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Old 10-03-2013, 05:59 PM   #1
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I am on my way to buying a jeep this month and I'm wondering which 4x4 system is better in the snow. I thought I read that the unlimited was better but i don't know why. Rubicon - pros n cons Unlimited - pros n cons

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Old 10-03-2013, 06:02 PM   #2
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Unlimited just refers to the number of doors. There is a rubicon and a rubicon unlimited. The 4 door jeeps are heavier with a longer wheel base which will be better in snow. The lockers on a rubicon will only help in deep snow(2+feet) on road they won't help. Also mud tires aren't great for snow and ice. A snow tire or a snow rated all terrain is much better

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Old 10-03-2013, 06:05 PM   #3
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Unlimited means 4 doors for JK's (and an extended wheelbase for TJ's)....it has nothing to do with the type of 4WD system.

As far as snow goes, all JK's have part-time 4WD...meaning they can only be used part time (deep mud, deep snow, rocks, ect)...they are not AWD systems.
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Old 10-03-2013, 07:37 PM   #4
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I haven't had my 2013 JKU in the snow, yet. My 2012 JK, WITH KM2 mud tires, was unstoppable last winter. I was driving around 4x4 trucks, through yards and drifts, to bust my strap out and yank them out. I went 20 miles down a closed freeway with another Jeep, NOTHING was moving out there but Jeeps. Trucks couldn't get around the stopped traffic. If the JKU is BETTER, I'm looking forward to the snow in these hills.
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Old 10-03-2013, 07:57 PM   #5
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With good tires like Duratracs, Silent Armors, etc, all models will do very well in snow. In short, if you stay on the road, the 4wd systems on either will get you far.

The Sport or Sahara trim can come with an optional TracLok limited slip diff. It gives better traction than the standard diff but it can still spin on packed snow. That option comes on the rear only, about an extra $300.

The axles on the Rubicon can be locked, so you get true 4wd. Normally you wouldn't lock them while driving - you would engage them if you go off the beaten path (intentionally or not) or want to pull another vehicle back onto the road.

I have vehicles with both systems and would give the nod to the Rubicon - but it's easy for me to spend your money. Whatever your decision, get a good set of tires.




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Old 10-03-2013, 08:32 PM   #6
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Any wrangler regardless of its designation is flipping sweet in the snow. Cant wait to get my rig in the white stuff!
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:32 PM   #7
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I am on my way to buying a jeep this month and I'm wondering which 4x4 system is better in the snow. I thought I read that the unlimited was better but i don't know why. Rubicon - pros n cons Unlimited - pros n cons

Let me rephrase my question.....what's the difference in 4x4 systems between the rubi and other models. I know the rubi has lockers but in if your not going snow wheeling is the command trac better for day to day driving in the snow?

Command trac vs rock trac should have been the title to this post
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:48 PM   #8
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The rubicon has lockers but they only work in 4WD lo range--not a normal characteristic for everyday driving. In 4WD high range the Rubicon is no different then any other Jeep that has traction control. A limited slip differential maybe helpful but the traction control system is effective enough for everyday driving. The single best improvement is to ditch the tires and get a good set of snow tires--to run for the winter. One word of caution --driving a short wheelbase Jeep with lockers in the snow is a handfull--and not for the inexperienced.
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:52 PM   #9
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Snow and ice are different. Mud tires are very good in deep snow, very poor on ice or light snow. An AT tire is a better choice for light, 2" or less snow and ice. Chains/cables work best and are the only real option if any upgrades or downgrades are common in icy conditions. Which are common after snow partially thaws, and then re-freezes.

A locking or even a limited slip rear axle is actually a disadvantage on slippery snow and ice. While a locking diff is a better option off road, a traction control option is a far better option for snow and ice.

Longer wheel base, heavier vehicles generall do better in ice/snow too.
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:55 PM   #10
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Any wrangler regardless of its designation is flipping sweet in the snow. Cant wait to get my rig in the white stuff!
This. Gotta love it
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:03 PM   #11
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Old 10-04-2013, 06:43 AM   #12
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This was years ago, with my first Wrangler.

I was watching over a friend's house when we had a major snow storm. After cleaning up my home, I went to check on his. Of course, his driveway was shoveled yet, and the road plow left a high pile of snow at the beginning of his driveway.

What the heck, I thought. I have a Jeep. I'll just drive over the pile of snow and down his driveway.

Didn't work out.

I ended up sitting on top of that pile of snow, with all four wheels in the air. 4WD doesn't do you much good, when none of your tires are touching.
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Old 10-04-2013, 07:28 AM   #13
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That is Awesome
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Old 10-04-2013, 07:49 AM   #14
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It is all about weight distribution and tires---you think a Jeep is awesome in the snow--you should see what a Subaru will do.
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Old 10-04-2013, 08:02 AM   #15
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I would take the stock Sahara tires over the Rubi tires in winter time. The only time I would want the rubi tires is deeper stuff, but I don't typically find deep enough snow that the Sahara tires fall. An A/T will out due a mud terrain in the winter and wet condition any day, so that's something to consider.
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Old 10-04-2013, 08:04 AM   #16
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Quote:
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This was years ago, with my first Wrangler. I was watching over a friend's house when we had a major snow storm. After cleaning up my home, I went to check on his. Of course, his driveway was shoveled yet, and the road plow left a high pile of snow at the beginning of his driveway. What the heck, I thought. I have a Jeep. I'll just drive over the pile of snow and down his driveway. Didn't work out. I ended up sitting on top of that pile of snow, with all four wheels in the air. 4WD doesn't do you much good, when none of your tires are touching.
Is it sad that I knew where that was going? LOL
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Old 10-04-2013, 08:16 AM   #17
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The Rubicon will offer no advantages in snow unless you're stuck off the road in a deep drift, even then it's debatable. A winch is a better option in this case. I run a JKU with Duratracs, and I upgraded the rear diff to an Eaton Detroit Truetrac. It's a high performance limited slip that will blow the stock option away, and won't wear out over time.

I take my Jeep up to the Upper Penninsula every winter, and our farm is surrounded by Nat'l forest on all 4 sides. Roads don't get plowed very often, and it's often that you're on a snowmobile trail part of the time to get anywhere. I rarely even need to shift into 4hi with the Truetrac, and on the highway on an unplowed road I'm driving around everyone in 2 and in perfect control at all times. Some roads are closed for the season, and are still easily passable with 33" Duratracs, and the Truetrac in the rear. Duratracs are great all year long, and I've yet to find a need for dedicated snow tires after having bought them. With that said, if I lived there year round, I'd probably have a dedicated set of snow tires anyhow.

There's not another vehicle other than a snowmobile that I have more faith in than my Jeep in winter in the U.P., but I set it up for there first and foremost. Winter driving > Daily commute > Logging and Forest trails > Rocks was my set up priority. YMMV.
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Old 10-04-2013, 08:56 AM   #18
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It is all about weight distribution and tires---you think a Jeep is awesome in the snow--you should see what a Subaru will do.
There was a time last winter when I couldn't get the Subaru more than 20 feet up the street. Had to go back and get the jeep - no problem then.
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Old 10-04-2013, 09:13 AM   #19
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Snow and ice are different. Mud tires are very good in deep snow, very poor on ice or light snow. An AT tire is a better choice for light, 2" or less snow and ice. Chains/cables work best and are the only real option if any upgrades or downgrades are common in icy conditions. Which are common after snow partially thaws, and then re-freezes.

A locking or even a limited slip rear axle is actually a disadvantage on slippery snow and ice. While a locking diff is a better option off road, a traction control option is a far better option for snow and ice.

Longer wheel base, heavier vehicles generall do better in ice/snow too.
I agree with all, except for the bolded. Limited slip is an advantage on slippery stuff, unless you are talking about a driving on an entire street filled wit wet ice where there is no traction what so ever.

--------------

OP, in 4HI, there is no difference between how the two systems work. The difference is in 4LO, and that difference is simply the gearing. Both are part time 4WD systems. Sometimes I wish Selec-Trac was offered, that is a full-time 4WD system (it can be left in 4WD all the time, even on dry pavement).
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Old 10-04-2013, 09:17 AM   #20
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The Rubicon will offer no advantages in snow unless you're stuck off the road in a deep drift, even then it's debatable. A winch is a better option in this case. I run a JKU with Duratracs, and I upgraded the rear diff to an Eaton Detroit Truetrac. It's a high performance limited slip that will blow the stock option away, and won't wear out over time. I take my Jeep up to the Upper Penninsula every winter, and our farm is surrounded by Nat'l forest on all 4 sides. Roads don't get plowed very often, and it's often that you're on a snowmobile trail part of the time to get anywhere. I rarely even need to shift into 4hi with the Truetrac, and on the highway on an unplowed road I'm driving around everyone in 2 and in perfect control at all times. Some roads are closed for the season, and are still easily passable with 33" Duratracs, and the Truetrac in the rear. Duratracs are great all year long, and I've yet to find a need for dedicated snow tires after having bought them. With that said, if I lived there year round, I'd probably have a dedicated set of snow tires anyhow. There's not another vehicle other than a snowmobile that I have more faith in than my Jeep in winter in the U.P., but I set it up for there first and foremost. Winter driving > Daily commute > Logging and Forest trails > Rocks was my set up priority. YMMV.
I think I know the answer but will ask anyway: how are you liking the truetrac?

I'm regearing shortly and I plan to install one at that time. Some have tried to talk me into a locker but honestly I just don't want one right now.

Sorry for the thread jack.
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Old 10-04-2013, 12:10 PM   #21
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I agree with all, except for the bolded. Limited slip is an advantage on slippery stuff, unless you are talking about a driving on an entire street filled wit wet ice where there is no traction what so ever.

--------------

OP, in 4HI, there is no difference between how the two systems work. The difference is in 4LO, and that difference is simply the gearing. Both are part time 4WD systems. Sometimes I wish Selec-Trac was offered, that is a full-time 4WD system (it can be left in 4WD all the time, even on dry pavement).
I think an LSD is better than an open diff for about 70% of winter driving situations. That said, I have personally experienced some fairly scary stuff trying to drive up a snowy, muddy narrow forest road in the spring. The LSD helps keep you going forward, but it also makes the back end unstable. It's not so bad that I think you're likely to spin out on the road, but on a narrow enough trail that back end walking toward the downhill side will get your attention!

This is a big reason I wanted a Rubi, selectable lockers. The next step would be bypassing the BLD. The BLD isn't quite as scary as the LSD, however, because it takes a little time to activate.
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Old 10-04-2013, 12:24 PM   #22
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Thanks for all the knowledgeable info! I like the sound of that Tru Trac, I wonder how much it is?
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Old 10-04-2013, 12:35 PM   #23
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OP, in 4HI, there is no difference between how the two systems work. The difference is in 4LO, and that difference is simply the gearing. Both are part time 4WD systems.
There is a big difference in 4LO. The rubi will lock both the tcase and both axles. You will have 4 wheels pulling for you with no slippage. Just one tire needs traction.

On a non-rubi, you have the easiest to turn wheel in the front (the one in the air or on ice), and limited slip in the rear (not as good as a locker).
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Old 10-04-2013, 12:39 PM   #24
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There is a big difference in 4LO. The rubi will lock both the tcase and both axles. You will have 4 wheels pulling for you with no slippage. Just one tire needs traction.

On a non-rubi, you have the easiest to turn wheel in the front (the one in the air or on ice), and limited slip in the rear (not as good as a locker).
You are referring to the selectable lockers in a Rubi.

I'm referring to Command-Trac vs Rock-Trac where the only difference in how they perform would be the gearing. Lockers are not automatically turned in in 4LO.
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Old 10-04-2013, 01:16 PM   #25
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this video is great...bring on winter!!
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Old 10-04-2013, 01:19 PM   #26
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There is a big difference in 4LO. The rubi will lock both the tcase and both axles. You will have 4 wheels pulling for you with no slippage. Just one tire needs traction.

On a non-rubi, you have the easiest to turn wheel in the front (the one in the air or on ice), and limited slip in the rear (not as good as a locker).

But if your doing day to day driving in the snow 4lo is only for low speeds.....? If you are in 4hi in a rubi do the lockers even work? or do Rubi's have limited slip also in 4Hi?
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Old 10-04-2013, 01:21 PM   #27
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Thanks for all the knowledgeable info! I like the sound of that Tru Trac, I wonder how much it is?
I think they run $4-$500
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Old 10-04-2013, 01:30 PM   #28
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But if your doing day to day driving in the snow 4lo is only for low speeds.....? If you are in 4hi in a rubi do the lockers even work? or do Rubi's have limited slip also in 4Hi?
4Lo is only good for about 25mph - without a mod that's when the lockers can be engaged (but it's also when you are stuck). I will probably mod my rear to work in 4Hi.

If it is snowing hard, or you are on packed snow, you will likely be driving in 4hi, unlocked.

Muddy trails are an example of where you would want a rear locker in 4Hi

Lockers are the next best thing to a tracked vehicle.
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Old 10-04-2013, 01:45 PM   #29
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this video is great...bring on winter!!
Yeah, but it doesn't really show "why" jeeps are better; just THAT jeeps are better.
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Old 10-04-2013, 01:47 PM   #30
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I love my JKUR, but I haven't found it to be any better than my old regular cab short bed Silverado in the snow. Jeeps are great, but they aren't magic.

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