How to engage 4×4 in Jeep Cherokee?

In the next few days I’m test driving a late 80’s early 90’s Jeep Cherokee 4×4. I want to make sure the 4×4 works properly. How do I engage it and how should I test it? (What speeds, What type of terrain?)

, ,

2 Responses to How to engage 4×4 in Jeep Cherokee?

  1. Sean July 13, 2010 at 10:18 am #

    Don is partially correct. Cherokees came with either the Command-Trac or the Selec-Trac transfer cases. The command-trac was the NP231 transfer case, exactly how he laid it out. The Selec-Trac was the NP/NV242J. This transfer case was different, as instead of the 2Hi-N-4HI-4LO options, it had an added mode. The gear selector for it was 2HI-N-4HIFT-4HIPT-4LO. What this meant, was you had a 4 wheel drive configuration that was designed to be driven on dry roads. With the 231 (Command-Trac) case, you do not want to drive on dry pavement with 4 wheel drive engaged, even in high range, as it doesn’t have the ability to vary wheel speeds from front to rear, so you can cause damage to the transfer case when turning on a paved road. Under less-than-ideal conditions, however, you are perfectly fine. I’ve never liked the idea of shifting from 2WD to 4WD while the vehicle is moving, so I stop mine whenever I can, and if I can’t, I try not to do it above 30mph. But really, if it’s bad enough that you need to engage 4 wheel drive while you’re moving, you shouldn’t be going over 30mph anyways, right?

  2. Don July 13, 2010 at 10:18 am #

    Cherokees have the command – track. You’ll see a lever next to the transmission shifter that has letters 2H, 4H, N, 4L on it. You can shift from 2H (2wheel drive high range) to 4H (4wheel drive high range) at any legal speed. If it’s an automatic, I recommend just taking your feet off of both pedals, so there’s not a lot of torque being passed thru the transfer case. If it’s a standard I recommend stepping on the clutch when you shift, but it’s not necessary. To go to Neutral just pull the shifter back one more position to the N position. To shift into 4L (4wheel drive lo range) you must be stopped. I also recommend shifting the transmission into neutral when you do this. Push the shifter to the right, then pull it back. Mine always grinds, then bumps in.

    NEVER use anything but 2H on pavement. NEVER.

    You’ll know immediately if the front wheels are not pulling, just by the way the Jeep feels