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Old 12-08-2013, 05:39 PM   #1
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Winter 4WD driving

Sorry if this has been posted, I couldn't find the answers I was looking for with a search.

I'm looking for somewhat of a winter driving how-to as far as Jeep TJ operation goes. I don't have a ton of winter/ snow driving experience on the roads but my new job has a 70 mile commute over a snowy mountain pass. Naturally I have arrived at some questions. I have a 97 TJ 4.0 on Toyo MT 33x10.5xr15's

I've heard it's bad to run 4wd on bare pavement, does this go the same for packed ice/snow?

Should I have mph concerns when operating in 4H? 40-45 mph ok on packed snow/ice in 4H?

General rules of thumb for 4wd use? (Shifting, reverse to come out of 4wd, should it be parked in 2wd?)

Any other tips or tricks for winter driving in my Tj?

Thanks guys!
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Old 12-08-2013, 05:51 PM   #2
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ive had mine a year now and am on my second canadian winter. it gets -40 Celsius up hear. i love my jeep in the snow, don't get a wider tire than you have now. i have a studded 10.5 wide. basically i use 4h only when i need to. just go to some parking lots and spend a long time sliding around in 2wd. it will become second nature. i pull into 4h if it looks ice or if theres a dumbass on the road and you want to be cautious. but i stay below 70kmh in 4h and i use 2h on pavment and most snow.

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Old 12-08-2013, 05:56 PM   #3
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oh and go slow! everyone drives like 25% slower in winter on our high ways. and if your in extreme cold use redline trans fluid and pop the shifter boot off. it gets so stiff it will pull you out of gear. thats only for a manual
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Old 12-08-2013, 06:20 PM   #4
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I notice here in Chicago when it snows that the first vehicles in the ditches are SUVs. 4x4 doesn't make you invincible and most people think it does. Use caution while driving and leave room to stop. 2 wheel, 4 wheel, 8 wheel drive drive doesn't matter when sliding on ice. 4 wheel helps to not fish tail around a corner and getting started from a stop.
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Old 12-08-2013, 11:00 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info guys. I'm pretty comfortable controlling it, I guess my biggest questions come from potential damage to the vehicle itself.

Like can I shift into 4H while driving without damaging something or do I have to come to a stop like i have been? How about coming from 4H back to 2WD? That type of thing, essentially how do I not break my Jeep and still use 4WD
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Old 12-08-2013, 11:49 PM   #6
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Its a jeep. Its designed to be in 4wd. You can go in and out of 4h while you're moving, no problem. And there is nothing wrong with having it in 4h while on snow or ice. If the roads are packed with snow I keep mine in 4h the whole time. The reason why its bad to be in 4wd on pavement is your tires move at slightly different speeds which will wear on the gears, but on snow (just like on dirt or mud) you will have slipping going on so there is no wear to the vehicle. Like previous posters have said, 4wd will not allow you to stop any faster. But yes, by all means, put it in 4wd while you're on slick roads. The only time you need to be stopped to put it in 4wd is if you're going into 4 low. Oh and it really is a good idea to find a empty parking lot and practice driving in the snow. Do some donuts - besides being fun, learning to control the vehicle in a slide will really come in handy. Hope this helps!
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Old 12-08-2013, 11:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philmycrackin View Post
I notice here in Chicago when it snows that the first vehicles in the ditches are SUVs. 4x4 doesn't make you invincible and most people think it does. Use caution while driving and leave room to stop. 2 wheel, 4 wheel, 8 wheel drive drive doesn't matter when sliding on ice. 4 wheel helps to not fish tail around a corner and getting started from a stop.
X2 on all of that. While driving back up to school today every vehicle I saw in the ditch had 4 wheel drive. I'm not bashing Jeep's 4wd but unless I'm driving in deep snow I feel a ton safer in my G6. The key is to take everything slow and increasing following and stopping distances. I know my TJ likes to lock up pretty quickly when coming to a stop, especially on ice so testing your brakes when coming to an intersection is always smart. The general rule of thumb is if the ground your driving on is slippery enough to break traction, driving in 4wd is perfectly fine.
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Old 12-09-2013, 12:22 PM   #8
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Its a jeep. Its designed to be in 4wd. You can go in and out of 4h while you're moving, no problem.
i was unaware of that myself. i have always stopped and put it in. just a habit as i alwys do it in al my 4x4's
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Old 12-09-2013, 12:52 PM   #9
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If I remember correctly they do recommend that you be traveling at less than 40 MPH when shifting from 2H to 4H and vise versa, and the post regarding shifting into 4L is correct you should be stopped when doing so.
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Old 12-09-2013, 04:20 PM   #10
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Its always been my opinion that if you're going much more than 40-50mph and need to shift it into 4wd, you're probably going to fast to begin with. Another good reason to keep it in 4 on snow packed roads is the fact that if its not in 4wd, its rear wheel drive - which is even worse than front wheel drive on slick roads.
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Old 12-10-2013, 12:10 AM   #11
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The Wrangler system is "shift on the fly" you can shift it into 4HI at any speed and there is no speed limitation in 4HI other than "safe" speed for the conditions.
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Old 12-10-2013, 12:37 PM   #12
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I was reading the user manual the other day, 1st snow season with my TJ, it says you can go into 4HI at speeds up to 55mph and when shifting to 4LO stay under around 3-4mph and don't pause in N.
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Old 12-10-2013, 04:08 PM   #13
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^true. Although as was pointed out, if you need 4HI at 55 mph, you might have other problems.

Last winter was my 1st in a Wrangler although I have lots of snow driving in Grand Cherokees. I was surprised at how well my TJ got through deep unplowed snow, better than my Quadradrive II GC, but the TJ has much better tires (Wrangler Silent Armors). During one storm, on the way to work, I was going up a pretty steep hill and drove around about 10 cars and SUV's that were totally stuck in the deep, wet heavy snow and ice that had piled up on this hill. I did not get any smiles from those folks as I slowly drove around their pile up.

TJ's are great in the snow with the proper tires and driving technique, oh, and a 90 pound dog in the back!

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