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Old 17th May 2012, 22:07   #1
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Default Why Dont Commercial "Jeeps" use the 4X4 Lever at all?

I have had experience in hiring 4X4 Jeeps in various places and its surprising to note that None of the jeeps actually used the 4X4 lever. They were drving in the same mode whether in Tarmac / gravel /
slippery roads.

My experiences:
  • Rameshwaram - Ramar sethu
  • Meenmuthi Falls Wayanad
  • Coorg jungle trip
  • Munnar - visit to tea estate
In none of the above scenarios, which consisted of rocky terrain / slipper roads / gravel / sand etc, the 4X4 lever was used

Any justification to this ?
We all know that 4H must be used for slippery terrain / gravel / sand and 4L in heavy application and shift back to Normal when on Tarmac.
I have never seen the driver even touch the 4X4 Lever - Any logic ?

OR is it that I have been that "unlucky" person where all my experience were bad.

Last edited by scopriobharath : 17th May 2012 at 22:08.
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Old 18th May 2012, 11:33   #2
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Default Re: Why Dont Commercial "Jeeps" use the 4X4 Lever at all?

My best guesses:

1. Considering these guys drive on the same route day after day, they obviously know the terrain well enough. The conditions are borderline 4x2 stuff that can be tackled with RWD only because of their familiarity (maintain momentum before a particular patch etc.). You didn't get stuck with them, did you? They'd only use it when the vehicle is about to get stuck.

2. The 4x4 is disconnected, or even removed altogether.

3. Concerns about higher fuel consumption, maintenance etc.

4. Poor driver training & awareness.
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Old 18th May 2012, 12:41   #3
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Default Re: Why Dont Commercial "Jeeps" use the 4X4 Lever at all?

Simple answer - any driver you find in these terrains are the best in their business, if they know a jeep can do it in 2WD, they wouldnt bother to waste fuel in 4wd H or L.

The only (I know of) resort/home/homestay that can be reached in 1st-gear-LOW ratio is here (Offroading at Kakkabe/Coorg: A Report). (Post 1 - this is the place i decided i WILL get a jeep!!)

A jeep averages around 3-5Kmpl in Low ratio (of course no hobbyist offroader would bother to know or care about it), I learnt it from the ^ resort driver. No commercial operator can afford such ridiculous FE.

Last edited by svsantosh : 18th May 2012 at 12:43.
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Old 18th May 2012, 12:57   #4
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Default Re: Why Dont Commercial "Jeeps" use the 4X4 Lever at all?

Quote:
Originally Posted by scopriobharath View Post
Any justification to this ?
We all know that 4H must be used for slippery terrain / gravel / sand and 4L in heavy application and shift back to Normal when on Tarmac.
I have never seen the driver even touch the 4X4 Lever - Any logic ?

OR is it that I have been that "unlucky" person where all my experience were bad.
Did you notice that in any point they were struggling to move ahead in 4X2 mode and yet they were not switching to 4X4. If there is no need, why would they bother to switch to 4X4?
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Old 18th May 2012, 13:14   #5
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Default Re: Why Dont Commercial "Jeeps" use the 4X4 Lever at all?

Take this.

We were in Manali, in Jan 2004 (I think) and Manali-Kullu had the most snow in the history in that year. When we started from Delhi we were told that the Kullu-Manali road is blocked with snow. Wife was worried and i was not (Don't know why).

After reaching Kully and Bus driver informed that the roads are open till 10Km before Manali and post that there are jeeps playing to Manali.

We took one of the Jeeps (He charged us Rs 500 for 10Kms) and drove through 3Feet of Snow (Which was mostly leveled with and salt sprayed, but slippery and most places jeeps had to climb through 3 feet snow when they crossed each other).

The driver drove all the way on a 2 wheel drive setting, the only time he engaged 4wd was when we had to climb the entrance before Hotel Holiday Inn which had decent snow, was steep climb and was very slippery.

I would say the experience of those folks in these terrains makes up for the need to engage the 4wd mode.

Last edited by mayankjha1806 : 18th May 2012 at 13:16.
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Old 18th May 2012, 13:54   #6
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Default Re: Why Dont Commercial "Jeeps" use the 4X4 Lever at all?

I use mine on marginal roads every chance I get if only to get the machinery going to let it self-lube.

This year, Jan 7, 2012, we had a 100 year snow storm here. Snow all the way down to the Punjab in fact. The only vehicle moving from Dharamsala to Mcleodganj for a couple of days...yours truly. It has been a burden for me throughout my life to have such good judgement and so much testosterone. I don't know if you guys have been checked but tests show that your testosterone level goes up 20% upon the purchase of a 4x4 and another 20% on days you actually engage it. Perhaps the wives of these jeep drivers had been complaining about...too much...umm...attention, and these drivers don't engage 4 wheel drive so much out of consideration for their wives? That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
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Old 18th May 2012, 14:51   #7
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Default Re: Why Dont Commercial "Jeeps" use the 4X4 Lever at all?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyDan View Post
Perhaps the wives of these jeep drivers had been complaining about...too much...umm...attention, and these drivers don't engage 4 wheel drive so much out of consideration for their wives? That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
ROTFLMAO!

I guess the ROI factor for hobbyist jeepers vis-a-vis private fleet operator jeepers are totally different. While the first category needs to engage 4X4 "X" number of times to justify their purchase, the fleet operator looks at maintenance and FE.

Cheers
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Old 18th May 2012, 17:58   #8
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Default Re: Why Dont Commercial "Jeeps" use the 4X4 Lever at all?

I feel that 4x4 is used more as an insurance policy , there are places where 2H will also do but the fear that we have of getting stuck makes us go for the safer option.

A taxi or a tour operator will know the most economical way around and he knows that driver skill is paramount on this type of terrain rather that a lever that says 4L.

The Desert Storm 2011 was won by Sunny Sidhu in the xtreme category driving an Vitara XL7 , whose 4x4 had packed up on day 2 of the 7 day long event , he was overall 1st drving a 2 wheel drive V6 monster though the deserts of Rajasthan and the Rann of Kutch.

I am and will always be a firm believer in the fact that you should know how to extract 100% from your vehicle and if a tourist/taxi driver can take a jeep in 2H where we will look for the 4L lever , then there are certainly better drivers than us (at least in the above mentioned scenario)
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Old 19th May 2012, 21:56   #9
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Default Re: Why Dont Commercial "Jeeps" use the 4X4 Lever at all?

WRT muddy trails, muddy hilly trails:
On 'commercial roads', the daily users know where they are going to get stuck, and normally regular users 'dress up' those areas so that they don't get stuck. If the trouble spot is along a village etc, sometimes the villagers do up the road, and charge a toll. To the uninitiated, the 'done up' sections of the road look just as horrendous, and in no way repaired or done up.

Where we use 4x4 and low range, they use momentum. If it is not your personal vehicle, chances are the front prop shaft has been removed. To a large extent, the momentum method works (I have used it often, when driving 'peeps', but then you are less in control of your vehicle.

Regards
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Old 20th May 2012, 06:48   #10
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Default Re: Why Dont Commercial "Jeeps" use the 4X4 Lever at all?

Sheer experience on the part of those drivers. Just because one has a 4x4 lever doesnt mean one has to use it whenever one encounters gravel or mud. My dad used to buzz around quite happily in 2WD through some horrible terrain when he was on the plantations - it was only in really extreme scenarios that he used to throw it into 4x4 mode.


Quote:
Originally Posted by scopriobharath View Post
I have had experience in hiring 4X4 Jeeps in various places and its surprising to note that None of the jeeps actually used the 4X4 lever. They were drving in the same mode whether in Tarmac / gravel /
slippery roads.

My experiences:
  • Rameshwaram - Ramar sethu
  • Meenmuthi Falls Wayanad
  • Coorg jungle trip
  • Munnar - visit to tea estate
In none of the above scenarios, which consisted of rocky terrain / slipper roads / gravel / sand etc, the 4X4 lever was used

Any justification to this ?
We all know that 4H must be used for slippery terrain / gravel / sand and 4L in heavy application and shift back to Normal when on Tarmac.
I have never seen the driver even touch the 4X4 Lever - Any logic ?

OR is it that I have been that "unlucky" person where all my experience were bad.
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Old 20th May 2012, 10:55   #11
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Default Re: Why Dont Commercial "Jeeps" use the 4X4 Lever at all?

A part-time 4WD vehicle stands a chance of drive train damage when driven on tarmac or any surface with adequate traction.

Possibly thats a more practical reason why.

--R
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Old 20th May 2012, 13:06   #12
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Default Re: Why Dont Commercial "Jeeps" use the 4X4 Lever at all?

Quote:
Originally Posted by scopriobharath View Post
In none of the above scenarios, which consisted of rocky terrain / slipper roads / gravel / sand etc, the 4X4 lever was used
I do not know other places, but I've been to Meenmutty falls in my 2WD Jeep. ie, there is no need for 4x4 in Meenmutty falls.

However, as for the question, yes, there is a pattern in taxi drivers in wayanad, where they are very very reluctant to engage the 4x4. The main reason is fuel efficiency. Moreover, most of the Jeeps have free wheeling hub's. So, just driving through with momentum in 2WD is much easier than to stop - get down to lock the hub - engage 4WD - lose FE - climb up - stop - get down to free the hub. This is too much hassle for taxi drivers, where the main intent is to ferry people ASAP. 4WD (or fondly called as 'hanuman gear' ) is engaged only steep inclines, or when 2WD is stuck.

Also, I agree that vehicle control is entirely in a different league with 4x4. For example, in 2WD, in a place called Neelimala, you need pedal to metal and climb up in one stretch in FULL momentum. If you had to stop, you reverse to the starting point, and repeat the process. Boulders, tree trunks etc need to get invisible! . Climbing down too is similar. You need precise control over the brakes, where as, 4L would ease it all up.

Last edited by dhanushs : 20th May 2012 at 13:09.
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Old 22nd May 2012, 11:26   #13
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Default Re: Why Dont Commercial "Jeeps" use the 4X4 Lever at all?

In India the ground is mud and clay, hard below unlike deserts so 2WD actually works. In off road situations the vehicle will always be in better control if 4x4 is engaged. I am not sure how a Suzuki Vitara XL7 negotiated desert trails in 2WD I have driven it in Dubai courtesy Arabian Automobiles the Nissan and Suzuki dealer but even on tracks with deep sand it is sure to get stuck.

In India there is this perennial fear that 4x4 consumes a lot more fuel. It does but it 4 high it will be say 10 to 15 % more than normal. It is always good to drive in 4H in slippery conditions like sand or snow. On loose rocks or tough climbs 3rd Low or 4th Low works quite well or 2 High if the climb is easier.

More fuel consumption is actually myth than reality you dont have to be in 4H all the time it is merely 10 to 12 % of a route where it is actually required and when engaged it is a great help.

But of course these comments come from a person who has driven over 600,000 KM in full time 4x4 vehicles first a Landcruiser Prado then a Landcruiser 100 VXR so my perception will defer from the common Indian perception.
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