When to shift into 4x4 mode?

I just got a 2001 Jimmy 4x4 from my brother who never used the 4x4 feature, only in 2x2. Since this truck has manual selection by push button of shifting into 4x4 mode.
My question is: How wet does the road have to be before I should go into 4x4. The manual said DO NOT use 4x4 on a dry surface but it does not indicate at what point it is safe to shift into 4x4 ?
Also what harm will happen if I drive in 4x4 on a dry surface ?
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RE/

This is a personal judgement thing, but I only shift into 4x4 when
- I've done something boneheaded and gotten stuck - as in making a turn into an uphill street with 12-15" of badly-rutted snow/ice
- The guy in front of me has finally managed to get himself stuck on a hill and I want minimal chance of fishtailing as I ease past him.
- I'm driving in sand.
- I'm driving in snow that's so deep that the vehicle keeps trying to veer one way or the other (following some buried ruts??).
My rationale for limited use is that:
1) Handling is different with 4x4 engaged and whatever reflexes I have are set up for 2x2.
2) It's more interesting to drive in snow without 4x4.
3) I don't think 4x4 makes me stop or stick to corners any better. Somewhat the opposite, I think: 500 extra pounds to stop and/or go off on the tangent of a curve. It might, however, give me a false sense of stability and confidence and I don't want that.
I don't claim much knowledge in this area, but I *think* you've got what I call "part time" 4x4. i.e. it locks up all the wheels when engaged rather than having any sort of differential between front/back or left/right.
If you put it in 4x4 on a dry surface, you'll feel it in the steering right away. That binding sensation is from the wheels trying to rotate slightly different amounts. Seems like a reliable way to break your drive train. I wouldn't even *think* of using 4x4 when it's just wet.
--
PeteCresswell

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wrote:

don't use 4wd until you need it, in other words if the road isn't white with snow or shiny with icem, leave it in 2wd. all you'll do otherwise is wear out your front tires and front end parts quickly.

well, you can pop a CV joint, snap a U joint, break your transfer case chain, etc. there's no reason to use 4wd on a high traction surface if you're not spinning your tires in 2wd.
-Bret
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snipped-for-privacy@business.com says...

Judging from the responses in this thread (not just this one), it sounds like most of you never leave pavement and bought 4x4 for bad weather on public roads only?
I am off-road quite a lot myself, and like to engage the 4x4 at least once a month or so at a minimum just to slosh some lubrication on the parts instead of letting them rust up and HOPE that they'll be working fine when needed. The land I have can get VERY muddy in even a short but heavy downpour, and not having 4x4 is a guaranteed recipe for getting stuck.
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Randy Howard _o
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I got it because of all the lousy snow we get here in NYC. Other than that I would not need a 4x4.

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I got mine cause it makes the truck pretty. The chicks dig it, man. I never go off the road or tow a trailer or any of that shit. What does it matter to you what someone else does with their truck? If you need it, you use it. If you don't need it, its still available. There's a bunch of soccer moms that don't go off roading. So what?? When I was in the service, we were off road daily. I've been in every predicament possible and was thankful for 4x4 to get me through it. In the civilian world, I ve gone hunting in places that should have been by horseback. I've never gone and beat my truck up cause its "fun." The people that do it cause its fun don't present a problem to me. It their business, not mine. Maybe they don't like building model airplanes or taking pictures. I don't care. What I do with my truck (or anything else) is my own business. You don't have to approve. .
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says...

Ok.
OK.
When did I ever say it did matter? I didn't start this thread, I just responded to it. Learn to read headers and quoted text.
[snippage]

See above.
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Randy Howard _o
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On Sun, 7 Dec 2003 20:31:31 -0600, Randy Howard

you don't really need to put a GM IFS truck in 4wd to "splash the lube around" as the CAD only disconnects one axle, leaving the other constantly driven by the road, turning the spider gears and spreading the lube around. on the autotrac xfer cases, the front driveshaft *always* spins.
I personally bought my k2500 because I wanted it, and because mud looks good on it's roof.
-Bret
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