they would be serviceable for a while, but I suspect after this weekend, their snow abilities are questionable at best. This may have led to more front wheelspin than desireable.
 

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Wow !1

I hate to say this. RTFM !!

Saying this just goes against everything I have tried to convey on this sight! For several years I have actively gone after EVERYONE that posts RTFM. Now I find myself eating Humble Pie .

Don't you people know that 2ed gear puts the Element in snow mode?

Read the Fu-K-n Manual !! IE : RTFM

Dom
 

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Also, tires may be part of my issue, I'm not exactly rolling on premium rubber. When I bought the E about a month ago, the dealer had just mounted Mesa A/P tires. Seems these are a low end tire produced by Cooper Tires.
Dealers will only put new rubber on a used car if they absolutely have to and when they do it is the cheapest possible. They might actually be decent tires but old stock too and the tread compound is getting to be less flexible.

The noise you described would definitely be cause for concern if it is not related to wheel hop. The RT4WD system should be silent and unnoticed when it engages and disengages. The most common issue is the low rear diff fluid grinding sound associated with tight turning under load.
Hope this helps.
 

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This sounds a bit like wheel hop to me. Was the front end vibrating? Maybe like the front wheels were jumping? This is when the front wheels alternate between obtaining and losing traction (especially at higher RPM's)

I've felt it a number of times while encountering snowy/rainy conditions in manual vehicles, particularly when I was trying to quickly accelerate from a stop or geting myself out of a snow pile. My best advice would be to immediately let off the accelerator and upshift to the next gear (1-2 or 2-3).

Wheel hop puts a tremendous amount of stress on the drive train, engine mounts, and transmission.
 

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Could it have been that the AWD kicked in and the front wheels were spinning while the rears had some traction and it was causing the system to bind up? I remember this happening in my jeep shortly after I got it. I was trying out the 4WD and was backing out of the driveway with the 4WD engaged (lay off I was a stupid kid). The whole car started bouncing as the wheels were all turning at different speeds and the system was binding up.

Could have been happening at 3k on the tach. thats a lot of spinning if some of the tires were gripping and others werent.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Wow !1

I hate to say this. RTFM !!

Saying this just goes against everything I have tried to convey on this sight! For several years I have actively gone after EVERYONE that posts RTFM. Now I find myself eating Humble Pie .

Don't you people know that 2ed gear puts the Element in snow mode?

Read the Fu-K-n Manual !! IE : RTFM

Dom
Hey Dom, the only thing in the manual about using the transmission in snow applies to AUTOMATIC transmissions. (page 145 in my 2006 manual) Quote: Use second gear for starting out on a slippery surface or in deep snow"

There is nothing in the manual about choosing the correct gear with a manual transmission, which is what I have. (and indicated in my original post) I don't think 2nd gear in an automatic translates equal to 2nd gear in a manual, so it doesn't apply here.

The more I've read, the more I think I was experiencing wheel hop, I've learned much about the E's RT4WD system today in my reading here on EOC, and I'll take a different approach next time I encounter those conditions.

Might also look into a better set of shoes for the E. I agree with Elementbryon in that these Mesa A/Ps are likely the cheapest tire the dealer could find, and are likely to perform as such.
 

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Harim6
That was not intended for you! It was aimed at the AT boys with no Idea that the 2ed gear has another function other than getting you from first to third gear.

With a standard transmission you can use the clutch to control the amount of power applied to the rear wheels. That's not the case with an automatic transmission. The use of second gear will help prevent/minimize the the conditions they were describing.

Dom
 

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