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Howdy Friends

So I'm new to offroading but the bug bit me. I purchased a Toyota RAV4 ignorant of it's offroad capabilities thinking "Hey, it's a 4x4 toyota, what could go wrong?" Well it's not a true 4x4 and while it was a great around towner, it's not an offroad vehicle. The off-road gods agreed and smited my RAV4 it this past December when I got rear ended by a very large pickup truck.

Since then I've learned a lot more so I'm looking at used Jeep Commanders and the Lexus GX460/470's. I'd love a Rubicon or a 4 runner but they're just too small. I'm a big guy, long torso, broad shoulders and the Commander is even a touch small getting in and out of with the head room.

I'm finally getting back on my feet and am car shopping for a capable and comfortable off road vehicle and the Commander has seriously caught my attention. I test drove one and would be willing to overlook the difficulty getting in and out of the vehicle because of how comfortable it drove! I've been watching a lot of YouTube and reading a lot of forums and it seems like a very capable offroad vehicle with a little aftermarket help.

I want to make sure however I make an educated choice purchasing this vehicle. So I have a ton of questions and I hope you can help.

1. Chrysler products scare the crap out of me. Consumer reports is not kind to them. What are the maintenance gremlins I need to be on the lookout for in shopping for a Commander? What impacts their reliability? Why should I do a Commander over the Lexus? Or should I go with Toyota reliability?

2. I want to make sure i have the quadra drive 2 for offroad, correct? How do I make sure the vehicle has QD2 not quadra trac? Someone mentioned in a blog post that QD2 transmissions and drivetrain requires additional maintenance but they didn't say any specifics. Does anyone know anything about that?

3. Interested in overlanding not hardcore rock crawling. It's going to be my daily driver and weekend warrior so I can't run it off a cliff or turn it into a monster truck but I want to get out in the hinterlands a lot more and camp more often. Want to start heading out with Overland groupd and start training for wilderness search and rescue volunteers.

4. Why are dealerships asking 5K over the book value on everything out there? What are your best tips on getting a fair price on a Commander?

5 I welcome all advice, are there any other questions I should be asking?

Thanks in advance!

6,240 Posts
Hello Gabe and welcome to the forum, you have come to the right place.

Straight away, I will tell you to read this thread thoroughly and most of your questions will probably be answered by the time your done;

Looking to Buy an XK? Read this thread.....

Commander 4WD Systems/Options

Quadra-Trac I is basically just full time 4WD that uses the NV140 (single speed) transfer case which means you do not have 4-LOW capability.

The Quadra-Trac II & Quadra-Drive II 4WD systems both use the NV245 two speed transfer case, which means both systems are capable of shifting into 4 LOW - which is ideally what you for any kind of off-roading.

Quadra-Drive II also comes equipped with an ELSD (Electronic Limited Slip Differential) you would also have a Quadra-Drive II badge, (pictured below) and a 12 bolt rear differential cover.

With Quadra-Trac II, you would have the same chrome T-Handle to shift into 4-LOW, but, without the Quadra-Drive II badge and you would also have a 10 bolt rear differential cover. (Note: Quadra-Trac I also has a 10 bolt rear differential cover)

The main functional difference between QT II and QD II is that Quadra-Drive II comes with an electronic limited slip differential (ELSD) whereas Quadra-Trac II does not.

All three 4WD systems (QT I; QT II and QD II) come with Electronic Stability Control & Four Wheel Traction Control and because of this, even Quadra-Trac I is pretty off-road capable - moreso than I think it gets credit for. (I owned a 2008 Grand Cherokee Laredo with a 3.7L V-6 and QT I for 3 years prior to getting my Commander, so, I'm speaking from experience).

Trail-Rated Jeep Commanders - need to have 3 things;

1) An 8 cylinder engine (4.7L or 5.7L Hemi)
2) The Quadra-Trac II or Quadra Drive II 4WD system
3) 3.73 gears in the rear end.

If you are missing any one of these 3 components, your Commander will NOT be Trail-Rated and will not have any Trail-Rated badging.

Just to clarify, you could find a Commander with a Hemi and Quadra-Drive II - and if it does not have 3.73 gears in the rear, it will not be Trail-Rated by Jeep.

Rear end gearing is usually what's missing - and often overlooked, when a Commander owner can't figure out why their XK has no Trail-Rated Badges, which is why I'm pointing this out.

So, here is a very good search engine called "CarGurus" to help you shop for your XK - this is the same website I used to find mine;

All you have to do is plug in your zip code and indicate what mile radius you want to search, along with the make, model & year of the vehicle you are looking for and it searches all the dealerships websites that are in your search area.

You can also adjust the website settings so that it searches by a set price range.

I hope this post was helpful; happy hunting and keep us posted.
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