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AWD vrs 4WD

Discussion in 'General Chevy & GM Tech Questions' started by ericz, Mar 7, 2010.

  1. ericz

    ericz New Member

    Rust has taken its toll on my 96 Suburban. I am looking at an 03 Yukon XL Denali.
    How does the AWD system compare to the 4WD system?
    Specifically, how does it perform in the sand?


    Thanks in advance.
  2. hbfsbull

    hbfsbull New Member

    I had a awd bravada it was a very good daily driver and did pretty good offroad i personally like being able to select what range im in though
  3. MrShorty

    MrShorty Moderator Staff Member 1000 Posts

    I'm not familiar with the '03 system specifically, but it seems that most "AWD" systems are not at all user selectable and don't have a selectable low range. I don't know how important low range is to you, but I've found that there are a lot of offroad situations where I like to have the increased torque/decreased speed to get through.

    From what I understand, the AWD system operates similar to the way my NP246 operates in the 4Auto setting. It requires the rears to spin before it will engage the front. Once the front engages, it will "back off" the front until the rears slip again. When I first got my '98, I compared the 4A and 4H settings in some deep powdered snow (I know it's not sand, but it illustrates what I'm going to say). Because the rears had to keep spinning to keep the front engaged, I had less control/less success at navigating the snow than in 4H. From what I know of driving in sand, one of the keys is to avoid spinning so you don't "dig" into the sand. If you stay on top of sand, you'll do fine, but once the wheels start digging, you'll get stuck. Because the AWD system waits for the rears spinning before it engages the front, I would think it would be less capable in the sand than a lockable transfer case, because you'd be more likely to dig into the sand.

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