4x4

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4x4

Post by anonyster » Tue Sep 18, 2007 12:12 am

I know a 4x4 is a 4-wheel-drive car, but what is the origin of 4x4. What are the units? 4 what by 4 what? I can't find anything to say where this term came from.
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Post by trolley » Tue Sep 18, 2007 1:35 am

The first number refers to how many wheels are on the vehicle. The second is how many of those wheels are receiving power from the engine, through the drive train. Regular cars, either front or rear wheel drive, are 4x2. The multiplication symbol replaces the word "by". It's not a 4 times 4. It's a 4 by 4. Four wheels powered by four wheels. I guess a bicycle is a 2x1.
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Sep 18, 2007 3:03 am

Yes. An 18-wheeler would be an 18x8, a tricyle would be a 3x2, and a unicycle would be a 1x1.
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4x4

Post by Tony Farg » Tue Sep 18, 2007 8:18 am

I seem to recall that in the days of steam locomotion a similar shorthand was used, whereby for example an engine would be described as a 4-6-4 if the side view of the wheels were like this: oo000oo.
I think the first 4 were not driven, the next 6 were driven and the last 4 were probably the tender behind, which was also not driven.
All a bit hazy now, so correct me if you are/were a railway buff.
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Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Sep 18, 2007 8:30 am

I would assume tender behinds were a frequent by-product of the wooden seating found in third-class carriages.
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4x4

Post by Bobinwales » Tue Sep 18, 2007 9:38 am

No Erik, it was because the tender behind was full of coal.
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4x4

Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Sep 18, 2007 9:42 am

'Coal'? Is that what you prefer to call (**)it in Wales?
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4x4

Post by Bobinwales » Tue Sep 18, 2007 11:29 am

What else would you find in the bowels of the earth?
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4x4

Post by hsargent » Tue Sep 18, 2007 1:05 pm

I believe a 4X4 was a four barrel carburator and 4 wheel drive originally. Now there are no carburators so I don't see the term any more.

Of course 4X4 is also lumber which is 3.5" X 3.5"?
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Post by dalehileman » Tue Sep 18, 2007 3:33 pm

Erik, wouldn't a tricycle be a 3 x 1
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Post by Bobinwales » Tue Sep 18, 2007 3:40 pm

Dale it would be a 3x1 if it was an ice cream cart, two wheels in front, and a driving wheel behind. A normal trike, one wheel (by which you steer)in front, and two driven wheels behind is a 3x2.
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Post by trolley » Tue Sep 18, 2007 3:47 pm

The trikes I rode as a kid were 3x1's. The pedals were attached to the front wheel and that was the only one receiving power. Three wheels powered by one.
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Post by russcable » Tue Sep 18, 2007 3:58 pm

hsargent wrote: I don't see the term any more.
Then you're not looking very hard...
For example:
http://www.motortrend.com/future/spied_ ... w_x3_x5_x7
Free from its former Land Rover constraints, BMW is preparing a massive assault on the 4x4 market with a full portfolio of ultimate off-roading machines.
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Post by dalehileman » Tue Sep 18, 2007 4:18 pm

Bob: Like trolley, I've never seen nor heard of a trike having the back wheels driven instead of the front. Furthermore, I would think a 3 x 2 immensely hard to turn without a differential in back
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Post by gdwdwrkr » Tue Sep 18, 2007 4:38 pm

Or a differential behind.
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