1. #1
    Jason4x4's Avatar
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    4 Hi/4 Lo - Question.

    It's a really nice day here in Baltimore today, so I decided to take my '06 TJ out to play. I went to the same county park I usually poke around at. The county park isn't a park in the sense that there's no playgrounds/campsite or anything like that. It's basically a couple picnic shelters and public hunting/fishing grounds with some dirt/gravel roads that wind around/through it. Now, it's nothing spectacular, nothing you would really consider "wheeling", but there are a couple places you can get off the roads per se and get the Jeep a little dirty. Everything I've done up there so far is pretty mild, nothing that would put me at any risk of becoming stuck or damaging the Jeep.

    Keep in mind that it rained all night last night.

    I was going up a road I had been up once before that winds up the side of a hill. Again, the road is gravel and doesn't require 4WD. This particular road leads out of the park. At the top of the hill is a clearing off to the left that goes over the hill...roughly 75-100' wide, which follows the path of power lines running up the hill. On my only previous drive up this road, I noticed a trail heading off towards the power poles, presumably an access road for the power company. For some reason I thought there were houses go by and/or I was afraid of getting in trouble for trespassing and I didn't try the trail.

    Today, as I came up on the trial there were no houses around, and looking I saw no signs saying "no trespassing" or "do not enter". I'm not sure if this piece of land was actually on the park property or not...but I decided to try it. Mistake number 1.

    Remember, I said it rained all night last night?? Well this trail was pretty soggy, lots of mud. I had it in 4WD Hi and for the first 3-400 yards down the trail I was ok, but the mud got progressively worse. My TJ is mechanically stock, stock wheels/tires (30" wheel/tire group, i.e. 30" Goodyear GS-A's - not exactly a mud tire). I also have no winch (mistake #2), didn't have my tow straps with me because I didn't plan on doing anything extreme (mistake #3) and I was by myself (mistake #4). Oh yeah, to make matters worse, back in the hills here there was no cell phone service (mistake #5).

    So anyway, after 300 yards or so of plowing down the trail, I realized this probably wasn't a good idea (see above). I came upon a fork in the trail, where the trail was a bit wider and decided to try and turn around. This was on a slope from right to left. I went high and tried to turn around to the left, but I got stuck in a big rut. I wiggled the front tires back and forth, tried backing up, etc, but I couldn't get out. I tried 4WD Lo, same results. I kept slipping down the hill towards the edge of the trail as I was trying to get out of the rut. I finally gave up and shut the engine off and got out to see how bad it looked. After assessing the situation, I decided my only options were to A) try to walk to the top of the hill to get phone service and call my brother in law to see if I could talk him into coming out to try and pull me out with his truck, B) Go looking for the nearest house to try and find someone to help get me out, or C) There was some brush on the edge of the trail I could drive through. There was a power pole in the way, but I thought I had enough clearance that if I could get traction in the brush that I could swing around the power pole and get facing the right direction. Then with a little luck I could plow back up the trail and get out of there. I decided to try plan C. I got down in the brush and was able to swing the front end around and got it facing the right direction. Then I popped it into reverse and gave it a good bit of right foot and that popped me out of the rut. I was then able to get back up the trail the other way and got off the trail on my own with no damage to the Jeep.

    So there's my story. Now for my question - in a situation like I was in this morning where you're nearly stuck in mud, is there any advantage to using 4-LO over 4-HI?? I mean, I understand 4-LO is lower gearing which would be better for climbing over rocks/logs/etc, but in mud does it really make a difference? It really didn't feel like it, but I'm still new to this off-road thing, so maybe my driving technique is/was the problem? Any ideas??

    Feel free to bash me for getting in over my head too, I deserve it :). I'm not going to say I won't try this trail again, as it was a ton of fun after I knew I was going to make it out, but next time I'll either have someone to pull me out or I'll at least wait several days after it rains .

    Edit: Mods, I'm not sure what the proper place for this thread would be - if it would be more appropriate in the General Chat forum, please move it. Thanks!
    Last edited by Jason4x4; 01-06-2007 at 03:48 PM.

  2. #2
    Wrangl3r93's Avatar
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    Re: 4 Hi/4 Lo - Question.

    I'm a 4-lo kinda guy... used to run high everywhere but when i was up at Turkey Bay in Kentucky i learned my lesson pretty quick. Really depends on the trails like you said. For flat muddy spots 4-hi is fine and can help keep wheel speed up but as i've learned sometimes when you get into deep mud or hill climbs the higher gearing will kill you and bog the engine down then you're left with no momentum tryin to get out. The trails i run lo and stay in 3-4 gear for any non obstacles parts. Anything over 20mph is way too fast offroad anyways. But hey who am i kidding i run 2wd at everything and only switch when i get stuck!

    Edit: Oh and as for gettin in over your head...



    Been there done that... skipped school no one else to pull me out, didn't have a chain, it was like 15 degrees outside, and to top it off i couldn't let my parents know i wasn't sitting nice and warm in calculus class... no way i could pull myself out of that one... had to walk 5 miles home in the freezing weather to go my best friend's(he skipped with me) dad's truck(he was supposed to be at school too)
    Last edited by Wrangl3r93; 01-06-2007 at 04:12 PM.
    The poster formerly known as Red93...

    '93YJ 4.0HO, 33x12.50r15 Maxxis Mudder Buckshots, 4.5 RE extreme-duty lift w/ 1" BL, 4.11 gears, Aussie locked front, 1in transfer case drop soon to be replaced by SYE/cv shaft, 2 memphis 10's pushed by a memphis pr500, custom bumpers made by me

    http://www.myjeepspace.com/wrangl3r93

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  3. #3
    Bounty__Hunter's Avatar
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    Re: 4 Hi/4 Lo - Question.

    No preaching here, sounds like you know the mistakes you made and don't need preached to. In your situation it sounds like wheel speed is where it is at, or trying to get forward momentum before spinning the tires. A taller gear is a little better, be it a low gear in 4hi or a higher gear in 4lo, personal preference but the final drive ratio would be similar. Sounds like you did just fine, learning that momentum is key (a little luck doesn't hurt) to getting out of those situations.

  4. #4
    Jason4x4's Avatar
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    Re: 4 Hi/4 Lo - Question.

    Red93, looks like you were in a lot worse shape than I was! Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me when I was out on the trail or I would've taken some shots in the mud, but here's some shots I took back at my apartment before I washed the mud off. Not as bad as I would've thought considering what I drove through.










  5. #5
    Jason4x4's Avatar
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    Re: 4 Hi/4 Lo - Question.

    Also, Bounty Hunter, I'm a little confused - so in mud, is wheel spin good or bad?? If I was in 4-hi in a low gear or 4 low in a high gear, won't that reduce wheel speed? For reference, up until the point where I was getting ready to turn around, I was in 4-hi and never out of first or second gear - would I have been better off in 3rd or 4th? I mean, obviously I got out so it's a moot point now, but I'm just curious so that I'll be better prepared next time.
    Last edited by Jason4x4; 01-06-2007 at 05:00 PM.

  6. #6
    Wrangl3r93's Avatar
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    Re: 4 Hi/4 Lo - Question.

    Yeah it sucks having your tires tucked under those flares. My 31's were bad about throwing mud on the side and my 33's get the jeep dirty if i hit a puddle.
    The poster formerly known as Red93...

    '93YJ 4.0HO, 33x12.50r15 Maxxis Mudder Buckshots, 4.5 RE extreme-duty lift w/ 1" BL, 4.11 gears, Aussie locked front, 1in transfer case drop soon to be replaced by SYE/cv shaft, 2 memphis 10's pushed by a memphis pr500, custom bumpers made by me

    http://www.myjeepspace.com/wrangl3r93

    http://www.tnvjc.org

  7. #7
    mud4feet's Avatar
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    Re: 4 Hi/4 Lo - Question.

    Ahhh.........almost stuck, scared (somewhat)...............or stuck and pi##ed.....

    I think we've all been there, done that. Like Bounty said, wheel speed helps a bunch in the mud.......4lo and a higher gear gives you more options, but......it's all kinda case by case. I learned in the mountains that sometimes 4hi is better than 4lo when you lose traction (my driveway in the snow!!!).

    The best thing about it all is that you made that decision to TAKE THE CHANCE!!!! That's the first step......from there comes learning!!!!! You'll, of course, give us an update when you try it again, right???
    Just Enjoy Every Possibility!

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    Re: 4 Hi/4 Lo - Question.

    Hey, don't feel bad about getting nearly stuck....how else are you gonna learn the limitations of your Jeep? We've all been there at one time or another. Here in the big flat spot in the middle of the map, most all the wheeling I do is in the mud. I prefer 4-hi for extra wheel spin. I generally keep it in 2nd gear which gives me enough torque at low speeds to pull through thick mud, but still enough HP to stomp the skinny pedal and get the wheels spinning to get me moving when it starts to get hairy. First mod I'd suggest for you would be to get a set of good mudders and toss those "street tires". Judging by the marks on your tires, no deeper than that mud was, you could have run 2wd through it with a set of mudders. That's not an exaggeration, either. I do it all the time with mine.

    I drove through this (and worse) in 2wd:



    Here's what the driver's side rear was in....yeah, I stopped in the middle of it to take a pic, and was able to start moving again and drive on out, again in 2wd:



    Not sure what engine you have, but if it's a 4-banger, I'd stay below 4th gear. If you're running 4th and get into some bad mud, by the time you downshift to a better gear, you've lost most or all of your momentum. Besides, you really don't need to be going that fast in a really muddy situation. Too easy to lose control and hit something or get into something you can't get out of.

    Next time you go out, bring your camera! No shame whatsoever in getting stuck or nearly getting stuck...in fact, that's what we thrive on!!

    Keep on wheelin', bud!!

  9. #9
    Jason4x4's Avatar
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    Re: 4 Hi/4 Lo - Question.

    Thanks for the tips. I have the 4.0 ("Sport" model), and I wasn't really happy with the tires when I bought the Jeep. I was looking at used Wranglers originally, all of which small lifts and most of which had BFG Mud Terrain tires. I fully plan on upgrading to 31 or 32" BFG Mud Terrains, but I figured since I paid for the "street" tires, I might as well use them until they start to wear (or until I just can't take it anymore ). I don't know about going to anything more aggressive than the BFG's because my Jeep will still spend the vast majority of it's time on the street and I understand the BFG's wear fairly well on-road. If you have any suggestions for other tires that might work better and still be decent on-road, I'd be interested.

    By the way, Sparky, in those pictures you posted is that ice or rocks??

  10. #10
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    Re: 4 Hi/4 Lo - Question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason4x4 View Post
    Thanks for the tips. I have the 4.0 ("Sport" model), and I wasn't really happy with the tires when I bought the Jeep. I was looking at used Wranglers originally, all of which small lifts and most of which had BFG Mud Terrain tires. I fully plan on upgrading to 31 or 32" BFG Mud Terrains, but I figured since I paid for the "street" tires, I might as well use them until they start to wear (or until I just can't take it anymore ). I don't know about going to anything more aggressive than the BFG's because my Jeep will still spend the vast majority of it's time on the street and I understand the BFG's wear fairly well on-road. If you have any suggestions for other tires that might work better and still be decent on-road, I'd be interested.

    By the way, Sparky, in those pictures you posted is that ice or rocks??
    That's ice in the pics. Ice and slimy redjaw mud.

    As for tires, the BFG's are good. I had them on my old Toy 4x4 years ago. They didn't wear very well on that, but I've seen them on Jeeps and heard others say that they wear pretty well on them, I guess because they're lighter than the old Toy. After the BFG's, I ran Kumho's for quite a while and liked them better. They lasted longer, were quieter on the pavement, and easier on the wallet. IIRC, they are made by BFG and are a knock-off of their M/T's, but I could be wrong on that. I'm currently running Mud Kings, which are good in mud (not quite as good as the BFG's or Kumho's), quiet on pavement, but are wearing too fast. In fact, I've got about a year and a half on them (about 30,000 miles) and they're close to needing replaced. I'm going back to Kumho's when I do replace them.

  11. #11
    Jeepr's Avatar
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    Re: 4 Hi/4 Lo - Question.

    Ya, your limited by your tires. If it happens again, try airing down to around 10 pounds or so, it makes a world of difference.

    I am on an Underwater Recovery Team and we drove down a frozen hill to the river to dive. While we were diving, the weather warmed up and the hill thawed. None of the vehicles would make it back up the hill because because it turned into a slimy mud bog.

    I aired my tires down and walked right up the hill.

  12. #12
    Bounty__Hunter's Avatar
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    Re: 4 Hi/4 Lo - Question.

    I had GSA's when I first bought my YJ, I didn't think they did too bad when aired down to around 15 or 18lbs. I'd probably buy them again in 35" for my street set as the voids are a lot larger in the larger sizes.

  13. #13
    currupt4130's Avatar
    currupt4130 is offline VT Hokie
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    Re: 4 Hi/4 Lo - Question.

    Pro Comp MT's are where its at, my dad has a set on his Rubi and on his 2500 Chevy diesel. 40k on the ones on the diesel and they still have another 5-10k, that truck is heavy. They hook up great offroad too.
    06 VW (hardcore crawler)

    "The mountains are calling and I must go." -John Muir

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