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Discussion Starter #1
I live in New England and I've really gotten used to the "go anywhere" abilities you get when you combine AWD with four snow tires -- whether on my current Acura MDX, my previous "boy racer" Volvo V70R wagon, or my wife's AWD BMW wagon. That said, as a former Eurovan lover, I would really like to get back into a mid-sized European van... and that means a Metris.

I could live with RWD if a limited slip differential was available. A number of the Metris reviews online mention "Locking Differential (optional); Limited Slip Differential (optional)", but I don't see any mention of that on the Metris order sheets or in the brochures and marketing literature.

Does anyone know if either is available?
 

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You'll get pretty close with the electronic stability program. Greenmanedlion could tell you more about it.
 

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The limited slip differential is, with crazy off roading (of the type Mercedes makes the the best two vehicles in the world for- the G-class and the Unimog), and rally crossing excepted, an entirely obsolete concept.

A limited slip differential mechanically detects a variation in wheel speeds and mechanically routes power to the wheel with the slower rotational speed- I.e. The one with more traction- and limits the speed of the faster wheel- I.e. The one that is spinning.

ASR, or AntriebSchlupfRegelung is an electronic computerized system that was the second major component developed (after ABS) in the suite of driving aides we now refer to as ESP. It detects wheel slip through measuring the speed of all four wheels and applies brakes to spinning wheels thereby directing power to wheels with traction.

I'm very impressed with it. During the blizzard that hit the northeast this year, I bulled my way out of my driveway. It wasn't as good as my 4ETS (what ASR is if all four wheels are driven) equipped ML350. Instead of bulling out in one go, I actually had to stop, pull forward once, and go a second time. Snow covered everything.

So trust me, if you can get by without a full four wheel system at all, ASR will do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the feedback, guys. Clearly I suffered a bit of a brain fart when I asked the question...

When thinking of RWD and seeing "limited slip differential" mentioned in a few Metris reviews, my mind immediately went back to what a big difference having a "Posi Track" rear end made in snow... completely forgetting about things like ESP!

Glad to hear you've had good luck in snow in the real world.
 

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Driving the Metris van in winter are owners using the standard all season tires or have you used winter tires and or replaced the standard all seasons with something else?

I live in New England as well and RWD is my only concern. I have had AWD in the past but now driving a MINI JCW with snow tires. Like a small tank in snow with the snow tires. I was thinking of snows on the Metris but maybe it's ok.
 

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Rear wheel drive vehicles have one disadvantage from front wheel drive: an extra X hundred pounds sitting over the driving wheels. This is easily remedied with the addition of bags of nice clean play sand over the rear axle, although with a slight adverse affect on handling, just as the front wheel drive vehicles suffer. A weight corrected rear wheel drive vehicle then has the very distinct advantage of its drive wheels not being its steering wheels which as anyone who has tried to turn a front wheel drive vehicle while the tires are spinning knows is a disaster. All wheel drive is a superior system under most circumstances. One point of correction from the statements above. The advantage a G wagon or a Unimog (which I was privileged to own for many years) has is a locking differential, in the case of the Unimog on both axles. A locking differential has nothing to do with limited slip. It causes both wheels on an axle to turn at the same speed and with the sale torque applied. In most circumstances providing superior traction.
 

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Generally speaking, loaded cargo vans don't have more weight over the front wheels. Adding ~2500 lbs over the rear wheels oughtta do it. or 7 pax and their luggage.
 

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Driving the Metris van in winter are owners using the standard all season tires or have you used winter tires and or replaced the standard all seasons with something else?

I live in New England as well and RWD is my only concern. I have had AWD in the past but now driving a MINI JCW with snow tires. Like a small tank in snow with the snow tires. I was thinking of snows on the Metris but maybe it's ok.
I purchased an extra set of MB steel wheels along with my van. I run dedicated snow tires on the others and will do so on the Metris, although the wife rarely has to drive in bad weather.
 

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A loaded cargo van is usually a very stable vehicle in snow. Ice, not so much. What we carry in the Metris, artwork, is big but very light.


Dedicated snow tires are the way to go. And, where studded tires are permitted, they make travel on ice possible. I have compared two sets of Blizzaks and a set of Nokian Haps, with my current choice, four studded Firestone Winterforce (for about half the price of the Nokians) and superior, IMO. But the Metris will not be my winter vehicle, so it may just have highway ties on it all year round and probably be stored inside in the really bad weather.
 

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Snow tires are a must in snowy areas no matter which wheels are driven. I maintain however that in inclimate weather, rear drive is vastly superior to front.
 

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. . . I maintain however that in inclimate weather, rear drive is vastly superior to front.
Rarely is this sensible and correct observation made.

There are several reasons for this, all well grounded in physics. The discussion need not be expanded, however, except to say that prospective purchasers should not be deluded by the absence of front wheel drive as though that is a defect.
 

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The G-wagen has independently manually locking front, rear, and center differentials. The only thing that ever proves an obstacle for. G-wagen is ground clearance, or a total lack of tractive surface (e.g. Smooth sheet ice). If a G-wagen fails you get a Unimog. If that fails you you either need catapillar drive, or more likely, stop trying to climb 10 foot verticle cliffs. Lol.
 

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Greenmandelion you seem to have a good handle on all this. Any thoughts about using a Metris to pull a 3,000 lb boat & trailer out of the water across a sandy beach? I've been successful with a locking differential on a 2wd Tundra; wondering how the more modern system of the Metris might work.
 

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I pick up a set of steel wheels in the beginning of January and made them my snow tire set. I was having doubts about RWD. I know @Greenmanedlion told me I wouldn't need the snow tire in NYC but I did it anyway. We had about 10 inches of snow last week and 14+ out on Long Island and the van did a great job maneuvering around NY that day.
 

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You cannot go wrong with winter tires during the winter. If you have no traction on icy roads, you will not have a fun time.
 
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10 inches? I spent the day driving around Scranton/Lehigh and I was fine. We got about 3 in south Jersey. The question is, really, not whether you got around fine with, but whether you would have gotten around fine without.

The ESP system is really excellent, I mean I wouldn't want to hoon around on public streets with a Metris (or a Vito 4x4, or a Suburu for that matter) but to get you from A to B in safety and comfort, it's fine. My main worry on snowy days isn't me and mine. It's the G-damned AWD cars. Tow truck drivers call snow days "Audi Duty" you know.
 
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