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Old 09-07-2019   #46
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Re: Fiat Panda 4x4 system, "How does it work" ?

Hi Guys, I know this is an old post, but having read all the replies it seems like you guys actually know what your talking about.

Therefore, I have a very specific question.

Can I tow a Panda like the one Iíve attached, behind my Motorhome.

Everyone Iíve asked has said no, but are unable to give an explanation, the owners manual says I can. The car will be in neutral without the ignition being on.

Thanks in advance
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Old 09-07-2019   #47
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Re: Fiat Panda 4x4 system, "How does it work" ?

This page might be useful. 🤔 https://m.facebook.com/AFrameCars/
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Old 09-07-2019   #48
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Re: Fiat Panda 4x4 system, "How does it work" ?

Quote Originally Posted by Al D View Post
This page might be useful. 🤔 https://m.facebook.com/AFrameCars/
Hi thanks for taking the time to post. Iíve actually already got that A Frame fitted to my Smart. I really fancy a Panda 4x4 Cross though 😉
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Old 09-07-2019   #49
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Re: Fiat Panda 4x4 system, "How does it work" ?

My understanding is that, so long as all the wheels are at the same speed (so, towed with all 4 on the ground or trailered so all 4 are off it) you will be fine.

However, note that the 4x4 PAnda weighs a shade over a ton, and so almost certainly will need to be operated as a braked trailer. If towed with an A frame and with the necessary adaptations to operate the car's brakes as the motorhome brakes, then I think you will be OK.
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Old 09-07-2019   #50
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Re: Fiat Panda 4x4 system, "How does it work" ?

Quote Originally Posted by Herts Hillhopper View Post
My understanding is that, so long as all the wheels are at the same speed (so, towed with all 4 on the ground or trailered so all 4 are off it) you will be fine.

However, note that the 4x4 PAnda weighs a shade over a ton, and so almost certainly will need to be operated as a braked trailer. If towed with an A frame and with the necessary adaptations to operate the car's brakes as the motorhome brakes, then I think you will be OK.
Perfect, thatís exactly as I thought, you would not believe the number of so called Ďexpertsí who have said ďyou canít flat tow a 4WDĒ.

Iíll transfer over my existing frame from the Smart it has its own 12v servo.

Is there anything in particular I should look out for when viewing a 2009 Cross or any of the other 4x4 do the same vintage?

Thanks again
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Old 10-07-2019   #51
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Re: Fiat Panda 4x4 system, "How does it work" ?

Two things to watch for: failure of the rubber support ring half way along the propshaft, and also failure (through age) of the rubber part of the lower engine/gearbox support (bottom/back of the engine, connecting the rear edge of the subframe)

The first: look under the car and there's a metal cage half way along the propshaft. This protects a 'knuckle joint that allows the shaft to flex. This joint is supported by a metal bracket with a bearing around the shaft. Between the bearing and the bracket should be a flexible rubber 'doughnut'. This perishes in time. The part can be bought separately, but is 'impossible' to fit! New propshafts are upwards of £1500, but keep an eye on eBay as now again, complete, new shafts (which include that support bracket attached) turn up for the more reasonable £400-ish price.

The engine support may be specific to the 1.2 engine. If you're looking at a Cross, that may be diesel, and different?

The Cross you show is the older '169' model (this forum is really for the newer, post 2012 '312' model). That older model does not have same design of rear disc brake mounts as the newer version, and they are a doddle to change if needed. (The current model is rather poor in that area..)


Also, if a 169 Cross, it uses an electric solenoid to engage the 4x4, not a viscous coupling as on the earlier non-Cross model. This means that you will in fact be towing a 2WD drive car anyway, as the 4x4 system only engages if that solenoid operates. This is only the cars on cars with 'ELD' - the non-Cross 4x4 used the viscous connection until about 2010 - if there is no 'ELD' button next tot he hazard light switch, then it is using the viscous, not electronic selection of 4WD.


Good luck!
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Last edited by Herts Hillhopper; 10-07-2019 at 11:56.
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Old 10-07-2019   #52
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Re: Fiat Panda 4x4 system, "How does it work" ?

Quote Originally Posted by Herts Hillhopper View Post
Two things to watch for: failure of the rubber support ring half way along the propshaft, and also failure (through age) of the rubber part of the lower engine/gearbox support (bottom/back of the engine, connecting the rear edge of the subframe)

The first: look under the car and there's a metal cage half way along the propshaft. This protects a 'knuckle joint that allows the shaft to flex. This joint is supported by a metal bracket with a bearing around the shaft. Between the bearing and the bracket should be a flexible rubber 'doughnut'. This perishes in time. The part can be bought separately, but is 'impossible' to fit! New propshafts are upwards of £1500, but keep an eye on eBay as now again, complete, new shafts (which include that support bracket attached) turn up for the more reasonable £400-ish price.

The engine support may be specific to the 1.2 engine. If you're looking at a Cross, that may be diesel, and different?

The Cross you show is the older '169' model (this forum is really for the newer, post 2012 '312' model). That older model does not have same design of rear disc brake mounts as the newer version, and they are a doddle to change if needed. (The current model is rather poor in that area..)


Also, if a 169 Cross, it uses an electric solenoid to engage the 4x4, not a viscous coupling as on the earlier non-Cross model. This means that you will in fact be towing a 2WD drive car anyway, as the 4x4 system only engages if that solenoid operates. This is only the cars on cars with 'ELD' - the non-Cross 4x4 used the viscous connection until about 2010 - if there is no 'ELD' button next tot he hazard light switch, then it is using the viscous, not electronic selection of 4WD.


Good luck!
Perfect and thank you ��
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Old 14-07-2019   #53
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Re: Fiat Panda 4x4 system, "How does it work" ?

Quote Originally Posted by oyumurtaci View Post
The current system is no longer a viscous coupling, but a set of clutches instead. That being said, the clutches are engaged hydraulically after the front wheels start slipping if ELD is not enabled, so there is that bit of delay under normal driving. The delay, however, can be eliminated by enabling the ELD system, which engaged the clutches with a solenoid in the centre diff.

The previous generation Panda's system, while slower to respond, had the advantage of being a relatively easily serviceable part. Add to that the fact that the Italian market really took to the 4x4 and that means there were (and still are) all sorts of aftermarket parts and modifications for the Panda "169". One of the few companies that makes well engineered spacers and strut lifts for the current Panda, for example (Prometeo Meccanica) also makes full mechanical limited slip and locking differentials (front, middle, and rear) for the previous Panda, along with stronger axles and driveshafts. Add to this the better approach, departure and breakover angles of the older Panda and well... Basically, the simplicity of the previous Panda makes it a great platform for making a surprisingly capable and serious off-roader.
Ah, I think I understand much better now! Thanks. I DO know that my Panda 1 (2006 4x4) does not "feel" at all the same as Panda 2 (2019 Waze 4x4). Not tested 2 in all conditions yet, but more different than I expected - I just hope it can cope as brilliantly as Panda 1 does in dodgy conditions.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #54
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Re: Fiat Panda 4x4 system, "How does it work" ?

Quote Originally Posted by pandared View Post
Ah, I think I understand much better now! Thanks. I DO know that my Panda 1 (2006 4x4) does not "feel" at all the same as Panda 2 (2019 Waze 4x4). Not tested 2 in all conditions yet, but more different than I expected - I just hope it can cope as brilliantly as Panda 1 does in dodgy conditions.
You can bet your house on that!
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Re: Fiat Panda 4x4 system, "How does it work" ?

Quote Originally Posted by pandared View Post
Ah, I think I understand much better now! Thanks. I DO know that my Panda 1 (2006 4x4) does not "feel" at all the same as Panda 2 (2019 Waze 4x4). Not tested 2 in all conditions yet, but more different than I expected - I just hope it can cope as brilliantly as Panda 1 does in dodgy conditions.
TL;DR: The new car is pretty much better in every aspect except for having a less gung-ho attitude while off road while the old car could be (and at times needed to be) treated like a mountain goat (fast and haphazard) rather than a packmule (slow and steady).

Having driven both in dodgy conditions, I'd say the 12-onward is a better car overall and better for most people on the road in the snow. Where the old car is still better is in what I like to call 'anti-Land Rover' conditions. The Land Rover and Range Rover motto for off roading is 'as slow as possible, as fast as necessary' or something like that. That's all well and good with low range gearing and three differential locks, but simply not the case for most vehicles with lesser 4x4 systems. That being said, the Panda has always excelled at the 'anti-Land Rover' because it's small and light with short overhangs and a short wheelbase, so what you can't overcome with grip, traction and planning you most likely can barrel through with speed, wheelspin, bouncing and maybe a broken exhaust. The newer Panda, on the other hand, takes a much more refined approach to adversity with plenty of traction control intervention at low speed with ELD off, plenty of ESP intervention at high speed with ELD off or on, and a distinct favoring of the torque of first gear with ELD on (which partially disables traction control and ESP to allow for more wheelspin and slippage than when off) and more intervention from both TC and ESP in second gear with ELD on.
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Re: Fiat Panda 4x4 system, "How does it work" ?

Quote Originally Posted by oyumurtaci View Post
TL;DR: The new car is pretty much better in every aspect except for having a less gung-ho attitude while off road while the old car could be (and at times needed to be) treated like a mountain goat (fast and haphazard) rather than a packmule (slow and steady).

Having driven both in dodgy conditions, I'd say the 12-onward is a better car overall and better for most people on the road in the snow. Where the old car is still better is in what I like to call 'anti-Land Rover' conditions. The Land Rover and Range Rover motto for off roading is 'as slow as possible, as fast as necessary' or something like that. That's all well and good with low range gearing and three differential locks, but simply not the case for most vehicles with lesser 4x4 systems. That being said, the Panda has always excelled at the 'anti-Land Rover' because it's small and light with short overhangs and a short wheelbase, so what you can't overcome with grip, traction and planning you most likely can barrel through with speed, wheelspin, bouncing and maybe a broken exhaust. The newer Panda, on the other hand, takes a much more refined approach to adversity with plenty of traction control intervention at low speed with ELD off, plenty of ESP intervention at high speed with ELD off or on, and a distinct favoring of the torque of first gear with ELD on (which partially disables traction control and ESP to allow for more wheelspin and slippage than when off) and more intervention from both TC and ESP in second gear with ELD on.
Ah, I think I'd better print that out and keep it as an instruction manual - even more understanding now, so thanks. I know I've been a mountain goat driver for far too long! Land Rovers were never ideal on my hill in ice/snow, Lada Niva was brilliant, and when I couldn't replace that it was with fear and trepidation I bought Panda 1. I needn't have worried, it has always safely got me where I need to go, on or off road, anti-Land Rover conditions and all - and enjoyed every minute - the worse conditions are, the more Panda 1 seems to enjoy it... shows off, in fact. Right, I must adapt my own gung-ho attitude to slow and steady, and I suppose at my age that would be more dignified anyway - it's just that Panda 2 seems too, well, pretty (and yes, refined) at the moment to inspire the same confidence. I'll get over it!
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Re: Fiat Panda 4x4 system, "How does it work" ?

Quote Originally Posted by pandared View Post
Ah, I think I'd better print that out and keep it as an instruction manual ... Right, I must adapt my own gung-ho attitude to slow and steady, and I suppose at my age that would be more dignified anyway - it's just that Panda 2 seems too, well, pretty (and yes, refined) at the moment to inspire the same confidence. I'll get over it!
Here's the worst bit though:

The Panda 169 is great to thrash off road because it has the attitude (read - technical specifications) to deal with it. The Panda 312 is great to thrash on road because it's such a damned surprise how well it behaves on road, especially with good road tyres in the twisties. That being said, the 312 is a bit of an odd ball because while the 4x4 system is technically superior to the older model (it can transfer torque to the rears much quicker and more efficiently than the old viscous coupling system or even the hydraulic solenoid valve of the Cross of the old Panda), I have only really felt that it is better on three occasions, and I will provide that anecdotal evidence as follows.

1. I managed to climb to the top of a ski resort mountain in a blizzard with snow tyres (the original Continental M+S tyres) and no chains while everything (and I mean everything, including military Land Rover Defenders, one Range Rover, two Discoveries (a Disco 4 and a Disco 3), a Passat 4Motion and a '90's Jeep Grand Cherokee were all stuck in the ditch by the side of the road. The whole road was paved but it started with an inch of snow, was covered in icy patches, and towards the summit we were plowing through snow deep enough that I had trouble opening the door and getting out when we parked up by the hotel, all the while going through various grades of hills and a bendy mountain road. This was all done with ELD off and all the nannies on because I wasn't about to get excited and try to drift champion my way to the top and end up rolling down to my death. Traction control, ESP and 'smart' diff all worked together and we climbed the mountain in second gear, foot to the floor, at 40kph and it simply wouldn't go any faster (all the lights blinking fervently at me). Sure, it simply wouldn't accelerate (probably would have if I had turned ELD on and let the wheels spin) but it also never bogged, never understeed or oversteered, never braked me into a ditch and was never unpredictable.

2. Deep mud, fat friend in the car (fat as in he's worth 2 passengers, was 18 stone then and probably close to 20 these days) and the simple urge to get past this small bog and be on our way. We go in well enough, ELD on, get some speed up and try to bash through in second gear. We bog down towards the way out, and a few rapid rocking gearshifts between reverse and first get us unstuck and on our way (to the detriment of the clutch and gearbox). Unfortunately, the path we have set ourselves upon is a dead end because the same road I had gone by with my 169 4x4 has been closed due to the erection of a new cell tower base station. Turning back, the 312 gets bogged down right in the middle of the muddy section. A good 10 minutes of reverse/first action gets us back on the road with my hefty passenger never having to set so much as a toe in the brown stuff. With the 169, through the same bog, I had to use the floor mats for traction because the rear wheels would only engage a moment after the fronts slipped which kept making me lose momentum, which simply made the reverse/first rocking motion and escape impossible without outside (floor mat) assistance.

3. I'm a stubborn old git and when the wife said we couldn't climb a hill with our old Panda I gave it my best shot but succumbed to very fine loose, dry, claylike dirt and the steep grade of a hill. 6 years later I tricked her into thinking we were taking a shortcut (the scenery and paved road markings had changed) and went for the same route again in the current (312) Panda. ELD on, the poor thing spun all four wheels until it found some sort of rock or sediment under all the fine, loose clay dust and sprung forth towards the sky (since we were pointed up) only to find that my 'shortcut' took us from one location to the other exactly 1 hour longer than it would have taken on the perfectly fine paved road that we had always taken since we failed to make it up the hill last time. Sure, we encountered some fantastic views, met some very amicable mountain goats and lived through the constant anxiety of a puncture from the sharp rocky road on the way down but little did we know we were 'driving' on what is actually part of the Lycian Way, one of the most significant footpaths in human history.

For reference, the images are an assortment of what the 312 Panda has been through including the mud/bog, the Lycian Way (including the 'road' and the views), the blizzard (both when it started and I helped out to attach some snow chains and the end result at the ski lift at the top of the mountaint. Unfortunately I didn't have a smartphone or digital camera when I had the old Panda 4x4 but if I come across a photo of it (with the fat wheels and tyres, I know theres a photo of that somewhere because I used it to sell it) I'll add it.
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Last edited by oyumurtaci; 4 Weeks Ago at 22:02.
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Re: Fiat Panda 4x4 system, "How does it work" ?

Great post!

The Lycian Way is now on my 'bucket list' (but not necessarily in a Panda!)
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Re: Fiat Panda 4x4 system, "How does it work" ?

Quote Originally Posted by gar074 View Post
Great post!

The Lycian Way is now on my 'bucket list' (but not necessarily in a Panda!)
If you (or, to be honest, any other forum member is) ever in the area, please let me know as I'm always looking for an excuse to a) host people and hear stories and b) make travel through the region as enjoyable and affordable as possible.
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