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Old 08-05-2009, 07:27 PM   #1
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TJ Offroading Suggestions.

I'm going off road with some buddies of mine this weekend at rausch creek (tackling greens then blues) and I would like some pointers. I drive 5 speed manual and I would like some pointers. Should I stay in first gear/second gear the whole time in 4 wheel drive? Also when to use 4 wheel low vs just 4 wheel and do you have to be moving when shifting to low?

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Old 08-05-2009, 08:19 PM   #2
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They recommend moving when shifting into 4L. Make sure you're going VERY slow though. Like 5mph.

If you're just cruising down a trail, you can stay in 4H. 4L is really low.

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Old 08-05-2009, 08:35 PM   #3
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I shift to low range at a dead stop. As far as when to use 4-Hi vs 4-Lo, you will figure that out in time. Depends on terrain, horsepower, and your comfort factor. I often use Low Range on down-hills to save my brakes. Have fun.
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Old 08-05-2009, 08:56 PM   #4
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The t-case normally likes to be shifted into 4Lo at a DEAD-slow craw if you have a manual tranny or stopped with an automatic. It commonly grinds a tad when going into 4Lo since 4Lo is not synchronized. Just make sure to give it a good firm pull into 4Lo and make sure the lever is ALL the way back so it's all the way in 4Lo.

For offroading, I don't even use 4Hi until the going gets tough enough that I need 4Lo. The only time I'd use 4Hi was for a fairly high speed run through some deep sand, deep mud, or deep snow. I keep it in 2wd until the trail gets tough enough that I have to slow way down, like under 5mph and then I shift into 4Lo.

Air your tires down, and you're not even aired down enough to gain the advantage of airing down until you're below 15 psi. For stock size tires, you can safely go down to 12-13 psi which improves your traction greatly (the tire's contact surface area increases and it conforms to the terrain more easily). Plus it makes the ride better and helps prevent damage to the tire. Just make sure refill your tires back up before driving faster than about 25 mph to keep them from overheating and possibly failing from the heat.

Just drive slow, stay off the gas pedal on the tougher obstacles, just idle over them in 4Lo if it's a tough one. Don't let your foot bounce up and down on the gas pedal on a rocky area as that can send shock-loading through the drivetrain which is hard on it. You can place your right foot between the gas pedal and transmission tunnel to help steady your foot on the transmission tunnel.

Rarely does it take speed/higher rpms to make it over a tough trail. 99 times out of 100, slower is better than faster. The slower speed of 4Lo offers MUCH better control as actually more power over the tough stuff.

One last suggestion... when you're in 4Lo and your steering wheel is cranked hard-over all the way left or right, stay off the gas as much as possible as your front axle's u-joints are at their weakest when the steering wheel is turned far left/right. Breaking a front axle shaft u-joint will just ruin your whole day.

Have fun on the trail. A trail that may seem scary and challenging this coming weekend will likely seem like it is easy the next time. Flat dry smooth dirt roads used to scare my wife the first few times she went offroading with me and she used to ask me to put it into 4x4 so we wouldn't get stuck, it's all what you're used to.
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:02 PM   #5
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Should I just shift up shift down normally as if I was going down a normal road? I'm dropping the psi down to 15. Also for the dirt roads I plan on sticking on 2wheel drive then when on the mud I'm going up to 4 hi.
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Should I just shift up shift down normally as if I was going down a normal road? I'm dropping the psi down to 15. Also for the dirt roads I plan on sticking on 2wheel drive then when on the mud I'm going up to 4 hi.
As opposed to what? Shifting at the wrong times?
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:18 PM   #7
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if you're going to rausch creek you are going to want to put it in 4 low and keep it there. as for shifting gears, it will be just like shifting while you're on the road. you'll be able to tell when you should up and down shift. i have a 4 speed manual in my cj and i spend a lot of time in 1st and 2nd. my advice is go at almost obstacles in 1st in 4 low. there is a mud hole that is deep and filled with muck on the powerline that you may want to go at in 2nd. you ease your way in and then you give it a little gas to keep the momentum going. 2nd give you that little bit of extra "speed" (not pedal to the floor though) that you need to make it through.
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:27 PM   #8
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Check out some of the threads full of pictures from Rausch Creek. You will see what you should expect. It is a blast. Don't do anything that your scared to do because if you panic bad things can happen, but keep your cool and don't be afraid to push your jeep and yourself past your normal comfort zone. You will be impressed at what jeeps are capable of.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:40 PM   #9
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That's interesting about shifting into 4lo cause I've always tried it at like 2-5mph but it always grinds, I'll have to try it at dead stop, I have the automatic.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:50 PM   #10
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For offroading, I don't even use 4Hi until the going gets tough enough that I need 4Lo. The only time I'd use 4Hi was for a fairly high speed run through some deep sand, deep mud, or deep snow. I keep it in 2wd until the trail gets tough enough that I have to slow way down, like under 5mph and then I shift into 4Lo.
In fairness, I think Jerry should have mentioned that he does this because he's tough as nails and evidently thinks 4Hi is for sissies.

You won't hurt anything using 4 hi on gravel roads. Some of us use it more than Jerry evidently does.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:51 PM   #11
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Oh, and Eric, stay out of that one killer mud hole. KBR97 has video of it around here somewhere.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:53 PM   #12
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Disconnect your front sway-bar. Carry basic tools, some oil, make sure you have the tools to change a flat tire or patch one if you don't have a spare. Take a lunch, take water and a camera. Lastly, don't wrap your figers around the steering wheel. Next to lastly.. go have fun.
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Old 08-05-2009, 11:00 PM   #13
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I just realized I said pointers twice in my first post, sounds dumb when I re-read it.

I will post pics after this weekend, hopefully not with the title "snaps an axle 10 feet into the trail".
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Old 08-06-2009, 08:38 AM   #14
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I have heard on this forum (Mr. Jerry) not to disconnect the rear sway-bar. I can't figure that one out. Can someone please explain that theory.
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Old 08-06-2009, 08:49 AM   #15
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Quote:
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Oh, and Eric, stay out of that one killer mud hole. KBR97 has video of it around here somewhere.
That mud hole was nothing.

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I have heard on this forum (Mr. Jerry) not to disconnect the rear sway-bar. I can't figure that one out. Can someone please explain that theory.
There is almost no point in disconnecting the rear because it is very weak and doesn't hinder much flex. I personally took mine off completely and dont drive with it on at all, which some will agree with and some won't. Honestly, there is no point to take it off and it will be safer on the road.
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Old 08-06-2009, 10:09 AM   #16
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I have heard on this forum (Mr. Jerry) not to disconnect the rear sway-bar. I can't figure that one out. Can someone please explain that theory.
It's not a theory, go to even places like Johnson Valley (some of the hardest rock-crawling wheeling in north America) where the built TJs purposely run rear swaybars and most also run Antirock antiswaybars up front as my rig does.

Disco'ing the rear antiswaybar does not increase useful rear axle flex, it only makes the whole suspension system unstable for extremely off camber or extremely stiff obstacles. So while it's a good idea to disco a CJ or YJ Wrangler's antiswaybars due to their leaf spring suspensions, that's not a good idea for the TJ's far less stable coil spring suspension. The only thing I've done to my rear antiswaybar is to make some longer heim-jointed antiswaybar links with a Currie Antirock antiswaybar up front.

By the way, here's a few pics of John Currie's Fireant TJ that won the US national rock crawling championship a few years ago running front AND rear antiswaybars. The closeup pic I took shows his rear antiswaybar. Notice the limiting strap next to the rear antiswaybar which is there to limit axle flex. In other words, flex isn't everything and in the rear, the OE antiswaybar does not limit useful flex.
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Old 08-06-2009, 10:19 AM   #17
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He's got a Currie Antirock in the rear not a stock swaybar. There is a huge difference. I am not disagreeing with you at all because everything you said is coreect. I just wanted to point that out.
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Old 08-06-2009, 10:24 AM   #18
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He's got a Currie Antirock in the rear not a stock swaybar. There is a huge difference. I am not disagreeing with you at all because everything you said is correct.
A Currie Antirock is nothing more than an adjustable antiswaybar and other than that, there is no real difference. In fact, the Antirock antiswaybar's roll (stiffness) rate is very similar to that of the OE antiswaybar which is why I have not swapped out my rear antiswaybar for Currie's Antirock antiswaybar. Currie came out with their rear Antirock antiswaybar for tube buggies like the Fireant because they had to create their own antiswaybar for the custom chassis they use. Their custom tube chassis they built didn't exactly come with a factory rear antiswaybar.
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Old 08-06-2009, 10:48 AM   #19
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The Currie unit is adjustable in stiffness, so is the stock one the same as it on the stiffest setting or softest. Either way one setting is better for the rocks and one is better for the road, while the stock bar is good for one thing.

The Currie antirock also allows a lot greater flexibility in the way that it is built. It can droop more both wheels together if needed or the center bar can be twisted by much more degree than the stock unit.

The stock unit is a solid bar with links at the end. While it is, a smaller bar in the rear so it can flex a lot more than the front. There is no comparison to the amount of flex of the Antirock. The stock unit is also made to prevent sway (antiswaybar), while the Antirock is made to allow flex while prevent sway.

You are correct in saying there is no point in running one on the rear of a TJ due to amount of useful flex, but on a purpose built rock crawler that has a lot more flex then a modified TJ. There is no comparison from a Antirock to a stock swaybar. If that were the case it would be cheaper to run to the Junkyard and get a antiswaybar of any small vehicle and make it work on the crawler, except for sponsorships purposes and such.
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:36 AM   #20
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Well, we'll have to agree to disagree then... you're making the rear Antirock to be a very magical device which it is not. I run a front Antirock and fully understand its benefits but in the rear, you're making it out to be capable of doing more than it really is. Go look at the TJs running in Johnson Valley and those that are still capable of running the rear OE antiswaybar (I am one of those) still do because there is no real benefit to switching to a rear Antirock. If there was a benefit for MY TJ to be running a rear Antirock instead of the factory antiswaybar, I'd have installed one long ago. My rear OE antiswaybar is the ONLY stock suspension item remaining on my TJ and it won't be replaced by an Antirock because as much as I believe in the Antirock for the front, it would be of no benefit for me in the rear. The OE antiswaybar works just as well in the rear as an Antirock would. Antirocks are great up front because they replace the extra-stiff front antiswaybar but the rear antiswaybar is roughly the same stiffness as the Antirock is. The rear antirock was released for those who have either tube buggies or no remaining provisions for the OE antiswaybar.

Trust me, as one of the most vocal supporters of Currie's Antirock in the front, I wouldn't be saying the rear factory antiswaybar works as well in the rear for most TJs as an Antirock if it weren't the case. Unlike the front, it takes a real rock buggy to get the benefits of a rear Antirock. If it didn't, I'd be running one.
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Old 08-07-2009, 07:58 AM   #21
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SB, Jerry, Thanks for the explinations.....Y'all will have to excuse me for a few minutes while I go hook my rear bar back up!
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Old 08-07-2009, 02:59 PM   #22
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When at Rausc Creek I am in 4L all the time unless rolling on the "main" roads on the way to a trail. For the most part I stay in 2nd and that works for me.
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Old 08-07-2009, 03:00 PM   #23
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The t-case normally likes to be shifted into 4Lo at a DEAD-slow craw if you have a manual tranny or stopped with an automatic.
I though you need to be stopped to go to 4Low and that's the way I do it..Is that OK?
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Old 08-07-2009, 03:29 PM   #24
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I though you need to be stopped to go to 4Low and that's the way I do it..Is that OK?
Yes.
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Old 08-09-2009, 12:16 AM   #25
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i tryed it stopped with my auto, what the order isnt it 4HI, transfer in neutral, trans in neutral, transfer in 4LO and trans in gear again?


with auto in 4LO should i have it in drive or put in first position?

thanks EJ
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Old 08-09-2009, 12:36 AM   #26
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i tryed it stopped with my auto, what the order isnt it 4HI, transfer in neutral, trans in neutral, transfer in 4LO and trans in gear again?


with auto in 4LO should i have it in drive or put in first position?

thanks EJ
Not positive I understand this correctly. But I think this is what you're asking: when you are in 4LO or 4HI, you can leave your automatic in DRIVE or shift into 1 or 2. It depends on what you need. If you are going down a very steep hill, for example, you might want 4LO and gear 1.

But you can just leave it in DRIVE if you want.

Just keep in mind that if you decide to use your automatic to shift gears, then you need to pay attention to your engine. Don't over rev the engine!

4LO in 1st is a very low gear. You will be crawling along, most likely not even touching the gas pedal.
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Old 08-09-2009, 12:47 AM   #27
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Ok thanks.

By is that the right order? Cause I still got some grinding when I was completly stopped.
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Old 08-09-2009, 01:00 AM   #28
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Don't worry about a little grinding from the transfer case when you first shift in or out of 4LO. The gears don't have a synchromesh, so they basically just jam together. It will make some noise. And sometimes, you will need to roll forward or back just a bit to get it to shift at all.

That shifting order sounds fine to me. I have to admit I don't pay that much attention (plus my automatic is a Grand Cherokee, which is a little different). I don't think you can do this wrong.

I'll have to find a picture of all the sticks in my 1960 CJ5. You can be in hi or lo in 2 wheel or 4 wheel drive, plus there's a pto stick there. Dang floor looks like a sleeping porcupine, since every option has it's own gear shift. Now that's complicated!
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Old 08-09-2009, 11:31 AM   #29
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That's how my dads CJ3B is, it's crazy all the levers!

Thanks for all the info.
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Old 08-09-2009, 12:00 PM   #30
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i tryed it stopped with my auto, what the order isnt it 4HI, transfer in neutral, trans in neutral, transfer in 4LO and trans in gear again?


with auto in 4LO should i have it in drive or put in first position?

thanks EJ
I typically drop my tranny down into Lo and leave it there when the t-case is in 4Lo. Maybe I'll temporarily let it shift into 2nd on between obstacles but generallly speaking I won't shift into D because I don't want to be driving too fast in 4Lo which really spins the gears inside the t-case's planetary which is what makes them whine. If the trail is easy enough that the t-case gears start to whine when I'm in 4Lo, I'll stop and shift into 4Hi or 2wd.

And if the t-case grinds too badly (some grinding is normal) when shifting into 4Lo from a dead stop, try moving just a tad which can help the gears line up a little better.

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