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This is a "what if" from a newbie in Montana. I'm loving my new '05, but it's entirely possible that I could end up in a snowy ditch someday. (Does that tell you how I drive?) According to the manual, I should turn the VDC off "if maximum power is needed to free a stuck vehicle." But that's if I'm on my own, right? What if someone has hooked up a tow line to me? Then should I turn off the VDC or leave it on? I'm not looking for maximum power in that case. Just enough steady low power to climb out of the hole...?
 

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SHIFT_FASTER
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You should still turn it off. If it is on, and there is any wheelspin (which is still likely if someone is towing you), the power will be cut, which wouldn't help you get out.

You should also lock AWD if you have it.

The first time I got stuck it took me ages to get out because I had just picked up the vehicle and didn't know to turn off VDC and turn on AWD lock.

Hmm, got stuck the first day I had the vehicle... does that say something about my driving? :2:
 

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This reminds me of another <related> point that I was going to bring up...

I got my MO stuck for a little while in a deep snowy/slushy/icy part of a parking lot because there were no parking spaces open and I decided to make my own. I plowed through just fine and parked, but when I came out I almost didn't get out of the snow. I had AWD locked and noticed that there didn't seem to be a true locking transaxle/differential -- it felt like one rear tire was spinning freely and one front tire was spinning freely, and I wasn't moving. I was a little disappointed in that.

I know some Toyotas have a button to lock the differential to prevent this exact thing from happening... I've seen more than a few 4WD/AWD vehicles of various make and models stuck with this same symptom.

I finally got the MO free after some careful rocking back and forth action... but I was little peeved at how it <didn't> performed.

Anybody here noticed this problem?
 

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special-k said:
This reminds me of another <related> point that I was going to bring up...

I got my MO stuck for a little while in a deep snowy/slushy/icy part of a parking lot because there were no parking spaces open and I decided to make my own. I plowed through just fine and parked, but when I came out I almost didn't get out of the snow. I had AWD locked and noticed that there didn't seem to be a true locking transaxle/differential -- it felt like one rear tire was spinning freely and one front tire was spinning freely, and I wasn't moving. I was a little disappointed in that.

I know some Toyotas have a button to lock the differential to prevent this exact thing from happening... I've seen more than a few 4WD/AWD vehicles of various make and models stuck with this same symptom.

I finally got the MO free after some careful rocking back and forth action... but I was little peeved at how it <didn't> performed.

Anybody here noticed this problem?

I wouldn't call it a problem. It is the nature of the Murano's open differential.
 

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Eric L. said:
I wouldn't call it a problem. It is the nature of the Murano's open differential.
True.. I shouldn't have used the word "problem"... more like "annoyance."

I realize that the MO wasn't designed for heavy off-road use, but when you have a 4WD or AWD vehicle and you get it stuck and it doesn't use all 4 wheels, it's annoying!

Seeing that I'm not a mechanic-type and I don't fully understand how an open differential works, would someone mind giving me a brief explanation? Are we only ever getting power from 1 front wheel? And 1 rear when AWD is active?
 

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Well for the rear axle, power will go the wheel of least resistance since there is no limited slip or traction control device for those wheels (i.e. wheel that is stuck, will stay stuck, other free wheel, will not spin).

For the front wheels, there is a traction control and brake limited slip differential system which I would think would help traction up front, since a minimum 50% of the engine power must be to the front at all times. However, we know for a fact now that if you have one wheel on each axle with no traction, ur stuck in the MO.
 

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This concern about an open diff seems to have gone on for a while. Recently I was on some country roads that were a bit hilly and sheer ice. So my Murano with it's open diffs passed 4x4's, cars including AWD cars, pickup trucks, you name it, with drivers that decided they didn't want to slide off the road.

Literally I passed about 30 vehicles with drivers that believed they were stuck. In normal mode, the Murano would slide on the ice too, but with the AWD locked in, I drove up ice covered hills that other vechicles could not make.

I saw half a dozen vehicles that slid off the road into ditches.

So while a limited slip diff would make a difference, so would investing in driving lessons, such as skid school. And that's something that you will take with you from vehicle to vehicle.

With open diff's, while everyone esle (literally, no one else was going anywhere) was stuck, jaak in his Murano was driving by them at a blistering 5 mph.

Limited slip would have made a difference for me when I going up that off camber corner hill without the AWD switch on, but I strongly suspect my driving skills as a result of training and practicing made a lot more difference.

Controlling your right foot makes a big difference too.

Now the one place I wish I had it, was going down one hill, as I tried using the shoulder and the CVT with the engine to help slow me down. I quickly realised that didn't work so well with open diffs and switched to gentle braking.

I must admit, while I like things like VDC, ABS, AWD, it sometimes seems like people feel they don't need to focus on driver skills with all these letters installed in the vehicle. Go to skid school. It's fun and could save your life.
 

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Nice post and good advice.

Lately I've found myself out "practicing" my winter driving skills every time the roads are slippery. I've gotten much better at controlling the vehicle when it's slippery.
 

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Jaak nice post... Knowing about the open diff on the MO I would have gotten FWD drive model but now reading your post I'm interested. Can you explain why the open Diffs helped on shear ice while other AWD cars were unable?

Also if the MO decides to go into 4WD automatically how long does it stay in 4WD? Just until the slippage stops?

I was dring the other day in the snow and really didn't know if I should turn on the lock or just let the MO take care of it.
 

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Look a this print screen from european murano specification. I think when one of the wheels is spinig ESP+ brakes it and power goes to other. Also i think the same system is in US Muranos with Dynamic Pkg added. because VSC=ESP (but i am not sure it's ESP+). So if it's true and you are in snow ditch you should keep VSC and LOCK AWD ON.
 

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teonek said:
Look a this print screen from european murano specification. I think when one of the wheels is spinig ESP+ brakes it and power goes to other. Also i think the same system is in US Muranos with Dynamic Pkg added. because VSC=ESP (but i am not sure it's ESP+). So if it's true and you are in snow ditch you should keep VSC and LOCK AWD ON.

Can you post some more specs for Euro Murano?
 

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Gonzo - I think Jaak is saying knowing your vehicles capabilities and driving accordingly(driving skill) is as important as the actual mechanical abilities of a vehicle...some drivers panic in slippery conditions and drive way under their vehicles capabilities....some drivers are overly aggressive and end up in the ditch...an AWD vehicle with LSD's will outperform an open diff vehicle big time in slippery conditions, assuming the driving skill is equal...
 

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The Euro spec Murano refers to "final drive - viscous limited slip" and ESP+ - active brake Limited Slip Differential(LSD)...is this just different terminology or is a "posi-trac" type diff now available?...interesting....
 

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Is that Viscous or vicious? :2:
 

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senza said:
Gonzo - I think Jaak is saying knowing your vehicles capabilities and driving accordingly(driving skill) is as important as the actual mechanical abilities of a vehicle...some drivers panic in slippery conditions and drive way under their vehicles capabilities....some drivers are overly aggressive and end up in the ditch...an AWD vehicle with LSD's will outperform an open diff vehicle big time in slippery conditions, assuming the driving skill is equal...
Ah thanks.... I fingured that previously... I new a guy that would drive a Mustang GT without chains to the ski mountain in VT... full of snow and switchbacks.... amazing.
 
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