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Old 01-07-2013, 04:41 PM   #11
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Re: Suburban vs 4x4 Van in the snow

All I can say Boomer, is be careful who you listen to. Nothing wrong with a 4x4 suburban, or a van.

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Originally Posted by boomer
I've ran this by a few folks and received the following comments that I am trying to confirm/deny:

1) EB will not be safe in the snow.
baseless hogwash, IMO


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Originally Posted by boomer
2) Fixed top, like a voyager, will create an unstable condition going around snowy corners.
see comment #1

You can't drive it like you stole it, but the tall vans do fine in the snow. Counter-intuitively, a high center of gravity actually helps a little, by increasing body roll, and loading the outside tires, squeezing out the slush. An old trick used by sportscar racers in the wet: Disconnect both front and rear swaybars, use the narrowest tires you brought with you, move any ballast up high on the chassis, for that same effect.

Do you want to know one of the most unsafe vehicles in the snow? A wide tired, flat cornering, low-CG mid-engined rear wheel drive sportscar! Swap ends quicker that you can say 'what the h_ _ _ _?!? ask me how I know, Lol) Particularly in the hands of some over-confident wanna-be boy racer-type drive borrowed said sportscar
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:03 PM   #12
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Re: Suburban vs 4x4 Van in the snow

now officially confirmed. it was lightly snowing when i answered earlier and only had the van in a few random spots of slickness prior. when i left work today, there was 3" on the ground and slick as snot.

ive had a 4wd toyota the last 18 years and the van puts it to shame...and i always bragged up how well it did in the snow. very well behaved and easy to manipulate. i locked in the hubs while it warmed up, but left it in 2wd. went and did a few cookies in the parkinglot before i left. was easy to hang out sideways. had way more turn angle then i had imagined.

put it in 4wd before i got out into traffic. pulled out into the mess no problem and traction was pretty good considering i have nearly worn out mud tires. stopping is what suprised me. i tried locking up the brakes to slide to a stop a few times and that big ole pig just dig in and got to pavement fast. barely even used the abs. even where it looked packed down and icy. I have to say, im impressed.

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Originally Posted by Gnarvan
Your buddies would really bitch and moan if they rode with me. I turn the music off and roll the window down a little bit so I can listen for the sound of a wet tire spray disappearing. When it starts getting quiet it means the water is turning to ice and it's time to slow it down a little. Driving any vehicle safely in winter conditions requires the use all your senses.
they shut up quickly when i ask if they wanna drive thier rig next time.

were lucky. black ice is pretty rare around these parts. its either rain or snow. we dont get much in the middle. and often, its not even music anymore anyway. the dvd is usually going. so if i have it loud enough to hear family guy, passengers are happy and i can think straight.

that is a really good course of action though. Ill keep that in mind next time im in those conditions. thanks for the tip
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:40 PM   #13
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Re: Suburban vs 4x4 Van in the snow

I am in the Sierra Nevada mountains. We get lots of snow......over 7 feet in three days at Christmas this year, and that is not unusual. I drive the Sportsmobile as my daily driver in the winter. As mentioned above, tires are very important for good winter driving. The other thing I want to add is that many vehicles go well in snow and slippery roads. The operative word is "go". Stopping is another issue. Just because you have great traction and are able to plow through anything, be aware of stopping the vehicle if something goes wrong in front of you, or coming at you from the other lane.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:01 PM   #14
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Suburban vs 4x4 Van in the snow

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Originally Posted by oclv
I am in the Sierra Nevada mountains. We get lots of snow......over 7 feet in three days at Christmas this year, and that is not unusual. I drive the Sportsmobile as my daily driver in the winter. As mentioned above, tires are very important for good winter driving. The other thing I want to add is that many vehicles go well in snow and slippery roads. The operative word is "go". Stopping is another issue. Just because you have great traction and are able to plow through anything, be aware of stopping the vehicle if something goes wrong in front of you, or coming at you from the other lane.
Every kid with a Jeep needs to read that last part, and reread it, and reread it.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:10 PM   #15
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Re: Suburban vs 4x4 Van in the snow

Kids? How about the adults!
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:37 AM   #16
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Re: Suburban vs 4x4 Van in the snow

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Kids? How about the adults!
^^^ 100%.

people are doing everything BUT driving on the road anymore. wife was just commenting on how bad people were tailgating in the snow yesterday when she was out.

i was back out in the snow quite a bit last night getting a better feel for the van. only thing i found is that it pulls you really hard one way or the other when going through deep, tracked out snow. like the stuff piled up on the sides of the road. quite a bit more than the ole toyota, but i chalk this up to how much wider the tires on the van are. some taller, skinnier tires for the winter would be a plus over the 285/75's (vs a 30x9.50) that i currently have on there now.

fun factor wise, i really like how the van reacts with the throttle on the slickery roads. get on it around a corner and the assend comes out, but the front stays planted. was a lot of fun!
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:11 AM   #17
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Re: Suburban vs 4x4 Van in the snow

I'm on my fourth Wrangler. They are great for four wheeling, but are terrible if it's snowy/icy. They are really light with big tires so you can climb around in snow no probs. They are squirrely in ice conditions though because of that light weight.

Black ice is the real danger with them because
A) No ABS brakes
C) Swap ends in a hurry

I have a good crease on both passenger side corners (front and rear) from it just swapping twice while driving down the highway in icy conditions and bouncing into a cable barrier. Barrier just tossed me right back out of the median into the road going forward like nothing happened, but scary. It was damned treacherous Oklahoma solid sheet ice everywhere though so can't fault the vehicle that much.

The only time I really fear driving is in freezing conditions when a small bridge is coming up (Kansas I-70 I'm looking at you). The pavement may be fine and everything is groovy, but the second you go over that bridge cross your fingers and hope.

Over years of owning Jeeps that's the only thing I can complain about. Almost 200k on my current '01 TJ and runs like a top. Never left me stranded.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:53 AM   #18
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Re: Suburban vs 4x4 Van in the snow

I had both the suburban and the RB 350 Sportsmobile. The van was hands down better in the snow than my suburban.... I drive snow a lot since I ski every weekend. The van was my choice vehicle and the one I would take in serious weather conditions. I could get through most everything probably because it weighs so damn much 9500 lbs and traction tires.
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:48 PM   #19
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Re: Suburban vs 4x4 Van in the snow

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Originally Posted by Roonie
I had both the suburban and the RB 350 Sportsmobile. The van was hands down better in the snow than my suburban.... I drive snow a lot since I ski every weekend. The van was my choice vehicle and the one I would take in serious weather conditions. I could get through most everything probably because it weighs so damn much 9500 lbs and traction tires.
I must agree with Roonie here. If I compare my 4x4 pickup to the van, my E-350 wins every time when dealing with ice. Places I've spun out in my pickup don't seem to impact the van nearly as much. Yep I've been stuck in snow but I think it's how heavy the van is. I stepped out of my van in Yosemite Valley during winter a couple of years back and instantly hit the ground. And as soon as I was up, I was back down on the ground Yeah I had a couple folks laughing at me but I quickly climbed back into the van and got out of there. As I drove away two cars collided with each other. I never could even feel the black ice until I stepped out of the van plus the van seemed to drive normal as I took off. Not so for the cars. I was totally surprised of the traction the van got compared to my sneekers.
After watching a Jeep in front of me go over a cliff up on 120, I watch out for those people...like they were in such a hurry they had to pass me at 40+??? The park now post 25 mph as the limit in the park if the chain sign is out. That might be extreme but it seems snow connditions can change easily and it hard to tell what kind of traction you have from spot to spot.

I had a guy from Washington state tell me people in Ca don't know how to drive in snow and that 40-50 MPH is safe and normal from where he comes from. Can that be true?
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:06 PM   #20
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Re: Suburban vs 4x4 Van in the snow

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I had a guy from Washington state tell me people in Ca don't know how to drive in snow and that 40-50 MPH is safe and normal from where he comes from. Can that be true?
When the passes have a lot of snow and the roads are covered yes it is common to go about 40mph and some go faster. Just coming off Highway 2 (Stevens Pass) on Sunday and it was covered in snow and I was descending at about 45 mph and a guy screams past at about 60. I guess it is how comfortable you are with your rig. I am not willing to push it at that speed and on corners. However 40 on snow on the highway is perfectly comfortable speed.

On a seperate occassion.....I even got a ticket in the van for going to fast for the road conditions..... deep snow and I was going 45ish on a two lane road and the cop pulls me over. I never slipped once and no traction problems what so ever, honestly felt like I was on pavement.... the van is heavy!!!
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