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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We're off to Spain in January in our 110 4x4 via the Pyranees and then into the Sierre Nevadas. It's difficult to pin down the legalities for 4x4s but it seems it's safest to carry a set of chains (on order, arriving next week) even though it's unlikely they'll be needed.
I've a fair bit of experience in various 'selectable' 4x4s in snow and off-road but have never used chains so I'd be interested in any practical experience.
I assume that if you need chains you'd already be in 'Lock' mode to avoid any difference in slip between front and rear which could harm the transmission (otherwise there'd be more grip on the front 'chained' wheels than on the spinning rears).
Any thoughts on using chains in unlocked 'Auto' mode, or indeed any experience at all with chains?
Any comments most welcome.
 

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If you are in 4wd you MUST have chains on all four tyres. However, to avoid damaging both tyres and chains you need to remove the chains whenever you get on to clean tarmac, and that can be a pain in the a**e particularly with four to do. Have you considered winter tyres as an alternative?

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The Duster is fitted with winter tyres as standard (marked M&S or similar), which are compulsory for mountain use in France and Spain. The general recommendation for chain use on 4x4s is to use them at the front OR the front and rear (Page 5.14 of my French language handbook - 'Installez les chaines à neige soit sur les roues avant, soit sur les quatre roues'). Exceptionally the handbook for my Suzuki Grand Vitara recommends rear use ONLY, as it is essentially a rear-drive vehicle even with the front axle engaged to help. .
In 'Lock' mode there should not be any problem as the torque is distributed evenly between front and rear so there should be no diffence in speed of rotation (except left/right which is the domain of the differentials and as I understand it and does not effect the fore/aft transmission).
My question really is has any one actual experienc of using chains on a 4x4 Duster? I am assuming conditions would involve the 'Lock' setting but views on their effect on 'Auto' would be appreciatedand are
 

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...even tho' I have a 2WD Duster, I recall reading about the 4WD system in the handbook:

Section 2.12:

Operating principle

"4WD Lock" mode distributes the engine torque between the front and rear axles in order to optimise the performance capacity of the vehicle in offroad situations. This mode should only be used in extreme driving conditions (mud, steep slopes, sand).

Section 2.14

"4WD Lock" mode is reserved solely for use off-road. The use of this mode in any other conditions may adversely affect the vehicle's manoeuvrability and damage its mechanical components.

Section 5.13

Use in winter

Chains

2-wheel drive version (2WD)
Snow chains must be fitted to the front wheels.

4-wheel drive version (4WD)
Snow chains may be fitted to only the front wheels, or to all four wheels.

...so, my guess is that you leave it in 'auto' while on the road, and only use 'lock' when off road...and based on previous posts, only use snow chains on snow...

Joe

p.s. quite fancied the 4WD option myself, having had lotsa fun with a previous Daihatsu and RAV4...but I couldn't justify the extra outlay...bearing in mind that my last few 2WD (Front-WD) cars have never got stuck...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I take your point Joe, but isn't 'Lock' the same as engaging 4WD on a 'selectable' 4x4? If I select 4WD on the Vitara it locks front and rear axles together and, as there is no front/rear differential the transmission can 'wind up' due to different rotational speeds of the two axles. On a hard surface this can cause damage but if the surface is low-grip one axle can slip a little to unwind the transmission. The low grip surface can either be be off-road mud or ice and snow. If you can only lock front and rear axles together with equal torque 'off-road', then you shouldn't select 4WD on the Vitara on a snow covered road!
We're talking abour severe conditions here, as anyone, like you, who has driven 4x4s will know the incredible difference that driving an extra pair of wheels makes.
I envisage that 'Auto' will cope with most conditions, 'Lock' will be for the kind of conditions that 2WD will need chains, and chains on the 4x4 will be for conditions I'd rather not be in! As I said in the original post I'm finding it difficult to pin down whether 4x4s on Mud and Snow tyres need to carry chains so for the sake of €25 it's worth having a set in the boot!

I agree with your comments about the need/cost ratio for the 4x4 (an extra €2000 here)as I understand that the 2WD is pretty competant (decent ground clearance and chunky 16in tyres are always handy) but we have had 4x4s for so long that I'd get a conventional saloon stuck pretty quickly. The Duster was supposed to replce our Citroen Picasso and our Vitara, but the Vitara has been with us for 11 years and just doesn't seem to want to leave so it's still hauling the trailer full of logs up the field!
 

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TheFrenchConnection

...apologies if my post read a bit 'matter of fact' - that wasn't the intention, I just read and accepted what the Duster handbook said without questioning it - partly because it doesn't apply to my 2WD version...

...my previous 4WDs were quite different: the old Daihatsu was permanent RWD with manual locking front hubs - you engaged each front wheel separately by rotating a knob in the centre of the hub manually, to get 4WD...

...the Toyota RAV4.2 [a.k.a '2nd generation'] was full-time 4WD, so I presume there was some fluid/viscous coupling between the front and rear driveshafts/diffs?...

...I'm not an expert by any means, and I'm glad I'm still able to have some light off-road fun in the Duster - what my daughter calls 'taking the scenic route'...

...have fun in Spain - and please take some pics of your Duster, to share with the rest of the forum!...

Joe
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi Joe
Quote '.apologies if my post read a bit 'matter of fact' - not at all, it's great to have various opinions and indeed interpretations of sometimes less than precise handbooks!

Your Daihatsu was the same as the Vitara - RWD until you select the extra front wheels, which then locked to the rears. My first one had the same munual hubs as yours but the next two have had 'automatic' freewheel hubs (please don't ask how they work!).

Your RAV must have had some viscous coupling or differential - it would be interesting to know which and how it compares with the Duster.
As an aside I also had a Panda 4x4 which was front wheel drive until you added the rear wheels! It was truly amazing 'mountain goat' and with its tiny size and light weight it embarrassed some heavy metal on some production car trials.
 
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