EX35 AWD in the SNOW (bad)

Discussion of Infiniti's amazing (and underrated) sport-luxury crossovers, the EX35 and EX37. For 2014, the EX series will be renamed QX50, in line with Ininfiit's new naming conventions.
TheOtherJeff
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EX35 AWD in the SNOW (bad)

Postby TheOtherJeff » Thu Apr 15, 2010 2:06 pm

I've read a few threads that state how well drivers feel the EX is in the snow, and it surprises me.

My experience is the opposite. I've found that my AWD EX35 really sucks on the slippery stuff. In fact, this is the scariest car that I've ever driven in PA winters. I grew up with rear wheel drive, and knew how to work it. But this past winter, even a slight covering of snow caused my back end to slide to the right with the lightest throttle input.

Even while driving straight on a snow covered highway it seemed that I had to have the wheel turned slightly to the right to counter the rear's tendency to come around. It was if I was driving sideways! I started to wonder if my AWD was working or even present.

Granted, my last car, an AWD Murano, was front wheel biased. And the one before it, a VW Golf, was front wheel only. The two before that, a Bronco & an S-10 Blazer were rear wheel with 4WD a button click away. The two before that were both front wheel drive VW's, a Corrado and a Scirocco. And prior to that I had a full size Blazer, also with 4WD.

So I guess I'd have to go back to the second car that I've owned, a '69 Camaro, to get to my last strictly rear wheel drive car that I drove all year round, and that was in the 80's. But just the same, none of them ever scared me like the EX does. And all of them went straight through up to 6" of snow without fail.

I thought the EX was automatically in AWD from a stop, so I didn't expect the loose rear when starting out, with & without the Snow button activated. I've been running the stock 18" Dunlops, perhaps that has played a part. I'm in the market for replacement tires, for which I ask recommendations in another thread.

Am I the only one that white-knuckles this thing in the snow? Any input will be appreciated.

Thanks,

Jeff


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zozoka1212
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Re: EX35 AWD in the SNOW (bad)

Postby zozoka1212 » Fri Apr 16, 2010 10:07 am

The biggest question. What tires do you have and what the tread weart on them?

You can have the best car in the world if your tires are not up to the challange.

TheOtherJeff
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Re: EX35 AWD in the SNOW (bad)

Postby TheOtherJeff » Fri Apr 16, 2010 12:36 pm

The biggest question. What tires do you have and what the tread wear on them?
As I mention above, I have the OEM Dunlops on, and the tread was indeed getting low, since I'm nearing the wear bars now. That's why I'm looking for replacement tire recommendations in another thread, which you were kind enough to reply to.

I suspect the tires are a (big ?) part of my problems, but that doesn't address the lack of AWD characteristics. From a complete stop, light throttle would produce a rear end slide to the right. I have read several places (not from Infinity literature) that the AWD is on automatically from a stop, to help prevent spin while launching. And the AWD system, as well as the stability control, is suposed to detect spin and take counter-measures to prevent it and keep things going in the correct direction.

So I could understand slower starts, due to brakes being applied and power being diverted to prevent spin, but in a straght line rather than a tail whip. But what I got was akin to driving a really squirly rear wheel car, like stomping my Camaro with posi in the rain, except I wasn't stomping.

I also mention that I tried using the Snow button, but I still don't know exactly what it is supposed to do. I couldn't detect any difference other than the light being lit :-) There is a tread on this forum about the Snow button, but the the posts seemed vauge and unsure, sort of like the manual. I assume that it would start out in a higher gear, again to prevent slipping, but I don't think that idea was mentioned.

Anybody else slide around this winter?

Is it all about the tires?

Should I suspect my AWD is malfunctioning?

Jeff

mkaresh
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Re: EX35 AWD in the SNOW (bad)

Postby mkaresh » Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:08 pm

The "snow" button could start the car in second gear, slow throttle response, and/or remap the stability control.

Is this a new issue? First thing is to replace the tires.

Not sure how the AWD operates. Others should be able to say whether your experience is normal with low tread.

Marconelly
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Re: EX35 AWD in the SNOW (bad)

Postby Marconelly » Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:42 pm

It almost sounds like AWD on your car is malfunctioning or not working at all. I went through some days of this winter through roads and situations where I know for a fact my previous FWD car would slip, or not start as easily, with no problems whatsoever with EX. Never had to correct the steering wheel to keep the straight line or anything like that. It was practically like driving on a normal road, except of course I wasn't going as fast as I normally would on a dry road. Stock 17" tires btw.

googleman
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Re: EX35 AWD in the SNOW (bad)

Postby googleman » Fri Apr 16, 2010 10:47 pm

I have been quite happy with my AWD during the last two New England winters. I also have the stock tires.

Have you turned off the VDC by any chance? Or maybe that is malfunctioning?

OneOfOne
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Re: EX35 AWD in the SNOW (bad)

Postby OneOfOne » Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:29 pm

sounds to me like the driver or the aforementioned tires are at fault. dont blame the car. I have driven mine in the snow this year in mass with NO problem.

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NJ_EX35
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Re: EX35 AWD in the SNOW (bad)

Postby NJ_EX35 » Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:50 pm

I have the Michelin Latitude tires (OEM) I have had no problems from the start and I live in NJ where we got hit pretty hard last winter. I live on a hill and the car made it up whether there was 2 inches or a foot. Like other contributors I suspect the Dunlop Tires (which in other boards has been slammed for its non performance in any weather conditions and I also suspect you have malfunctioning AWD or VDC systems that are contributing to your displeasure.

Please let us know the outcome once you talk to the dealer.

pwlorraine
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Re: EX35 AWD in the SNOW (bad)

Postby pwlorraine » Mon Apr 19, 2010 5:16 am

Something is wrong from what you describe. Constant steering correction pressure to one side doesn't sound right to me. The road cupping (higher in the center than near the ditch) will cause a little of what you describe but you would need badly worn tires to feel this. The other part is if the VDC is on, it cuts throttle very strongly if the wheels start to slip - on my g37 vert it won't move forward on ice! You would be strongly complaining that the throttle is cutting out if you had tires this bad and the VDC on. It really feels to me like your VDC is off or not functioning correctly. Can you spin your wheels on loose gravel? I would find the VDC switch, turn it off, and confirm that there is a difference in wheelspin on a loose surface.

I'm not sure about the 2008 model - on the 2010 the VDC control is just above your left shin - down and to the right of the key hole. If the VDC is off, the light is on - light doesn't indicate VDC is working but that you've switched it off. With VDC off you can drift all around the place.

The second issue seems to be your tires. Even with VDC off and good tires your car should not handle the way you describe - it will basically act like a rwd car. On my g37 vert which still has summer tires on I can set up a drift on a curve on "clean" winter roads with VDC on - the throttle starts cutting out but you can break free if you push.

On other threads people have complained about g37x handling in the winter and the issue has always been tires - the person who thinks the car is running great has winter or snow tires on and the person who thinks it is terrible is on worn all-seasons. We have had our EX35 out in bad weather a few time (we live in upstate NY but didn't get it until early March) and it has handled very well on snowy roads with the stock and new all-season tires.

Peter

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zozoka1212
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Re: EX35 AWD in the SNOW (bad)

Postby zozoka1212 » Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:05 am

The AWD system is dam bullet poof. Nissan has been using this Attessa system for decades on GT-R's and other cars and they just kep upgrading the system to newer processors and hardwares. However that doesn't mean the don't have manufacturing problem. Don't see many if any complains on these cars. All in all I still think it is your tire.

Lets put it this way. I had an 07 G35 before my 08. I was on my seconds set of tires and before they got to the wear bar they were sliding even on dry surface( I actually enjoyed it ) with a good amount of throttle. 300 hp is a something you have to consider in this too. The problem is the car senses slipage and it tries to correct it but more slipage comes due to the worn tires. As soon as I switched to new set I was back to normal. If you want to make sure try to get an alignment check too after you've got a new set of tires. I almost can garanteee you the problem goes away for ya. But if not than time to use the warranty.

BTW the system works as RWD till it senses some slipage than it turns AWD and send more torque to the FWD. When you turn on the snow mode it turns into 50/50 torque to FWD/RWD till you hit 12 mph(19kmh) than it is back to 100% RWD. There are lots of benefit to this since it refines the car between oversteer and understeer by letting the rear end out just a bit so you can turn sharper more defined at higher speed or extreme road conditions.

They updated the Attessa et-s like 4-5 years ago and they updated the processor what contorolls the system and the sensors with the new 07+ G and assume the EX also among the rest of the line. The new processor has faster respons time with smoother operation.

Hope this helps a little.

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Vroom!
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Re: EX35 AWD in the SNOW (bad)

Postby Vroom! » Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:32 pm

I know this is an old post, but I submitted a new one and got no response. I have had exactly the same experience as the initial poster here. I bought the car (2008 EX35 AWD Journey) with all-season Yokohama Avid Ascend P225/60 R17 98H tires. The tire store insists that they are not worn, and don't need to be replaced. I slip around a corner that is only wet with rain like nobody's business (and fishtail if I'm going more than about 15 mph). Should also mention that the VDC button doesn't light either way. (Can't really tell from the button height what is on and what is off.)

Does anyone have any other ideas, if it isn't the tires? If there is also something wrong with my AWD, I suppose it is going to be expensive...

Thanks!

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NJGuy
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Re: EX35 AWD in the SNOW (bad)

Postby NJGuy » Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:55 am

Vroom! wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:32 pm
I know this is an old post, but I submitted a new one and got no response. I have had exactly the same experience as the initial poster here. I bought the car (2008 EX35 AWD Journey) with all-season Yokohama Avid Ascend P225/60 R17 98H tires. The tire store insists that they are not worn, and don't need to be replaced. I slip around a corner that is only wet with rain like nobody's business (and fishtail if I'm going more than about 15 mph). Should also mention that the VDC button doesn't light either way. (Can't really tell from the button height what is on and what is off.)

Does anyone have any other ideas, if it isn't the tires? If there is also something wrong with my AWD, I suppose it is going to be expensive...

Thanks!
Your other post did get a few replies. I put up a response to this post there to try to keep things contained in one discussion thread. Check back here:
https://forums.nicoclub.com/2008-ex35-f ... 22737.html

VDC should default to "ON" when you start to car, with no real visual indicator during normal driving. If you're not moving too fast, the VDC may not intervene in at all in a slow slide.

If I recall correctly, in order to deactivate the VDC, you have to hold the button down for a few seconds. I don't recall the button itself lighting up, but when you turn off VDC there should be a yellow light on the instrument panel that comes on that indicates the VDC is off.

CDNicecube
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Re: EX35 AWD in the SNOW (bad)

Postby CDNicecube » Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:01 pm

Hey Vroom,

I feel your pain, and you finding others owners who had similar (bad) experiences driving the EX in snow or wet conditions proves that you are not alone. Yet, I can only share these thoughts which are 1) this complaint was very rare (been on this site / forum for 8 years and never heard such issues and 2) I personally never had such issues with exactly the same tires as yours - but 18s: my AWD has been solid and sturdy in all extremely inclement weather. Two neighbors have also EX37 and QX50 and never complained about such issues, but they have other brands of tires.

I would start with new tires. They may look good but perhaps the rubber is too stiff? Then, check that all the safety nannies work well and are on, and alignment is true. Good luck.

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Vroom!
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Re: EX35 AWD in the SNOW (bad)

Postby Vroom! » Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:02 pm

Damn, I'm sorry NJGuy. Didn't get an email notification so I didn't think there were any responses to my previous post. My very bad. I will check there right away. :tisk:

I believe the manual states that the light on the VDC button will come on when the VDC is deactivated. My idiot light on the dash definitely is flashing as I'm sliding around those corners. I will mess with it, but from what you and CDnicecube are saying it sounds like there must be some kind of issue with the AWD. Something not right, anyway. The fishtailing is pretty pronounced.

Thanks to both of you for your response(s). I really appreciate it!


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