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Old 11-21-2010, 12:20 PM   #1
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Off-roading with Clutch

So im somewhat new to driving manual and Jeeps in general. I have been doing alot of off-roading this fall since i bought my wrangler in september. And ever time i go off-roading i feel like im taking years off my clutch i get that clutch burning smell sometime when trying to go over obstacles and what not. I also think that i might be using my clutch way to much. Im the type of person that loves taking care of my cars and i feel like im doing damage to the clutch ever time i get off pavement. So what my question to you Jeepers who have much more offroading experience then i do is what your secret to diving off roads with a manual with out killing your clutch?

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Old 11-21-2010, 12:28 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Jonzimm22 View Post
So im somewhat new to driving manual and Jeeps in general. I have been doing alot of off-roading this fall since i bought my wrangler in september. And ever time i go off-roading i feel like im taking years off my clutch i get that clutch burning smell sometime when trying to go over obstacles and what not. I also think that i might be using my clutch way to much. Im the type of person that loves taking care of my cars and i feel like im doing damage to the clutch ever time i get off pavement. So what my question to you Jeepers who have much more offroading experience then i do is what your secret to diving off roads with a manual with out killing your clutch?
4 Wheel LOW when climbing or bouncing in/out of ruts! Remember that you CAN use all 5 gears and use the normal shift pattern in 4 low. Your not limited to only 1st gear!! Automatics are generally preferred for off roading but some of us (me included) would rather go with a manual.

You'd be surprised what an engine will do when in 4 low!

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Old 11-21-2010, 12:29 PM   #3
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My '97 TJ's clutch was smoked so many times while offroading that I lost count and it was still in excellent shape when I did a precautionary clutch replacement at 161,000 miles. I have no doubt it would have made it to at least 200K miles. In other words, don't worry about it.

This pic caught my clutch billowing smoke out on the opening to a very tough trail out here in the desert called Doran Canyon. The pic shows the Jeep just getting past its gatekeeper opening.
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Old 11-21-2010, 12:31 PM   #4
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My '97 TJ's clutch was smoked so many times while offroading that I lost count and it was still in excellent shape when I did a precautionary clutch replacement at 161,000 miles. I have no doubt it would have made it to at least 200K miles. In other words, don't worry about it.

This pic caught my clutch billowing smoke out on the opening to a very tough trail out here in the desert called Doran Canyon. The pic shows the Jeep just getting past its gatekeeper opening.
You went for 161k miles and never had to change a clutch????????
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- 2004 TJ SE 2.4 5 speed, 3" lift with 31's
- 1989 YJ 4.2 5 speed, with 7" lift and 33's
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Old 11-21-2010, 12:33 PM   #5
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Off-roading definitely puts more stress on your clutch, especially on rocky terrain, but it's not a deal killer that would force you to go to an automatic. Jerry's got it right, don't worry about it. The clutch is designed to handle some abuse. Not to mention, a new clutch install is nowhere near as difficult as you might think. It's takes a day of work, an extra set of hands, and a transmission jack adapter. Go with LuK and you're set for another 200,000 miles

Mine is at 135k with no clutch replacement necessary. The syncros are worn down and shifting to 2nd is a pain in the cold, but my clutch is as strong as new.
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Old 11-21-2010, 12:33 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by StinkyMud View Post
You went for 161k miles and never had to change a clutch????????
That's what I said. Driven with normal clutch skills, the TJ's OE clutch (manufactured by Luk) is fully capable of making it past 200K miles.
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Old 11-21-2010, 12:38 PM   #7
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That's what I said. Driven with normal clutch skills, the TJ's OE clutch is fully capable of making it past 200K miles.
I'm impressed!!!

I have been driving a manual trans since I was 16 (long time) and have driven everything from sports cars to semi's. I have never heard of a clutch in anything going that long. That is very comforting to know know though...
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- 1989 YJ 4.2 5 speed, with 7" lift and 33's
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Old 11-21-2010, 12:42 PM   #8
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For the record, I edited my 1st response!!

Learned something new today.. I love this forum!!!
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- 2004 TJ SE 2.4 5 speed, 3" lift with 31's
- 1989 YJ 4.2 5 speed, with 7" lift and 33's
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Old 11-21-2010, 12:44 PM   #9
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I had a Volvo that went through a clutch after I smoked it just once trying to retrieve a boat up a launching ramp. Plus I've had clutches go out in cars like an old Datsun 1600 sports car I used to have. So some clutches don't last all that long but the Wrangler's clutch is a pretty darned tough and long lasting clutch. I learned to drive a stick shift back in '64 so I've been through a lot of them. Nothing ever helped my last TJ's offroad performance more than converting that manual transmission at 181K miles to an automatic though.
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Old 11-21-2010, 01:04 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by StinkyMud View Post
4 Wheel LOW when climbing or bouncing in/out of ruts! Remember that you CAN use all 5 gears and use the normal shift pattern in 4 low. Your not limited to only 1st gear!! Automatics are generally preferred for off roading but some of us (me included) would rather go with a manual.

You'd be surprised what an engine will do when in 4 low!
I going try not to worry to much about it. But i know this may be a dump question and all but what the real difference between 4w High and 4w Low. I know it has to do something with tourg and it help in really sketch situations at low speed. but how does it help when bouncing in/out of ruts and when the best times to use 4w low
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Old 11-21-2010, 01:50 PM   #11
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I use 4lo all the time I'm off-roadin'.
I'll only pull it into 4hi if doing a long flat stretch to get to another trail.
If taking a road to another trail, back into 2wd.
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Old 11-21-2010, 01:53 PM   #12
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4 low is a lower gear. The Jeep moves slower and has more torque.
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Old 11-21-2010, 02:04 PM   #13
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Oh man guys thats really going to help me alot. Theres always time when I'm off roading that I'm moving to fast even in first gear. I never would of thought to put it in to 4 low to make it move slower. What do you guys suggest be your make speed when in 4 low?
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Old 11-21-2010, 02:10 PM   #14
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Max speed in 4Lo? I never drive faster in 4Lo than perhaps short distances in 2nd gear, it is primarily for use when you stay in 1st gear or Low. If I can drive fast enough to shift out of 2nd into 3rd, I get out of 4Lo. 4Lo is primarily just a 1st or 2nd gear max ratio. I rarely use 4Hi. If the trail is easy enough I can use 4Hi, I normally shift back into 2wd. The only time I really need 4Hi is if I need the speed and momentum to get through soft sand or mud.
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Old 11-21-2010, 02:24 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford
Max speed in 4Lo? I never drive faster in 4Lo than perhaps short distances in 2nd gear, it is primarily for use when you stay in 1st gear or Low. If I can drive fast enough to shift out of 2nd into 3rd, I get out of 4Lo. 4Lo is primarily just a 1st or 2nd gear max ratio. I rarely use 4Hi. If the trail is easy enough I can use 4Hi, I normally shift back into 2wd. The only time I really need 4Hi is if I need the speed and momentum to get through soft sand or mud.
Jerry's more experienced, I'm no extreme off roader but I do the same. If I reach 3rd in 4 lo just shift into 2wd or 4wd hi. Chances are when I'm moving that fast 2wd is fine
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Old 11-23-2010, 05:44 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
I had a Volvo that went through a clutch after I smoked it just once trying to retrieve a boat up a launching ramp. Plus I've had clutches go out in cars like an old Datsun 1600 sports car I used to have.
You had a 1600! I had a 65 that bought in 1970. That was a fun little car. Friend of mine told me to go get these new type of tires called "radials", Dunlap Dogbones. They sure changed the handling.

That is one vehicle I miss.

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