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Thread: How to use part-time 4WD in new Liberty?

  1. #1

    Default How to use part-time 4WD in new Liberty?

    I'm a first-time owner of a new 2004 Jeep Liberty Sport with the Command trac part-time 4WD, and I'd like to know just how to use the part-time 4WD mode.

    It says in the manual not to use it on dry roads (I assume this means extended use), or the drivetrain/transfer case may be worn.
    How about using it on wet, slippery roads under sleet conditions,
    or heavy rains with deep puddles, or dry roads containing patches of ice?
    Just interested in what your experiences are out there.

    I'm coming off a two-seater sports car, and bought the 4 cylinder/5 speed
    base model after satisfying myself it had enough pep. It does if you know how to drive a stick and aren't towing anything heavy or going off-road
    up a mountain (which I'm not). I'm just content to having some fun
    driving around suburbia and the countryside, and taking some long trips
    (which you can't do very well in a little convertible).

    The first thing I did was to replace those narrow Wrangler ST 75 tires
    with Goodyear Fortera HL 70s. What a world of difference in cornering and handling! I think 70 series tires are essential in a Liberty.
    Superb performance, and super fun to drive. And the sound system is a heckuva lot better than in a two-seater.

    Another thing. I see a lot of complaints in reviews about "poor gas mileage"
    which refers mainly to the V6/automatic, which 90% of the Liberties come
    equipped with (my local dealer had only one 4 cyl/5speed in stock).
    What you get is what you'd expect from a V6 automatic. I'm getting
    21-22 mpg in suburban driving--and that's as good as those 4 cyl Toyota and Honda SUVs. But then, those SUVs are mostly sold as automatics to women who don't drive stick shift. Funny, my wife has been driving stick shift for 30 years.

  2. #2
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    Default

    Just throwing in my $.02 here.

    When they say no 4wd use on dry roads, they mean NO use on dry roads. Period. End of story. The Command-trac is not one of those fancy "all wheel drive" setups. It is a 50-50 split of power to the front and rear. With the front end engaged, if one of the front tires can not slide like it will in dirt, you will be forcing either the tire to slip on the road or something in the transfer case to slip. No reason to risk the damage. On road conditions with snow, heavy rain, heavy sleet, ice.....limited use of the 4wd is ok. If you're driving into and out of spaced out patches of snow and such, I would recommend switching into and out of 4-Hi. Don't use 4-Low on a paved road.

    Congrats on getting the KJ and big props on getting the 5-spd!!!! Oh yeah, the I-4 is only available with the 5-spd. Nevertheless, good to see someone else who drives one!

  3. #3

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    As far as wet roads; the situations where you could hydroplane would be suitable for 4wd. If the roads are just damp from a light rain or rain that has passed then don't use the 4wd. If there is a heavy rain and the water is standing on the road then you can use the 4wd.

    Ice patches could be questionable too. If there are long sections of clear road than you should not use 4wd. If there are long patches of ice then you could flip between 2wd/4wd as needed. If it's mostly ice with small clear patches then use the 4wd and you should be able to leave it on.

    Watch the speed when you change drive modes. 55mph or less for 4Hi (above discussion applies to 4hi). 4Lo is mostly off-road or mud/sand/gravel paths. I believe the top speed for 4Lo is 25mph. and you should be moving around 3mph when shifting to/from 4Lo.
    2002 Limited
    Mopar Skids, Skid Row Tranny Skid, New Tranny Oil Pan
    RockyRoad Rock Rails, 2.5 OTT Lift, PowerTrax NoSlip
    SpiderTrax Spacers, 265x75r16 Dueler AT Revo
    ARB Bullbar, Warn HS9500, Optima Yellow Top
    K&N AirCharger,Garvin Wilderness Rack

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    Hytem,

    Do yourself a favor a speak to your service manager. He or she will help you to understand what is acceptable with part time 4wd. I have seen this question a bunch of times, and asked it many times myself when I first got my 5spd Renny. You will get replies that vary greatly from person to person. >snip<
    Steve B. - L.O.S.T. # 000329
    Mississauga, Ontario Canada

    Black 2003 Liberty Renegade,3.7 V6, 5spd, Command Trac, Trac-Loc LSD, 225/75 R16 GoodYear MTR's on stock Renny rims, CB, mangled skid plates, mild rock dents on lower body panels, and lots of "racing stripes".
    Planned upgrades: BoulderBars, real bumpers, better skids, Winch, lift, and bigger meats.

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    -=- originally posted by LimitedLurker -=-
    55mph or less for 4Hi (above discussion applies to 4hi). 4Lo is mostly off-road or mud/sand/gravel paths. I believe the top speed for 4Lo is 25mph.
    My understanding is that the speed restriction on 4hi of 55mph or less applies only to when you can shift in and out of it and 2hi. I've driven in patchy snow covered highway at 75mph in 4hi with my command-trac.
    L.O.S.T. #666
    04 KJ Columbia Edition
    [Rusty's Coil Lift|265/70 Revos|PowerTrax|Front/Rear Hitches]

  6. #6

    Default Hope this helsp

    Do not use Command Trac for on road use. It is for off road use. Later...Clint
    Jeeps www.lostzj.com
    KE7JLP

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    thats ****ty advice, with how the 4hi part time is designed as long as your not making turns on dry pavement you're not going to be screwing up the 50/50 split of power. To have the parts not ware out too soon then sure, only use it when there is no chance for it to bind, like it would when making sharp turns on dry paveemnt. But to say only use it off road....what about cases when your run the risk of hydroplanning, or icy roads...
    L.O.S.T. #666
    04 KJ Columbia Edition
    [Rusty's Coil Lift|265/70 Revos|PowerTrax|Front/Rear Hitches]

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    Default Selec-Trac

    I have Selec-Trac in my '04 Limited. It is full-time 4 wheel drive . Set it and forget it in rain , snow and sleet.

  9. #9

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    [QUOTE] -=- originally posted by SRotblat -=-
    as long as your not making turns on dry pavement you're not going to be screwing up the 50/50 split of power. To have the parts not ware out too soon then sure, only use it when there is no chance for it to bind, like it would when making sharp turns on dry paveemnt.


    First of all, thanks for all your comments so far.
    The manual could be better on this one--I also wish they had a picture
    of the command trac shifter--showing how to change positions.

    Your comment about avoiding sharp turns on dry pavement in 4WD
    because of all the wheels turning at the same rpm makes the most sense.
    I would guess straightaway driving on ice patchy roads or highways wouldn't be a problem. Nor driving on rain-sleet-icey highways.
    That's the biggest concern--icey rain covered roads.
    Does 4WD offer improved traction in straightaway driving under these slick conditions? I would hope so.

  10. #10

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    -=- originally posted by Aero1 -=-
    Congrats on getting the KJ and big props on getting the 5-spd!!!! Oh yeah, the I-4 is only available with the 5-spd. Nevertheless, good to see someone else who drives one!
    Aero, thanks for your comments.
    And would be interested in more of your experiences with the I-4.

    The I-4/5 speed Liberty seems to be a big secret.
    I could only find 2 in all the dealerships in the Philly area.
    Luckily, one of them was at a dealership just a few miles from me.
    Also, you don't see any reviewers driving them, Consumer Reports,
    for example. They seem content to compare the V6/auto model
    with the 4 cyl Honda and Toyota SUVs, and then complain about the gas mileage--without mentioning the Liberty is a much more diverse
    vehicle than the other SUVs(apples vs oranges), indeed maybe the only real SUV of the lot.

    Once I satisfied myself it had enough zip, and the gearbox was decent,
    I was sold on the rest of the car. Or is it a truck? I don't know, but it's
    very solidly built. And with those wide tires, it handles like a car.

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    hytem-

    I got the '04 Sport with V6/5spd. I did test drive the I-4 after drive a V6/auto and found that it did have a lot more pickup than I expected. However I opted for the V6 since I will be driving up into mountains and such regularly. I was just glad to see someone else driving a stick, since probably 90% of the people I've talked to drive a slushbox.

    My words earlier about the 4wd were just my opinion. The Command-Trac system is not designed for on road use, but in the right conditions it can be. Driving in a straight line or very shallow turns will not bind the system, but if you have good traction on all 4 tires and then make a decent turn it probably will. Your comment in your original post of "It says in the manual not to use it on dry roads (I assume this means extended use)....." made me think you wanted to just drop it into 4-Hi and leave it there. The Selec-Trac system (only on automatics) allows you to do this.

    It's not a car. It's not a truck. It's a JEEP! Enjoy.....

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    Command trac, unlike selec-trac, does not have a differential. When you engage 4wd (either high or low rage) the front and rear drive shafts are locked together. This means that any difference in speed between the front axle and rear axle will cause a buildup of driveline stress. This is either relieved by wheel slip or damage to the driveline. A high traction surface (dry pavement) makes driveline damage more likely. Low traction (dirt) allows for wheel slip and negligable driveline stress.

    This 4wd system is primarily intended for off-road use, but can be used in low traction coditions on road (heavy rain or snow/ice cover). Not a good idea to use it for patchy ice conditions due to stretches of dry pavement. Even slight turns, such as those used for simple corrections, will eventually cause a buildup of stress if a wheel can't slip.

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    There is a great explaination of the Command-Trac system on the jeep web site. Go here:

    http://www.jeep.com/4x4/index.html?c...drive&type=top

    Move your pointer over "Get Ready" and click on "See How Jeep 4x4 Systems Work". Select "Command-Trac" from the list.

    BTW, dealer's don't always understand how the 4-wheel drive system works. At least my local dealer didn't - not until I corrected them. You get better, more reliable advice directly from Jeep and from here.

    Groover
    2003 KJ Limited Flame Red 4x4 Selec-Trac Trac-Loc Skid Row Trans Skid Hidden Hitch

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    Hytem, the best and most concise advice I can give you as far as 4wd is this: use the 4wd whenever you think you would get stuck if you were driving your sports car.

    4wd will decrease your fuel efficiency, make your Jeep a tad harder to maneuver in tight spaces, and put more load on your drivetrain. I live in Northeast PA, where snow is king 4-5 months of the year. Unless I'm detecting excessive slippage, I'll keep it in 2wd. I have never used 4wd in rain. If you think your sports car could handle a certain road, keep your Jeep in 2wd.

    -Bob

  15. #15

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    I have alway used 4wd in the rain and DC says it is OKAY TO DO SO (even with Commad-Trac).

    Any other opinions are just that, opinions, not facts.


    Being in 4WD in the rain has saved my ass a few time in emergency situations. Normal driving on roads does not cause any noticeable binding or bucking. If the bucking (which does NOT mean breaking) bothers you when in a parking lot, by all means switch to 2WD. You are not apt to slide out of control in a parking lot. Put it back in 4WD when you hit the highway again.

    We all know how easy it is to spin your tires in the rain when you step on the gas to hard. This doesn't cause you axles to snap or tranny to fall out, does it? Niether will 4wd in the rain. Even the drivetrain of a Honda Civic is strong enough to handle these stresses.

    It's just a matter of common sense here. People who experience bucking in a parking lot at 3 mph while turning at full lock get it in their mind that you then can't use 4WD on ANY pavement at ANY time except snow and ice. That's just stupid reasoning.
    2003 Liberty Renegade - Back to stock height, lifts caused too much front end damage! - 235x70x16 BFG A/Ts.

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    Steve B. - L.O.S.T. # 000329
    Mississauga, Ontario Canada

    Black 2003 Liberty Renegade,3.7 V6, 5spd, Command Trac, Trac-Loc LSD, 225/75 R16 GoodYear MTR's on stock Renny rims, CB, mangled skid plates, mild rock dents on lower body panels, and lots of "racing stripes".
    Planned upgrades: BoulderBars, real bumpers, better skids, Winch, lift, and bigger meats.

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    -=- originally posted by Mousefart -=-
    I have alway used 4wd in the rain and DC says it is OKAY TO DO SO (even with Commad-Trac).
    Not true. See the link "Groover" provided earlier. DC says "it is absolutely essential it is only used on slippery or loose surfaces like ice, gravel or rugged terrain"

    Any other opinions are just that, opinions, not facts.
    That's all you got bud...an opinion not a fact.


    [/QUOTE] Being in 4WD in the rain has saved my ass a few time in emergency situations. [/QUOTE]

    I bet you don't drive responsibly. Otherwise every driver who doesn't have a 4x4 crashes according to your excuse.

    [/QUOTE] Normal driving on roads does not cause any noticeable binding or bucking. [/QUOTE]

    If in 4Hi, it dang sure does, unless you don't consider turning a part of normal driving.

    [/QUOTE]If the bucking (which does NOT mean breaking) bothers you when in a parking lot, by all means switch to 2WD. [/QUOTE]

    You shouldn't be in 4Hi in a parking lot to begin with. No reason whatsoever.

    [/QUOTE] You are not apt to slide out of control in a parking lot. Put it back in 4WD when you hit the highway again. [/QUOTE]

    Just say NO! "it is absolutely essential it is only used on slippery or loose surfaces like ice, gravel or rugged terrain"

    [/QUOTE] We all know how easy it is to spin your tires in the rain when you step on the gas to hard. [/QUOTE]

    Okay, so don't step on the gas too hard when raining, espically at intersections where oil tends to collect in the roadway. Again, responsible driving.

    [/QUOTE] This doesn't cause you axles to snap or tranny to fall out, does it? Niether will 4wd in the rain. Even the drivetrain of a Honda Civic is strong enough to handle these stresses. [/QUOTE]

    Interesting study. Who conducted these tests? What year was the 4x4 Honda Civic?

    [/QUOTE] It's just a matter of common sense here. [/QUOTE]

    Duh...ye-ah

    [/QUOTE] People who experience bucking in a parking lot at 3 mph while turning at full lock get it in their mind that you then can't use 4WD on ANY pavement at ANY time except snow and ice. That's just stupid reasoning. [/QUOTE]

    No they don't. They really want to waste gas and abnormaly wear drive line parts and tires like the other idiots, but they just can't afford it.
    2003 SPORT 4X4
    3.7L V6 BLACK
    L.O.S.T. #000223

  18. #18

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    -=- originally posted by habitTrail -=-
    Not true. See the link "Groover" provided earlier. DC says "it is absolutely essential it is only used on slippery or loose surfaces like ice, gravel or rugged terrain"
    Dude, have you facts straight before running your mouth off. I posted emails in previous threads that I received DIRECT FROM DC stating that you CAN use 4wd on wet pavement.

    This makes all the rest of your snide remarks null and void so there's no need to comment on them.

    As far as my driving goes, I have a perfect driving record and those emergency situations wher due to other ******* drivers (sometimes in SUVs) cutting me off. I live in New Jersey, the road rage, ******* driver capitol of the Northeast.

    This topic has been beaten to death again and again. To date, not one of the "you can use 4wd in the rain" crowd has yet to show ONE case of damage caused by doing so. I've driven hundreds of thousands of mile in many 4x4s and never had any damage or excessive wear from using 4wd in the rain. A typical romp off-road is going to put 10 times the stress on your drivetrain that rain driving does.

    You actually drive in the rain maybe 10% to 20% of the time. Do you honestly thing you are going to wear out your front axle before the rear on that spins 100% of the time?

    Lastly, I ALWAYS make sure I have my facts straight and do my research before talking. Saves me the embarassment that people who talk out their rear end suffer.


    (Gawd, I love this topic. Get's the ignorant so fired up)
    2003 Liberty Renegade - Back to stock height, lifts caused too much front end damage! - 235x70x16 BFG A/Ts.

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    Hey. sorry man. Didn't mean to get you so fired up.

    If you followed the excellent link to the Jeep web site which Groover provided then you know I quoted DC exactly. So, my facts are straight from DC dude. Check the link.

    However, sorry I didn't know that DC was rewriting the book and the only advanced copies were going to some guy named mousefart. My bad.

    Hey, but it's all good man. Any mousefart that wheels a 4x4 Honda Civic is kool in my book.
    2003 SPORT 4X4
    3.7L V6 BLACK
    L.O.S.T. #000223

  20. #20

    Default From Service Manual ...

    The 4Hi and 4 Lo ranges are for off road use only.
    They are not for use on hard surface roads. The only
    exception being when the road surface is wet or slippery
    or covered by ice and snow.

    My experience has been that "wet" should be defined as an active rain with water build up on the pavement.

    Using 4wd on dry pavement should be avoided unless the road surface is generally slippery with the occasional short, dry area. Maybe it will work with no damage but try to maneuver and you'll be in trouble. You also need to worry about bumps, pot holes, dips in the road - anything that could cause one wheel to spin at a different rate from the others.

    Drive train wind up will usually be released with tire spin. You'll hear tire chirp or feal it buck a bit. Not a big deal but this can rip chunks of rubber out of your tires, especially stock.

    My experience also indicates that it is easy to forget that you're in 4wd until you start to turn. Its too late then, you're already bound up and can't get out of 4wd until the stress is released.
    2002 Limited
    Mopar Skids, Skid Row Tranny Skid, New Tranny Oil Pan
    RockyRoad Rock Rails, 2.5 OTT Lift, PowerTrax NoSlip
    SpiderTrax Spacers, 265x75r16 Dueler AT Revo
    ARB Bullbar, Warn HS9500, Optima Yellow Top
    K&N AirCharger,Garvin Wilderness Rack

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