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What’s funny is I was going through some past posts and someone posted they talked to a mechanic friend from Europe who said don’t get the AWD because it constantly breaks, lol.

Then people posted how the AWD system here is different etc....

You just can’t win today on the internet, everything is complete junk!!!, lol.
That is true. You always find at least one voice supporting any statement. I speak German and spend every year a few months in Europe. I am retired and have no time constraints. I follow quite a few forums in Europe and in the last 12 years I have seen very few discussions about problems with the European awd system. Usually something broke after the driver locked the system on a dry paved road. That would do it. I never had problems with my Transit and I started my trip through Africa and Latin America in 2011. About 100,000 miles later and after completing the trip in 2019 in Uruguay I sold my Transit to someone who started another expedition. Right now I own a F150 with a CampX (the first fullsize prototype) pop up camper and for my travels in Europe and neighbourhood a 2020 Transit camper van with 170 hp diesel, awd and a 6 speed manual gearbox with low first gear and 4.11 differential. Tires are 225/75R16 with a 2 inch lift. Not a rock crawler but capable enough for travelling once we are free to travel again.
 

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Well... I don't think this would be the path of fewest Benjamin's but certainly anything is possible. If you really had the desire to have the Torsen center diff, you'd probably also have the desire to strengthen some other components and at that point you're designing and building an entirely new transfer case. Unlikely that a market for something like this exists. I don't think there is anything wrong with the front driveshaft engagement mechanism for the vast majority of the Transit users out there.

Could the AWD system components be improved? Yes. Would it be easy or cheap? No. I've designed and sourced several different custom drivetrain parts recently (internal and external splines, heat treated high strength steel, etc...) and I can tell you with absolute certainty that without dozens of buyers, the cost of custom t-case internals would be prohibitively expensive.



Probably wouldn't hurt.
Understood and for sure last year I installed a very a trick transmission and driveline in my 3000GT and my bank account sure felt it lol. My question was more one of curiosity around could a Torsen be crammed in there to provide a purely mechanical torque shifting center diff.
 

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I think being able to push a button and lock it 50:50 front/rear would be a great option. You get all the benefits of AWD, and then in those rare times you need it, lock it and not worry about the system doing its own thing.

I believe this is an aftermarket option that would sell well.
 

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Just to refresh my memory I went out to the van and made some observations about Mud/Rut mode. When the mode is engaged the warning light comes on indicating TC/Stability is off. It also holds the shift points much longer and there is much more engine braking as it downshifts. Also, the AWD indicator shows a constant balance of torque levels on all 4 wheels as opposed to normal mode where it seems to vary based on conditions.
 

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So could the OP not have just let the system cool and then try to continue on in the correct mode??
From my (limited) experience. I would say turn off TC as soon as you get off pavement. And turn on Mud/Rut mode as soon as you try to climb anything with limited traction. It appears OP was new to the vehicle and did not change modes or turn off TC. I'm guessing TC tried to nanny the situation to the point of overheating. I do know from experience that TC will prevent you from maintaining momentum needed to navigate low traction situations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
What tires?
Stock tires with new tread. Im sure thats a major problem in mud or snow, but with the limited wheel/tire options for the AWD stock height van im still in search mode for something else. Would love to go 17" and something AT or similar in the future. Not in any hurry to spend money on a lift kit, but it may be down the line.

Thanks again guys for all of the feedback.

I did email Matt Ford as they seem to be the most versed so far in the 2020 AWD models and they mentioned i may have been better off in Slippery/Ice mode instead of Mudd/Rutts? Seems to give the front tires more percentage of traction etc... He did not mention turning off TC, but i would assume you couldnt get far in mud without it off? When TC is on (at least with my Dodge Ram) it robbs all of the power from the wheels and you go nowhere.

Since the van is still new and im figuring all of this out, im gonna go testing and try different settings on slippery surfaces and post up anything i can find differently than this last time. I hope i find some mode that is beast mode etc... and keeps the system on.
 

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That is the spirit. Testing the limits on a vehicle when new is my favorite. I already got my van slightly sideways in the snow to see what it would do. Same with slippy ice on a downhill. They aren't infants they are machines. Btw...hope the braaappp was good. I haven't ridden the moto in a few months now. Miss it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
That is the spirit. Testing the limits on a vehicle when new is my favorite. I already got my van slightly sideways in the snow to see what it would do. Same with slippy ice on a downhill. They aren't infants they are machines. Btw...hope the braaappp was good. I haven't ridden the moto in a few months now. Miss it.
Yeah would have liked to not spend 60K to have a test vehicle, but someone has to be the ginny pig. (lol)

The Braaapp session wasnt as good as i would have liked i think since my wind was takin from my sail after the morning AWD fiasco. I couldnt get it out of my head and it effected my moto skills, but whats the saying again, "any day on the bike is better than a day on the couch" or something to that effect. (lol)
 

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Mud on the sensors? Trying to go to fast? What gear? Overload of the sensors with these new fangled things will leave you stuck.
Glad i chose Quadvan
I’m with you richards. Quadvan all the way. Don’t need any of that fancy computer crap.
 

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First time really testing out the AWD system on a muddy road and it failed me miserably. Was trying to climb a slippery section of road going into a friends property and the wheels began to spin. I tried to back up and get a new approach but soon after that, the AWD system shut down. It would not work again until i was able to get pulled out of my stuck position and back to flat ground.

System seemed to work after that, but what good does it do if the system shuts down while you are stuck? I know these arent made to go to the rubicon, but a slippery dirt road, come on man! What gives? Im sure its a safety thing Ford implemented for the system to not over heat or get abused, but litteraly 4 minutes of trying to get unstuck shuts the system down? Anyone ever experience this? Hoping someone has and can tell me a way to bypass this system shutdown? Thought i had the perfect camping vehicle in the new Transit, but with no confidence in the system now, it has me worried.
I feel robbed as well with my transit. A piece of sh*t.
 

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You know, I had an AWD Ford Aerostar and had zero issues until about 150K miles when the whole tranny imploded. I hauled motorcyle trailer and gear around the country and lived in one of the snowiest places in the U.S. Worked great. All those engineers are probably retired. The hashtag generation engineers have some learning to do.

Love a good algorithm though.

Bill G.
 

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Out of the Sprinter, Dodge, and Transit, I knew going into it that the Ford had the worst traction capabilities. I took mine (2019 148" mr) to a gear shop the first week of ownership to have an Eaton electric locker installed in the rear~$1500. The shop that did the work did not offer wiring of the unit, only the install and setup of the differential. The wiring was pretty straight forward, but still a chore. When I finished, I took it to a local hill that we hang glide off of to see how it would do. Amazing! Turn off traction control, flip the switch on the locker, and I was going up hills that some of the 4wd's had a hard time with! Highly recommend it! Way better than limited-slip/pozi, to the point of driving the van even when one rear wheel was in the air due to off-camber! The safest way to use it, of course, is to use it to get out of a situation that you got into with the standard, crappy TCS, not as an alternative to FWD.
 

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@jrhesch please correct me if I'm wrong but what I know is that the locking differential is good for muddy weather, but that is not good for using in snow because if you have the locking differential in a corner, the rear can slide out of control. For snow the TCS is better .... Am I wrong?
 

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@jrhesch please correct me if I'm wrong but what I know is that the locking differential is good for muddy weather, but that is not good for using in snow because if you have the locking differential in a corner, the rear can slide out of control. For snow the TCS is better .... Am I wrong?
\

A locking differential would be used when one is stuck, or when one is crawling in mud, sand, snow, rocks, etc; it's not for ordinary lower traction driving like a snowy or wet gravel road as it does lead to breaking of traction on outer wheel in a curve.
 

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Very interesting thread here guys. Allow me to add a few points.
1) MudRuts is absolutely the most capable AWD mode. Slippery is close but MudRuts is best suited for challenging/slippery surfaces and it does disable TC to allow more wheelspin (within reason).
2) Even if the software could be cheated into a locked mode, I wouldn't recommend this. The t-case is not normally locked up for extended periods of time and doing so could cause it to fail.
3) Don't feel like you got a cheap & cheerful AWD system just because it goes in a van. The same system goes into the RWD Ford Explorer, too.

If you get the AWD Temporarily Disabled message, it will clear after a few moments and give you AWD back. You're correct that it's detecting heat in the system and it shuts down to protect itself. If you somehow bypass that and smoke the clutch, the AWD would be shot and you'd have to replace the whole t-case. Temporarily Disabled is just that: temporary. It's there to save you having to replace expensive parts.

Any AWD message that's not an actual Diagnostic Code (like something has actually broken) can be cleared with a key cycle. Remember that will put you back in Normal mode so if you're stuck or getting stuck, put it back in MudRuts after you restart.

I do not like how the Drive Modes require repeated button pushes to pick the mode. For example you could accidentally go one past MudRut and end up in TowHaul. MudRut is the most aggressive mode but TowHaul is the least aggressive, so you're more likely to get stuck.

Ok so all that said, the system should not have shut down as easily as it sounds like it did. Questions:
1) Do you have much weight in the van?
1) Did you have the steering wheel turned while you were trying to get unstuck?

Technically neither of these things should matter much if you were actually in MudRuts mode. Like any AWD system, it reduces torque when the front wheels are turned (this prevents crow-hop on hard surfaces). If you're stuck or getting stuck, keep the wheels as straight as possible. The system adds more torque if the wheels actually do slip, but on mud or ice sometimes slipping means the surface is already glazed over and you've lost most of the grip from those back tires. And yeah, the stock tires are not intended for - or very good in - mud.

This is getting long so apologies but I just want to add: don't feel like the system has failed you or lose too much confidence. I wonder if there might have been something going on during that particular drive. The system re-learns and heals itself every drive cycle so the van is probably back up to 100% by now and you might want to try that grade again (make absolutely sure you're in MudRuts and have a truck buddy along just in case!) Any questions message me.
 

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