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I have had my 6MT for a couple of weeks now. I got it specifically for the all time 4wd feature. My impression initially is that it stuck extremely well on dirt roads and pavement in corners. Yesterday we had a nasty snow and ice storm, and I drove 4 hours through it, which gave me a lot of time to test out the full time 4wd feature. The tires aren't the best on it, and one front is only 3 mm from the wear bars, with the other 3 comfortably above 70% tread for fair perspective.

Driving through the ice, snow, and slush I found the full time 4wd to be seriously lacking compared to shifting the transfer case into 50/50 lock. Frankly, it was all over the place on the highway and I had trouble with lane changes in town at 25-35 mph in the regular full time 4wd. When I shifted the transfer case to 50/50 lock, it became a lot more stable and lane changes were no longer a white knuckle affair. I did this in the city after driving a few miles at 35 mph, and then easily made the lane changes and turns I needed to.

I figured when purchasing it that the full time 4wd would be sufficient for all on road conditions, but this isn't the case. Perhaps with newer tires, but there was a marked improvement in control with the transfer case locked in the 50/50 split between the wheels. WHat I noticed a lot at highway speeds in the regular full time 4wd mode was hitting a patch of slush on one side and the FJ would jerk to one side.

I'm new to this vehicle. Given my experience, I'm not sure the 6MT's full time 4wd gives much of a benefit over the 4wd automatic in winter on road conditions...
 

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I don't really like to drive mine in regular 4 wheel drive because the ABS is a handful. The ABS like you mentioned causes some jerky motions. I disconect the ABS at the Master always in the dirt. I really only plug it back in for city driving and pulling something.
 

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In full time 4wd there is torque bias depending on the condition, it's a Torsen (TORque SENsing) limited slip, the 40:60 split is just the nominal ratio, it can vary from 53:47 to 30:70.

Your one bad tire could very well be affecting the drivability while not locked.
 
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I found my 6MT to have better traction when compared to my 2wd drive 4runner with same tires (BFG KO2). Especially in city/around town with snow. I also found it to be suitable for highway driving in light to moderate snow. I usually switched to 50/50 on the highway or if conditions worsened, however, just to be safe and sometimes just for the opportunity to use the transfer case.
 

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With snow tires I find my MT FJ is pretty much unstoppable, and stable as can be in harsh winter conditions. Have not yet seen a need to lock the center diff and use 50/50 in those cases.

My first thought would be that your tires are worn far too slippery to make an accurate judgment about it yet.
 

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As has been said the tire could be a big contributor to your experience, especially that it is a front one! Being from Montana, I would assume you should know that by now ;)

As for having to place it in HL (50/50) vs HH (TORque SENsing limited slip), the owner manual does state that you should be in HL when driving on snow. So, I don't see how you could hold it against her. I lived in Boston with a 6MT for 3 winters and would keep it on HH until I start feeling some sliping then I would switch to HL, never had a problem.

I strongly recommend you get a hot beverage of your choosing and grab the owner's manual over the weekend and go through it, it might take 3-4 hours but it will answer a lot of questions
:devilish:
 

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Your one nearly-worn-out front tire, with significantly less tread depth then the other three, makes assessing traction and handling on snow or ice completely impossible.

Is the severely worn tire even the same model and tread pattern as the other three?

Is the wear pattern perfectly uniform across the tread width?

How about tire age? Is the worn tire more than 10 years old? Even with 3mm of tread left, tires age harden, and traction degrades.

Go get 4 (or preferably 5) new high-quality M+S rated tires and report back after the tires have 200+ miles of pavement use on them.

Obviously getting a second set of wheels mounted with dedicated snow tires is the best option for winter traction, but your budget will drive the $$ vs traction/safety decision.
 

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In full time 4wd there is torque bias depending on the condition, it's a Torsen (TORque SENsing) limited slip, the 40:60 split is just the nominal ratio, it can vary from 53:47 to 30:70.

Your one bad tire could very well be affecting the drivability while not locked.
So isn’t this describing an AWD system? It seems a bit disingenuous/misplaced to call it an all time 4WD system? Full disclosure: I’m a know-nothing AT driver with RWD.
 

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So isn’t this describing an AWD system? It seems a bit disingenuous/misplaced to call it an all time 4WD system? Full disclosure: I’m a know-nothing AT driver with RWD.
There are so many different definitions and functional characteristics of different types of AWD systems that the distinction has become blurred.

Full-time or part-time AWD?

Typically, earlier AWD systems were fundamentally FWD drivelines that have been modified with the ability to send some power to the rear wheels via a viscous coupling of some kind.

Some of the later technology is described here, including the Torsen differential, and the ECMD and Haldex couplings, as well as brief descriptions of the AWD systems used by BMW and Mercedes.

Types of four-wheel drive (4WD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) systems – x-engineer.org
 

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Compared to my XTerra in 2WD, my 4Runner in 2WD, my 5th Gen US Hilux in 2WD, and my wife’s Acura RDX with the Non SHAWD,
I find my full time AWD FJ to be superior in adverse road conditions.

with the XTerra, 4Runner, and HiLux in 4H, they are just like my FJ in 4H. But in conditions that are bad but allowed for driving over 40MPH or so, the full time AWD in the FJ is a better option.

The full time AWD in my Grand Cherokee, wife’s SHAWD RDX, or her old SHAWD MDX, seems to have the edge on the FJ though. But the GC is the only one of the three with a true 4H and true low 4WD.

Essentially, in conditions where you could be driving at or near regular speeds, the FJ and other full time 4WD / AWD vehicles, beat the hell out of 2WD or non SHAWD AWD Acuras.

For lower speed adverse conditions, depending on what they are, 4H might be a better option.
 

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Don't know enough about those other vehicles to know if your comparison is to them in RWD or to them in 4WD (open center), or in 4WD (locked center), or which ones of them only have viscous center diffs (AWD).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Your one nearly-worn-out front tire, with significantly less tread depth then the other three, makes assessing traction and handling on snow or ice completely impossible.

Is the severely worn tire even the same model and tread pattern as the other three?

Is the wear pattern perfectly uniform across the tread width?

How about tire age? Is the worn tire more than 10 years old? Even with 3mm of tread left, tires age harden, and traction degrades.

Go get 4 (or preferably 5) new high-quality M+S rated tires and report back after the tires have 200+ miles of pavement use on them.

Obviously getting a second set of wheels mounted with dedicated snow tires is the best option for winter traction, but your budget will drive the $$ vs traction/safety decision.
Thanks, but I think you missed what I was trying to communicate, I guess I didn't write it up very well. My issue was the stark difference, regardless of the tires, in performance between HH and HL on the roads I was driving. The HH was not comparable to HL, and I found that disappointing as I drive higher speed highways that require 4wd to keep your speed up. To be fair, I also have a SHAWD acura as the poster below mentions, and it's grip in slick and snowy highway conditions is what I was expecting with the FJ.

For the record, the tires are all less than 5 years old and of the same make. The front that is more worn is not at 3 mm, but about 3mm above the wear bars. It's an M&S tire that's worn but still serviceable and has uniform wear.

Compared to my XTerra in 2WD, my 4Runner in 2WD, my 5th Gen US Hilux in 2WD, and my wife’s Acura RDX with the Non SHAWD,I find my full time AWD FJ to be superior in adverse road conditions.

with the XTerra, 4Runner, and HiLux in 4H, they are just like my FJ in 4H. But in conditions that are bad but allowed for driving over 40MPH or so, the full time AWD in the FJ is a better option.

The full time AWD in my Grand Cherokee, wife’s SHAWD RDX, or her old SHAWD MDX, seems to have the edge on the FJ though. But the GC is the only one of the three with a true 4H and true low 4WD.

Essentially, in conditions where you could be driving at or near regular speeds, the FJ and other full time 4WD / AWD vehicles, beat the hell out of 2WD or non SHAWD AWD Acuras.

For lower speed adverse conditions, depending on what they are, 4H might be a better option.
This is great info, thank you. I have an acura SH-AWD that's great in snow. I've currently got an FJ problem in that I bought a TT that's auto, and while I was waiting for it I stumbled on a deal on a manual which I jumped on, which is what I was driving in the storm. Now I've got to make a decision, and wintertime driving at high speeds will weigh heavily on my choice. I drive lots of highways between 60 and 80 mph speeds where they go from clear to crappy.
 

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I have the 6MT and have found it to be fantastic in snow, ice, mud, dirt, etc... I don't push it very hard on snow/ice and have never had to lock the transfer case of rear differential. It has always gotten me where I wanted to go and back out again. You said your tires are not the best? Perhaps that's a factor.
 
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Perhaps. I'm going to upgrade the tires and try it again over the next couple of weeks. I'm not sure what you mean about not pushing it too hard in the ice and snow. I'm talking about driving at highway speeds which other 4wheel drive vehicles and semis are driving.
 

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Perhaps. I'm going to upgrade the tires and try it again over the next couple of weeks. I'm not sure what you mean about not pushing it too hard in the ice and snow. I'm talking about driving at highway speeds which other 4wheel drive vehicles and semis are driving.
By not pushing it too hard, I mean no quick acceleration, deceleration, or direction changes. Nothing special, just normal slick condition driving techniques. With the 6MT all unlocked and in normal Full Time 4WD I've always felt like I had very positive footing when on snow or slick roads. Texas Ice Storm Ice can be a bit trickier. I've not had too much trouble getting power to all 4 wheels, and also decelerating using the engine and not brakes. However, on that crap sometimes it's like hot Crisco on a skating rink and normal highway speeds just aren't possible, or at least not for long before diving ass first into a ditch. I've driven the FJ with the 6MT in types of environments from the beach to high in the Rockies and seldom needed to lock anything up. Unless you are stuck and spinning having everything unlocked is better in my experience. The 6MY does make the gas mileage worse than the automatic since you're running power to all 4 wheels all the time
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I've driven the FJ with the 6MT in types of environments from the beach to high in the Rockies and seldom needed to lock anything up. Unless you are stuck and spinning having everything unlocked is better in my experience.
That was my expectation also, but in practice the cars footing drasticly improved when I shifted the transfer case into HL. Given the roads were really bad, it started out in a non freezing rain then it froze overnight and kept snowing to leave a slushy layer on top of the frozen ground, which bunched up in placed due to plows or traffic. But I was having problems turning even in town at low speeds until I shifted into HL. This wasn't just stopping or starting I was having issues with, but also making basic left hand turns at an intersection from dead stop.

New tires will of course improve this, which I'll try next, but I wanted to know if others had this experience too. I'm concluding my expectations are a bit high. This weekend I hope it snows good so I get to try out the automatic FJ with good tires and see how it performs against the 6MT with the current tires, that should also tell me more in a first hand experience.
 

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with an AT FJ and an MT FJ, both with their centers locked, should both handle exactly the same because locking the center diff on an MT FJ takes the Torsen center diff out of the equation
 

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with an AT FJ and an MT FJ, both with their centers locked, should both handle exactly the same because locking the center diff on an MT FJ takes the Torsen center diff out of the equation
Except for the MT having a clutch and the driver selecting which gear to be in.
 
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