4-Wheel drive not engaging properly?

miron

Original poster
Member
Dec 29, 2011
56
Issue: When moving at moderate speed with 4H engaged everything appears fine. When moving slow in a turn, such as pulling onto the street from driveway or into a parking spot, the front wheels appear to chatter or slip out of 4H. Is this a known issue? What are the possible causes?
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
Is this your first 4WD (not AWD) vehicle? It's called "crow hopping" and is entirely normal. Don't use 4WD mode on pavement because it puts extreme stress on the driveline and can break things. Warnings are in the Owner's Manual.

But I'm not certain what you mean by "slipping out" of 4WD. The binding should slow the vehicle down, and at idle power, can actually stop it from moving when you're turned. The cause is front-to-back lockup caused by the normal operation of the transfer case (a center differential) and the two different distances arced out by the front and rear differentials in a turn.

envoyturning.jpg
 

miron

Original poster
Member
Dec 29, 2011
56
Now how did I know that you, the roadie, would be the first to have the answer? Never a doubt! And yes, you describe the issue to a "T". It is my first 4x4 and since this is the first time I have lived in a snowy climate (South-Central PA) I generally use it in the winter or rainy season. On the highway I use auto but on the main and side roads I use 4H. I assume auto would keep this from happening?
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
Yes, but running in AUTO has its own risks. Unless the surface is patchy and you need traction such as around town with turns and hills, we recommend against using AUTO. It wears out the transfer case clutches and if it detects wheel slippage, the engagement can be quite abrupt and could result in breaking the back end loose or breaking an internal bearing support in pre-2005 transfer cases. It's not a full-time AWD system like Subarus, for instance.

Read a bit in the Owner's Manual about the A4WD mode and consider running it in 2HI mode, especially on highways where you should not be driving it in a manner that results in wheel slippage. Experiment in a snowy parking lot to discover how A4WD mode behaves for you, and see if you can drive in a way that doesn't demand it.
 

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