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Discussion Starter #1
So this sunday I plan to go off-roading for the first time behind the wheel and to lessen my chances of getting stuck what settings would be optimal?

I don't think there's gonna be any really deep mud but it is suppose to rain the day before. Also probably some rocks and loose sand.

Should I just hit the gas and go? 4wd Low? ESP all the way off?

To be honest i'm not even sure what all those options do. All I know it my jeep is stock. Stock suspension, stock wheels, no skid plates, nothing. I have a 4.7 V8 flex fuel rocky mountain edition so i'm not sure if I have QD2 or QT2.

I plan on off-roading on occasion nothing too serious. I definitely don't want to break anything so if theres a don't break setting please let me know.

So what combination of settings do you use or think would be the best?
 

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I always turn ESP all the way off while wheeling.

4low is dependent on the situation. I very rarely use it... but i live in a flat area of the country. If you're climbing up rocks and or very steep hills, the gear reduction comes in handy.
 

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Brendenv,
As Sal has mentioned, every situation is different, but in general, you can turn the ESP totally off and run in HI range. Judge your speed for what is necessary, but generally you don't want much speed. Judge the line you want to take based on obstacles, low spots etc.

Take a look at Bobula's pics in his signature above. Two very different conditions. I would stay away from areas with rocks and stumps if or until you get skid plates.

I don't know if you have tow hooks up front and in the rear or not, but at least one tow hook for extraction is generally considered a must. Carry or go with someone who has a snatch strap or winch. Never 4 wheel alone.

Have fun out there.
 

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Great advice as mentioned by GPinTheMitten, never go wheeling alone, especially since it'll be your first time. I unfortunately did go alone the first couple of times and there were situations where I wish I didn't go alone but I always managed to find a way out. I feel that the learning curve for wheeling is not so high, it takes common sense to make the right choices as far as your line goes and just be aware of your vehicles capabilities. I have a V6 XK without 4LO and I've gone wheeling a few times and have not needed the 4LO range yet and I have taken on some steep climbs. The first time I went off-roading my XK was completely stock and I was able to handle everywhere I wanted to go but I was being a little cautious and realistic as far as choosing my lines/routes. Last time I went off-roading I was sporting my new tires and it made a difference for steep climbs. Definitely go "all off" on your ESP as recommended by our manuals, this will give you what you need for off-roading.

Have fun out there and share your experience and post some pics.
 

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So this sunday I plan to go off-roading for the first time behind the wheel and to lessen my chances of getting stuck what settings would be optimal?

I don't think there's gonna be any really deep mud but it is suppose to rain the day before. Also probably some rocks and loose sand.

Should I just hit the gas and go? 4wd Low? ESP all the way off?

To be honest i'm not even sure what all those options do. All I know it my jeep is stock. Stock suspension, stock wheels, no skid plates, nothing. I have a 4.7 V8 flex fuel rocky mountain edition so i'm not sure if I have QD2 or QT2.

I plan on off-roading on occasion nothing too serious. I definitely don't want to break anything so if theres a don't break setting please let me know.

So what combination of settings do you use or think would be the best?
Read your Owner's Manual. It will help you understand the settings and when to use them.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Looks like I've got GTII. I was hoping for QDII but oh well. Definitely some good tips. The skid plates will have to wait. At 15mpg money is kinda tight right now. If 4Lo is never needed why is it even there and doesn't 4Lo do something along the lines of locking the wheels so they all spin together?

Also what does turning ESP off do?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Brendenv,
As Sal has mentioned, every situation is different, but in general, you can turn the ESP totally off and run in HI range. Judge your speed for what is necessary, but generally you don't want much speed. Judge the line you want to take based on obstacles, low spots etc.

Take a look at Bobula's pics in his signature above. Two very different conditions. I would stay away from areas with rocks and stumps if or until you get skid plates.

I don't know if you have tow hooks up front and in the rear or not, but at least one tow hook for extraction is generally considered a must. Carry or go with someone who has a snatch strap or winch. Never 4 wheel alone.

Have fun out there.

Thanks for your help. I've got front and rear tow hooks. I'm planning on going with a friend.

I'm not planning on anything serious like huge boulders or stumps. Looks like it'll be mostly mud and water.

What would happen if I left ESP on?
 

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If 4Lo is never needed why is it even there and doesn't 4Lo do something along the lines of locking the wheels so they all spin together?

Also what does turning ESP off do?
Do you have an Owner's Manual. Your questions are covered in it. If you do not have a manual you can download one for free from the Jeep website. Here is the link---> http://www.jeep.com/en/owners/manuals/index.html
 

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ESP will kill wheel spin... but in most cases offroading you want wheel spin (like in mud).

4low does have its uses. Climbing, thick mud where you need the extra toque to get the wheels to spin, recovering a friend, controlling speed while descending a steel slope, etc.
 

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Looks like I've got GTII. I was hoping for QDII but oh well. Definitely some good tips. The skid plates will have to wait. At 15mpg money is kinda tight right now. If 4Lo is never needed why is it even there and doesn't 4Lo do something along the lines of locking the wheels so they all spin together?

Also what does turning ESP off do?
Like mentioned, read your owners manual it will explain all of this. If your Jeep didn't come with one, you can download it from the Jeep.

4LOW is just like it says, it puts you in 4 wheel drive in LOW GEAR.

The Commander is full time 4WD, so no worry about switching in and out 4WD.

When you go into 4LOW it will put the xfr case into a lower gear ratio, so every gear the trans shift will be even lower than it was before. This results in you going very slow with the engine running very fast. For most off-roading, you don't need or even want that, but if you have to climb over a tough obstacle really slow, it will multiple the torque and make the vehicle very powerful, but slow. Stump Pulling is a word that comes to mind.

In the Commander, going to 4LOW will also lock the differential in the xfr case, so you'll have even power/torque going front and rear, giving you better traction on off-road surfaces. This is part time 4WD, because with the center differential locked, the wheels have to be able to slip and slide on the off road surface a little. Try to drive on the street in 4LOW with the center differential locked, you get driveline binding, becuase the traction of the street won't allow the tires to slip and slide, so in a turn when the wheels have spin at different speeds, they won't be allowed to and it will lkely damage you jeep badly.

ESP is electronics using the anti-lock brakes to energize brakes at individual wheels, to control traction and stability. You can partially turn it off, that will on turn off the traction control and you spin wheels if needed, you can turn it full off, which turns off tractions control and stability control; BUT even full off most of the features are still on, they are described in the OM.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Like mentioned, read your owners manual it will explain all of this. If your Jeep didn't come with one, you can download it from the Jeep.

4LOW is just like it says, it puts you in 4 wheel drive in LOW GEAR.

The Commander is full time 4WD, so no worry about switching in and out 4WD.

When you go into 4LOW it will put the xfr case into a lower gear ratio, so every gear the trans shift will be even lower than it was before. This results in you going very slow with the engine running very fast. For most off-roading, you don't need or even want that, but if you have to climb over a tough obstacle really slow, it will multiple the torque and make the vehicle very powerful, but slow. Stump Pulling is a word that comes to mind.

In the Commander, going to 4LOW will also lock the differential in the xfr case, so you'll have even power/torque going front and rear, giving you better traction on off-road surfaces. This is part time 4WD, because with the center differential locked, the wheels have to be able to slip and slide on the off road surface a little. Try to drive on the street in 4LOW with the center differential locked, you get driveline binding, becuase the traction of the street won't allow the tires to slip and slide, so in a turn when the wheels have spin at different speeds, they won't be allowed to and it will lkely damage you jeep badly.

ESP is electronics using the anti-lock brakes to energize brakes at individual wheels, to control traction and stability. You can partially turn it off, that will on turn off the traction control and you spin wheels if needed, you can turn it full off, which turns off tractions control and stability control; BUT even full off most of the features are still on, they are described in the OM.

My head is about to explode with all that haha. I appreciate all the info. Hopefully i'll be ok without skid plates...unless someone wants to buy them for me???

Sounds like 4Lo is a pretty useless feature unless youre a serious off-roader and being in VA with not too many trails...no thanks.

Looks like it's gonna rain for about 2 days before I go wheeling. You guys think I should go?? Seems like the mud might swallow my jeep! :ugh:
 

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Do not mess with mud or even worse standing water. I got stuck once and had to rebuild my rear diff because the breather tube(? Im not a mechanic) was underwater. Water and sand and mud and everything bad got into it. Check the mud and depth of any water before crossing. This means getting your boots dirty and/or wet but never guess.

Mongo always writes a lot and I always have to read it twice but it is very helpful. 4Lo has been very helpful for me recovering other people and once or twice climbing but otherwise I use it for downhill control. It is better then standing on the brakes. After the hill shift back out of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Do not mess with mud or even worse standing water. I got stuck once and had to rebuild my rear diff because the breather tube(? Im not a mechanic) was underwater. Water and sand and mud and everything bad got into it. Check the mud and depth of any water before crossing. This means getting your boots dirty and/or wet but never guess.

Mongo always writes a lot and I always have to read it twice but it is very helpful. 4Lo has been very helpful for me recovering other people and once or twice climbing but otherwise I use it for downhill control. It is better then standing on the brakes. After the hill shift back out of it.
USMCMP I wonder if theres a way to extend the breather then? I did a quick google search and I saw pictures and a DIY for a toyota but nothing for a commander. Wouldn't there be other breathers too? like for the front diff? Doesn't seem like a difficult modification and seems really beneficial if you'd be going through deep water. Jeep doesn't approve anything deeper than 19" which isn't much considering they stepped up the door seals to prevent water leaks.

Has anyone done a breather extension? Sounds pretty essential for serious off roaders. Even with water getting inside the rear diff cleaning it out looked pretty easy.
 

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The rear diff has the lowest breather but its still pretty high. The front diff breather is real high its bolted to your over flow tank for the radiator I think the TC Y's into that but I never looked at that one I stay on the rocks and avoid mud and water as much as possible so not important to me at this point.
 

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I suppose you could extend breather tubes, but there is also something associated with the gas tank that can get ruined if you go in too deep.

With no skid plates, I think 19" is plenty deep for you. Thick deep mud is not the funnest part to wheel in. Stay out of it, is my advice.

Just go but choose you path conservatively the first time out.

Have fun out there.
 

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If it is stock, keep in mind that the front diff is only about 8.75" high, almost 1" lower than a GC. Slow as you go and if you need to climb steep, the Low will help. I think Low also reduces sudden lunges when you are first getting the feel of the Jeep but I certainly wouldn't use it in most cases. Have fun and go with another vehicle so you will have help if needed and someone to laugh at you if you get stuck.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Don't get me wrong i'm not going mud bogging I'm just hoping for some long medium depth puddles. I don't know why but i've always loves driving through water. Going back to ATV's and dirtbikes when I was younger I use to purposely go through the water.

Also for this being the first time i'm taking this off-road I'll definitely take it easy since it's my daily driver and I can't afford repairs!

I don't plan on going alone. I'll have a friend with me. He'll probably need me to tow him out of the mud!!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Plans got cancelled so I decided to try the power lines in my neighborhood since I had always heard 4-wheelers and dirtbikes back there I knew there were trails. Some small puddles at first there was a pretty steep hill too. It was really fun at first...Then here come the ruts. Made it through the first time, came back to leave and hit one rut that was too deep. Despite everyones warning to not go alone...I did. Go ahead laugh at my misfortune.



 
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