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Old 09-30-2013, 04:31 PM   #1
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sway bar and axle lock switches

My 2013 Rubicon has a sway bar and axle lock switch. Not much on four wheeling and was wondering if someone could tell me the purposes of these two switches.
Chuck

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Old 09-30-2013, 06:59 PM   #2
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Well one locks yours axles and the other disconnects your sway bar. But you better read the manual on these things. They are very serious switches. And used for off road use only.

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Old 10-01-2013, 02:49 PM   #3
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I know how to disconnect the sway bar and use the axle lock but I want to know what hapens when I do these things. What does unlocking the sway bar accomplish. I mean why would I unlock the sway bar or lock the axle.I'm having trouble explaining . The manual tells you how to do it but not why to do it.
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Old 10-01-2013, 03:19 PM   #4
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If you are in a situation where opposite corners of the Jeep are on the ground and the other wheels are up in the air or just barely touching, you cannot move because the wheels in the air will spin and no torque goes to the wheels supporting the Jeep. Now lock the axle and the wheels must turn at the same speed. So torque gets applied to the wheels with the greatest traction. Also, by disconnecting the sway bar you get more articulation so the wheels that are off the ground might be able to come down farther and make contact.

Remember: An open differential means both wheels on an axle always get even torque, but can run at different speeds. A locked differential means both wheels always turn at the same speed but see uneven torque.

The sway bar tries to keep the body level in corners by transferring weight off of the inner wheels in a turn. The bar that flexes like a spring to do this can only travel so far, or only let one wheel droop so far. By disconnecting the bar the wheels move more independently of each other. If it remained disconnected while driving on the highway the car would handle poorly and have more body lean in corners. Find the bar under your Jeep and imagine what would happen if one wheel was to drop and the other to rise.
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Old 10-01-2013, 06:25 PM   #5
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Thank you Raspy. You have told me exactly what I wanted to know and you have explained it perfectly. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with me.
Chuck
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Old 10-04-2013, 01:25 AM   #6
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THEY HAVE BUTTONS THAT DISCONNECT YOUR SWAY BAR FOR YOU NOW :-0 thats exciting you cant find that on my ole 87 YJ all this new fangled equipment that the youngsters are using now a days lol
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Old 10-04-2013, 05:02 PM   #7
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THEY HAVE BUTTONS THAT DISCONNECT YOUR SWAY BAR FOR YOU NOW :-0 thats exciting you cant find that on my ole 87 YJ all this new fangled equipment that the youngsters are using now a days lol
it's really not that special. they break all the time lol
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Old 10-06-2013, 12:39 AM   #8
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I'm new to offroading, having a blast with it in the AZ desert near Phoenix. I've done Crown King run (back way) and played around in Sycamore Creek. I'm in a 2014 Rubi with a 3.5" AEV lift, AEV front and rear bumpers, Warn winch 9.6, 35" tires. I geared up with a Hi-Lift, shovel and winch recovery kit. The rig is loaded and ready for some serious rock climbing. I need to figure out what I'm doing a bit better.

I'm playing around with the buttons for the axle lock and sway bar disconnect and have a couple questions. @Raspy - thanks, you're explain did a lot for grasping the basic concept. I'm stoked that I found this site, hoping you don't mind helping a newbie out.

When should I lock the axles? Only in prep for a hard challenge on the trail, or should I just leave them locked the whole time I'm out on the trail? I've been turning on the axle locks on, both of them, once I'm past the maintained road on just leaving them on in 4-Low. I've disengaged the sway bar only on hard parts, and I suspect I haven't actually done anything hard enough where I actually needed to yet.

I noticed I can lock rear only, or rear and front. That leads me to believe maybe I should only be locking them if I'm stuck spinning tires, and then engage the locker on rear only if one of the rear tires is spinning? rear and front if front tires are spinning? But then I think why wouldn't I just lock both before I get stuck and not get stuck in the first place?

Really my question is: it is okay to just keep the axles locked the whole time I'm on the trail?

Do the lockers only work in 4 low? I noticed when I switched back to 4 High, the locker lights started blinking. I stopped, put in neutral, waited, put in drive, reversed a few feet, put in park, waited longer, still blinking. Turn jeep off, wait 5 seconds, turn jeep back on: lights are now off. I'm thinking maybe this is telling me, "Hey dumbass, you should have turned the lockers off before switching back to 4 High"?

If this is super obvious stuff I should know, sorry, like I said, I'm brand new to this. Having a blast figuring it all out.
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Old 10-06-2013, 02:00 AM   #9
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I only lock the axle if I actually get stuck. The electronic limited slip will take care of it most of the time, but I got stuck in some deep snow a few months back and locked mine to get out. Recently I was on a severely washed out trail and one front wheel was off the ground. I just let the Jeep work out the details to see what it would do, and sure enough, it applied torque to the wheel on the ground and pulled itself out. I would prefer a mechanical locker most of the time, but in very slippery, icy highway conditions, the open diff and traction control is better. Rock crawling is another story where you don't want anything to spin and have to wait for the computer to decide what to do, so locked could be better, but not always left on where it stresses the system for no reason. Just turn it on when the trail is really tough and wheels will be lifting off the ground, then turn it off. Or find the Jeeps limits and then turn it on to get used to how much your Jeep can handle without it. Once you've gotten stuck a few times and finessed your way out without a lot of drama, you'll be more comfortable and do less damage.

On a side hill you can get yourself in trouble by only locking the rear. Then both rears spin together and you slide sideways while the non spinning front wheel will keep the front from sliding sideways. You end up crossways on the trail. Again, there are no hard and fast rules. Just play with it and see what you get.

My friend won't even put his TJ into 4WD until he can't make it through in 2WD. I'm always looking for ways to test the traction to see how much headroom I have on mountain highways in the winter and I go into 4WD even on gravel roads to take some of the stress off the rear tires if there are long grades. Everyone does it differently. On winter highways I go in and out of 4 hi over and over as the miles pass. Slip it into 2WD and test for traction with the throttle, then back to 4WD. When a dry spot comes along slip it back into 2WD. Just ease off the throttle and make the shift.

I don't see a big need for the sway bar disconnect unless opposite corners are off the ground, but then a locked diff will get you the traction. On side hills I'd leave it connected. A stock or slightly modified wrangler is only going so far in the rocks anyway and by the time you need the sway bar disconnect to get through, you're probably dragging and scraping along pretty badly. Just play with it and see how you like the affect.
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Old 10-07-2013, 05:09 PM   #10
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it's really not that special. they break all the time lol
ok good lol that makes me feel better
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Old 10-07-2013, 10:59 PM   #11
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@Raspy wow, thank you, that helped a lot. I've been riding the trails with the axle locks on, which make cornering a bit harder, and now I know it's stressing the system for no reason. I've done a few tricky rock climbs at steep ascent with only a couple slight slides. I'll save the axle locks and sway bar disconnect for times like these, from now on. I'm amazed at how effortlessly the Rubicons walk up the rocks. It's fun being nervous, not knowing if I can make it, then trying and the Rubi just walks up like it's nothing. Amazing machines. The 3.5" AEV lift w/ 35s helps.

I've been toying with the 4 hi on maintained dirt roads, going fast, sliding around a bit, switch to 2WD, go fast, slide around the same. Sometimes I think I have more traction in 2WD. Probably doesn't matter once I'm not accelerating.

Good to know I'm not doing it all wrong - just have to keep trying different things and seeing what feels right for the situation.

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