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After reading this article, I am still confused about the VTM-4 system. I am worried about driving on icy highways – the kind with icy patches interspersed with snow covered patches. The driver can only engage and use the VTM-4 system at very low speeds (for getting unstuck or for preventing a hang-up). But on the highway, its impossible to lock it in and go 60km/h say, if the road is a complete skating rink. Can I trust that the system is effectively and automatically managing torque?? ... I hate having to trust that a computer is doing this for me! I'd rather either have a subaru AWD system that I know is on all the time or an old fashioned lever for 4WD hi/low. :confused: I bought the Ridgeline without doing my homework. It's a great truck in every other respect and fits my needs perfectly about 95% of the time, I'm just a wee bit uneasy about traveling at highway speeds in crap conditions. Any input on this is greatly appreciated.
I have had zero issues trusting the RL on ice glazed roads(I-80 60 miles west of Chicago runs east/west through open cornfields, and drifts and ice glazing are a regular occurance). Last few winters on numerous occasions I had domestic 4wd trucks(chevy's, fords, etc) in front of me & behind me, going the same speed as I was, spin out, and end up in the ditch as I just cruised over the same ice patches never losing the trucks footing.
 

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Same here, never a problem... almost too good - to the point where you forget you are driving in the conditions to begin with.
 

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After reading this article, I am still confused about the VTM-4 system. I am worried about driving on icy highways – the kind with icy patches interspersed with snow covered patches. The driver can only engage and use the VTM-4 system at very low speeds (for getting unstuck or for preventing a hang-up). But on the highway, its impossible to lock it in and go 60km/h say, if the road is a complete skating rink. Can I trust that the system is effectively and automatically managing torque?? ... I hate having to trust that a computer is doing this for me! I'd rather either have a subaru AWD system that I know is on all the time or an old fashioned lever for 4WD hi/low. :confused: I bought the Ridgeline without doing my homework. It's a great truck in every other respect and fits my needs perfectly about 95% of the time, I'm just a wee bit uneasy about traveling at highway speeds in crap conditions. Any input on this is greatly appreciated.

You are comparing a manual 4wd of the big 3 to the automatic 4wd of honda and the VSA. The subaru full time awd would kill gas mileage on the Ridgeline.

There is no comparison, the VSA automatically engages the wheels when you need it - what could be better than that, you don't need the vtm lock except in sand or mud to get going, once you are going everything is automatic.
 

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I bought the Ridgeline without doing my homework. It's a great truck in every other respect and fits my needs perfectly about 95% of the time, I'm just a wee bit uneasy about traveling at highway speeds in crap conditions. Any input on this is greatly appreciated.
First of all, shame on you for buying a RL without doing your homework. Seems like most of the major complaints are from people who buy a RL and then it's something like, "...well, how was I to know it can't tow 10,000 lbs...", or, "...what do you mean it doesn't have low range...", or, "...why am I only getting 19-20 MPG..."?

Second of all, why would you be traveling at "highway speeds" in "crap conditions"? Doesn't matter what drive train you have, whether it's 4x4, AWD, or a M1 Abrams tank, you shouldn't be going fast when the roads are glare ice (for example).

OK...off the soapbox now...the RL handles most conditions very well without any intervention from the driver. I've had several AWD/4x4 vehicles in my life time and the RL handles slippery road conditions better than anything I have owned in the past. Also...Like Larry said, the only time you need to lock the VTM in deep mud or something like that.
 

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Well, I thank you for your replies – minus the soapbox. Most of your comments were very helpful and have helped ease my worries about Honda's 4wd system being for Ken & Barbie on their way to the golf course.
 

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Well, I thank you for your replies – minus the soapbox. Most of your comments were very helpful and have helped ease my worries about Honda's 4wd system being for Ken & Barbie on their way to the golf course.

Actually that should help you with your skepticism.... The RL is for the Ken and Barbie’s that want a vehicle that

1) does not require a couple hundred pounds of sand in the bed for rear wheel traction
2) eases the fear of hitting the occasional ice patch and wondering if they would be able to slow down the vehicle fast enough and continue in the direction they want to go
3) Can climb up very icy inclines both forward and in reverse and keep straight.

During those big snow storms when one shouldn't go out and drive, is the best time to find out what the RL can do. The way the RL handles in those conditions is one of the many reasons why it is the right vehicle for me..... :)
 

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i signed up so i could possible read the article, but when i click the original link it takes me to the home page... any help?


i have recently became a new homeowner and have seen the need for a truck. so im ready to trade in 5 years of driving subaru (i really love awd) for a truck, just to find out the truck i like the most pretty much has awd. how wonderful is that?
 

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For the longest time I was thinking that the VTM-4 system wouldn't engage unless one was going 18mph or less – how useless is that!? But it's good to know that it is active even at higher speeds.
 

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I was thinking that the lock was the only time the system was doing anything. I guess I'm still thinking along traditional 4wd lines rather than Honda's monitored system.
 

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Another poster was kind enough to e-mail me a PDF of the article in question. It's attached here in two parts (there's a size limitation for PDF's that caused me to split it into two parts).

Please let me know if there are any problems opening up either document.
 

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Thanks, jbonbright, I just went to read the article and saw it didn't link. Your pdfs saved the day ;)
 

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after reading the descriptions from gary flint i am still a little bit hazy about how the 4wd system behaves when i am in two wheel drive mode. i am curious as to how it operates if i am at cruising speeds of 30+ in snowy conditions and the road is fairly slick. does the 4wd system just supplement the wheels accordingly or does it stay on?

also is there a light on the dash or something that lets me know when the 4wd system is engaged in a situation like that or at lower speeds without locking it.
 

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Okay, hopefully this will clear it up some.

The Ridgeline's drivetrain functions as All Wheel Drive. This means that as you are driving and wheel slip is detected, power is transfered to the non-slipping "axle" (Not individual wheels). The stability system will / can step in to control the slippage by applying braking to the slipping wheel. The stability system will do this in a skid as well. Someone has mentioned that at speeds above 80mph all power is sent to the front wheels, but I do not know this to be fact. The VTM-4 Lock causes the rear differential (VTM-4 Difff) to lock so that the rear wheels turn at the same rate by locking the cluth packs to both rear half shafts (Functions like a traditional locking rear diff up to 18mph).

So in normal driving, the power is constantly moved between "axles" to improve performance. If stuck, depress the VTM-4 Lock button and place the transmission in D1, D2, or R. The rear clutch packs lock and up to 70% of the torque is sent to the rear wheels. Once unstuck, disengage the VTM-4 Lock as damage can occur when used constantly.
 

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Wow, excellent article and while I am no mechanic or engineer, I understood enough to know that when I run in the sand, all I have to do is shut off the VSA and I will have no problem.
 

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Last winter in Seattle we had a big (for us) snow storm followed by freezing temperatures. I found myself driving up an very steep icy hill. A good Samaritan tried to stop me, but I kept going. Going up the hill, I got a real-world trial of the VTM-4 system. In short, it worked flawlessly; I never felt any slipping or sliding. At the top of the hill was a stop sign. I stopped, still at a very steep angle. When I accelerated from the stop, my Ridge' acted as though the road was dry. I have had many 4x4's over the years, and none would have done as well as my Ridge did that day.
 

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Last winter in the middle of a bad NH snowstorm I decided to mess with the 4wd system on my very very steep paved driveway covered with 6 inches of snow hours before it was plowed.

I have not needed to use the rear lock so far, it has worked flawlessly in D, no matter how deep the snow.

Test one: from a dead stop halfway up my driveway in D, it would slip just a tiny bit, then grip and go right up the rest of the way, no more slipping, fully automatic. very nice.

Test two: from a dead stop halfway up, In gear D with vtm-4 lock, the truck would slip, continue to slip and slide backwards down the hill before I would stop and turn the lock off to get my butt outta trouble.

I tested the vtm-4 lock in 1, 2, and drive and all with the same result

I did the test over and over again and every time my truck would climb up the snow better when I left it in D without vtm-4 lock.

I know this is a weird test but going up a very steep hill is the most likely place to slip in the snow (in my experience)

I have owned a 95 dodge ram 4wd, a 93 jeep grand cherokee 4wd, and a 2002 wrx. The ridgeline was almost as good as my subaru in the snow, but I also had blizzak lm25 snow tires on the wrx. I think with true snow tires the ridgeline would go from great to amazing.
 

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The VTM-4 does not work in D only 1, 2, and R. You must have pushed VSA thinking it was VTM-4 which will allow wheel spin but not lock in 4 wheel drive. You must be in 1, 2, or R to use the VTM-4. Ill bet when you were in drive and tried to press the VTM-4 button it didnt light up like it does when your in a lower gear.
 

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Last winter in the middle of a bad NH snowstorm I decided to mess with the 4wd system on my very very steep paved driveway covered with 6 inches of snow hours before it was plowed.

I have not needed to use the rear lock so far, it has worked flawlessly in D, no matter how deep the snow.

Test one: from a dead stop halfway up my driveway in D, it would slip just a tiny bit, then grip and go right up the rest of the way, no more slipping, fully automatic. very nice.

Test two: from a dead stop halfway up, In gear D with vtm-4 lock, the truck would slip, continue to slip and slide backwards down the hill before I would stop and turn the lock off to get my butt outta trouble.

I tested the vtm-4 lock in 1, 2, and drive and all with the same result

I did the test over and over again and every time my truck would climb up the snow better when I left it in D without vtm-4 lock.

I know this is a weird test but going up a very steep hill is the most likely place to slip in the snow (in my experience)

I have owned a 95 dodge ram 4wd, a 93 jeep grand cherokee 4wd, and a 2002 wrx. The ridgeline was almost as good as my subaru in the snow, but I also had blizzak lm25 snow tires on the wrx. I think with true snow tires the ridgeline would go from great to amazing.
Are you sure you were not pressing the VSA button?
 
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