4X4 Shift Pattern/Transfer Case

  • Married/Divorced - 'Married' means the transfer case is bolted directly to the back of the transmission via an adaptor, whereas 'divorced' means the transfer case is separate from the transmission and is connected via a short driveshaft.

  • Full-time vs. Part-time - A full-time 4WD system provides engine power to both the front and rear axles on all surfaces at all times. This usually requires a transfer case with a center differential, a viscous coupling, or both. Full-time 4WD improves traction and handling on paved surfaces in inclement weather, but may reduce fuel economy.
         A part-time 4WD system is designed to be operated only on reduced-traction surfaces. The transfer case lacks any mechanism to allow front-to-rear axle speed differentiation. Thus, any accumulated driveline bind must be released via tire scrub. Extended use of part-time 4WD on a high-traction surface, such as dry pavement, can adversely affect handling and damage the driveline. 
    Some, but not all, part-time 4WD systems allow the operator to shift from two- to four-wheel drive "on-the fly."

  • Hubs, automatic vs. manual - Automatic-locking hubs automatically engage, or "lock," the hub and tire and wheel assembly to the front drive axle's axle shaft when the operator engages a four-wheel drive mode. When released, or "unlocked," the axle shaft is disengaged from the hub body assembly and the wheel can rotate freely on the spindle. To unlock most automatic-locking hubs, the operator must select a two-wheel drive mode and drive the vehicle straight backwards at least 10 feet. The hubs of any part-time four-wheel drive system should always be unlocked before driving on dry, hard-surfaced roads.
         Manual-locking hubs perform the same function as automatic-locking hubs. However, the hubs must be manually locked or unlocked, usually by twisting a part of the hub from a "free" position to a "locked" position. Advantages of manual hubs include greater flexibility of operation, durability, and they provide the option of flat towing of the vehicle without a trailer. 

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