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Old 07-23-2013, 09:59 PM   #1
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Traction control vs 4WD... newbie question

Right now I drive an Explorer Sport Trac and it pretty much has some form of 4WD on all the time. I have three buttons on my dashboard that are:

1. 4WD Auto (the default), where it turns on 4WD whenever it senses an issue of traction slip.

2. 4WD High, where it turns on full-time 4WD, which I normally turn on when it's snowing or very wet.

3. 4WD Lo, which I can only turn on while in neutral, when I'm trying to get out of snow.

My Jeep is still being built (a 2014 Unlimited Sport), but I'm very curious about how the 4WD works.

I noticed that instead of a button, there is a second shifter. Do you turn it on only when the road is wet or snowing? In other words, if it's in the default condition and a particularly slick area suddenly pops up, does it kick in 4WD by itself?

Assuming the answer is no, and that the 4WD doesn't kick in automatically, does the traction control do a good job keeping avoiding slips?

Thanks in advance!

Joe

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Old 07-23-2013, 10:08 PM   #2
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I'm glad you asked.

A Wrangler has "real" 4WD, not AWD, and you should really only use 4WD in deep snow, mud, ice, ect...(or off road). I'm guessing your explorer has some sort of center differential which allows the wheels on the front and rear axle to turn at different speeds (open diff aside) while in 4WD/AWD. Wranglers do not have that.

The vehicle does have traction control....but it is basically a RWD vehicle.

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Old 07-23-2013, 10:17 PM   #3
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Thanks for the speedy reply. Yes, you hear a clunk from time to time as the system kicks in and out of 4WD when it senses slips.

I rarely turned on full-time 4WD, but I always felt it was safer on slick road conditions.

I assume the Jeep will outperform the Explorer in deep snow and off-road, I was just wondering about overall traction.

Since you suggest using 4WD only in deep snow or off-road mud, etc., does the RWD traction control do a good job in rain, low snow and ice? If not, what's the down side of leaving it full time on in the rain or light snow? Poor gas milage, wear and tear?
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:21 PM   #4
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Watch this video then read this article 4WD vs AWD: What's The Diff? - Tech Feature - Motor Trend

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Old 07-23-2013, 10:33 PM   #5
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:35 PM   #6
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Great video... YouTube suggested another one just like it describing the Rubicon locking differentials. All I can say is WOW. Now I wish I coughed up the extra money for the Rubi.

In summary, I guess I won't have the same level of traction on slick or icy roads as my Explorer, but I'm gaining some kick ass get yourself out of (almost) anything with the Wrangler... but not as good as if I bought the Rubicon.

Is there an aftermarket way to get locking differentials like the Rubicon for the base Sport? Although I've never done serious off-roading... just having an intense system like that makes you want to seek out adventure.
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:09 PM   #7
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It will really depend on what you are trying to do with the Wrangler.

Lockers are the gold standard for off-roading, but are not used at all on pavement unless there is 3 feet of unplowed snowed. You don't use them in the rain, or on patchy ice or anything like that....they can only be activated in 4Lo.

Did you spring for Anti-Spin/Trac-Lok (Limited Slip Differential)? That is better for on-pavement slick stuff.
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:22 PM   #8
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Arrrgh... I don't think so, this dealer didn't even ask me if I wanted things like that. In fact, he barely asked me any questions.

Unless it's part of the 24S package or the AHT Trailer Tow Group... my powertrain is stock Sport configuration.

Lesson learned... educate before signing.
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Old 07-24-2013, 12:21 AM   #9
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I would ask dealer if they can change and add Limited Slip option. Sounds like you'll benefit from it, if not you still have a very capable Jeep. Jeeps com standard with brake lock differential which is not a replacement for lockers or LSD, but will be more than enough for slick roads I would think. It was explained in video, so I assume you understand how that works.

I saw your post on soft top, I would think you can back out on deal if you haven't taken delivery, but I could be wrong. Force them to make change if you really want it.
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Old 07-24-2013, 08:47 AM   #10
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Thanks... I may have to back out and look for another Jeep dealer if they keep giving me friction. After all, the vehicle isn't set for production until August.
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Old 07-24-2013, 08:53 AM   #11
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Thanks... I may have to back out and look for another Jeep dealer if they keep giving me friction. After all, the vehicle isn't set for production until August.
Just remember, they need your business. If they aren't being salesmen and walking through options and helping you decided, they should at least be flexible if changes can still be made. If not, leave and go to another dealer and if you haven't heard of the tread lightly discount, do a search. Should be able to get jeep 2% below invoice with membership.
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Old 07-24-2013, 08:59 AM   #12
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AFAIK, if it ain't in production, you can change your order.....

but I may be wrong.

From a practical user standpoint, living in rural PNW with months of monsoon, thousands of miles of old logging roads, various mud holes, slick grassy inclines around the estate, and myriad opportunities for a little non-pavement adventure, it would be madness to *not* include LSD in the option list.

Arguments are made about better designs etc. Short of the real extremes of rock climbers/youtube adventures/crew-supported expeditions, the LSD is cheap enough and both highly reliable as well as highly desirable. YMMV.
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Old 07-24-2013, 09:20 AM   #13
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I clearly should be allowed to change the order before it's in production. In fact, until the keys are in my hand, I am allowed to simply walk away.

I live in New York City, so slick roads are more common than off-roads. Is the LSD system always on? Or do you need to turn it on when it's slick?
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Old 07-24-2013, 09:33 AM   #14
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It's always on. Good luck with your purchase of a 2014 Wrangler.
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Old 07-24-2013, 10:10 AM   #15
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A dealer may not know what Tread Ligthly is (unless they sale a lot of Jeeps), but they WILL know what an Affiliate Member Discount it. Tread Ligthy is one of the groups that are eligible for the Affiliate discount. Check with your employer to see if they are already a member of the Chrysler Affiiliate program.

And yes, get the LSD. I'd say 90% of the posters on here agree on the benefits of LSD on a daily driver. The big "split" is the benefit of the "factory" LSD....mostly because it is a very, very mild LSD. But, it is only $295 and covered under warranty. A much better LSD is a Detroit Tru-Trac....but that is an aftermarket install that will probably run you $700'ish installed. Great unit, but a lot of new Jeepers (especially us pavement pounders) tend to shy away from opening up the pumpkins (differentials) on brand new vehicles. The factory LSD is a mechanical differential in your rear axle that is always on.

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