My older truck vs my newer truck - 4WD

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My very first truck was a Dodge 1979 Sno-Commander. It was full time 4WD. That's why my husband called it back then. We never had to do anything to
put it into 4WD.
He since passed on and I finally had to sell that truck and I bought a Dodge 2003 1500, with 4WD. Except you have to shift the transfer case into 4WD when you need it. I only need 4WD for plowing my driveway. Fairly flat/level driveway. I have no problems plowing.
Is there any difference between 4WD-H and 4WD-L on the transfer case shift lever? I know that one is used for intance if you're already out driving on the road and want to shift into 4WD. My question is - do both the H and L perform the same thing when the truck is in 4WD?
Another question is why is there some tire spinning/slipping when I'm navigating a sharp turn from the back of the garage around to the side garage? (in driveway on paved surface). The truck is barely moving because it's a tight turn. My 1979 never did any tire spinning. Do they make 4WD trucks weaker than they used to?
The last question is while driving on a stone/dirt road that is just at the start of driving up a mountain near a ski resort in the Finger Lakes in NY......I began in 2WD and felt it needed 4WD. I put it in 4WD, but it kept popping out and into N. I finally had to cram it in 4WD and keep holding it while driving up and up for about 2 miles before I got to my friend's house. Then it was another .25 mile up their driveway. Is that a common thing that the gears won't engage? Actually my GrandAm navigates that road better than the truck.
Thanks for reading, Marina
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Marina wrote:

4L is a much much lower gear ratio than 4H. 4L could be handy when plowing as you're driving very slow and want the extra low gearing 4L provides. Use 4H if driving on normal roads or highways when 4WD is needed.

No, not weaker, rather the opposite. Your old truck was full time 4WD. That means the front and rear differentials were not locked together and thus the front and rear could turn at different speeds. Your new truck is part time 4WD. Never shift to 4WD on dry pavement. What you are experiencing is one tire wanting to turn faster than another and your road surface isn't allowing for any slippage. Part time 4WD generally provides superior traction in slippery conditions such as snow than full time 4WD while the latter provides better handling on dry to moderate roads.

Your owners manual explains the proper way to shift into 4WD. In my 2000 Ram I had to stop before shifting the transfer case to 4L. Shifting to 4H while moving slowly was possible but not while accelerating. I also could not stop at N even for a second or I'd have the trouble you are experiencing. My new 2007.5 Ram is all electronic.
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My full time 4WD never had any slippage, except on ice, of course. I used to drive into a deep snow to stack the snow and easily got out. This past winter I tried the same with my PT 4WD and it got stuck and I had to have somebody come and pull me out. The other guy has a newer truck like mine and he was spinning his tires on this driveway, that is flat.

Yes, I had shifted the correct way. It kept popping out. Weird. This truck scares the heck out of me. The other one was like a "tank". It was great, except the body was falling apart with holes in the floor. I sold it to a guy in the country, to use on his property.
Thanks for your input. It makes more sense. The manual is lacking. Both paragraphs for the H & L 4WD say the same thing. Marina
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Marina wrote:

Part time will generally do much better in deep snow than full time 4WD. Do you have the factory stock tires? If so thats probably the culprit. I have the Michelin LTX A/S stock tires and they have about zero traction in snow. The LTX M/S or A/T are excellent in snow.
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I had All Weather tires put on. I (think) I asked for All Terrain and now they're called All Weather. The dealer could have said All Season. I don't remember. There are too many terms thrown around I can't keep track of them. They don't look like the ones I had on the other truck. With the other one you could see the large tread just by looking at the side wall. But I can tell the tires I have now are better than normal tires that'd be installed. In the end, I think you're on to something with the tires. I'll check later and see the brand I have. Marina
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Miles is probably correct re: the tires. A "all season" rated tire has such low snow standards you might as well have a conventional passenger car tire on the truck. IIrc a "all season tire" has to make it through 3" on snow. big, block tread with sipes are the way to go.
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Roy wrote:

I'm not so sure of that for snow. I have the Michelin LTS M/S one my truck and their Cross Terrain on my Durango. Both look more like a street tire to me. Not big open tread as seen on many off road tires. The open sipes help but I think the main gain for snow is the tiny hairline cuts made throughout the tread. My understanding is that they cause the blocks to flex breaking up any ice and pushing it out. The biggest problem I had with the A/S stock tires is ice build up in the tread. They quickly became ice wheels.
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For a good snow tire, you don't want to use something that has a tread pattern like a mud tire. On the other side of that, you definately don't want something that has the tread so close together that it packs. Being from Buffalo originally and having grown up driving there as well as down in the southern tier of NY, I learned that the best tire, if you don't want to get a true snow tire, is a good A/T tire that is M/S rated. Soemthing like the Dueler AT, though I have also used the Dueler HT with some what good results, the BFG AT, etc.
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wrote:

Folks she is only doing a driveway. Hell, let her buy the best, Blizzak, a dedicated snow tire. That's extreme for a driveway, but the all season's don't really cut it.
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Dude, what the hell are you talking about? No where did I suggest she spend any money, hell, I could care less what she buys, BUT, your suggestion to use a tire with "big block tread" is not the way to go, which is why I replied.
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wrote:

You are 100% correct! My apologies. I was talking on the phone when I was typing that. It was to a friend who who is trying to stuff a "454" into a 50 studebaker thus the big block, I combined the two. Buddism!!<G>
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Buddism is dead because the found Charles "Budd" Cochran has dropped off the face of the earth. A 454 into a 50 Stu huh? Damn!
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wrote:

It is a interesting project. The thing has a "fat boy" front frame, the engine is too close to the front crossmember, the engine is too long, the transmission tunnel is too low. Trying to get a decent line is a real pia. I'm thinking maybe pick the body a couple of inches.<G> Seriously though it is a nightmare, but it is doable. Here's one you'll like. Have to make the area at the firewall bigger so the bell houseing will clear. Was walking through Lowes and spotted a metal wheelbarrel that has just the right curve and depth when cut down. So a quick cut and quick weld some paint and problem solved with out a lot of banging and fab work. The crossmember clearance is going to be a bit harder.
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Lowes for auto body stuff, that is a new one, but what ever works, is clean, quick and easy, makes life that much better.
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I finally got a chance to double check the name on the tires: Uniroyal Laredo AWT. Marina
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You should have seen the tires the dealer tried to give me. Good thing I asked for AWT or it would be even worse. I love the big block tires. Next chance I have some extra money I'll buy some new ones. Yup, the advice here has been excellent. Thank you, all!! Marina
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I didn't give any advice, just chimed in about a tire that didn't do me any favors. But, there is alot of good advice out here on the "usenets" newsgroups. Most people that you ask that have not been on the internet since it started for civilians, don't have a clue it even exists!
I have been operating computers before there were ever PC's back in 1973 & got on to the internet (limited through Prodigy Network) back in 1990.
I am still hooked with ability it has for a resource for information!
Back on subject: I will be looking for some good tires for the snow soon. My Ram 1500 Quad Cab with the 20" tires that came with it, really are not what I was expecting to feel in driver confidence. I am not connected to the road at all in snow/ice.
They are great in rain/dry road! Good tread life too! Time for me to search suppliers for a good traction tire for myself....
Later,
Kurt
Due to E-Mail spamming bots my reply address is incorrect.
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Yes they do. The only difference is that 4WD-L has an increased gear ratio for a significant increase in pulling / pushing power at a significant reduction in speed. In your case, 4WD-L would allow you to plow your driveway without cooking the transmission. The only real difference is that you cannot shift into 4WD-L while the truck is moving and the gearing is way to low to drive it at any speed in 4WD-L.

It has nothing to do with the strength of the system but rather the implementation. A full time 4WD has been set up for use in all conditions and has a method to allow the front and rear axles to turn at different speeds such as in a turn. A part time 4WD is designed for use only under slippery conditions (reason it's called part time) and simply locks the front and rear axles together. It depends on a wheel slipping under a tight turn to make up the difference between the axle speeds during a turn. Because of this, part time 4WD should not be used in dry conditions, especially during tight turns as the increased traction of the tires in these conditions prevent them from slipping easily and put excessive stress on the drive train and this can damage it.

It is not a common thing for it to keep jumping out of 4WD. As said before, part time 4WD locks the two axles together and is not intended for use on dry roads. This locking of the axles causes wheel slip in turns which may make the truck feel loose on dirt and stone roads, especially compared to your front wheel drive GrandAm. As for it jumping out of gear, that is not normal and indicates a possible defect or damage to the transfer case, possibly from engaging the 4WD in dry conditions during tight turns. I would have that looked at.
--
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You won't "cook" your transmission plowing in 4H. I don't know anybody that plows in low range. You cook your transmission by trying to move too much and running the transmission to stall speed pile4ing it.. Actually more heat is generated by moving in reverse.
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I'm very careful since I only plow my driveway and don't race around like the ones who are in business. If the snow is very heavy and wet and deep, then I raise the blade and push snow. Then go back and lower it to the ground and push the rest of it. I have 3 different areas where I stack the snow.
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