Need opinions on RWD vs AWD

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Need opinions on RWD vs AWD

Postby romeroom [OP] » March 10th 2011, 3:37am

Have owned an 1995 AWD Astro for 209k miles and looking to get another one.

I live in Michigan on a culdesac that has a little bit of a hill to get up and out. About 10 years ago I owned a 1990 RWD Astro (non-EXT) for a couple years and it was murder trying to get up our street during the winter months.

Now, there's a possibility of getting a 2000 Astro RWD for a very reasonable price. Yet, I'm not crazy about reliving the bad snow experience of 10 years ago.

So, some potentially stupid questions:

1. Anybody out there living in snowy winter weather with a RWD 2000+ Astro? Any opinions on handling, etc?

2. Has the weight distribution and other factors changed in the development of the Astro in the newer years, thus improving RWD traction?

3. Need to seat 7 comfortably and be able to tow about 2500 pounds worth of trailer. Do you have other recommendations in the production years of 2000 to 2003?

Thanks.
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Re: Need opinions on RWD vs AWD

Postby AstroCan » March 10th 2011, 4:28am

Well I live in the Albertan Rockies and own a RWD. You can get through the winter with RWD but you will be limited about where you can go. I wanted to take some roads here which I couldn't because of the lack of AWD. Too risky.

For the RWD, get some good winter tires, preferably studded. Put some weight into the trunk (concrete deck pads for example). Mine handles well in snow, as long as it doesn't bottom up on it. Got stuck a couple times but I always carry a tow rope and a snow shovel, got myself out all the times with a little bit of elbow grease.
I decided to keep the RWD because of the much better gas mileage but I am thinking of getting something 4x4 with a better ground clearance for next winter.
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Re: Need opinions on RWD vs AWD

Postby paintdrying » March 10th 2011, 2:45pm

I have a rwd 2000. The tires are for summer and they are 8 years old. Needless to say I do not drive when it snows. Next year I am going to get a set of snow tires and it should be fine. I had a 4x4 explorer last winter and I was doing pretty well in the snow and on the gas. It was very nice in the snow. Not so great in the mud but that was because of the tires.
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Re: Need opinions on RWD vs AWD

Postby ProStreet_LS1 » March 10th 2011, 8:26pm

Hi romeroom. I live a little south of you in Plainwell. I worked at Steelcase for 15 years, laid off in 2003. I am building a pro street 85 Astro. I have had in GR quite a few times, used to cruise up to Rogers Plaza. I was at the Metro Cruise last year with it.

I don't think you will be happy with the RWD in the winter, especially after driving a AWD. I drove a 90 RWD for years back in the early 90s. I remember the hassle of small hills and bad winters. We had quite a few mild winters in the past, but the last few months brings back the memoir of how crappy are winters can be. Mike
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Re: Need opinions on RWD vs AWD

Postby romeroom [OP] » March 11th 2011, 1:41am

tpibadassastro wrote:Hi romeroom. I live a little south of you in Plainwell. I worked at Steelcase for 15 years, laid off in 2003. I am building a pro street 85 Astro. I have had in GR quite a few times, used to cruise up to Rogers Plaza. I was at the Metro Cruise last year with it.

I don't think you will be happy with the RWD in the winter, especially after driving a AWD. I drove a 90 RWD for years back in the early 90s. I remember the hassle of small hills and bad winters. We had quite a few mild winters in the past, but the last few months brings back the memoir of how crappy are winters can be. Mike


Thanks, Mike. Good to know West Michigan is represented on this forum by a few of us. I didn't make it to the Metro Cruise this past year. I'll try to make it out this year. If you're going, send out a message.

I too have bad memories of our RWD Astro years and years ago. I'll keep looking for an AWD. Let me know if you spot one around town for sale (years 2000 - 2002).
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Re: Need opinions on RWD vs AWD

Postby ProStreet_LS1 » March 11th 2011, 11:54pm

If the the price of gas continues to go up, everything that doesnt get 30 mpg may be along the road for sale.
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Re: Need opinions on RWD vs AWD

Postby hardlecure » March 12th 2011, 12:45am

I have a 95 rwd and I have to say that the only disappointment I have is that it doesn't have a posi. If I ever decide to buy another Astro I'll go AWD.
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Re: Need opinions on RWD vs AWD

Postby miniVan » March 12th 2011, 12:50am

hardlecure wrote:I have a 95 rwd and I have to say that the only disappointment I have is that it doesn't have a posi. If I ever decide to buy another Astro I'll go AWD.


Open diff's are also good and probably safer in unexpected conditions too because they give you stability in slippery driving conditions. RWD's with open diff's won't slide sideways as much on corners or on straight roads in snow when there is a loss of traction (compared to posi). With open differentials you can regain control of the vehicle much quicker and you won't loose as much control in the first place.
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Re: Need opinions on RWD vs AWD

Postby hardlecure » March 12th 2011, 2:54am

miniVan wrote:
hardlecure wrote:I have a 95 rwd and I have to say that the only disappointment I have is that it doesn't have a posi. If I ever decide to buy another Astro I'll go AWD.


Open diff's are also good and probably safer in unexpected conditions too because they give you stability in slippery driving conditions. RWD's with open diff's won't slide sideways as much on corners or on straight roads in snow when there is a loss of traction (compared to posi). With open differentials you can regain control of the vehicle much quicker and you won't loose as much control in the first place.


I still prefer a posi over one-wheel-peel
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Re: Need opinions on RWD vs AWD

Postby chevymaher » March 12th 2011, 3:12am

[/quote]

I still prefer a posi over one-wheel-peel[/quote]
It alot harder to cross it up in the corners with one wheel peel,I gotta remember that its great.One wheel peel :rofl:
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Re: Need opinions on RWD vs AWD

Postby bentwanderer » December 7th 2011, 5:43am

back in high school i tried to take a couple buddies up to a ski place in California, that was all snowed in and they were closing the road just behind us and requiring chains. I was driving my moms Rambler American. We could not even park on this mountain. We parked got out slammed the doors and the car began sliding sideways down the hill we were able to push it in the direction of a tree to stop it from going over the cliff. Bottom line when i tried to get it away from the tree i was get'n kinda skeered it was gonna be stuck till spring. I ended up putting 2 big chicas in the back seat and three fat ones in the trunk ; we went all the way to the top like we ahd 4wd with lockers and chains on. Get a pair of decent snow tires and go to Lowe's and buy 8 bags of sand, In the spring take of the snow tires stow'm in the garage and return the bags of sand.... :D
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