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Re: Driving tips

>Under what conditions should the center dif be locked? 
>(Rain, light snow, Heavy snow)

I lock the center diff when there's anything significantly slippery between 
the tires and the road (such as snow, slush, etc.).  This keeps the car 
from trying to swap ends, especially when changing lanes over that slush 
mound in the middle of the highway.  The thing to keep in mind is that the 
rear end is lighter than the front, so it has a tendency to lose traction 
first.  The center diff lock can give you a little peace of mind by 
ensuring that your tail isn't going to wag into the guy in the next lane.  
(I guess it gives him some peace of mind, too!)

>Under what conditions should the rear dif be locked?

When you're *almost* stuck.  I only seem to need this when I'm trying to 
push through a snowbank at the end of my driveway, or when trying to climb 
an unplowed hill at low speeds (again, my driveway).  I think it seems to 
be better at keeping you from getting stuck than it is a getting you 
unstuck, so don't wait until the last second to use it.

>When a quattro loses traction in snow, does it act similar to a front 
>wheel drive car (what I'm use to) or is it completly different? How does 
>locking the dif change this?

It's similar to a front-wheel-drive car in that it tends to understeer; 
however, it's not as extreme -- you probably won't understeer yourself into 
oblivion as in a FWD car.  It's often more like a four-wheel drift.  
Backing off the gas generally brings the car back into line (pretty much 
immediately); hammering the gas with the center diff unlocked can make the 
tail step out (yee-haaaa!!!).

- Dave Dahl  (dad@roadnet.ups.com)
- '87 VW Quantum Syncro (the Snow-Beast)
- '88 VW Fox GL (the No-Beast)