When to Engage 4-Wheel Drive - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Drivetrain Tech General discussion of drivetrain for the Ford Ranger.

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  #1  
Old 10-28-2006
this_is_nascar's Avatar
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When to Engage 4-Wheel Drive

Reading a different thread on a related message board, got me thinking about 4x4 in general. I think folks have made it very clear that driving in 4-wheel drive mode on a dry/paved road is definately a no-no. I don't understand the physics behind it, but it has something to do with the wheels engaging/spinning or something along those lines.

That being the case, when is it OK to be in 4-wheel drive mode? For example, when I wheel in Wharton, as soon as I enter a non-paved road/trail, I activate 4-wheel HIGH and do my wheelin'. Once back on the paved road, I"m back into 2-wheel drive. Is there anything wrong with that? Should I always stay in 2-wheel drive until in a situation where 4-wheel drive is needed? My thinking has always been, if I have 4-wheel driving capability use it, rather than waiting to get stuck and then activating 4-wheel drive.

Thoughts, comments?
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  #2  
Old 10-28-2006
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There is nothing wrong activating four wheel drive on a road with less traction such as gravel ect... I normaly engage my four wheel drive when I start experiencing or anticipating some rough road ahead. An example is one time I was between two trees and I had traction however, I did not want the back end to slide out and bang some trees so I decided to take that route in four wheel drive. As long as the wheels can slip a little so no binding occurs activate four wheel drive whenever you want. After all you're right, you got 4x4
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  #3  
Old 10-28-2006
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I leave 4wh on the road in the winter.....4wl is a no no on pavement.... iget on the freeway in 4wh sometimes...

Rocky
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Old 10-28-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockysFord
....i get on the freeway in 4wh sometimes...

Rocky
i have been known to do this as well. especially in the rain, startin from a stop sign and makin a right hand turn onto a 55+mph highway.
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  #5  
Old 10-28-2006
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4lo can hardly turn on wet grass let alone pavement
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  #6  
Old 10-28-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rolsmojave3
4lo can hardly turn on wet grass let alone pavement

I don't understand.
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  #7  
Old 10-28-2006
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Although I don't personally do it, the highway is fine in 4wh as long as you are under X speed according to the manual, I believe 45 or 55 mph.

When I leave pavement unless it's a state maintained highway that happens to be dirt/gravel, I lock it in because I would rather have and not need than need and not have. I was in a situation once going to my deer stand and they had been clearing land so there was a LOT of muck. When I started to slip around, I switched it to 4wh and didn't even think about the fact my tires were going at different speeds due to slip. The most horrible grinding sound and then lurch you have ever heard as it forced itself into 4h at different wheel speeds.

Did it hurt anything? Not at all, but sounds like that make me cringe as I hate fixing things for stupidity's sake so I automatically do it now.
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Old 10-28-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by this_is_nascar
I don't understand.
Go into the woods, get in between some trees that require a lot of turning to get out of, put it in 4lo and try it. I now put it in 2wd if I get into a tricky area.
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  #9  
Old 10-28-2006
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Very true, they don't like to turn in 4lo, not at all.
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  #10  
Old 10-28-2006
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also depends on if you have a locked rear end or open. if it was locked I'd only switch to 4wd if I was in a bind or if I was loose soil.
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  #11  
Old 10-28-2006
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Interesting. What causes the issues in 4W-low to inhibit steering? Is this condition present in 4W-high as well?
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Old 10-28-2006
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no i think its just because the transfer case in such a low gear.....
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  #13  
Old 10-28-2006
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I'm not sure what causes it. Quads do it too. Can't turn at all in the snow on a quad if your on the gas. You just point and shoot.
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  #14  
Old 10-28-2006
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Driveline binding.
basically when you turn all 4 wheels are moving in a different size circle..
(think of tracks left after a puddle)
since they are moving different distances.. they are moving at different speeds..
there is no differential between the front and the back.. so it binds up.
if one of the tires doesnt slip.. something else will break.

If you want to F-up your truck go on dry asphalt.. turn the wheel all the way
put it in 4wd-low and step on the gas hard... SNAP.
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Old 10-28-2006
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isn't 4WD same as AWD???
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  #16  
Old 10-28-2006
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According to the 4Wheeler's Bible, you should engage 4x4 hi at the Trailhead, then when you encounter and obstacles, you should lock them in.
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  #17  
Old 10-29-2006
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no 4wd and AWD use a totally different setup and transfercase

just basically dont ever use on anything where there cant be slippage......if u wanna try it, then get on pavement, put in 4wd and try to make a turn.....it feels like the truck is gonna fold up (at least to me)
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  #18  
Old 10-29-2006
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Thanks for all the feedback folks. I think I have a better understanding now. In addition, I got a bunch of worthy information from http://auto.howstuffworks.com/four-wheel-drive.htm
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  #19  
Old 10-29-2006
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as long as your not turning being in 4-hi wont hurt anything, ive been on some wet roads that were a little slick and ive had it in 4x4, just got to 2wd when making a tight turn to avoid driveline binding. i use 4 low alot at the boat ramp just for the gear reduction and when going up on ramps for servicing. i need to get me some manual hubs, still have the stock autos, one day they aint gona work and im going to wish id gotten them.
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Old 11-17-2006
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my manual says that i can engage and drive 4WD drive at any speed. i use it in the rain cuz i have stick and a sticky clutch
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  #21  
Old 11-17-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slodsm
Although I don't personally do it, the highway is fine in 4wh as long as you are under X speed according to the manual, I believe 45 or 55 mph.

i have been going 100+ and clicked it into 4wd hi, this does not hurt anything, hence the live axles help this.

you can run 4wd on dry highway in a strait line but i wouldn't do it for very long.

i dont run 4wd in the rain, its a waste of power, when it is raining dont get on it as hard. its pretty simple.

i use 4wd in the winter on the road if it has snow or ice, otherwise 2wd.

turning on dry pavement and in 4wd is a bad idea.
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  #22  
Old 11-19-2006
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in my cj7 i built i leave it in 2wd unless im going up a steep hill or driving in wet/slippery conditions.. i know for a fact 2wd can get thru alot with no problems. jeep or a truck. i like to keep it in 2wd as long as i can so i dont get the transfercase hot from driving in 4h. 4low in my jeep feels like i could drive up a house, no clutch needed it will just crawl over anything haha
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  #23  
Old 11-20-2006
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In my case (at Wharton) I like to see what the truck can do in 2wd. This is more or less a challenge to myself and the truck to see what I can get it to do. If I get stuck, then I put it in 4wd and try to get myself out. The only issue with doing things this way is momentum. If you try to go through in 2wd until you get stuck, you lose any momentum that you may have had to your advantage. Whereas, if you put the truck in 4wd before you enter into those sticky situations, the momentum, and extra wheels spinning may prevent you from getting stuck.

Being that I have run vent lines to all of my componets and the fact that I am pretty well off with height, I don't worry about getting stuck in the mud or water just as long as there's a friend who can help me out with some hip waiters.
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