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Discussion Starter #1
I took my 2001 MDX to Tahoe this weekend, where there was perhaps 2 or 3 inches of fresh snow on the roads. Every time I gave the car gas from a stop, the front tires would spin unless I was very gentle and backed off. If I didn't back off, the car started to turn sideways, usually, if not always to the left.

What's up with that?

And that was on a flat road. On a slight incline, the car had almost NO ability to go up hill at all, unless I was very VERY gentle on the gas, or unless I turned on the VTM-4 lock mode. Then it worked fine, at low speeds.

I drove my friend's explorer to Tahoe a couple of years ago, and we had 2 feet of snow, and the explorer drove through everything it encountered without even a twitch. Straight through everything. I tried gunning the engine, and it was straight as an arrow, no slipping at all as far as I can recall.

I expected less from my not full time 4wd MDX, but the experience I had was no better than my 1988 acura integra. I am not exaggerating. I have no confidence in the snow with the MDX unless I install chains, which I was trying to avoid when I bought the MDX in the first place.

So my question is: is my VTM not working? I've read all the web sites and see how it's actually supposed to work, and it seems as though I should feel sure-footed when I drive in the snow, that it should switch power to the rear wheels at least partially whenever I start from a stop, and should do quite well in the snow when I am already moving. But as I said, I didn't have that experience at all.

Any advice for me?

JP
 

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Every time you start out from a stop, the VTM-4 engages to help get you going without wheelspin; it's also supposed to kick in any time whenever wheelspin is sensed. I could hardly make it lose traction when we had a 12" snowfall a couple of months ago, and it was far better in the snow than my 4X4 Explorer. Two days ago I was showing it off for a friend on a gravel road -- flooring it from a stop produced nothing but straight-line acceleration; I didn't feel or hear any gravel hitting the undercarriage. The Explorer (in 2WD) spins the tires, even with PosiTraction.

Sounds to me like there's something grossly wrong with your VTM-4 controller, or the VTM unit itself.

Advice? Get thee back to thy dealer!
 

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I would say my experiences have been the reverse.

I have taken our MDX to Tahoe the last two winters (2001/2002) and have had no problem in heavy snow, fresh snow, slush, etc.

The MDX has handled much better than our previous Explorer. The Explorer had trouble in deep snow where the MDX just cruises through, no problem.

In my experience, the MDX felt more stable and sure in the snow than the Explorer.
 

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bad traction

I would agree with the other members that your VTM might not be working properly. During the last 2 yrs I have been out in a bad ice storm and 4-7" snow and the MDX handled very good. I never had to lock the VTM it shifted as needed by itself. Good Luck, hope it is an easy fix.
 

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Tires make a big difference too. Your friend's Explorer might have had a tire with a more agressive tread. I've had my MDX out in weather where the snow was very slippery - ie - it was snowing with the temp slightly above freezing - and would have liked a little more traction. But I think the problem was the tire tread more than the AWD system.
 

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HERE'S A TEST, BUT BE VERY CAREFUL
A good test is to find a large garage floor surface that is coated.
(The plastic coated surfaces they use at auto repair shops, etc.)
Start at one end and mash the throttle to the floor the MDX should lurch forward and accelerate like a cheetah with not a hint of slippage.
That's the demo I got from an Acura salesman.
It is highly recommended the garage be empty of people, and both front and rear exits are open.
A great vehicle for those parking garage chase scenes.
 

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I think its the tires. At least the Goddyear Integrity tires. I think they have poor wet/snow grip and are the weakest link for the MDX. In dry pavement they're OK and quiet, but thet slide like crazy in the wet (in my experience). I can wait till they wear out to buy new ones.
 

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I'd put money on a problem with the VTM4 controller...

If it was tires, you'd get 4 wheel slippage- You seem to be getting differential front-to-rear wheel speed and the VTM4 should surpress that tendancy. Even with poor tire tread the system should sense slippage and adjust.

I was up in Tahoe Thur-Fri-Sat and had zero problems (other than pinheads who can't drive in the snow. Just because you have 4 wheel drive doesn't mean you can stop better..)

Oh, do your antilock brakes work flawlessly? If there is any problem with that, it could indicate a wheel sensor issue that is also affecting the VTM4.

Have the dealer check the DTC codes from the VTM4 control module using the Honda PGM tester.

There ARE some VTM4 failures that would NOT light up the dashboard failure indicator.

Good luck,

Ard
 

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Discussion Starter #9
called the acura dealer

Hi there,

Thanks for the responses. The dealer wants to see the car. I talked to a smart guy. He said that if all tires are spinning at the same rate, then it will not detect slippage. But I find it hard to believe that that was happening, every time it happened. I.e., it never worked properly, ever.

One question I have, and the technician I talked to didn't know off the top of his head: does the VTM light turn on when the system kicks in? Or do you only ever see that light when you lock it into place? I certainly didn't see any lights or any indication that anything was going on, as the car was slipping.

I hope it's the case that's something is broken - otherwise I am trading it in for ... something different. Yes, I am that sad ;-)

JP
 

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JP-

Theoretically, he might be correct: there could be a set of circumstances that 'fools' the system---sort of like calling heads or tails but the coin lands on edge... your statement that it never worked right indicates this is not the case.

The light only comes on when the VTM4 is locked. Otherwise you'll never know.

Make sure you get everything in writing starting from the first visit. You never know where it might lead- hopefully this is only an 'electronic/module/sensor- type of problem' and not a transmission/differential problem. (Is there any fluid in the VTM4 differential?.....)

Good luck- keep us posted

Ard
 

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I can't believe the timing of this post!! I just got back from Mammoth lake last night with my MDX. We didn't hit much snow or slippery conditions, but a few times I tried pushing the VTM-4 lock and the light didn't come on. I even slowed down to almost a crawl, didn't light up. I put it in park and it still didn't light up.

I know the tires slipped a few times and I looked for a light indicator and didn't see anything.

Is this normal or do I need to make a trip to the dealer?
 

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megabuck is absolutelly correct, you need to be in 1 or 2 to be able to engage VTM4
 

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jpayne said:
I took my 2001 MDX to Tahoe this weekend, where there was perhaps 2 or 3 inches of fresh snow on the roads. Every time I gave the car gas from a stop, the front tires would spin unless I was very gentle and backed off. If I didn't back off, the car started to turn sideways, usually, if not always to the left.

What's up with that?

And that was on a flat road. On a slight incline, the car had almost NO ability to go up hill at all, unless I was very VERY gentle on the gas, or unless I turned on the VTM-4 lock mode. Then it worked fine, at low speeds.

I drove my friend's explorer to Tahoe a couple of years ago, and we had 2 feet of snow, and the explorer drove through everything it encountered without even a twitch. Straight through everything. I tried gunning the engine, and it was straight as an arrow, no slipping at all as far as I can recall.

I expected less from my not full time 4wd MDX, but the experience I had was no better than my 1988 acura integra. I am not exaggerating. I have no confidence in the snow with the MDX unless I install chains, which I was trying to avoid when I bought the MDX in the first place.

So my question is: is my VTM not working? I've read all the web sites and see how it's actually supposed to work, and it seems as though I should feel sure-footed when I drive in the snow, that it should switch power to the rear wheels at least partially whenever I start from a stop, and should do quite well in the snow when I am already moving. But as I said, I didn't have that experience at all.

Any advice for me?

JP
Jpayne-

Your MDX is all JACKED up. I have the dealer look at your VTM. I have taken my MDX up to Snow SUmmit, Bear Valley, Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead all this winter with slush, snow, water, ice...AND...I was towing my flat trailer with two ATVs on the back...I did not experienced any problems...On top of that I had four passenger, a butt load of camping gear...
 

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Ard is right

jayne,
I have had my MDX for almost precisely a year and never experienced your problem, even recently when we actually had some snow here in Chicago. Ard is almost certainly right that you must have some type of electronics problem that is preventing power from shifting to the rear wheels. I have found the AWD system better than in any of my other AWD cars including the new Subaru VDC wagon which has stability control. I have also found the brakes to be some of the best antilocks of any vehicle I have owned. Bottom line, you got a problem in the drivetrain somewhere that the dealer needs to fix.
 

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I have the Goodyear Integrity tires but when it came to winter I got Dunlop Ice and snow tires on Mille Spider wheels from Tire Rack. They are even better than the Blizzacks I have on my other cars.

BUT when I changed back to the Integrity tires it entailed a relearning curve as the Dunlops are very superior in not onlt ice and snow but also rain and dry pavement. The down side is they are fast wearers.
 

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We went to Tahoe last time when there was a snow storm hit
northern California. It was full of snow on highway 80, and driving our MDX was full of fun. It did not slip.
Before we got to the house, we drove around a snow covered supermarket parking lot well. And, found out ourselves would slip or fall walkig on the parking lot, but not the MDX. We drove around the parking lot couple times before we left there, before they cleaned the snow.

We have Michelin tires on the touring package.

D MDXer, Mesa Beige 2001 MDX w/Touring Package
 

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Not so good...

I just went to Tahoe this weekend with the big storm and all. I had 5 passengers and the trunk was fully loaded. My friend was following me in a rental 2002 Montero Sport. Several things concerned me:

1. Went up a driveway into a parking lot. It was a low to medium steep hill covered in ice and snow. Midway, I stopped bc we weren't sure if we had turned into the right parking lot. After the car had completely stopped, it started to slide backwards - I released the brakes and applied it again for ABS to kick in. It stopped after about 2 feet. I locked VTM, and started in 2nd gear. Slowly but with a lot of wheel spin, the MDX got up the driveway. I look back to see how my friend is doing and he had no problems at all.

2. Climbing uphill through snow. There was another driveway at our rental cabin. The driveway was covered in 6" of snow and had a lot of bumps and dips (ie. Street drain). First time I went up from stop the car spun its tires as if there were no tomorrow. I finally got up there with a little struggle. What I found was that the MDX is terrible when its starting from a stop. I tried going up the driveway without slowing down too much, and it ran right up there - no problems.

There were other senerios but I don't want to bore you guys. My thoughts are that with the load I had in the car, the rear suspension had cambered in so far (due to the independent suspension) that it had less traction. With the Montero, no matter how much he loaded it, the solid rear axle will stay straight. I also noticed that snow stuck into his tire treads and it did not with mine. Not a good sign for snow traction.

I think I need some wider and better tires to compensate for the natural camber changes...

Larry


 

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Poor Snow Traction Shocker!

2001 MDX's poor snow traction noted here too, due to lack of the X's inclusion of traction control and/or stability control. X's poor snow traction can only be improved by stopping the vehicle and engaging the VTM, and that's only usable in first or second gear and only up to 20mph, if I remember right. What a joke. Locking hubs anyone? Quite a shame and a sham for a near 40k rig.

Try getting a Toyota Highlander LTD to lose traction like the X does. The Highlander sticks like glue on snow because it embodies both traction control and stability control, the X, has neither in its normal driving/gearing mode. We have both the X and the Highlander. Oh well, buyer beware.

cheers, sajakake
 

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Yeah, I agree. We should all buy highlanders...

cheers, asshole.
 
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