: why fwd?!



VlaDeMaN
02-25-03, 04:30 PM
:confused:

HotRodSaint
02-25-03, 05:38 PM
Originally posted by VlaDeMaN
:confused:

Many years ago, the Empire seemed doomed to being over taken by foreign invaders. The emperor looked around and saw that these invaders were not like them. They used other ways of going forward. Since the empire was threatened by these superior beings, they decided to become like them. They became pullers, instead of pushers. Even those who were once the highest and greatest amongst them, became simple pullers.

But alas, there was another empire that also flourished in the snowy regions of the north. This empire was far superior to all the others. There was no inferiority amongst them. They continued to push. Some even became trained to pull and push. These were deemed to be amongst the most worthy of their society.

But their once loyal followers started to doubt them. "Didn't you tell us that pulling was better than pushing", they asked? "Then why do the superior others push, and some of them even push and pull?" The emperor had no words for them.

This once formidable empire has lead it's followers down the wrong path. The foreign invaders now ruled the land. The emperor, in a last act of desperation, chose to follow the pushers once again in hopes of rebuilding the empire.

HotRodSaint
02-25-03, 05:43 PM
Ok, the official line?

Its cheaper to build and it places the weight over the drive wheels, which increases traction in the snow. Other than that, there is no reason for it.

Why did Cadillac switch? Because they once shared their chassis with the bread and butter GM car's. For too many years, Cadillac was just the next step above Buick and/or Oldsmobile. The same car's, different body style.

GM seems to have been awakened from it's long sleep. Only time will tell though. Ford and Chrysler also once looked awakened.

VlaDeMaN
02-25-03, 06:13 PM
doesnt that bring the weight (especially of a v8) to the front of the car...wayyyyy to the front, which means a less handling?

and isnt pushing better than pulling?

87CoupeDeVille
02-25-03, 07:55 PM
Front wheels bad, Rear wheels good.
me like go fast

jadcock
02-25-03, 08:03 PM
Front wheel drive has many inherant advantages over rear wheel drive. Unfortunately, all the automotive press tells you that anything fast has to be rear wheel drive and that's not so. The Cadillac Sevilles hustle down the road faster than many more expensive RWD imports.

You obviously have better traction in the snow, in the rain, etc. If you live in 75% of the United States, you probably deal with snow at some point during the season. This in itself isn't a reason to switch to FWD, but there are obvious advantages when the white stuff falls. Imagine this scenario -- you're trying to pull out of your neighborhood, which isn't plowed, onto a busy road that is plowed. With FWD, you just have to inch your front wheels out there and jam the throttle and you're gone. With RWD, you have to make your way all the way out into the road before your drive wheels even start to get traction! It's also much safer in the snow to the common driver. RWD in the snow is prone to severe oversteer if you're not careful. FWD is very benign in the snow and much more drivable. When that RWD guy is stuck spinning trying to make it up a hill, you can drive around him smiling.

FWD is also cheaper to produce, with fewer parts, meaning the car is less expensive to you.

It's much more fuel efficient than an "identical" RWD design. With FWD, all you're turning is the skinny half-shafts and wheels. With RWD, you're turning that long heavy propeller shaft back to the rear end, the differential, the big heavy axle shafts (they've gotta be big, because they're so much longer than FWD shafts), and the wheels. It takes more power to turn heavy equipment; this is power lost in turning the equipment versus getting your car down the road. Not to mention all the static weight of all those parts. That rear axle probably weights 400-600 pounds. That's DEAD WEIGHT that slows you down when you're trying to get going. There's a reason that a stock '96 Deville will get down the dragstrip every bit as fast as a stock '96 Impala SS -- weight and parasitic loss advantages.

The advantages are obvious. About the only place that RWD is functionally superior is in heavy-duty use (semis, pickups, etc.) and on a road course. During normal driving, modern FWD vehicles are very safe and capable performers. Don't let the marketing guys fool you.

VlaDeMaN
02-25-03, 08:07 PM
...what if you back out of your snowy driveway? :D. thnx for the replies, i got that down much better now.

jadcock
02-25-03, 08:10 PM
Originally posted by VlaDeMaN
...what if you back out of your snowy driveway? :D. thnx for the replies, i got that down much better now.

Trying to back out of your neighborhood onto a busy street might be a little tricky in itself, the way people drive nowadays, feeling invincible in their SUVs and AWDs. ;)

VlaDeMaN
02-25-03, 08:13 PM
hehe :)

HotRodSaint
02-25-03, 09:19 PM
Originally posted by jadcock
Don't let the marketing guys fool you.

We haven't! ;)

Even after all these years of the marketing guys trying to tell us why FWD is so great, we still want RWD car's!

HotRodSaint
02-25-03, 09:23 PM
Originally posted by jadcock
There's a reason that a stock '96 Deville will get down the dragstrip every bit as fast as a stock '96 Impala SS -- weight and parasitic loss advantages.

Then why is it an advatage to drag race an RWD car? Even the import guys convert FWD to RWD.

HotRodSaint
02-25-03, 09:37 PM
Originally posted by jadcock
It's much more fuel efficient than an "identical" RWD design.

I just went to Lexus and Infiniti. They both have RWD car's that share engines with there sister divisions FWD cars. You can compare them side by side. There is no fuel savings when you take into account the HP ratings, drag coeficient, weight and transmissions. Just more marketing hype from the FWD pitch man. But your doing a great job!

Now explain away the torque steer and I might even be compelled to buy an FWD. :rolleyes:

elwesso
02-25-03, 10:07 PM
I can tell you right now from experience that FWD is better in the snow. I was driving my Q, and i did a power slide around a corner in my neighborhood, and i got stuck. Fortunately, some guy came and helped me, otherwise i would have had to walk home to get the suburban.

With a FWD, i would have gotten out of that predicament in no time. I think i may retire the Q and switch back to the GTP until i can see dry pavement again.

Dead Sled
02-25-03, 11:52 PM
Down with wrong wheel drive!

Devil_concours
02-26-03, 12:37 AM
FWD handles less amount of power than RWD(torque steering sucks)
RWD is better for go power because all the weight transfer back into the rear unlike FWD.
FWD is cheaper and easier to drive
On a track fwd understeers severly when pushed to the limit whereas rwd will slide around if pushed hard.
RWD will get you in more trouble but it is more fun to drive.

kcnewell
02-26-03, 12:43 AM
When I had the misfortune to live in Colorado a few years ago I thanked my lucky stars every time I had to drive in that miserable white stuff that my Seville had FWD. I had a Chevy and a pickup, Both with rear wheel drive and it wasn't pretty! It also gets right down the road too! A little torque steer doesn't bother me a bit. I'm with jadcock on this one gang....RWD is nice and so is FWD! They each have their place I.M.H.O.

Devil_concours
02-26-03, 06:56 AM
Originally posted by kcnewell
When I had the misfortune to live in Colorado a few years ago I thanked my lucky stars every time I had to drive in that miserable white stuff that my Seville had FWD. I had a Chevy and a pickup, Both with rear wheel drive and it wasn't pretty! It also gets right down the road too! A little torque steer doesn't bother me a bit. I'm with jadcock on this one gang....RWD is nice and so is FWD! They each have their place I.M.H.O.

well when the aftermarket performance products roll out and we all start mod'ing our cads, torque steering is going to get more apparent(our cads aren't too bad on torque steering). I had a gtp coupe(w/ smaller supercharger pulley, cai, replaced ubend, aftermarket exhaust, shift kit, replace pcm.... ran high 13s on good days low 14s on bad days) and those things put out 280lbft at 3200rpm stock and the torque steering was pretty horrible in stock.

HotRodSaint
02-26-03, 09:04 AM
RWD or FWD?

I'd rather have AWD. It handles better in the snow (and wet)than FWD and handles good on the track too. (Or the back roads for those of us who like that kind of stuff.)

Anyone remember Audi's IMSA championship in the 80's using stock chassis car's spanking all the tube framed RWD V8's? That's when IMSA decided to ban AWD. The Audi's could drive up in the marbles and still keep their grip.

AWD is the next greatest thing to happen in the car industry. Watch how fast it will spread.

Oneday, we will all thank Audi and Subaru for their persistance.

kcnewell
02-26-03, 10:24 AM
AWD in a Cadillac would be great! RWD, FWD Whatever. But AWD is really the way to go! I always thought that was a good idea.

Katshot
02-26-03, 11:53 AM
Originally posted by 87CoupeDeVille
Front wheels bad, Rear wheels good.
me like go fast

Yeah, what he said :D

Katshot
02-26-03, 12:17 PM
While AWD would be great, the cost, weight, and power loss due to it would be a BIG negative.
This debate seems to keep showing up here, I think it's been in at least 2 or 3 threads that I can think of.
FWD, stock vs. stock will USUALLY outperform RWD in snow. That's a given. But the facts about the two platforms are this:
FWD was brought to market for one reason, manufacturing cost. That's the biggest single reason why there's so many of them out there. They're cheaper and easier to build for the OEM, that's it.
As for actually driving them, RWD has been, and will continue to be the choice of the performance crowd for several reasons. The drivetrain components are seperate and therefore are quicker and easier to modify. The weight distribution is much more balanced (easier to obtain that heavenly 50/50 ratio). Drag racing is MUCH easier with RWD due to the laws of physics dumping traction-giving weight TO the drive tires, as opposed to AWAY from them. As for road racing, generally RWD cars are the choice and WILL outperform FWD cars but, there ARE some VERY good FWD cars that manage to post some very respectable track times.
Overall, the BEST road track car would probably be an AWD one though.
Bottom line, as I've said a million times before, FWD is a great, economical package that can GENERALLY compete with RWD cars in 80% of normal driving, and maybe 50% of performance driving. But that's it.

Devil_concours
02-26-03, 01:31 PM
AWD is great for launching, traction is great especially in a severe weather but it is more expensive, it generally understeers in the corners, and more power loss through powertrain which equates to less top speed and such.

jadcock
02-26-03, 01:46 PM
Originally posted by HotRodSaint
Then why is it an advatage to drag race an RWD car? Even the import guys convert FWD to RWD.

Well, the answer is weight transfer. When you launch a car, much of the weight is transferred to the rear tires.

Is this a problem on the street? Very rarely. Even my Seville, with 300 lb*ft of torque, scoots right along with FWD. Modulate the power with the gas pedal and you're good to go. Most high performance rear wheel drive cars can overwhelm the drive tires, even with the weight transfer, so you still have to modulate the throttle.

Please list some functional advantages to RWD on the street. Remember, we're talking about average drivers here, not NASCAR or top fuel dragsters. I believe you'll find that most people live better with FWD than with RWD, which is why many manufacturers offer FWD cars. Some like Mercedes and BMW keep the performance aspect of RWD in their cars. Some like Volvo realize the drawbacks of RWD in winter weather and have switched to FWD long ago (with the 850 series I think back in the early 90s).

Having said all that, I prefer the driving feel of RWD cars. I grew up on RWD cars and they just "feel better" to me. I can tell when I'm driving FWD vs. RWD. Does that mean FWD doesn't have many advantages over RWD? Nah. There are many many reasons to make an arguement for FWD and besides the "feel good" factor, I can't think of many reasons I'd rather have RWD.

I continue to enjoy this discussion. If we turn it into a flame war, we don't do anyone any good, but cooperative discussion like this can lead to a lot of learning for everybody.

jadcock
02-26-03, 01:50 PM
Originally posted by Katshot

Bottom line, as I've said a million times before, FWD is a great, economical package that can GENERALLY compete with RWD cars in 80% of normal driving, and maybe 50% of performance driving. But that's it.

Kevin, good points. I like the last one. I'd argue, though, that FWD cars meet or exceed the capabilities of RWD cars in normal driving (on the street, in the rain/snow, etc.) When you start talking about road courses, then you're right, RWD has weight distribution advantages. But in normal driving, many manufacturers have produced FWD vehicles that at least as capable as RWD vehicles.

HotRodSaint
02-26-03, 02:01 PM
Originally posted by Katshot
FWD was brought to market for one reason, manufacturing cost. That's the biggest single reason why there's so many of them out there. They're cheaper and easier to build for the OEM, that's it.

Great post.

I'd add packaging as another reason why there are so many out there. The drive shaft is kinda hard to design around.

Katshot
02-26-03, 02:07 PM
RWD vs. FWD is very subjective for sure. But as I said before 80% of the time, I would agree that there is no advantage having RWD over FWD in NORMAL driving. However, that does leave that 20% where it is definately better. And to some, this 20% is more important than the percentage might indicate.

RWD is better for the following reasons:

1. Due to it's full-frame, it's generally safer for occupents in a crash.
2. Due to the body-on-frame design, accident damage is generally limited to the area of the car nearest to the point of impact.
3. Due to the full-frame, the car is able to provide a higher degree of sound and vibration isolation from the road.
4. No torque steer.
5. Lower component repair cost due to lower labor time requirements (engine, trans, etc.)
6. Lower under-hood temps tend to allow under-hood componentry to last longer(hard AND soft parts).
7. Better weight distribution for rough pavement, (less liable to bottom front suspension)
8. Better for towing.

Need I go on?
BTW, a point needs to be made, you (and most other proponents of FWD) keep pointing out that the comparison needs to be made concerning NORMAL DRIVING.
This begs the question; if all you're concerned with is NORMAL DRIVING, why are you buying a performance sedan?
If all you do is NORMAL DRIVING, and that's all you're concerned with, why aren't you all driving sensible economy cars?
Think about it.

HotRodSaint
02-26-03, 02:20 PM
What is normal driving?

If normal driving is purley traveling from point A to point B, then the majority of people could probably live with 3 cylinder FWD car's for their normal driving.

Edit: Kevin got to the normal thing before I did. lol

jadcock
02-26-03, 02:25 PM
Kevin, RWD doesn't mean body-on-frame. That's a whole 'NOTHER discussion! :) RWD can mean Infinity G35, which is a uni-body chassis, and prone to other characteristics as a FWD uni-body vehicle.

Normal driving includes spirited driving. When I say "normal", I mean not towing a 35' travel trailer, not running 12-second quarter miles, not swapping automatic trannies for manuals, etc. I consider normal driving anything my wife would do, for instance, which includes driving very very fast. :) Performance sedans don't have to be RWD to be safe and efficient. Many times, RWD cars are the most dangerous and inefficient out there (Fox body Mustang for example).

I do agree with you on the full-frame vs. uni-body discussion. I like full frames. I like the isolation. I feel less of the road in my '95 Nissan Hardbody than in the Cadillac! But then again, buyers today want to be "connected to the road", and I speculate that's why there are so many uni-bodies out there. Also, in frontal crashes, a uni-body has engineered crumple zones to dissipate the energy of the crash. A full-frame car does not have this, and transfers much of the energy of the crash straight to the vehicle occupants. There are certainly pros and cons to both designs!

BTW, I'm not a "proponent" of FWD. I'm just trying to lay all the facts out on the table for the discussion. Highlighting advantages of FWD doesn't make me a fan of it. Read above...I generally prefer RWD. That doesn't eliminate the functional advantages of FWD, which afterall, is what this post started about -- why are cars FWD in the first place.

HotRodSaint
02-26-03, 02:27 PM
Originally posted by Katshot
RWD is better for the following reasons:

1. Due to it's full-frame, it's generally safer for occupents in a crash.
2. Due to the body-on-frame design, accident damage is generally limited to the area of the car nearest to the point of impact.
3. Due to the full-frame, the car is able to provide a higher degree of sound and vibration isolation from the road.


I don't think that RWD car's are body on frame anymore. Other than the Mustang (which will change), and maybe some car's produced for use outside the US, most are now uni-body just like the FWD car's.

Edit: Outposted again. lol

HotRodSaint
02-26-03, 02:29 PM
Originally posted by jadcock
But then again, buyers today want to be "connected to the road", and I speculate that's why there are so many uni-bodies out there.

Actually, like FWD, uni-body came about because of cost and packaging advantages.

Katshot
02-26-03, 03:57 PM
My mistake. I automatically jumped on full-frame cars.
I'm NOT trying to argue with you Jason. Matter of fact, I think you are kind of nit-picking(pointing out crumple-zones, but ignoring points 1&2 in my post) some of my points and taking others to extremes (35' travel trailers, 12sec 1/4 runs, auto/manual trans swaps).
FWD vs. RWD (non full-frame) still has many of the same key differences as I mentioned before. With the obvious exceptions of points made SPECIFIC to full-frame cars.
IMO, the reason why we are driving around in SO MANY FWD cars is that the OEM managed to convince people that they were better. They (the OEM) needed to convince the motoring public of this so they (the OEM) could save money and increase profit margin (notice that as a FWD variant of a previously RWD platform is NOT accompanied by a price DECREASE).
I also believe that the whole "road feel" thing is a crock of you know what propagated by the OEM that started forcing the FWD cars down our throats. If anyone truely believes that the road noise that's present in unibody cars is in anyway a plus, please explain it to me. Steering feed-back etc. is one thing but road noise is just that, NOISE!
As for crumple-zones, yeah they're great on paper but have you ever noticed that serious injury and death rates are STILL lower in vehicles with full-frames?
Back to unibody cars, sorry.
When I mentioned seperate drivetrain components, I was talking about the fact that having them seperate makes it far easier to do drivetrain mods (which many people here would love to do).
It's also far cheaper to do repairs on the RWD cars drivetrain since they are seperate, you ever price a trans job on a FWD car, or resealing an oil pan on a FWD? There are a lot of repairs that are simple on RWD cars that turn into huge jobs on FWD cars.
And as for "spirited" driving, come on now, its' a fact that virtually anything beyond grocery-getting, a RWD platform is superior. And when I was talking towing, I wasn't talking about 35' trailers either, virtually any towing is done more effectively by a RWD platform due to the more even weight distribution of the car and the drive wheels being closer to the load.
I still stand by my original points and challenge anyone to explain why it makes sense to buy a FWD performance sedan, the description of the car itself (FWD performance sedan) is truely an oxymoron isn't it?
Bottom-line:
Why FWD?
Because the OEM has trained the public to believe that it's better.

jadcock
02-26-03, 04:57 PM
It's obvious that we're nit-picking each other here, so maybe we should drop this conversion...

We're bring to the table a lot of correlations here that don't necessarily imply causality. Death rates for example. They may still be lower on full-frame cars simply because most full-frame cars are boats. The reason for the lower death rates might be due more to the mass than the structure. It's a moot point to argue though, so we shouldn't.

I've tried to answer the original question, why FWD. The facts are there. Whether you agree with them or disagree with them, they remain. Yes, some things on RWD vehicles make them "superior" but that's really off the subject of the original question. We can speculate how evil the manufacturers might be for forcing us to use FWD vehicles, but that leads us no where. There's obviously not an objective answer to this, but let's keep it as objective as possible. I'm not a "pitch man" for FWD. I don't even work for a car company, thank you. I have no benefit to this conversation other than trying to help answer the original question.

VlaDeMaN
02-26-03, 05:24 PM
im hoping this wont turn out to be a flame war. i pretty much under(stand)/(stood) many of the facts stated. thnx for all the info.

now...im lost on the full-frame, unibody (:rolleyes:), etc. thnx

elwesso
02-26-03, 06:56 PM
Basically, OVERALL FWD does better in the snow. There is no denying it. But for people that dont get snow, that is not a factor. If i lived in the south, i would get RWD for sure. I dont think that the effeciency of RWD vs FWD is anything worth speaking of (1mpg max). Manufacturing costs, well if you are buying a $50k car, that isnt going to be a factor. But in economy cars that is a factor.

With performance, there are FWDs that can beat RWD, and vice versa. But the vast majority of performance-oriented cars are RWD. Why? Most people that like power come from the old school, and the old school is strictly RWD. Also, the vast majority of luxuary\performance sedans are RWD WITH THE exception of cadillac (and maybe a few others).

jadcock
02-26-03, 07:45 PM
Originally posted by VlaDeMaN
now...im lost on the full-frame, unibody (:rolleyes:), etc. thnx

Full frame cars are ones that have a separate frame that "things" are mounted to. These "things" are the suspension pieces, the engine, the body, etc. Usually, the frame maintains the structural integrity of the vehicle and the body is simply bolted to it. The body itself is usually relatively flexible and the vehicle relies on the big frame for structure. The good isolation you get with a full frame car is due, in part, to the body bushings. These are rubber bushings between the body and the frame that are meant to absorb road feel. Polyurethane and other materials are sometimes substituted by performance enthusiasts to regain some stiffness and control lost in the rubber bushings.

There are variations of a full frame car called "perimeter frame cars". These cars have a separate frame, but it is not as thick and sturdy as "normal" and the body is relied upon for the strength of the vehicle. A perimeter frame vehicle also mounts the body to the frame using the body bushings.

A uni-body vehicle has a "unitized body and frame". This means that the body and frame are integral to each other and the vehicle is designed from the get-go this way. Structural members of the body act as a "frame network", maintaining stiffness and structure. For example, the door and window pillars take on a much more important role now (to help with the structural integrity of the vehicle). The engine and suspension pieces are bolted to what's usually called a sub-frame or cradle. These are smaller "modules" that are bolted to the car as a unit. The engine and front suspension are usually mounted to a cradle, which is then bolted to the vehicle. On the Cadillacs, the entire rear suspension is on its own cradle as well.

rek
02-26-03, 08:31 PM
Full frame...57 Chevy Perimeter frame....B-Body(older Caprice) Sub-Frame....Camaro Some examples of the excellent info by Jadcock.

jadcock
02-26-03, 08:54 PM
Thanks Rek. I think the B-bodies, all the way up to the '96 Impala/Fleetwood/Roadmaster were perimeter frame cars, is that right?

Devil_concours
02-27-03, 12:33 AM
Originally posted by elwesso
With performance, there are FWDs that can beat RWD, and vice versa. But the vast majority of performance-oriented cars are RWD. Why? Most people that like power come from the old school, and the old school is strictly RWD. Also, the vast majority of luxuary\performance sedans are RWD WITH THE exception of cadillac (and maybe a few others).

I disagree with you there. As i pointed out earlier, traction becomes a huge issue as the power increases. When you step on the accelerator, weight transfers to the back thus decreasing downforce on the front, in case of FWD, you end up with severe torque steering, and loss traction. Most high performance cars are rwd for a reason.
1. Better handling characteristics due to the weight balance(50/50)
2. Better traction at launch
3. Ability to handle more power than FWD
4. More room to work with (high performance powertrain parts, beefier powertrain parts can be installed)

RWD can be a handle full in certain situation but in the hands of an experienced driver, there is no other way.

Katshot
02-27-03, 08:47 AM
I think that's true.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people that, no matter what you say, will still always push the FWD platform. It is a given that in most cases FWD is better than RWD in snow but, beyond that point the only clear advantages to the FWD platform are to the OEM and NOT the end-user.
This just proves my point about why Americans are generally the exception to the world market rule as applied to automotive purchases. The majority of the world builds cars that make sense and are logical because that's what that area of the world buys. Americans tend to buy what "pleases" their senses and their pocketbook. When you get into the upper 1/2 of the market, people tend to toss out logic, economy, and common sense, and replace it with snob appeal, exclusivity, features, and size.
I'm as passionate as the next guy when it comes to my automotive purchases but, I also feel that when a question is posed about one car vs. another, or one type of car vs. another, you must be able to be objective. To be objective is to examine ALL points pertaining to BOTH sides of the comparison.
That being said, I think we have DEFINATELY presented at least 99.9% of the points (pro and con) pertaining to FWD vs. RWD. I believe that there is no one platform that is "the best" in all cases. That is why I have always conceeded that if all you want is simple transportation in all-around weather, FWD might be your choice. But if you want a true "performance" car, you will be forced to give up some points to gain others. In other words, the performance car market forces some trade-offs. You will make a trade-off in ride quality to obtain better handling. You will trade-off interior and luggage space for less overall weight. You will trade-off gas mileage for performance. And of course you will have to trade-off traction in snow for overall better handling dynamics. It's just the nature of the beast.
Of course you could buy a FWD performance car ;)

Liseckas
03-25-03, 09:00 PM
My mom only got 60K miles out of the tranny on her '95 Eldorado with the Northstar engine. She was no hot rodder by any means.
I think the reason Caddy went to FWD is so you can pay for a tranny rebuild more often. I will never own a FWD vehicle unless it has RWD as well (4X4):banghead:

VlaDeMaN
03-25-03, 09:05 PM
caddy trannies last very long. my friend has a 95 seville and he just blew his head gasket at 150kmiles w/ no major tranny service...and dammn...he really pushed that car sometimes...

Liseckas
03-25-03, 09:18 PM
I don't know what to say. I guess my mom got a lemon. My mom had lots of other problems with that car. My folks swear they'll never by another new Caddy, much less another GM, ever again.

jadcock
03-26-03, 12:38 PM
Your opinion is certainly your opinion, but your correlation of unreliability has no basis at all! 60k miles is way too soon for any type of transmission to go out, FWD or otherwise. There was obviously a factory defect or lack of maintenance there (maybe low fluid?). My FWD Cadillac has 113k miles and the valve covers haven't even been off, nor has the transmission pan. It's been a very reliable car, much moreso than some RWD cars. We had to have the tranny rebuilt on our RWD '92 Crown Victoria at about 106k miles. Do those circumstances make either FWD or RWD better than the other? Absolutely not.

Katshot
03-26-03, 01:35 PM
From 1980 to 2000, I personally experienced the transmission service history of as least 3000 Cadillacs, (mostly RWD) in our fleet. I can tell you that the 200 Metric was the worst followed closely by the T-440 (used in the mid '80's FWD Caddies). In the middle was the Turbo 400, 200-4R and 700R-4. And overall we had the least trouble with the 4L60-E and 4T60-E.
Remember this is an OVERALL view and does not focus on the early failures that were prevelant with the late model electronic transmissions.
Anyone that tries to convince you that a particular car and/or component are good or bad based soley on their personal experience, which usually only accounts for a couple examples, is deluding themselves at best. To make such blanket statements takes many, many examples to establish a reliable profile.

jadcock
03-26-03, 02:06 PM
I agree Kevin. Correlations usually don't imply causality.

My '84 Cutlass had that TH-200-C transmission. And like clockwork, right at about 100k miles, I lost reverse gear on it. On the Olds G-body mailing list, I can count probably 20 members who have personally had a 200-C transmission fail in this same manner (lost reverse gear).

What are your experiences with the 4T80-E transmissions? The Northstars have those and I hear they're pretty strong. I've had good service from mine.

Liseckas
03-26-03, 03:18 PM
Originally posted by Liseckas
I don't know what to say. I guess my mom got a lemon. My mom had lots of other problems with that car. My folks swear they'll never by another new Caddy, much less another GM, ever again.
She always had the car serviced by the local Caddy dealer. She always followed the recommended maintenance schedule. She never ever let the fluids run low (my dad made sure of that).
I have a feeling the mekaniks at Penske Cadillac in Downey California had some part in that tranny going out.

Katshot
03-26-03, 03:29 PM
Jason,
Sorry dude, I meant the Northstar trans. I mistakenly called it a 60 series.
Overall, we had fairly good service from them. Less trouble than the 440 but still more trouble than the RWD cars. And obviously the repair costs were substantially higher too.

Night Wolf
09-16-04, 09:20 PM
my '89 Olds 88 has a 440-T4.... 123k miles and it is fine.... read reviews on these cars and people have 200-300k miles on the origanal drivetrain with no problem... fluid and filter changes are all that is needed....

I heard that the Turbo 400 is one of the best automatic trannys ever made.... that is what my '79 has... my father said that they were designed to have excess slippage within them to make the shifts smooth, and that I should put a shift kit in my tranny to prevent it form slipping as much, and therefore allow it to last longer...

4T60E.... in my '93... again, I have heard it is a great tranny, GM still uses them (well, the 65... same thing though) plus, the fact it has an external tranny cooler form the factory helps out...

My fathers '99 GTP has a HD 4T65E.... why should a s/c 3800 have a Heavy Duty tranny, while a 4.9 have a regular tranny? torque output are the same between the 2.... I would think the Caddy would get a HD tranny from the start also...

at the local junkyard with about a dozen Eighty Eights just like mine, they all have between 160k-200k miles on them.... and the reason they are there is becuase of a bad wreck.... why don't you see any of the cars with 200k miles that were not in a wreck there? still being driven around.... something must have been done right.... all the reviews on these cars say they are trouble-free....which they are....

Only thing with the tranny on my Olds (440-T4), would be when I am coasting, and then I hit the gas, some times the car kinda jolts at the same time... my father said it is probably slack in the drive chain... actually, the '93 did that on a few occasions too....

... IIRC the 440T4 and the 4T60E are the same tranny... just that the 440 is vaccum operated while the 60 is electronic...

Caddy Man
09-17-04, 12:54 AM
my dts used to handle very well in snow...but after gettin the cts, and driving numerious RWD cars, i have to say as far as handling, cornering, acceleratin out of a corner, NOTHING BEATS A RWD. plus it dosnt give that wierd 'front heavy' feeling.

Ralph
09-17-04, 01:05 AM
Merging on sheer ice with Grand Marquis, and fish tailing all over the place and not moving with cars about to hit me=BAD and scary!

fwd Fleetwood= instant traction, straight steering (very little or no torque steer) Where I live I need fwd, the difference is night and day. For summer, I would love a CTS for RWD.

JimHare
09-17-04, 03:21 PM
(Upfront Confession: BY NO MEANS an expert at this..)

One thing the "RWD is the only way for performance" crowd might want to do sometime is watch a Paris-Dakar or other type of off-road rally. Them little FWD buggers get up and go, if you ask me. It would seem that the best set up for "performance" would depend on the type of racing being done - oval and flat road racing seems to favor RWD and the ability to power slide around corners - but on loose and or changing surfaces, a FWD car (with enough juice under the hood) can slingshot out of a corner with the best of them. I'd like to see a NASCAR vehicle try to run with a FWD Lancia up Pikes Peak..now that many FIA Rally cars are going AWD, it becomes a moot point.


That said, for the "typical" driver, facing varying weather conditions and varying surfaces, FWD is probably better in the long run. All other things being equal, most drivers find FWD better on slippery or loose traction surfaces, one they realize that to recover from a skid, just point it in the direction you want to go and give it some gas. The RWD "turn away from the skid and let off the gas" method is generally NOT the way to recover in FWD, from my recollections... :histeric:

The original poster asked, don't forget, "WHY FWD?", not "IS FWD better than RWD?"

All the counterpoint in the world is informative, and interesting, but will never answer the question satisfactorily.

Why? It costs less to manufacture, and to a lesser extent, market demand.

majax
09-17-04, 07:17 PM
Welcome JimHare

Doesnt a limited slip differential help with traction in the snow on RWD? Cadillac did FWD I think because it saves a lot of room in the car. Well thats why they made all their engines traverse. Also in the 70s cadillac came out with some complex thing for RWD that was supposed to give it better traction capabilities.

etcCanuck
09-18-04, 01:54 AM
Welcome JimHare

Doesnt a limited slip differential help with traction in the snow on RWD? Cadillac did FWD I think because it saves a lot of room in the car. Well thats why they made all their engines traverse. Also in the 70s cadillac came out with some complex thing for RWD that was supposed to give it better traction capabilities.

By going to FWD you get rid of the bump on the floorboard in the middle of the car. Guess that saves some space....

For performance and dry traction driving, RWD is the best. If you live in a area where snow is a regular thing, you learn to appreciate the FWD platform. My eldo would need a seperate set of winter tires if it was RWD. Anyone who owns a RWD bmw or benz around here has to have a second set of rims and winter tires to make it through the season. Even after the snow tires, I can still blow them away in the snow! :bouncy:

tru504187211
09-18-04, 12:34 PM
"Why FWD?"

Because I live in Wisconsin at the very top of a hill on a street whose snow seems to be the last in the city to be plowed away...

El Dobro
09-18-04, 12:46 PM
Why did GM come out with FWD in 1966 with the Olds Toronado?

majax
09-18-04, 06:16 PM
Cause they could, they did the same with the Eldorado back then. They were the first non-econo cars w/ FWD.

El Dobro
09-20-04, 10:02 PM
First GM non-eco FWD cars.

Night Wolf
09-20-04, 10:29 PM
owning 2 FWD cars and a RWD car, and learning to drive on a RWD car (mothers '89 Brougham), and a huge stack of mechanical knowladge, I will through in my input.

FWD - great for normal driving... what is "normal driving"? honestly anything my Oldmsobile would see... trips into town, knock around car, and even the ocasional thow it around the twistys (that cvar handles pretty damn good for what it is) I can spin the tires from a stop, but the Series I 3800 dosn't have the power to keep spinning them.... so RWD wouldn't do anything for performance there..... I don't have any torque steer either.... the wheel dosn't jerk either way... this car is also amazing int he snow... I never got it stuck, even when having some "fun" in an open field with 3 feet of snow, and the snow was coming over the hood....

- Also, the '93 DeVille... while not as much HP as a N*, torque is similar... she'll spin a tire for a second or so, but with the 16" wheels and good tires, she grips very quick.... I never have a problem with FWD... most the things I said about the Olds can also be applied to this (minus the snow stuff :) ) there is no torque steer either.

RWD- for performance, I like RWD far better.... something people over look with FWD or even AWD.... burnouts... burnouts are always cool, FWD dosn't look as cool and you can't do it with AWD.... you can't power slide a FWD or AWD car like you can with RWD... RWD is far better for doing stunts or just acting stupid with.... even with the front heavy '79 and worn tires... i never have a problem in the rain... the steering is much more loose... but that is the car (I usually drive with 1 finger on the wheel... even around turns and stuff) and nothing beats the ride and quietness of a full frame car.... that is a given....

FWD vs. RWD also... like was mentioned.. the hump... on the RWD car, you have the driveshaft, on a FWD car, there is still a hump for exhaust and stuff, but it is not as big.... RWD cars are hands down far more easy to work on... engine, tranny.... anything... plus, the engine just looks much better sitting lengthwise in the engine bay....

I remember one of the biggest thigns I hated about my '93 was the fact it was FWD.... now that I own a RWD car, it dosn't bother me anymore.... dare I say i enjoy driving a FWD car (Olds) as a daily driver.... just a different feel.... and giving power to the front wheels at certain times can help when recovering from a slide or something.... still, nothing beats going sideways down the road in a 20ft. car in the rain.... heh... that was fun :devil:

Only thing I wish is that my RWD car had more power, and a more aggressive rear end... with Posi :burn: but I no longer make a big deal with FWD anymore... and honestly, when you have a decent sized engine bay with a slightly smaller engine... such as the 3.8 V6 in my Olds (same bay size as the '93) it makes working on the car very easy.... the rear plugs are a breeze to get at... only thing that would be difficult would be the water pump or AC compressor.... neither of which have gave me trouble... the 4.9 OTOH.... it is jamed into the engine bay so tight.... ahhh it is a major PITA to work on....

my fathers '99 Grand Prix GTP... slightly modded... if I was to guesstimate, I would say around 275hp and 320ft*lbs of torque.... atleast.... that car grips very well, dosn't sit there spinning the tires.... but, it does have alot of torque steer if you step on the gas....

Any performance type car would definitly be RWD for me... if I lived in an area where snow was a regular thing (no as much here in upstate NY) I would defintiyl get FWD... actually I would get a Subaru AWD..... but i no longer worry about getting the '96+Eldo/'98+ Seville STS becuase of FWD.... but they are a pain to work on....

So in closing, I will support either case... nothing beats a full size, body on frame RWD car... but FWD has it's place, and I do not mind it at all.... the whole package has to be considered though, and I would say that on something like my '89 Olds.... there are just so many damn good things going on that car, that FWD just finishes off the package.... makes it a very fine car to drive....

HotRodSaint
09-20-04, 10:55 PM
(Upfront Confession: BY NO MEANS an expert at this..)

One thing the "RWD is the only way for performance" crowd might want to do sometime is watch a Paris-Dakar or other type of off-road rally. Them little FWD buggers get up and go, if you ask me. It would seem that the best set up for "performance" would depend on the type of racing being done - oval and flat road racing seems to favor RWD and the ability to power slide around corners - but on loose and or changing surfaces, a FWD car (with enough juice under the hood) can slingshot out of a corner with the best of them. I'd like to see a NASCAR vehicle try to run with a FWD Lancia up Pikes Peak..now that many FIA Rally cars are going AWD, it becomes a moot point.

Having been to Pikes Peak, they do run NASCAR-style vehicles. I think they call them modifieds or something like that.

I thought rally cars have been AWD since the mid '80's?

kevm14
05-12-08, 10:57 AM
It's 3.5 years later and Cadillac has dropped all their FWD junk except for the DTS, which is not long for this world. They are now building real cars again :eek:

Discuss.

Rolex
05-12-08, 11:21 AM
Thread resurrection = FAIL.