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Is FWD THAT much cheaper/easier to build?

11 posts in this topic

If so, why? It got so heavily embraced in the 80s, and all but the luxury marques seem uber-reluctant to turn back... Does it cost that much less or something? Is it so much less complex?
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They are reluctent to turn back because the best selling cars are all front wheel drive. Add up the yearly sales of of the following: All GM W-bodies Camry Accord Taurus/Sable You'll come up with a number that is larger then the combined sales of all of BMW and MB.
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FWD is embraced by many. Once people Switched they don't care to go back to RWD. Like myself, I don't see me driving a RWD for a few reasons; one would be bad weather traction, feel of acceleration, I like the feel on the wheel!
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They are reluctent to turn back because the best selling cars are all front wheel drive.

Add up the yearly sales of of the following:
All GM W-bodies
Camry
Accord
Taurus/Sable

You'll come up with a number that is larger then the combined sales of all of BMW and MB.

[post="11923"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]

This is said as if people really had a choice at the price point of any of those when they were in the market for a new car.
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I think the single greatest advantage for FWD vehicles is the more efficient packaging. The combination of cab-forward design and the lack of a pronounced center tunnel makes for a more roomy interior given the exterior dimensions. Also, the lack of a rear differential allows for a deeper trunkwell.
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I'm not talking about the packaging advantage. I'm asking why the volume manufacturers swear by it so hard. Is it because it is cheaper or easier to make? If that is true, it would seem pretty crazy, since front-drive technology dates back to the 20s and was considered so high-tech, yet the volume cars were all rear-drive clear to 1979. Then in the 80s, they were making the switch right and left. Cars became front-drive quicker than they lost carburetors in favor of fuel injection. So I'm just wondering why. Was it simething the volume boys wanted to do all along or was it a necessary evil of some sort?
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It's easier to make in super high volume applications. For example, look at the number of installations the GM 3800 + 4speed FWD auto is in. All the W-bodies, G-bodies, H-bodies, Dustbuster mini-vans, Reatta, I've seen them in Fieros, Celebrities, Citations as mods. Fit it in the box <L,W,H> and it works, doesn't matter at all what's south of the firewall. Single design, fits in everything, saves engineering dollars, and you get big economies of scale by building so many of them. Think of it this way. There is some insane company out there that takes final gen Eldorados and drops an entire second powertrain in the trunk. Twin engine, twin transmission, 4 wheel drive, 800 hp <he tweeks the northstars>, and the engines can be run independently. It doesn't get much more portible then that. Can't do that with a CTS. Edited by Oldsmoboi
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I'm not talking about the packaging advantage.  I'm asking why the volume manufacturers swear by it so hard.  Is it because it is cheaper or easier to make?

[post="12028"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Tha packaging advantage allows for more space efficiency which is one aspect that consumers like. That leads to more sales, so while it may or may not be cheaper to engineer or build, it will make them more money because they will sell more.
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There is another factor.
The entire power train can be sub-assembled off line, and inserted as a complete sub-assembly. This simplifies the assembly process on the main line, and therefore also reduces cost.

But..... the down side to that is........... when you have to go and service
or replace something in that FWD drivetrain, it is harder to get at,
more parts need to be removed & reinstalled, etc.
Just ask any transmission shop what costs more...... to repair or replace
a transmission on a FWD car vs. a RWD car, provided that the RWD car is not 4WD! http://www.cheersandgears.com/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/AH-HA_wink.gif
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Agreed with the above. Its the ease of manufacturing and assembling the entire drivetrain as a unit. Fuel tank location is another bonus but not just from an available room angle but engineering expence, its so simple to put it up there under the seat where the driveshaft and pumpkin used to be. Same goes for the larger driveshaft tunnel, more steel, more expence in engineering interior utilization. this tunnel became the perfect place to put exhaust where in RWD you need to put some effort into tucking exhaust up into floor boards. Id say it also required a much easier and simple floor pan, easier lower center of gravity from an engineering standpoint. On the more premium cars like the GM H/C and G bodies they didnt skimp on rear suspension so there is no savings there. This FWD change also came at the time of downsizing and made it less expensive and easier to reduce the size of a car while still maintaining a large roomy car. Ill always refer to the GM C/H body as prime example of how well this package worked. Its the best to use when comparing to what was lost with downsizing and RWD. The C/H really doesnt have the handling and steering and ride issues that are commonly called up by those that favor RWD. Really quality engineered and built cars with little torque steer, decent handling for the luxury ride and lots of room as well as being safe in crash. Things are changeing and sometime soon if the Domestics dont go under we'll have a better varity.
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It's easier to make in super high volume applications.  For example, look at the number of installations the GM 3800 + 4speed FWD auto is in.

All the W-bodies, G-bodies, H-bodies, Dustbuster mini-vans, Reatta, I've seen them in Fieros, Celebrities, Citations as mods. Fit it in the box <L,W,H> and it works, doesn't matter at all what's south of the firewall. Single design, fits in everything, saves engineering dollars, and you get big economies of scale by building so many of them.

Think of it this way. There is some insane company out there that takes final gen Eldorados and drops an entire second powertrain in the trunk.  Twin engine, twin transmission, 4 wheel drive, 800 hp <he tweeks the northstars>, and the engines can be run independently. It doesn't get much more portible then that. \



Mosler. The people that make Counsliers. I read an article on this thing a few years ago. I think though they were having problems getting the 2 engines in synch with each other.

Can't do that with a CTS.

[post="12315"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]

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