Glossary: Jeep Terms

Jeep, offroad, and vehicle related terms

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  1. Approach Angle

    Starting from level ground, this is the degree of slope a vehicle can approach without scraping or hitting the front undercarriage. It's a great indication of the ability to navigate severe off-road terrain like boulders and logs. A short front... [Read more]
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  2. Articulation

    Articulation is to a Jeep what flexibility is to a person. The more a wheel can travel, or flex, the better it can maintain contact with the and provide the traction needed to cross an array of obstacles. Essentially, articulation is the ability of... [Read more]
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  3. Axle

    A rigid piece of metal that connects the front and/or rear wheels together. The suspension components attach to the axle and to the vehicle's body frame.
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  4. Axle Articulation

    The ability of one axle to move relative to the chassis. It is the measure of the ease with which tires stay in contact with the ground (and retain traction) on very uneven terrain.
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  5. Axle Differential

    An axle differential is a gear system located in the center housing of an axle assembly designed to allow the wheels to rotate at different speeds during cornering.
    differential,diff
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  6. Backspacing

    Wheel backspacing is the distance from the inside bolting surface of the rim to the outer edge of the inboard side of the rim. This determines the amount that your tires will stick out from the body of your Jeep. Wheels with more backspace will... [Read more]
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  7. Brake Traction Control System

    Transfers torque from one wheel to another on the same axle when wheel slip conditions are detected.
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  8. Breakover Angle

    The degree of slope that defines the largest ramp or hill that a vehicle can travel over without scraping against the frame or underbody components.
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  9. Camber

    Camber angle is the angle made by the wheel of an automobile; specifically, it is the angle between the vertical axis of the wheel and the vertical axis of the vehicle when viewed from the front or rear. If the top of the wheel is further out than... [Read more]
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  10. Cardan

    A universal joint, U joint, Cardan joint, Hardy-Spicer joint, or Hooke's joint is a joint in a rigid rod that allows the rod to 'bend' in any direction, and is commonly used in shafts that transmit rotary motion. It consists of a pair of ordinary... [Read more]
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  11. Caster

    Caster angle is the angular displacement from the vertical axis of the suspension of a steered wheel, measured in the longitudinal direction. It is the angle between the pivot line (in a car - an imaginary line that runs through the center of the... [Read more]
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  12. Center Differential Geared

    A gear system located inside the transfer case of full-time 4WD vehicles. It is used to distribute drive torque to the front and rear driveshafts and allows the front and rear wheels to rotate at different speeds during cornering.
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  13. Clutch Plates

    A series of alternating steel plates within the transfer case of many on-demand or automatic 4WD systems. One set of plates is splined to the clutch assembly hub of the rear driveshaft; the other set is splined to the clutch drum attached to the... [Read more]
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  14. Coil Springs

    A coil of flexible metal that can be compressed or stretched along its centerline axis without permanent deformation. Coil springs support the weight of the vehicle while allowing the wheels to travel up and down over bumps.
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  15. Command-Trac

    The NV241 GII transfer case uses 18 bolts to increase structural stiffness and effectively double the sealing capability. Command Trac is a registered trademark of Chrysler Motors LLC.
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  16. Continuously Variable Transaxle

    A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is a type of automatic transmission that can change the "gear ratio" (gears are not generally involved) to any arbitrary setting within the limits. The CVT is not constrained to a small number of gear... [Read more]
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  17. Crank position sensor

    A crank sensor is a component used in an internal combustion engine to monitor the position or rotational speed of the crankshaft. This information is used by engine management systems to control ignition system timing and other engine parameters.... [Read more]
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  18. Crawl Ratio

    Essential for serious off-road treks involving steep hill climbs and descents, this is the final drive ratio of a vehicle in low-range. It allows Jeep vehicles to “creep” along (without depressing the accelerator) at very low speeds.... [Read more]
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  19. Crow Hop

    Vehicle shudder and tire scuffing due to a binding condition in the driveline. Usually caused by operating in basic 4WD or part-time 4WD modes on dry pavement.
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  20. Departure Angle

    Similar to the approach angle, the departure angle indicates a vehicle's ability to drive off a ramp or obstacle without damaging the rear of the vehicle.
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  21. Differential

    A differential is a device, usually consisting of gears, that allows each of the driving wheels to rotate at different speeds, while supplying equal torque to each of them. In automotive applications, the differential and its housing are sometimes... [Read more]
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  22. Driveshaft

    Shaft connecting the transmission output shaft to the differential drive pinion shaft. Four-wheel-drive vehicles add a second driveshaft from the transfer case to the front differential.
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  23. Four Wheel Drive

    A drivetrain that utilizes a transfer case to distribute engine power between the front and rear axles in order to drive all four wheels. Full-time four-wheel-drive systems utilize a center differential, which enables the front and rear driveshafts... [Read more]
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  24. Front Axle Disconnect

    A mechanical or vacuum-operated component used primarily on four-wheel-drive models to connect and disconnect drive torque to the front axle. When shifting from four-wheel drive to two-wheel drive, this system disengages the front axle from the... [Read more]
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  25. Gerotor Coupling

    A speed-sensing component used in four-wheel-drive systems, which includes a fluid pump, a piston and a set of clutch plates. When a speed difference occurs between the front and rear driveshafts of the vehicle (as when a wheel loses traction), the... [Read more]
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  26. High Descent Control

    This system uses the ABS braking to control the car's motion downhill. Also allows a smooth and controlled hill descent in rough terrain without the driver needing to touch the brake pedal. If the vehicle accelerates without the driver input, the... [Read more]
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  27. High-Range

    A 4WD mode used for on-road or light off-road use.
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  28. Jounce

    This system uses the ABS braking to control the car's motion downhill. Also allows a smooth and controlled hill descent in rough terrain without the driver needing to touch the brake pedal. If the vehicle accelerates without the driver input, the... [Read more]
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  29. Limited-Slip Differential

    Provides the same basic functions as an axle differential, but with an added advantage: when the drive wheel begins spinning as a result of being on a slippery surface, a limited-slip differential automatically transfers torque to the opposite wheel... [Read more]
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  30. Locking Differential

    Provides even more traction than a limited-slip differential by locking the axle shafts together when the driver wants to do it. Locking differentials do not allow for wheel-speed differences and must not be used on dry, paved roads.
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  31. Low-Range

    A 4WD mode used for severe off-road conditions.
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  32. Neutral

    When the shifter is in this position, the front and rear axles spin freely. Sometimes used for towing a Jeep vehicle behind another vehicle (such as a motor home), so that uncoupling the driveshafts is not required. Also used in the process of... [Read more]
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  33. Open-Center Differential

    Located in the transfer case on some full-time four-wheel-drive vehicles, this component works in the same way as an open differential in the axles, but is of a more compact design. This component employs a planetary gearset, with planetary gears... [Read more]
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  34. Progressive Axle

    Progressive front and rear axles transfer torque side to side in search of the wheel with the greater traction. This mechanical (gerotor pump) system transfers torque relative to differences in wheel speed rather than torque difference. The end... [Read more]
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  35. Rock-Trac

    Wrangler's super-tough, Rock-Trac(R) part-time 4WD system includes Tru-Lok(R) front and rear lockers and a super-slow 4:1 gear ratio. A 4:1 low-gear allows Wrangler to crawl at lower speed for greater control and multiplies the amount of low torque... [Read more]
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  36. Shift-on-the-Fly

    The ability to shift from two-wheel drive to four-wheel drive while the vehicle is moving.
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  37. Skid Plate

    A skid plate is a steel plate affixed to the underside of a vehicle to prevent damage to key components in the undercarriage. Skid plates are most frequently found on four-wheel drive vehicles designed for off-road use. Without protection,... [Read more]
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  38. Slip Yoke Eliminator

    The slip-yoke eliminator does exactly what it says - it eliminates the "slip-yoke". The slip-yoke is between the drive pinion gear shaft yoke and the output shaft yoke, and is designed to slip and therefore create extra length in the drive shaft... [Read more]
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  39. Swaybar

    A sway bar (also stabilizer bar, anti-sway bar, roll bar, or anti-roll bar, ARB) is an automobile suspension device. It connects opposite (left/right) wheels together through short lever arms linked by a torsion spring. A sway bar increases the... [Read more]
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  40. Throttle body spacer

    A throttle body spacer is designed to improve the quality of the airflow, allowing air that is more condensed and, thus, more oxygen laden, to enter the combustion chamber. The result of this is a more efficient burn, which serves to release more... [Read more]
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  41. Throttle position sensor

    A throttle position sensor (TPS) is a sensor used to monitor the position of the throttle in an internal combustion engine. The sensor is usually located on the butterfly spindle so that it can directly monitor the position of the butterfly throttle... [Read more]
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  42. Tow Hooks

    Heavy-duty forged steel hooks in the front and rear of a vehicle that provide attachment points for snatch-em straps and winch cables should you get stuck.
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  43. Track bar

    A track bar is a component of a Jeep's suspension system that provides lateral location of the axle (keeps the axle under the Jeep). While the purpose of the rear suspension of an automobile is to allow the wheels to move vertically with respect... [Read more]
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  44. Transfer Case

    Mounted behind and driven by the vehicle transmission, the transfer case transmits power to the front and rear driveshafts in 4WD Jeep vehicles and offers high and low range.
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  45. Tru-Lok

    Electronic-locking front and rear differentials balance speed between left and right wheels maintaining forward momentum for the ultimate in Wrangler traction. The instrument panel-mounted rocker switch can lock the rear, the front, or both axles.
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  46. Viscous Coupler

    The goal of this device is to provide smooth and efficient 4WD operation on dry surfaces--if a differential in speed occurs between the axles, heat buildup in the viscous coupler transfers power to the slower axle, providing some traction in off... [Read more]
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  47. Viscous Coupling

    A speed-sensitive device located in the transfer case that transmits drive torque between the front and rear driveshafts when wheel-slip occurs. Viscous couplings are typically used on all-wheel-drive vehicles and vehicles with automatic and... [Read more]
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