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The Pros and Cons of Front, Rear, and Four-Wheel Drive OEM and Rebuilt Transmissions .

The Pros and Cons of Front, Rear, and Four-Wheel Drive OEM and Rebuilt Transmissions
By Christine OKelly

Front, rear, and four-wheel drive transmissions all have pros and cons that make them better in some situations than others. Rear wheel (RWD) OEMs (original manufactures) and rebuilt transmissions were the main design on the market for many years. The front wheel drive (FWD) was possibly invented between 1895 and 1898, but the first one to see mass production was in 1912. Built for rough terrain, the 4x4 was patented by Joeseph Bramah Diplock in 1893.

Rear Wheel Drive OEM And Rebuilt Transmissions

If you bought a vehicle, this type of transmission was generally the only type you had to select from for many years. The vehicle propels itself forward and steers from the back rather than pulling. This means RWD vehicles suffer far less wear and tear than those who use the front. This style has better weight distribution. This gives the vehicle better handling, and better maneuverability in mud and snow. The design of these systems allows more room for each component. The parts are easier to access, which means repairs are cheaper and easier.

The added room does make repairs easier, but the convenience comes at a price. Having the parts spread out (particularly the long motor) cuts down on the amount of space in the cab as well as storage areas. When it comes to handling wet road surfaces, rear wheel styles fall behind their counterparts because of the reduced stability and traction.

Front Wheel Drive Transmission

The FWD version shines in many of the areas RWD original and rebuilt transmissions fail, but the design does have its downfalls. Because this style pulls the vehicle forward as well as steers, the tires and the rest of the parts experience far more wear and tear. It will handle better on wet roads, however, because the majority of the weight sits over the wheels that move the rest of the body. This style also weighs less, allowing it to move on less power. This means it requires less fuel.

The motor in these machines sits parallel to the cab, allowing more space for passengers and cargo space. Unfortunately, it also means that space is a premium under the hood. Parts are compacted together, meaning that a repair might require you to remove several pieces before you can start. The design can also cause the steering lose control if the front wheels receive too much power.

Four Wheel Drive (4x4 Or AWD)

As you might expect, this design uses both sets of wheels to control the vehicle, albeit at different speeds. They give you the best possible handling on all surfaces, particularly on rough terrain. This is why many heavy-duty vehicles and construction equipment use these OEM and rebuilt transmissions. On the down side, an AWD transmission requires additional parts that add weight to the entire machine. This translates into poorer fuel economy and more parts to repair. Overall, this system costs more.

Front, rear, and all wheel original and rebuilt transmissions all have their place. Some work better in a particular situation than in others. Consider the pros and cons of each style before choosing your vehicle to find the one that will get you where you are going.

Christine O'Kelly is an author for Dealers Transmission Exchange, the rebuilt Euclid transmissions specialists. Their reman experts have an average of 15 years experience with the company specializing in a variety of drive train parts including the Euclid Transmission and accessories.

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