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Full time vs. Part time 4x4?


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My Comanche is 2x4 and I don't do any off roading. But I do like the idea of 4x4 in the rare Southern California rain. When we first get rain, we have so much oil and rubber on our roads, they are slick as hell. In the rain, I tend to insist Anita drive the 4x4 Isuzu Rodeo, just because. Also took the Rodeo on a December Road trip from San Diego to San Antonio because of possible snow and bad weather. Well we ran thru 400 miles of snow and ice from Santa Fe to south of Flagstaff. No issues at all. Not that 4x4 is a cure-all for snow and ice. Rented a Jeep Liberty for 6 weeks a couple of years ago in a Wyoming spring. Turned out OK on black ice when others were turning sideways. Just did not understand right away that the anti lock brake system was doing its job. Took me about 5 seconds to figure out what was going on.

 

Anyway, back to my topic. Since I want to use the 4x4 on the street, should I stick to the 242 or will the 231 work for me just fine?

 

Your thoughts please. (Yes, I would take the Rodeo first to the snow. The Comanche, will most likely remain a work truck. But, it may turn into my primary tow vehicle, so hence the question.) The GM auto trans in the Rodeo does not have a great record. And I have no intention of paying for a new or rebuilt GM auto trans.

 

My fleet:

91 Comanche -224k miles (13 to 17 mpg)

96 VW Passat TDI - 206K miles 36 to 48 mpg)

2000 Isuzu Rodeo - 102K miles (17 to 21 mpg - towing 13 -16 mpg)

2003 Camry 103K miles (25 to 36 mpg - really)

 

I would take at least 3 of them anywhere, any time. Anita would not go in the Comanche.

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Use the 242. Put it FT in Dec, take it out in Mar. Oh, forgot your in CA, just use it when you think you need it. It just provides one more additional option that the 23l doesn't have. I have found it convenient for those people who want to use 4 X 4 but can't remember to take it out of gear when they no longer need 4X4 on pavement.

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Several years ago I was dating a woman who lived in NJ (I'm in CT), about 3 hours drive each way. That year was a snowy winter, and it seemed like every weekend I went to visit her I had to drive down or back (or both) through a blizzard. It was Interstate highway almost all the way, but in heavy, blowing snow the plows usually can't keep up during the storm. So there would be patches of heavy or drifted snow, separated by patches of bare pavement (due to either plowing or wind).

 

It just gets a bit old, shifting in and out of 4WD every mile or three. My vote goes to the 242, and in fact I was just talking to a friend today about using a 242 if/when I get around to converting one of the 2WD MJs to 4WD.

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Only problem with a 242 is there's a set of spider gears inside the T-case.

 

So it's essentially a third open differential in the t-case (that's how it allows full time use).

 

Seems to be the most durable of the full time Jeep T-cases, since there's no fluid coupling, clutches, or other device to wear out.

 

But keep in mind, just like an open rear axle,

one tire with zero traction can stop the vehicle.

 

 

 

 

A 96' ZJ with a 242 has been 'her' daily driver since 1999.

 

winter months/crappy weather she leaves it in FT 4wd if there's any snow/ice on the ground.

 

I can remember her getting stuck, pulling out of a parking spot.

 

I hopped out to see a single rear tire flailing away, and the other 3 just staying still.

I complained that she wasn't in 4wd, but she was,

full time 4wd.

 

She moved the lever back one position, and the Jeep walked right out of the spot.

 

Same thing happened another time on an icy onramp, in stop & go traffic (ice melts off the stopped cars, then freezes on the road).

She hit the gas to go, one tire flailed away, and we didn't move till she put it in PT 4wd.

 

Just a heads up,

still a great T-case for a daily driver,

but when conditions get really dicey,

the tire with the least amount of traction is going to get the most torque.

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Only problem with a 242 is there's a set of spider gears inside the T-case.

 

So it's essentially a third open differential in the t-case (that's how it allows full time use).

 

Seems to be the most durable of the full time Jeep T-cases, since there's no fluid coupling, clutches, or other device to wear out.

 

But keep in mind, just like an open rear axle,

one tire with zero traction can stop the vehicle.

That's why the 242 also offers the Part-Time position.

 

And the 242 mated to a limited slip diff in the rear is a terrific combination.

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I think I'd invest in a good set of tires before thinking of drivetrain replacement. 4x4 won't magically stop you from skidding around in the rain, snow, or ice. It won't help you stop, won't help you turn, and will encourage you to get into situations you otherwise wouldn't have with 2x4 (overconfidence and false sense of security). 4x4 is great for getting unstuck when you decide to try something fun like drive into a huge snowbank or unplowed parking lot (see: overconfidence), but I'd rather trust my life to good rubber than believing 4x4 will solve everything.

 

Not saying you shouldn't convert the Jeep to 4x4, just that I think you are approaching it from the wrong angle and looking for it to solve problems it's not meant to (I think it's no coincidence that I see more "offroad" 4x4s and SUVs and trucks stuck in ditches and snowbanks that I do regular cars, for the same reason). I haven't needed 4x4 once this winter yet, and I've driven to work every single day so far. I like knowing I can get out of a situation if I happen to get stuck, but knowing how to drive and not getting stuck in the first place is key. Wife's Camaro doesn't have that option, but a set of premium winter tires was the best thing I ever did for that car, and we haven't had any problems without 4x4.

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