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Old 12-09-2013, 11:35 AM
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2014 Durango AWD V-6 snow report

Well, my area in Maryland got about 9" of snow yesterday. I spent hours out in the worst of it (yet didn't cover that many miles -- people can't drive in Maryland!) Lots of 10MPH drivers with hazards on.

Overall, the Durango did well. Really wish I had some way of actively engaging the AWD. I saw no sort of indication when AWD did or did not kick in. I tried pushing the limits on a few turns and the Durango had no intention of turning. I tried at various speeds and my lesson learned was "take all turns cautiously". Not bad advice anyway but I know the limit (low). I was not on duty but our fire station had a tremendous number of calls for accidents yesterday so conditions absolutely warranted a good bit of caution.

It certainly did far better than any RWD car I saw out there. Outstanding actually. It's easy to spot a RWD car or truck at a traffic light or on a hill. I was at a red light and I went when the light turned green. Somebody in a SUV was at the opposing light and decided to make a u-turn in front of me. No way they had a green light or arrow so the SUV makes most of the turn, gets in the right lane, and then spins sideways into my lane. I was on the throttle a bit and made an evasive left turn and throttled past it. The Durango did not let me down there.

Additional observations:
  • I find the rear defroster to be very weak.
  • The front windshield wipers freeze up easily and are of little use. I found it to be unacceptable/dangerous. I'll absolutely have to treat the windshield with something and hope it helps. As a snowmobiler, I drive and tow in the snow so I kind of need to see.
  • The splash guards do a great job of preventing snow build-up on the lower panels but they naturally get caked in snow. A slight tap with the shoe knocks most free easily.
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Old 12-09-2013, 12:03 PM
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Re: 2014 Durango AWD V-6 snow report

I don't believe the AWD kicks in, should always be 50/50 split with our transfer case in the V6.

When you say the D had no intention of turning I assume that's understeer because the tires weren't biting the snow. I think you have the 18s with the Michelin Latitudes? I've read the GC owners don't like them in the snow.

If you apply something to the windshield, rain-x, what ever, don't apply it to the section behind the mirror if you have rain sensing wipers. That little window is where it shoots an infra red beam at the window. At worst it will make it less effective.

Thanks for the report.
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Old 12-09-2013, 12:23 PM
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Re: 2014 Durango AWD V-6 snow report

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Originally Posted by vertrkr View Post
I don't believe the AWD kicks in, should always be 50/50 split with our transfer case in the V6.
Ok. That's encouraging in many ways.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vertrkr
When you say the D had no intention of turning I assume that's understeer because the tires weren't biting the snow. I think you have the 18s with the Michelin Latitudes? I've read the GC owners don't like them in the snow.
Correct on all accounts. I can see how they'd be disliked in the snow!
Quote:
Originally Posted by vertrkr
If you apply something to the windshield, rain-x, what ever, don't apply it to the section behind the mirror if you have rain sensing wipers. That little window is where it shoots an infra red beam at the window. At worst it will make it less effective.
I have old Rain-X on right now. It's pretty much worn off. I'm switching to something else soon. Typically, I don't use/need wipers with fresh Rain-X so it would be a non-issue but I will look for that area and steer clear on future applications because I do like the rain-sensing wipers when I need them. All other intermittent wiper settings are too fast. In fact, I see little difference between all but the fastest settings.
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Old 12-09-2013, 12:42 PM
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Re: 2014 Durango AWD V-6 snow report

just going to throw it out there, but might want to try out PPG aquapel, i like it way more then rain-x
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Old 12-09-2013, 12:58 PM
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Re: 2014 Durango AWD V-6 snow report

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Originally Posted by ufokillerz View Post
just going to throw it out there, but might want to try out PPG aquapel, i like it way more then rain-x
Thank you. I'm done with Rain-X. It just doesn't last and works best at higher speeds. I consider it a single use treatment and resorted to applying it just before heavy rains were forecast. Aquapel is on my list but I'm going to try Pinnacle glass cleaner and sealant first (2 separate products, each with a rain/water repellent). The Pinnacle is on my Christmas list.
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Old 12-09-2013, 01:34 PM
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Re: 2014 Durango AWD V-6 snow report

Quote:
Originally Posted by fireman View Post
Well, my area in Maryland got about 9" of snow yesterday. I spent hours out in the worst of it (yet didn't cover that many miles -- people can't drive in Maryland!) Lots of 10MPH drivers with hazards on.

Overall, the Durango did well. Really wish I had some way of actively engaging the AWD. I saw no sort of indication when AWD did or did not kick in. I tried pushing the limits on a few turns and the Durango had no intention of turning. I tried at various speeds and my lesson learned was "take all turns cautiously". Not bad advice anyway but I know the limit (low). I was not on duty but our fire station had a tremendous number of calls for accidents yesterday so conditions absolutely warranted a good bit of caution.

It certainly did far better than any RWD car I saw out there. Outstanding actually. It's easy to spot a RWD car or truck at a traffic light or on a hill. I was at a red light and I went when the light turned green. Somebody in a SUV was at the opposing light and decided to make a u-turn in front of me. No way they had a green light or arrow so the SUV makes most of the turn, gets in the right lane, and then spins sideways into my lane. I was on the throttle a bit and made an evasive left turn and throttled past it. The Durango did not let me down there.

Additional observations:
  • I find the rear defroster to be very weak.
  • The front windshield wipers freeze up easily and are of little use. I found it to be unacceptable/dangerous. I'll absolutely have to treat the windshield with something and hope it helps. As a snowmobiler, I drive and tow in the snow so I kind of need to see.
  • The splash guards do a great job of preventing snow build-up on the lower panels but they naturally get caked in snow. A slight tap with the shoe knocks most free easily.
Interesting...we were out in the snow (our town got about 9.5" inches yesterday) because we had an errand we needed to run, and waiting wasn't an option.

NJ isn't any different than Maryland with people's ability to drive in snow - most sucky. We saw at least three or four cars in ditches, and we only went 5 miles from home. We also saw a large number of cars (both front and rear drive) spinning the tires on slight grades.

We were definitely cautious. Our area was not prepared for the amount of snow we got. There had been no pre-treatment of road surfaces. On the way home, the main roads had been plowed, but in a way that left a sheet of ice/frozen slush on the surface.

Our Durango handled it like a champ, and I have some thoughts on your observations...

AWD on the V6 is 50/50 front-to-rear all the time. Any apportionment of traction left to right is, I believe, brake based, such that a spinning wheel will be slowed using the brakes.

It's great for getting you going in slick conditions, and helping to maintain traction at prudent speeds for those conditions, but no, its not going to help you stop any better, or turn any faster.
  • I find the rear defroster to be very weak.
Ours worked fine, but only because I kept it running along with the rear wiper. The short cycle time (before auto shutoff) doesn't help. I just kept turning it back on.
  • The front windshield wipers freeze up easily and are of little use. I found it to be unacceptable/dangerous. I'll absolutely have to treat the windshield with something and hope it helps. As a snowmobiler, I drive and tow in the snow so I kind of need to see.
I noticed this too. The fix/trick involved running the front defroster either alone, or with the defroster/dash vents. This kept the glass warm enough to prevent the icing.
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Old 12-09-2013, 01:38 PM
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Re: 2014 Durango AWD V-6 snow report

One note on the tires -

We have the Michelin's too. I recently put new tires on my Yukon and had a choice between the Latitude and LTX. That said, they seemed to do okay yesterday for what we encountered.

I went with the LTX despite the higher price (and what looks like worse fuel mileage) because the ratings were better in the snow (not that we get much of it here).

I hate to completely neg them on a single experience, but would be interested to see what those with the Goodyear's (20") experienced yesterday.
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Old 12-09-2013, 03:17 PM
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Re: 2014 Durango AWD V-6 snow report

Quote:
Originally Posted by davewg View Post
Interesting...we were out in the snow (our town got about 9.5" inches yesterday) because we had an errand we needed to run, and waiting wasn't an option.
I'm glad they were only calling for 1-2"!

Quote:
Originally Posted by davewg
We were definitely cautious. Our area was not prepared for the amount of snow we got. There had been no pre-treatment of road surfaces.
I was cautious at times but took the opportunity to experiment a little when safe to do so. Mostly braking and turning experiments. I think our area was prepared for the 1-2 they were calling for. I went in to church and it was not snowing. Walked out an hour later to almost 2" on the ground.
Quote:
Originally Posted by davewg
AWD on the V6 is 50/50 front-to-rear all the time. Any apportionment of traction left to right is, I believe, brake based, such that a spinning wheel will be slowed using the brakes.
Thanks David. I keep forgetting that. Too many years in the Murano with a different kind of system. Good to know it's always there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by davewg
It's great for getting you going in slick conditions, and helping to maintain traction at prudent speeds for those conditions, but no, its not going to help you stop any better, or turn any faster.
Absolutely. I found the Durango and the tires to be very good when I was not experimenting. This was proven when I had to dance around the SUV spinning next to me.

On the rear defroster, I kept pushing the button when it shut off. Maybe it just couldn't keep up. We were getting 2" an hour for a while and I was out in the peak of the storm.

For the front, I also ran that defroster constantly. Maybe splitting it with the vents would help. I noticed this problem almost immediately. I even cleaned the wipers off a couple of times. They pretty much froze back up instantly. Granted, it was well below freezing and snowing heavily. I'm just glad I don't live in Colorado.
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Old 12-09-2013, 03:33 PM
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Re: 2014 Durango AWD V-6 snow report

Well the 20" wheels to my surprise did much better then I was expecting based on some earlier complaints I have read. While we only got a couple of inches in Northern NJ and not the 9 that you guys got I still gave it a try. I stopped on some hills that where not salted as of yet or plowed and goosed it a little. It dug right in with very minimal wheel spin. Tested the ABS out as well and seemed to work good as well.
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Old 12-11-2013, 11:16 AM
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Re: 2014 Durango AWD V-6 snow report

I did get a chance to test out the AWD recently also.
I had an icy hill to climb and came to a stop part way up. Then punched it enough to break the wheels loose - traction control light came on and a noise came from the front wheel area. I'm going to have to check that out to see if it's normal...
I was able to climb the hill fine - probably could not have with just RWD.
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Old 12-11-2013, 11:52 AM
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Re: 2014 Durango AWD V-6 snow report

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Then punched it enough to break the wheels loose - traction control light came on and a noise came from the front wheel area. I'm going to have to check that out to see if it's normal...
I was able to climb the hill fine - probably could not have with just RWD.
Did the noise sound like a grinding or what might sound like wheels spinning (but on dry pavement)?

If so, based on a recent experience in my Yukon, what you probably heard was the ABS system activating the brakes in an attempt to reduce wheel spin and regain traction.

My educated guess is that what you had occur was normal operation.
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Old 12-11-2013, 12:22 PM
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Re: 2014 Durango AWD V-6 snow report

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Originally Posted by davewg View Post
If so, based on a recent experience in my Yukon, what you probably heard was the ABS system activating the brakes in an attempt to reduce wheel spin and regain traction.
My educated guess is that what you had occur was normal operation.
+1 All my cars with traction control do that when I punch it to break traction in the rain or snow.
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