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Old 01-11-2014, 07:54 PM   #1
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4WD. Why and When?

I have a new 2014 JK Sahara, automatic transmission and 3.73. I plan to take it to the Ouray area this summer. My first time off road and the Sahara's too. I watch Youtube videos every night of Jeeps on these trails. Almost every trail in that area seems to be HARD PACKED with very little loose rock. So do i even need to be in 4WD on these trails while on a fairly level section or in a slight ascent? Do i keep it in "Drive" or 2nd gear while in 2WD? Or is it 4LO only, all the time while on these trails? and again, what gear? How fast and in what gear can you drive a JK in 4LO? I can understand being in 4LO while descending these trails. I can understand being in 4WD if it's wet. I'm no speed demon, and the wife will be with me, so yes, i'll be extra cautious while out there. Thanks for any advice here.

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Old 01-11-2014, 08:05 PM   #2
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I just did my first off road today - rocks/gravel and boulders mostly (Arizona). And I don't know Ouray obviously. But my two cents while I am by no means an expert, what I figured out today is when you NEED 4LO you will definitely know it. If you are on bad enough terrain to need 4LO, you won't be asking how fast you can go - you will be asking how slow you can go.

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Old 01-11-2014, 08:07 PM   #3
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Are you still running the Sahara stock tires? Replacing them with a higher void off road tread will drastically improve your traction and when you need to in 4Hi or 4Lo.
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Old 01-11-2014, 08:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mommymallcrawler View Post
... when you NEED 4LO you will definitely know it. If you are on bad enough terrain to need 4LO, you won't be asking how fast you can go - you will be asking how slow you can go.

Good answer.

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Old 01-11-2014, 08:09 PM   #5
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When 2wd doesnt work. I always hold out and stay in 2wd until i cant go any farther
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Old 01-11-2014, 08:21 PM   #6
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Dirt roads don't need 4wd. 2 high is fine. If you are doing something that causes your wheels to slip, then 4 high. 4 lo is only needed for more "extreme" situations. Likely, just trail riding, the most you should need is 4 high.
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Old 01-11-2014, 08:23 PM   #7
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For those with manuals, 4L will save your clutch.
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:02 PM   #8
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I just did my first off road today - rocks/gravel and boulders mostly (Arizona). And I don't know Ouray obviously. But my two cents while I am by no means an expert, what I figured out today is when you NEED 4LO you will definitely know it. If you are on bad enough terrain to need 4LO, you won't be asking how fast you can go - you will be asking how slow you can go.
you would be surprised, I have seen a few people on the trails wondering why they have a HOTOIL light on when they are crawling over an obstacle. look down and the guy is in 4H.

OP- if you are off the pavement feel free to use 4wd. it wont hurt a thing to be in 4h even when 2h would suffice as long as you are not on pavement. if you dont plan to go above 20 or so then put it in low.
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:06 PM   #9
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That brings up another good point. If you are using 4H, hold the ESP button in for 5 seconds to turn it off.
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:10 PM   #10
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That brings up another good point. If you are using 4H, hold the ESP button in for 5 seconds to turn it off.
I had a really good explanation of this in pm. I agree with daggo, unless youre driving in icy conditions. I pitched the jeep on purpose on ice in 4H with ESP on and was pleasantly surprised at its ability to correct.
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:25 PM   #11
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I usually run in 4 hi on dirt roads. if the back end gets jumpy it gives you some stability. also i figure if i lose the back end over the edge i can hopefully pull myself back onto the road with the front tires. the number one rule of off-roading is to crash into the mountain instead of the valley
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:29 PM   #12
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I usually run in 4 hi on dirt roads. if the back end gets jumpy it gives you some stability. also i figure if i lose the back end over the edge i can hopefully pull myself back onto the road with the front tires. the number one rule of off-roading is to crash into the mountain instead of the valley
Yeah, it is scary when I am drifting the jeep around tight mountain trails and that outside rear slides over the edge. Usually a quick shot of nitrous pulls it back straight on road though.
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:33 PM   #13
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Yeah, it is scary when I am drifting the jeep around tight mountain trails and that outside rear slides over the edge. Usually a quick shot of nitrous pulls it back straight on road though.


It has never happened ... I just think it is a little safer, just in case. Sometimes I drive forest roads pretty fast.
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:49 PM   #14
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It has never happened ... I just think it is a little safer, just in case. Sometimes I drive forest roads pretty fast.
Oh I've done it, just on the playstation and not in a jeep! LOL. But yeah the jeep is fun to open up on dirt roads. There is one video out there, either the metalcloak or maybe it was for the fox ats that shows a jeep being rallied pretty hard, harder than I would push it!
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Old 01-11-2014, 10:47 PM   #15
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Lmao nitrous ftw
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Old 01-12-2014, 01:13 AM   #16
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Mine's a rubi. For some reason chrysler doesn't allow disconnecting the sway bar while in 4H, only 4L. I get the safety aspect and all but would be nice if they let me decide when I need to disconnect.
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Old 01-12-2014, 01:17 AM   #17
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Mine's a rubi. For some reason chrysler doesn't allow disconnecting the sway bar while in 4H, only 4L. I get the safety aspect and all but would be nice if they let me decide when I need to disconnect.
yea, that annoys a lot of people. its a liability thing. they dont want to get sued because some jackass was doing 75 on a dirt desert road and rolled when he tries to turn
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Old 01-12-2014, 01:23 AM   #18
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for the OP i would stay in 4H while you're on the trail. there is not downside to doing to and it can only make you're trip safer. most of the guys who like to go as far they can in 2wd r just looking for the thrill of saying they could and there is nothing wrong with that. but for trips with women that we care about safety always has to come first
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Old 01-12-2014, 05:01 AM   #19
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for the OP i would stay in 4H while you're on the trail. there is not downside to doing to and it can only make you're trip safer. most of the guys who like to go as far they can in 2wd r just looking for the thrill of saying they could and there is nothing wrong with that. but for trips with women that we care about safety always has to come first
4WD only allows you additional traction to move---especially through areas where 2wd does not provide you enough traction to do so. It will provide some benefit to descend steep grades where the back tires will not hold you back--but no more so then the right application and use of the brakes. As for turning 4wd will assist pulling you out of a rut but in general it does not assist you in steering--in fact it actually makes your turning radius longer--harder to turn. As for "safety" the one thing that does matter is the tires---they determine the most whether you are on or off road--a vehicle in 2WD with the right tires for the terrain --often will go farther then one with the wrong tires. For example a truck in 2wd with posi and mud tires on it may actually be more capable then a 4wd with street slicks on it when driving on a muddy road. Tires make the difference
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Old 01-12-2014, 05:18 AM   #20
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[QUOTE=rdg04578;7377289]4WD only allows you additional traction to move---especially through areas where 2wd does not provide you enough traction to do so."

1) Obviously but what happens if suddenly you need to be anywhere but exactly where you are at that moment, so you slam on the gas and... you're back wheels spin and slide and you go nowhere and bang idk what hits you. where as if you had been in 4H maybe you would have been able to get out of the way

"As for turning 4wd will assist pulling you out of a rut but in general it does not assist you in steering--in fact it actually makes your turning radius longer--harder to turn."

2)Again pretty obvious and granted not the most desirable trait but refer to answer #1

"Tires make the difference"

3) Never said they didn't, and the OP has a decent set of tires that will get him through more obstacles and mud than not.
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Old 01-12-2014, 11:36 AM   #21
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most of the guys who like to go as far they can in 2wd r just looking for the thrill of saying they could
This is correct.
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Old 01-12-2014, 12:27 PM   #22
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For the Ouray trails, keep it in 4L. The elevation will strain the motor and get it hot in 4H. You can keep it in 4H for the lower parts of the trails, but when you see the climbs are getting steeper, stick it in 4L. For descents, same thing...steep=4LO gradual=4HI

BTW, Ouray trails start fairly hardpacked, but change to loose rock VERY quickly.
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Old 01-12-2014, 01:20 PM   #23
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4WD only allows you additional traction to move---especially through areas where 2wd does not provide you enough traction to do so. It will provide some benefit to descend steep grades where the back tires will not hold you back--but no more so then the right application and use of the brakes. As for turning 4wd will assist pulling you out of a rut but in general it does not assist you in steering--in fact it actually makes your turning radius longer--harder to turn. As for "safety" the one thing that does matter is the tires---they determine the most whether you are on or off road--a vehicle in 2WD with the right tires for the terrain --often will go farther then one with the wrong tires. For example a truck in 2wd with posi and mud tires on it may actually be more capable then a 4wd with street slicks on it when driving on a muddy road. Tires make the difference
Where's the issue with using 4 low? You've got 5 or 6 gears to use so you're never likely to run out of speed. What you have got is control. An ascent in 3rd will wan't you coming down in 1st. Before hill-descent and anti-lock the trick was always to come down on the gears, never the brakes: locked brakes = no steering; low gears and feet off the pedals = full control all the way down.
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Old 01-12-2014, 01:32 PM   #24
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Where's the issue with using 4 low? You've got 5 or 6 gears to use so you're never likely to run out of speed. What you have got is control. An ascent in 3rd will wan't you coming down in 1st. Before hill-descent and anti-lock the trick was always to come down on the gears, never the brakes: locked brakes = no steering; low gears and feet off the pedals = full control all the way down.
I agree 100%. There is no all encompassing answer here. There are many types of wheeling and varying terrain. On the soft beach, I'm in 4H. Most other situations I'm in 4L. Auto or manual can influence your choice as well. If you find yourself on the clutch or brake, then 4L might be a better choice.
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Old 01-12-2014, 01:34 PM   #25
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Hard to find an off-road situation where you are legitimately better off in two wheel drive. It is kind of silly we are even really discussing this.
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Old 01-12-2014, 02:06 PM   #26
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I just did my first off road today - rocks/gravel and boulders mostly (Arizona). And I don't know Ouray obviously. But my two cents while I am by no means an expert, what I figured out today is when you NEED 4LO you will definitely know it. If you are on bad enough terrain to need 4LO, you won't be asking how fast you can go - you will be asking how slow you can go.
Never heard it explained better. Bravo!
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Old 01-12-2014, 02:46 PM   #27
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What is the issue just keeping the Jeep in 4H all the time except under extreme instances on the trail?
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Old 01-12-2014, 02:56 PM   #28
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What is the issue just keeping the Jeep in 4H all the time except under extreme instances on the trail?
Its a part time system so it shouldn't be engaged on pavement. As I described above, there are times when 4L is preferable.
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Old 01-12-2014, 02:58 PM   #29
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Its a part time system so it shouldn't be engaged on pavement. As I described above, there are times when 4L is preferable.
Gotcha. Just curious coming from AWD platforms where you constantly reaped the benefits always.
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Old 01-12-2014, 02:58 PM   #30
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Hard to find an off-road situation where you are legitimately better off in two wheel drive. It is kind of silly we are even really discussing this.
Rally-cross track. The JK can drift like mad when on soft flat soil.

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