Using 4wd in a Jeep Wrangler is a straight forward and fun process. There are two levers involved. A gear lever and a transfer case lever. Once familiar with the functions of these two levers, using 4wd in a Jeep Wrangler will be a seamless process which will help facilitate off-road adventures for the Jeep Wrangler owner.
The Gear Lever
As with all vehicles, there is a gear shift lever. Essentially, the power of the engine is directed through the transmission and the gear lever setting for the transmission makes the Jeep move forward, reverse, remain neutral or parked, based on the setting of this lever.
The Transfer Case Lever
What makes the Jeep Wrangler a true 4wd vehicle, is the Transfer Case. The transfer case is a special addition to the Jeep Wrangler’s 4wd system, that will take the power directed from the transmission and transfer the power to the desired axles, as per the driver’s setting and the transfer case lever.
The 2H Setting When Using 4wd in the Jeep Wrangler
As the Jeep is moving, the user can set this lever to direct the Transfer Case to simply send the engine’s power to the two rear wheels, in a high gear setting for regular driving speeds. This is the 2H setting on the transfer case lever, and is usually the default setting when driving about town.
The 4H(Auto) Setting When Using 4wd in the Jeep Wrangler
In 2018 the new Jeep Wrangler JLs were launched, offering Selec Trac as an available option on the Sahara models. Such equipped Jeep Wranglers would have the 4H(Auto) setting on their transfer case levers. When driving the Jeep Wrangler in 2H, simply shifting the transfer case from the 2H setting to the 4H(Auto) setting can be seamless and smooth. It is recommended that you do not to shift the transfer case between settings if you are going faster than 55 miles per hour. In this setting the transfer case will engage the differential at the front axle, but only send power to the front wheels “automatically” if slippage is detected in the rear wheels. This option is beneficial on road surfaces that alternate between unstable to stable conditions, such as roadways in the winter.
The 4H(Part Time) Setting When Using 4wd in the Jeep Wrangler
4H(Part Time) is the traditional 4wd setting in SUVs like the Jeep Wrangler, where the transfer case locks both the front and rear differentials to send power to both the front and rear wheels. It is not recommended that you use this setting on dry pavement, but only on unstable surfaces such as offroad, dirt, sand, gravel or snow. Binding of the gears could result in damage on a dry pavement surface. It is for this reason that drivers on roads in northern climates would benefit from the newly available Selec Trac option.
The 4L Setting When Using 4wd in the Jeep Wrangler
When a lower gear setting is required for a steep unstable surface or heavy load, you can use the 4L setting on the Transfer case lever. To engage this setting on the transfer case, the Jeep should be moving at a crawl pace of 3-5 miles per hour. Slip the gear shift lever into neutral, and then the transfer case lever should be pulled out from 4H(Part Time) through Neutral, and then slipped into 4L. This can occur smoothly, but some meshing sounds of the gears can occur and is normal.
Thus, it is clear to see that using 4wd in a Jeep Wrangler is a straightforward process. With a couple of practice runs, you’ll be looking to join off-road clubs, and will be making friends with other Jeep fanatics like yourself. See a demonstration of shifting through the transfer case settings on the CheaperJeeperTV YouTube channel, and learn more on the above information, including off-road clubs.