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Old 04-02-2013, 01:29 AM   #1
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Shifting out of 4WD

Hi all. New to the forum, and new to Jeep ownership. I have a 1997 TJ Sport with a manual transmission. I have issues getting out of 4WD. It engages from 2WD to 4WD without any issues. It drives in 4Hi and 4Lo without issue. When I try to return to 2WD the problems start. I have gotten out of 4WD at different times by 1) going into neutral 2) going into 1st gear and 3) going into Reverse. I'm aware that this is not normal, but I had to do what I had to do. Recently the back wheels locked up while I was trying to get out of 4WD. Thankfully I didn't drive on. I had enough situational awareness to stop immediately. Eventually I got it running in 2WD. The 4WD is a freaking awesome beast on this thing, but I want to be able to get out of it when I get off the trail. Please help!
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Old 04-02-2013, 04:58 AM   #2
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Welcome! When shifting in/out of 4wheel high you should be driving in a straight line at anywhere from 3mph to 50 or so. It's an "on the fly" transfer case shift system. 4lo has to be much slower (1-2mph). If you aren't moving when you try to shift, the transfer case has a harder time getting the gears.to mesh properly. Are you still having this problem even when shifting moving in a straight line?

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Old 04-02-2013, 09:59 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe_Downie View Post
Hi all. New to the forum, and new to Jeep ownership. I have a 1997 TJ Sport with a manual transmission. I have issues getting out of 4WD. It engages from 2WD to 4WD without any issues. It drives in 4Hi and 4Lo without issue. When I try to return to 2WD the problems start. I have gotten out of 4WD at different times by 1) going into neutral 2) going into 1st gear and 3) going into Reverse. I'm aware that this is not normal, but I had to do what I had to do. Recently the back wheels locked up while I was trying to get out of 4WD. Thankfully I didn't drive on. I had enough situational awareness to stop immediately. Eventually I got it running in 2WD. The 4WD is a freaking awesome beast on this thing, but I want to be able to get out of it when I get off the trail. Please help!
Joe,

As has been said above, you want to shift they t-case while moving. It is designed to be an "on-the-fly" system. Shifting from 2wd-4wdh should be done at anywhere from 5-50mph, while 4wdl should be just rolling slowly at about 2-3 mph, if that.

If you still are having trouble getting it to go in and out of the ranges, check your linkage. It could be binding somewhere when you shift. There are a few little plastic bushings that can wear out on the TJ shifter linkage.

Since your Jeep is lifted, I'm going to assume it has a t-case drop, and by the looks of it, a body lift. That is most likely your issue. Body lifts can give you major issues with shifter linkages if you aren't careful. They require a lot of care to make the linkage work properly.

Shoot me a PM with any other questions, and I'll be more than happy to assist you.

-Zach
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:04 AM   #4
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One thing to keep in mind is that the t-case will shift into 4Hi a lot more quickly than it will shift back into 2wd. That is normal. No need to stop or shift into Reverse to get it back into 2wd, don't sweat it not going back into 2wd immediately. You can help speed the process of going back into 2wd by staying off the gas to keep the torque out of the transfer case.
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:10 AM   #5
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Dumb question, but if I have a manual should I take the tranny out of gear and/or push the clutch in the engage 4wd? Or just take my foot off the skinny pedal? Haha
I've always been taught to just stop, taken it out of gear, and pull the lever up. That's how we've done it on all the 4wd's we've owned at least.
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:14 AM   #6
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No need to take the transmission out of gear or do anything with the clutch... pull it into 4Hi or push it back into 2wd while you're driving. As said above, it is a 'shift on the fly' type of transfer case.

Only when shifting in/out of 4Lo do you need to be stopped or nearly stopped.

And remember the Wrangler's 4x4 system is meant only for use on low-traction (non-paved) surfaces... don't use it on pavement, not even during a rainstorm.
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:34 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Jerry Bransford View Post
No need to take the transmission out of gear or do anything with the clutch... pull it into 4Hi or push it back into 2wd while you're driving. As said above, it is a 'shift on the fly' type of transfer case.

Only when shifting in/out of 4Lo do you need to be stopped or nearly stopped.

And remember the Wrangler's 4x4 system is meant only for use on low-traction (non-paved) surfaces... don't use it on pavement, not even during a rainstorm.
Of course never on a road. Ha I live in south Mississippi so no worry of snow storms here.

But do I need to take my foot off the gas is my main question? Or can I just be going down the road, not accelerating, and shift into 4hi with my foot on the gas?
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:36 AM   #8
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You can shift back & forth between 2wd & 4Hi anytime at any legal/safe speed.

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