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Hello, I have been looking all over the internet on how to use the Commanders 4 wheel drive system properly. I have a 2007 Commander hemi with quadra drive II. Im doing my first trip to the snow and have never used the 4 wheel drive system. From my understanding 4 Hi is for light snow trails or conditions and 4 Low is for heavy snow off road condition. I have a metal T bar next to my gear shift and when i pull it up it indicates 4 Low . If I hold it sometimes it will blink or sometimes i will get another yellow icon indicating active handling which is and icon of a "car on and windy road". How do i put my Jeep into 4 Hi since nothing says 4 HI like it says 4 Low. ALso what speeds can i drive at in 4 Hi. And does it mean when i get both the 4 Low and active handling light icon and what speeds can i drive at in 4 Low. And finally this may sound dumb but if I have all these feature and the stock goodyear tires that came with the car which i believe are light snow. Do i have to worry about chains at all in Reno Nevada. Thank you for the help in advance
 

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4 hi is for most road conditions. When 4 Low is engaged you should be on dirt roads or on snow or in mud. Do not drive in 4 Low when on pavement or very hard packed surfaces. 4 Low is only for off road or slippery situations when you need to drive at lower speeds. The Commander is always in 4 Hi unless the 4 Low is activated. It is normal to have the active handling light on when in 4 Low. You should be fine with stock tires in snow - doubtful that you would need chains ever with the Commander in general plowed road snow conditions. I don't think Jeep recommends using chains on the Commander with Quadra-Drive II. When in 4 Low you should not drive faster than about 35 I believe. You will have to read the manual for recommended speeds in 4 Low. You will find that it is very difficult to steer when in 4 Low if you are on surfaces with good traction as 4 low is for loose dirt, mud or snow.
 

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4wd low is meant for off roading and very very heavy snow, I only use my XK on sand and never needed lo so I will have to defer to my Northerner/ western friends about snow. The icon you refer to is your traction control which I shut off before going on the sand. If you hear a sound like your anti lock brakes make stop shift into neutral and hold the traction control button until you hear a ding and get the icon. You will have to shut off traction control each time you start your XK. I believe 15 mph is highest recommended speed in 4wd lo.
 

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First off thank you for the replies. This forum is vary helpful. So I understand correctly when i drive into light snow condition or chains are required on 2wd cars I dont have to do anything my Jeep will automatically adjust to 4Hi? and there is no indication that 4Hi is actually engaged? Also should i alway turn off the active handling when using 4 low or 4 high. or should i just turn on active handling in the snow. Thank you again
 

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Its more important you learn how the drive train works, thus understand what you shifting or switching too, then you'll figure out when its appropriate to shift to different modes in what conditions.

The different terms get misused all the time, arguably the Commander is AWD NOT 4WD, and technically 4X4 is definitely the wrong term. Regardless, and you can do the research on you own for other kinds of 4WD, this how the drivetrain on the Commander works.

The Commander did come in RWD versions, this does NOT apply to them and you definitely don't have one.

QTI, QTII and QDII, normally are always in 4WD Hi, or AWD, a.k.a. Full Time 4WD.

Other 4WD vehicles, like earlier Jeeps, you normally were in RWD with the front drivetrain disconnected, and you had to throw a lever to engage the front drivetrain and put it into 4WD Hi. That is what is confusing you, you think your 4WD must be like on these, it isn't. Unless you've thrown the lever to put it into 4LOW, you vehicle is in AWD, 4HI or Full Time 4WD all the time.

You have open differentials in the front, XFR Case and rear (QDII is limited slip). As you turn and go around curves, the tires will spin at different speeds, open differentials allow the wheels to spin at difference speeds with no resistance. QDII has limited slip differentials, that allows wheels to spin at different speeds, but with some resistance, that little bit of resistance to different wheels speeds helps keep the power to all wheels in slippery conditions. QTI and QTII uses traction control to the brakes to limit slip between wheels, so they have a virtual LSD, while QDII has a real LSD.

As well, in normal mode, 4HI, AWD, Full Time 4WD, you have electronic traction control, stability control and ABS, that will activate individual brakes as necessary to help maintain stability and traction. Again you have all this, simply by starting the engine and putting the transmission lever in drive.

If you press the button on the dash, all that disables is the traction control feature that allows wheels to spin, there is a dozen other features still working in the system that are NOT disabled. In deep mud or snow, you may need to spin the wheels to get moving, in most cases you do NOT want to spin wheels and traction control prevents it. So in some cases in snow or mud, the traction control is keeping you from spinning the wheels to get moving, and you think spinning the wheels will help you get moving, then press the button and turn that feature off. When you press the button and turn off the traction control, you get a yellow light in the dash that is a symbol looking like a vehicle skidding or fish tailing on the road, to tell you the traction control is off.

In the Owner's Manual (OM) there is description on how to turn off more feature by holding the button down, it will turn off the directional control, to allow you slip and slide around, fish tailing, if you think its necessary to slog through mud or snow.

In most conditions, the normal mode is all you need, and on the Commander you have it by just starting the motor and putting it in drive. In a few conditions you might want to turn off one or two of the traction control features by using that button on the dash. So, when you encounter snow, you don't have to do anything at all, well except adjust your speed and driving habits and be more careful, the Commanders 4WD is already working and will adjust on the fly as necessary. You do have the option to turn off 1 or 2 traction control features, if you think it is necessary to spin wheels to get moving in the snow, by pressing the button.

So, say you get into really bad conditions, really deep snow, mud, sand or really loose soil off road. QTI, you can't do anything, it doesn't have 4LOW. But QTII and QDII, you can put it in 4LOW. NOW this is important, instead of trying to remember what are the exact conditions you need 4LOW, you really need to remember how your drivetrain is going to act when your 4LOW. If you know how your drivetrain is working, you'll know that, Holy Crap this is a hard high traction surface it will tear up my drivetrain if I keep it in 4LOW, that is what is important.

So, 4LOW, when you pull that lever up, OM says you should be moving forward at 1-5mph while you do it, "I believe". The XFR Case will shift a gear set in it to lower the rpm coming out of the transmission. It will disable the wheel spin control and directional stability of the Traction/Stability Control, which light the yellow Traction Control Warning Lamp on the Dash. It will also lock up the differential in transfer case that allows front and rear axles to spin at different speeds. And since you have QDII, QDII will also lock the differentials front and rear.

Most important to know is the differentials locking. Regardless if its QTII or QDII, just the XFR case or all three differentials. Once a differential locks, all or some of your wheels spin at the same speed, there is no way for all of them to spin at different speeds. When you're driving a straight line, all the wheels spin at the same speed, unless one wheel is slipping in mud or snow to make it spin faster, so even on road going straight a differential isn't turning. Its when you turn, wheels want to turn at different speeds. With a locked differential, when you turn the wheels can't spin at different speeds, they will continue to spin at the same speed. This is good and bad.

With a lock differential, the only way to turn is for some of the wheels to slip on the surface. If its a very loose surface, like deep mud, deep snow, deep sand, it easy for the wheels to slip and spin at the same speed while you're turning. In fact, if you're going slow, that can help to move, slog through the deep stuff. BUT, if you're going fast and cornering on road in the rain, wheels slipping is very bad, you slide and even spin out. More importantly, on a hard surface or even a soft surface with lots of traction, that can be bad, if the tires can't slip when your turning, and they dig in and grab the surface, which they will on road dry, or light snow or rain, etc. the drive train will try to still spin the wheels even though they won't let go, and that can result in breaking the driveshafts or tearing up the drivetrain, premature wear on the drivetrain, etc.

So, before shifting in 4LOW and locking the differentials, just think to yourself. I'm going to lock the differentials, all the wheels will spin at the same speed, meaning they have to easily slip and spin over the surface. Is that what I want? Are the conditions such that the wheels can slip and spin over top the surface? If the surface won't let the wheels spin easy, I will be tearing up my tires, driveshafts, axles and XFR case.

Also going into 4LOW, engages that extra gear set to Underdrive the drivetrain. That means you go even slower per engine speed. That gives lots of torque at the wheels to climb over obstacles or up steed hills, but the vehicle can only crawl along at a slow speed. So, if you're driving along with the engine at Redline RPM and want to go faster, you've got to shift out of 4LOW. Read the OM how to do it properly, I do NOT think shifting out of 4LOW at 20mph and the engine at redline is the proper way to do it.
 

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Once again Mongo you have provided an educational explanation of how things work. For this I Thank You. Reload, from what I garner from your 4wd driving experience is, if you think you need 4wd lo in the snow you are driving in, think very hard of your families safety before you do it or go with an experienced group.
 

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Reload69, your Commander is always in "4 Hi" as it is a Full-time 4WD vehicle that also has 4Lo capability. If you did not get an Owner's Manual with it you can download one here for free---> http://www.jeep.com/en/owners/manuals/. It will tell you when to use the 4 Lo and how to properly shift into it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Mongo A+ thank you for the in-depth explanation. I enjoyed reading it so much i printed it out to keep in my car in-case i ever need to reference it. Thanks Agian
 

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Mongo A+ thank you for the in-depth explanation. I enjoyed reading it so much i printed it out to keep in my car in-case i ever need to reference it. Thanks Agian
One thing 4wd folks tend to forget. That even though your truck will move effortlessly through slippery conditions unlike a 2wd, it takes the same distance as a 2wd, in the same conditions,to stop.
 

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The different terms get misused all the time, arguably the Commander is AWD NOT 4WD, and technically 4X4 is definitely the wrong term.
No, it is not AWD. It is Full-time 4WD. Yes, there is a difference. Why is 4X4 the wrong term ? All four wheels are getting power unlike a 2WD vehicle.
 

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Its more important you learn how the drive train works, thus understand what you shifting or switching too, then you'll figure out when its appropriate to shift to different modes in what conditions.

The different terms get misused all the time, arguably the Commander is AWD NOT 4WD, and technically 4X4 is definitely the wrong term. Regardless, and you can do the research on you own for other kinds of 4WD, this how the drivetrain on the Commander works.

The Commander did come in RWD versions, this does NOT apply to them and you definitely don't have one.

QTI, QTII and QDII, normally are always in 4WD Hi, or AWD, a.k.a. Full Time 4WD.

Other 4WD vehicles, like earlier Jeeps, you normally were in RWD with the front drivetrain disconnected, and you had to throw a lever to engage the front drivetrain and put it into 4WD Hi. That is what is confusing you, you think your 4WD must be like on these, it isn't. Unless you've thrown the lever to put it into 4LOW, you vehicle is in AWD, 4HI or Full Time 4WD all the time.

You have open differentials in the front, XFR Case and rear (QDII is limited slip). As you turn and go around curves, the tires will spin at different speeds, open differentials allow the wheels to spin at difference speeds with no resistance. QDII has limited slip differentials, that allows wheels to spin at different speeds, but with some resistance, that little bit of resistance to different wheels speeds helps keep the power to all wheels in slippery conditions. QTI and QTII uses traction control to the brakes to limit slip between wheels, so they have a virtual LSD, while QDII has a real LSD.

As well, in normal mode, 4HI, AWD, Full Time 4WD, you have electronic traction control, stability control and ABS, that will activate individual brakes as necessary to help maintain stability and traction. Again you have all this, simply by starting the engine and putting the transmission lever in drive.

If you press the button on the dash, all that disables is the traction control feature that allows wheels to spin, there is a dozen other features still working in the system that are NOT disabled. In deep mud or snow, you may need to spin the wheels to get moving, in most cases you do NOT want to spin wheels and traction control prevents it. So in some cases in snow or mud, the traction control is keeping you from spinning the wheels to get moving, and you think spinning the wheels will help you get moving, then press the button and turn that feature off. When you press the button and turn off the traction control, you get a yellow light in the dash that is a symbol looking like a vehicle skidding or fish tailing on the road, to tell you the traction control is off.

In the Owner's Manual (OM) there is description on how to turn off more feature by holding the button down, it will turn off the directional control, to allow you slip and slide around, fish tailing, if you think its necessary to slog through mud or snow.

In most conditions, the normal mode is all you need, and on the Commander you have it by just starting the motor and putting it in drive. In a few conditions you might want to turn off one or two of the traction control features by using that button on the dash. So, when you encounter snow, you don't have to do anything at all, well except adjust your speed and driving habits and be more careful, the Commanders 4WD is already working and will adjust on the fly as necessary. You do have the option to turn off 1 or 2 traction control features, if you think it is necessary to spin wheels to get moving in the snow, by pressing the button.

So, say you get into really bad conditions, really deep snow, mud, sand or really loose soil off road. QTI, you can't do anything, it doesn't have 4LOW. But QTII and QDII, you can put it in 4LOW. NOW this is important, instead of trying to remember what are the exact conditions you need 4LOW, you really need to remember how your drivetrain is going to act when your 4LOW. If you know how your drivetrain is working, you'll know that, Holy Crap this is a hard high traction surface it will tear up my drivetrain if I keep it in 4LOW, that is what is important.

So, 4LOW, when you pull that lever up, OM says you should be moving forward at 1-5mph while you do it, "I believe". The XFR Case will shift a gear set in it to lower the rpm coming out of the transmission. It will disable the wheel spin control and directional stability of the Traction/Stability Control, which light the yellow Traction Control Warning Lamp on the Dash. It will also lock up the differential in transfer case that allows front and rear axles to spin at different speeds. And since you have QDII, QDII will also lock the differentials front and rear.

Most important to know is the differentials locking. Regardless if its QTII or QDII, just the XFR case or all three differentials. Once a differential locks, all or some of your wheels spin at the same speed, there is no way for all of them to spin at different speeds. When you're driving a straight line, all the wheels spin at the same speed, unless one wheel is slipping in mud or snow to make it spin faster, so even on road going straight a differential isn't turning. Its when you turn, wheels want to turn at different speeds. With a locked differential, when you turn the wheels can't spin at different speeds, they will continue to spin at the same speed. This is good and bad.

With a lock differential, the only way to turn is for some of the wheels to slip on the surface. If its a very loose surface, like deep mud, deep snow, deep sand, it easy for the wheels to slip and spin at the same speed while you're turning. In fact, if you're going slow, that can help to move, slog through the deep stuff. BUT, if you're going fast and cornering on road in the rain, wheels slipping is very bad, you slide and even spin out. More importantly, on a hard surface or even a soft surface with lots of traction, that can be bad, if the tires can't slip when your turning, and they dig in and grab the surface, which they will on road dry, or light snow or rain, etc. the drive train will try to still spin the wheels even though they won't let go, and that can result in breaking the driveshafts or tearing up the drivetrain, premature wear on the drivetrain, etc.

So, before shifting in 4LOW and locking the differentials, just think to yourself. I'm going to lock the differentials, all the wheels will spin at the same speed, meaning they have to easily slip and spin over the surface. Is that what I want? Are the conditions such that the wheels can slip and spin over top the surface? If the surface won't let the wheels spin easy, I will be tearing up my tires, driveshafts, axles and XFR case.

Also going into 4LOW, engages that extra gear set to Underdrive the drivetrain. That means you go even slower per engine speed. That gives lots of torque at the wheels to climb over obstacles or up steed hills, but the vehicle can only crawl along at a slow speed. So, if you're driving along with the engine at Redline RPM and want to go faster, you've got to shift out of 4LOW. Read the OM how to do it properly, I do NOT think shifting out of 4LOW at 20mph and the engine at redline is the proper way to do it.
I was wondering about this also. Thank you for the great description. I understand the Commander 4WD system better now.
 

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Once again Mongo you have provided an educational explanation of how things work. For this I Thank You. Reload, from what I garner from your 4wd driving experience is, if you think you need 4wd lo in the snow you are driving in, think very hard of your families safety before you do it or go with an experienced group.
I'm hardly an experienced off-roader, I'm more a gear head that understands the workings of the vehicle better.

How I understand the system, I would NOT use 4LOW unless I needed to "crawl" along in very low traction, "slippery" conditions, that I will be slipping around in anyway.

That would be Deep Snow in my estimate.

Varying traction conditions, conditions that allow and I want to move faster than a crawl, then I would use 4HI, which for the Commander is just the normal mode.
One thing 4wd folks tend to forget. That even though your truck will move effortlessly through slippery conditions unlike a 2wd, it takes the same distance as a 2wd, in the same conditions,to stop.
That is such a great point, especially the Commander with its 4WD system, you can develop a lot of confidence moving along surely in snow, then when you hit the brakes, you don't stop and keep moving. Keep in mind stopping distance when you start feeling confident enough to increase speed, cause the Commander will get better stability and traction than it will braking, compared with a typical 2WD experience in the snow.
No, it is not AWD. It is Full-time 4WD. Yes, there is a difference. Why is 4X4 the wrong term ? All four wheels are getting power unlike a 2WD vehicle.
The definitions are changed for Marketing purposes. You're going by the Marketing definitions, and defining a capability purely by the badge or decal applied to the vehicle is too totally believe the Marketing Hype.

AWD = Without a doubt, if power goes to 4 wheels but disproportionate amounts, with one axle biased with more power than the other, that is AWD by everyone's definition. Some people define AWD as full time 4WD intended for on-road use only, either for better performance or poor weather performance on the street. If a 4WD system has all open differentials, and no selector to disengage an axle, that is optimal for street driving NOT so much for off-road driving. The Commander has a 48/52 split front/rear and all open differentials (except the QDII), you will find people that will define it as AWD.

4WD = Can be simply be power to all 4 wheels. Most insist it is even power to all 4 wheels, that can be a mix of Part-Time and Full-Time that disengages axles when NOT needed. It is a 4WD system intended for off-road use, meaning it an even distribution of power to all 4 wheels, it has locking or limited slip differentials, or options to lock one of more differentials, etc... The Commander has 48/52 split in power, so close to even that you're in denial saying it can't be off-road oriented. The electronic traction and stability controls will use the brakes individually to create "virtual" limited slip differentials. Others believe you have to have the ability to shift into a 4LOW and lock the center differential into Part Time 4WD mode to be 4WD as well, its NOT off road oriented without that feature in most opinions. The Commander has no ability to disengage an entire axle, like traditional off-road oriented 4WD systems used to do. tWhy? Cause in the past, it was too expensive/difficult to make the 4WD equally on and off road capable, so they simple made the vehicle 4WD for off-road and switched to 2WD for on road (there is still some merit in that approach, which the Wrangler still uses). The Commander uses electronics to improve the AWD approach to be off-road oriented.

So, its "arguable" and depends on folks attitudes and opinions. I can certainly agree, the QTI system you might be stretching it a bit to call it 4WD over AWD, but by the same standards, you're stretching it a bit to claim the QDII system is AWD over 4WD. The QDII system does everything people define an off-road 4WD system should do, except disengage an axle to be in 2WD mode. And QDII doesn't do that simple because there absolutely no advantage in it doing so, since it manages the driveline so well.

4X4 = By purist definition, is a non-differential transfer case, thus can only be Part-Time 4WD, which means the front and rear driveshafts to the axle always spin at the same speed and can only be used on loose traction surfaces. Very few agree 4X4 can be a full time 4WD with a part time 4WD in 4LO only. 4X4 is put as decal on lots of vehicles, its marketing hype. While I agree, its silly to think that a transfer case that has no differential and purely distributes power evenly front/rear is such a defining factor of a 4WD system, that other 4WD systems can NOT be

The Commander has a 48%/52% split front/rear for power. It is open differentials in the front/rear axles and transfer case. The QDII system has electronically controlled limited slip differentials in all three. The ability to go into 4LOW that locks the center differential, all differentials on the QDII. All Commanders also have various electronic traction control devices using the brakes that create "virtual" limited slip differentials.

So, you have varying definitions, and newer more innovative systems that defy the classic definitions.

It really depends on the attitude of who you're talking to.

Its NOT wrong to call the Commander AWD, some might argue.
Its NOT wrong to call the Commander 4WD, some might argue.

Its pretty much wrong to call the Commander 4X4, but for those that would argue it is, its just NOT worth arguing. Believe the marketing hype if you want, and if I was selling the vehicle and a potential buyer wants to use the marketing hype, I'd go along with it. But the classic definition of 4X4 is NOT the Commander.

To insist the Commander is AWD, there is NO argument, based off definitions and trends of 40 years ago, is failing to see the forest through the trees. Look at the performance the 4WD system is capable of, not the details of individual components. With modern technology and trends, sticking by 40 year old definitions and trends is just being foolish when assessing a driveline's ability.
 

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I'm hardly an experienced off-roader, I'm more a gear head that understands the workings of the vehicle better.

To insist the Commander is AWD, there is NO argument, based off definitions and trends of 40 years ago, is failing to see the forest through the trees. Look at the performance the 4WD system is capable of, not the details of individual components. With modern technology and trends, sticking by 40 year old definitions and trends is just being foolish when assessing a driveline's ability.
Your detailed drive-train knowledge is very impressive Mongo.

I followed most of your desciptions/explanations and I have driven some older 4x4's (once owned a 94 Eddie Bauer Edition Bronco with push button 4WD and a 351 Windsor - lost it when I got divorced).

My Commander actually reminds me a lot of my old Bronco as far as how it handles and the power it has.

I have also driven in some older ones where you had a separate stick shift to use and had to get out of the vehicle and manually lock the hubs to get into 4WD.

I am not disputing anything you said here Mongo, I just keep it pretty simple.

By today's standards/technology, if you have the ability to shift from 4-HI down into 4-LOW, it's a 4x4 in my book.
 
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