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Accidentally Drove in 4WD on Pavement


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A few weeks ago I went for a hike and had to take my truck down some not great roads to get there, put it in 4WD because the Auto setting just wasn't cutting it.  I was trying to get in touch with a friend of mine when we got off the dirt trail and forgot to put it back in Auto/2WD, and drove probably 8-9 miles on twisty back roads in 4WD.  I only realized my problem when I had to make a sharp turn and my turning radius was noticeably reduced.

 

When I put it back in 2WD I heard a clunking sound.  Other than that, I think I have heard more noise from the transmission in general since then, just a louder gear hum basically.  Other than the transmission noise seeming generally louder, haven't noticed any other issues.

 

Should I go get my truck checked out at a shop or am I probably fine?

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Agreed - change the transfer case fluid and front diff at a minimum.  Likely a good bit of metal shavings in there due to the friction of being on pavement.

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Unless something changed I use to pop my trucks in 4WD when it rained, even at HWY speeds. Some of my trucks had the all wheel drive option. The ones that didn’t I just popped in and out no problems. Sometimes dry to wet just leave it in questionable weather. I’d check the manual. 

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1 hour ago, Western96 said:

A few weeks ago I went for a hike and had to take my truck down some not great roads to get there, put it in 4WD because the Auto setting just wasn't cutting it.  I was trying to get in touch with a friend of mine when we got off the dirt trail and forgot to put it back in Auto/2WD, and drove probably 8-9 miles on twisty back roads in 4WD.  I only realized my problem when I had to make a sharp turn and my turning radius was noticeably reduced.

 

When I put it back in 2WD I heard a clunking sound.  Other than that, I think I have heard more noise from the transmission in general since then, just a louder gear hum basically.  Other than the transmission noise seeming generally louder, haven't noticed any other issues.

 

Should I go get my truck checked out at a shop or am I probably fine?

Have you engaged 4WD since, just to make sure everything works and sounds normal?

 

If there is a problem, thinking this where it will show up. Not talking about anything other than just cycling through all ranges, driving a very short distance (couple 100 feet) with your window down listening for anything strange. 2WD, AUTO, 4WD, then 4LO, then in reverse order (going forward) back down to 2WD. 

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10 hours ago, rav3 said:

IMO, you're probably fine. What year? Miles? Which transmission? 

2017 Z71, ~45k miles, 6 speed trans

 

10 hours ago, btj_z71 said:

Agreed - change the transfer case fluid and front diff at a minimum.  Likely a good bit of metal shavings in there due to the friction of being on pavement.

Good idea, can't hurt anything to do this.

 

10 hours ago, NWI Denali said:

Except for some increased tire wear and fuel consumption, you should be fine. The transmission whine you think you're hearing is probably just your paranoia because you're on high alert.

Yeah that's definitely possible haha, I've been worried about it ever since I did it.  Could just be I'm hunting for something wrong now and am noticing stuff that normally wouldn't be a big deal.

9 hours ago, JimCost2014 said:

Have you engaged 4WD since, just to make sure everything works and sounds normal?

 

If there is a problem, thinking this where it will show up. Not talking about anything other than just cycling through all ranges, driving a very short distance (couple 100 feet) with your window down listening for anything strange. 2WD, AUTO, 4WD, then 4LO, then in reverse order (going forward) back down to 2WD. 

After it clunked switching back to 2WD, I put it back in 4WD for a second to see if it would happen again.  Didn't hear anything out of the ordinary, but I might try again driving a slightly longer distance (was in a pretty confined space last time in terms of how far I could go straight.)

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The clunk was from the 4wd system being under stress and unloading. .  Likely no harm was done under normal driving conditions (no burn outs etc). 

Edited by elcamino
typo
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1 minute ago, elcamino said:

The clinked was from the 4wd system being under stress because there was no slipping like would occur on low traction surface. .  Likely no harm was done under normal driving conditions (no burn outs etc). 

Funny you mention that. My nephew back around 2010 used to race a highly modified Ram diesel. He wasn’t alone. They  used 4WD. He used it a daily driver as a pipeline inspector. Drove lots of miles. The read ends were the only driveline items untouched. I wouldn’t imagine it going 200K miles untouched, he sold it at around 100K. 

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On 10/11/2021 at 7:00 AM, elcamino said:

The clunk was from the 4wd system being under stress and unloading. .  Likely no harm was done under normal driving conditions (no burn outs etc). 

Yeah I wasn't doing anything crazy, just driving normally.

On 10/11/2021 at 9:43 AM, CrawlSlow said:

A road is a road, dirt, gravel, pavement, sand, they all serves the same purpose, to be driven on. The question is, were you on 4H or 4L and at what speed?

4H going ~40 mph for most of it

 

I put it in 4H again and then back to 2H yesterday, drove forwards a bit each time until it had finished shifting back and forth.  No strange noises this time.  I think I am still gonna change the transfer case, diff, and transmission fluids just for peace of mind.  Might help the occasional hard shifts I get too.

Edited by Western96
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the rear inside tire will skip/skid/bounce while turning before you blow anything up internally. When driving straight (or mostly straight), you are only wearing the tires a little bit more than normal due to the different spin rates.

I once drove over 100 miles on dry pavement, it was snowy & ice in town and I was in 4WD, then got on the freeway which was salted and forgot about it til I exited halfway across the state. no issues. But definitely noticed it once I tried to turn into a driveway.

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