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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m a newbie. While driving in 4H, I see there is a striking difference with what goes on with the tires as I make turns in this mode. Is this normal and if so, can anyone offer advice on easing into these turns without fear of fishtailing?
 

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The Wrangler has PART TIME four wheel drive. When you engage the transfer case, your front and rear axles are locked together. When you make a turn, your front and rear wheels have to travel at different speeds... But since you've locked the axles together, the front and rear axles wind up fighting each other.

Part time 4WD is only for slippery surfaces like snow, ice, mud, or sand. That binding-up you feel when making sharp turns on non-slippery surfaces while in 4WD can cause drive train damage.
 

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When turning in 4WD, it is necessary for at least one tire to slide on the surface. Like others have said, running in 4WD on dry pavement can have catastrophic consequences. Since you will only be using 4WD on slippery or loose surfaces, you shouldn’t be taking turns fast enough that fishtailing would be an issue. To further reduce strain on the drivetrain, only turn as sharply as necessary. In other words, make your turns as wide as possible to reduce the amount of slippage necessary at the tires.


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Happens on slippery pavement while turning with 4H in gear. ☹

It'll happen ANY time... and it is normal.


In part time 4WD systems there is a direct mechanical link between the front and back wheels. Meanwhile, on sharp turns the wheels need to turn at different speeds... which can't happen when they are mechanically linked. Some slippage needs to come from somewhere to allow the wheels to turn at different speeds so what happens is that the wheels 'hop' a little on the ground. This is normal and to be expected. It's also why you're told not to do it on dry pavement. The wheels need to be able to slip EASILY otherwise you stand a chance of breaking something.


There is one other thing you may notice on hard turns in 4WD... the steering wheel will become somewhat jerky. It feels like it's trying to straighten itself out. That's normal too and a simple limitation of the type of U joints jeep uses.
 

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Happens on slippery pavement while turning with 4H in gear. ☹
Define the slippery pavement you're having the problems with and what you're driving on eg: rain, or snow, etc. Snow for example should be fine to drive in, as long as the tires aren't getting good traction on the road below the snow. Rain can be worse with good tires in 4WD when the tires are making good contact and traction with the road. Bottom line is binding can occur if the tires are making good traction with the road. Part time 4WD needs slip to operate properly when turning. That's the nature of the beast, and can be expected on occasion. AWD or full time 4WD will function on slippery or dry surfaces w/o a problem.
 
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The only time you should use 4WD on pavement would be snow. Don't use it on wet pavement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Define the slippery pavement you're having the problems with and what you're driving on eg: rain, or snow, etc. Snow for example should be fine to drive in, as long as the tires aren't getting good traction on the road below the snow. Rain can be worse with good tires in 4WD when the tires are making good contact and traction with the road. Bottom line is binding can occur if the tires are making good traction with the road. Part time 4WD needs slip to operate properly when turning. That's the nature of the beast, and can be expected on occasion. AWD or full time 4WD will function on slippery or dry surfaces w/o a problem.
i noticed the Jeep sliding around in regular rain and normal/non-aggressive operation in late summer. But now with freezing temperatures and even more slick conditions, it seems like I most definitely should use 4WD at all times due to that experience. This week, the roads have been clear of snow but deceptively slippery so I’ve kept it in 4H. The normal turns are not what I’m accustomed to. Previously had a Compass where a simple lever is pulled and good to go. I appreciate there is (needless to say) more complexity to a Wrangler but the desperate, urgent need in understanding how to operate 4WD while conducting turns, is of paramount importance.
 

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i noticed the Jeep sliding around in regular rain and normal/non-aggressive operation in late summer. But now with freezing temperatures and even more slick conditions, it seems like I most definitely should use 4WD at all times due to that experience. This week, the roads have been clear of snow but deceptively slippery so I’ve kept it in 4H. The normal turns are not what I’m accustomed to. Previously had a Compass where a simple lever is pulled and good to go. I appreciate there is (needless to say) more complexity to a Wrangler but the desperate, urgent need in understanding how to operate 4WD while conducting turns, is of paramount importance.
There's a learning curve to part time 4WD. You might find yourself shifting into and out of it a lot depending on the road conditions. It is not set it and forget it, that will ruin or break something.
 
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Don’t engage 4WD unless on snow, ice, mud, sand, or the like. Do not use 4WD on wet or dry roads, you will damage your Jeep.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I think I hear what you’re saying. Good to hear this just might be normal as you’re describing. It’s a Wrangler-specific concern that is common? Anyone in Cleveland, Ohio who can demonstrate their Wrangler turn action? I love my Wrangler so much but making turns with 4H is a different breed.
 

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Steering will feel different with 4-WD engaged, its normal. Use 4-WD whenever you feel the need but avoid sharp turns in 4-WD on dry pavement where you are better off without the front-end engaged anyway.

:welcome:
 

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You should read up on when to/not to use a part time 4WD. It really sounds like you're using it when you maybe shouldn't be. It's also possible (and common) that some tires can cause slippage in rain.

As mentioned, the Wrangler's 4WD system is purely mechanical. Engaging it and taking turns at speed on pavement (even wet) is going to put a lot of strain on it.

The 4wd system is very different than full time systems or AWD, which are both meant to be on and will compensate on their own for pavement.
 

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i noticed the Jeep sliding around in regular rain and normal/non-aggressive operation in late summer. But now with freezing temperatures and even more slick conditions, it seems like I most definitely should use 4WD at all times due to that experience. This week, the roads have been clear of snow but deceptively slippery so I’ve kept it in 4H. The normal turns are not what I’m accustomed to. Previously had a Compass where a simple lever is pulled and good to go. I appreciate there is (needless to say) more complexity to a Wrangler but the desperate, urgent need in understanding how to operate 4WD while conducting turns, is of paramount importance.
It honestly sounds like your tires are shot / suck, more than you need 4wd activated.

What tires are you running? How many miles on them?

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All Wheel Drive or Full Time 4x4 systems have a clutch in the system between the front and rear differentials that allow the front and rear wheels to turn at slightly different rates without binding. They are also designed to primarily be used on pavement.

Part time 4x4 such as on the Jeep Wrangler (and other vehicles) is primarily designed to be used in real off road situations. If you turn tight enough even in 2WD, you will feel very slight binding in the front at full lock. In 4x4 mode that becomes more noticeable.

Most driving in 2WD, you should not notice any difference until you turn tight to get into a parking slot for example and you should not notice any difference as to control, just a bit of rubbing. In 4WD, hopefully the turn would be on slippery surface, you would feel a slight bucking in the front when turning tight.

If you feel slippage in the back that feels like your Jeep wants to fishtail, I would look seriously at the tires. Is this a new Jeep or one you purchased used? If it is a used Jeep that you purchased from an individual, the tires may be worn.
 

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Not that I ever plan on doing it but theoretically could you drive for miles in a straight line on dry pavement in 4WD (4H) without damaging anything?
Just curious
 

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Not that I ever plan on doing it but theoretically could you drive for miles in a straight line on dry pavement in 4WD (4H) without damaging anything?
Just curious

In theory yes you could-- it is when you turn the wheel that the inside and outside tires must travel different distances in comparison to each other and the rear wheels. The outside wheel has further distance to travel which will cause binding up of the 4 wd system. Also why if you have a rear locker sometimes on a tight turn you can scrub a tire. At the drag strip some 4wd owners will put it in 4wd for better launches-- straight is good--turns bad
 

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Not that I ever plan on doing it but theoretically could you drive for miles in a straight line on dry pavement in 4WD (4H) without damaging anything?
Just curious
Theoretically yes. Nothing bad will happen if you switch to 4WD while driving perfectly straight and all wheels have the same size and tire pressure.
When buying my Jeep Liberty, the seller engaged 4 WD on dry surface to demonstrate that 4WD works. I tried myself a few times- no problems whatsoever. I wouldn’t advise it on public streets though, you need to keep the jeep straight all the time and it might be difficult in traffic.
 

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I think I hear what you’re saying. Good to hear this just might be normal as you’re describing. It’s a Wrangler-specific concern that is common? Anyone in Cleveland, Ohio who can demonstrate their Wrangler turn action? I love my Wrangler so much but making turns with 4H is a different breed.
It is a part time 4WD concern, in other vehicles like pick up trucks too for example. As I mentioned earlier full time 4WD and AWD can be driven under any conditions. When I ordered my Liberty there were two 4WD options. A part time 4WD system, called Command Trac primarily for off road use, and Select Trac II, a full time 4WD system with a switch to engage and disengage it. It has 2H, and a 4H and 4L mode. Not to get too deep, the part time 4WD system is a bit stronger. I went with the full time system since it was going to be a commuter and my wife the primary driver. I didn't want to worry about her having to learn how to operate the part time 4WD, or worry about her forgetting to switch back to 2H if the roads were cleared. The truth is full time 4WD is better suited for snow.
 
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