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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It would be great to have permanent four-wheel-drive together with the automatic transmission (AT).

Automatic transmission has proven itself as the preferred transmission for off-road driving as it is easier to control the delivery of torque (an almost completely smooth curve when up/down-shifting is automatic), its easier to drive extremely slowly over hurdles without stalling the engine or using the clutch, and its easier to work with on steep inclines without roll-back (once you learn how to tackle the need for quick reversals in case of failure to overcome an uphill obstacle).

It is therefore a big pity that the AT does not come with real four-wheel-drive that you can use anytime you want to. There should definitely be a permanent 4x4 option with centre differential that is manually lockable.

In my opinion, don't put in stuff like "hill-descent control" or "variable terrain response", those are all toys compared to having a real, permanent 4x4 AT.
 

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It would be great to have permanent four-wheel-drive together with the automatic transmission (AT).

Automatic transmission has proven itself as the preferred transmission for off-road driving as it is easier to control the delivery of torque (an almost completely smooth curve when up/down-shifting is automatic), its easier to drive extremely slowly over hurdles without stalling the engine or using the clutch, and its easier to work with on steep inclines without roll-back (once you learn how to tackle the need for quick reversals in case of failure to overcome an uphill obstacle).

It is therefore a big pity that the AT does not come with real four-wheel-drive that you can use anytime you want to. There should definitely be a permanent 4x4 option with centre differential that is manually lockable.

In my opinion, don't put in stuff like "hill-descent control" or "variable terrain response", those are all toys compared to having a real, permanent 4x4 AT.

I'm not sure I get what you're saying.

"Real 4WD"?

When you shift your tcase into 4h or 4l you have all 4 wheels getting power, correct? When you shift to 2H, you get just rear wheel drive and the front is disconnected via something like Toyota's ADD (automatic differential disconnect), right?

From your post I gather what you want is AWD when on the street....like many passenger cars, sports cars, minivans and pseudo-suvs....and the MT version of the FJ Cruiser.

What I don't get is.....why? In the current economy of outrageously high gas prices, AWD burns more fuel. There's more than one of these threads where people are asking Toyota to give them manual hubs on the MT FJC rather than full time 4WD.

Hell, I know I'd much rather pick up 2-3 mpg in my Cummins 4x4 tow rig and have to get out to dial in a pair of free wheeling hubs....better mileage, less drivetrain wear and tear, fusible link, inherently safer, with only a small inconvenience factor.

Just not sure of your reasoning and your post doesn't really elaborate on the point.

Sean


***EDIT*** Just realized your not in the USA....which would explain the lack of concern regarding gas prices. You're likely already paying what would probably amount to $12 US for a litre of fuel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Hi Sean K.,
rather than a really long explanation, let me just quote Tom Sheppard's book 'Four-by-four driving' (he's kind of the guru of 4x4 - mentioned on the forum here):

"Permanent 4x4 is best. Though getting a run for its money from the latest auto engage systems, permanent 4x4 is the best system of all in that as well as giving best on- and off-road traction with least call upon the track surface for traction, it is ready for anything at any time - the sudden icy patch, the wet leaves on the corner, the sudden soft sandy area in the track. With selectable 4x4 you have to know in advance that you will need it - life is not always like that. With auto-engage 4x4, despite its conceptual elegance, you have to experience slip, however little, before you get full 4x4 - and that can sometimes be too late."

If you want to have the differences between four-wheel-drive systems further elaborated then his book has excellent descriptions. Of course it all comes back to whether you need 4x4. If you just buy this type of car for the rugged looks, space and driving position, go for the 4x2 instead.

Yes, I'm in Europe, so gas prices have not moved that much (most of the increase in US gas prices is due to the fall in the value of the dollar). Here we're used to gas prices at around 10 dollars per gallon - many Europeans find it weird or silly that Americans complain about prices at 30-40 % of that, but I guess it all depends on what you have gotten used to (e.g. building cities so you need a car to get around, lack of public transportation, driving gas guzzlers, driving longer to get to work etc.). I believe that within our lifetime we will get used to gas prices at over 100 dollars per gallon and increasing every year. At first this sounds insane but we will just get used to another way of using this dwindling resource in combination with other energy forms that will be much more attractive at this price level for gas. But that's another story :)
 

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Hi Sean K.,
rather than a really long explanation, let me just quote Tom Sheppard's book 'Four-by-four driving' (he's kind of the guru of 4x4):

"Permanent 4x4 is best. Though getting a run for its money from the latest auto engage systems, permanent 4x4 is the best system of all in that as well as giving best on- and off-road traction with least call upon the track surface for traction, it is ready for anything at any time - the sudden icy patch, the wet leaves on the corner, the sudden soft sandy area in the track. With selectable 4x4 you have to know in advance that you will need it - life is not always like that. With auto-engage 4x4, despite its conceptual elegance, you have to experience slip, however little, before you get full 4x4 - and that can sometimes be too late."

If you want to have the differences between four-wheel-drive systems further elaborated then his book has excellent descriptions. Of course it all comes back to whether you need 4x4. If you just buy this type of car for the rugged looks, space and driving position, go for the 4x2 instead.

Yes, I'm in Europe, so gas prices have not moved that much (most of the increase in US gas prices is due to the fall in the value of the dollar). Here we're used to gas prices at around 10 dollars per gallon - many Europeans find it weird or silly that Americans complain about prices at 30-40 % of that, but I guess it all depends on what you have gotten used to (e.g. building cities so you need a car to get around, lack of public transportation, driving gas guzzlers, driving longer to get to work etc.). I believe that within our lifetime we will get used to gas prices at over 100 dollars per gallon and increasing every year. At first this sounds insane but we will just get used to another way of using this dwindling resource in combination with other energy forms that will be much more attractive at this price level for gas. But that's another story :)

First off who is Tom Sheppard? Not that he isn't knowledgeable....just that I have never heard of him and don't know anything about his credentials.

2nd, the quote above from him is basically saying that AWD (not "real 4WD") is good b/c it works on pavement (or, in defense of his quote....all of the time).

Let's face it, if you're going to go offroad, you're going to shift into 4wd, so the only real advantage to AWD would be on pavement.

The problem is: it comes at a cost....of fuel.... by about 3 mpg. It also is markedly more complex and inherently weaker than a part time 4wd system....something that is counter to a rugged 4wd that is intended to be used in extreme offroad environments.


Not a flame, just a difference of opinion. I can see why you'd want AWD in Switzerland (I think)....with all the snowy/icy conditions you are likely to encounter and for that purpose AWD is great....I just doubt Toyota is going to change their line up to offer AWD to such a niche market (in the USA).

JMO,
Sean
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Toyota already offers one version with permanent 4x4. So we can easily turn it around and say I wish I could get that version - but with an Automatic transmission.

I have seen many people on the forum comment that they wish they could have the best of both worlds. If you are truly looking for an offroad vehicle then permanent 4x4 with three locking diffs is the way to go. It is no coincidence that that's what you get in a Land Rover Defender, Range Rover, Mercedes G-Wagen, Toyota Land Cruiser, Porsche Cayenne. There is only one drive-train option in the Jeep Grand Cherokee that is not permanent 4x4, that is the 4x2 version. Quadra-Trac 1, Quadra-Trac 2 and Quadra-Drive 2 are all permanent 4x4.

Fortunately it is now possible to add in a center differential on the AT, an aftermarket option that is offered by two different FJ Cruiser importers in Germany, that I know of. But it would have been nice to get it from the factory.
 

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I do not wish that i had all wheel drive on the FJ. You get worse mileage. If it is so bad that i cannot get traction in 2wd, 4wd works perfectly fine. I see no reason for the awd.

Having it as an option is okay with me, just not standard.
 

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I do not wish that i had all wheel drive on the FJ. You get worse mileage. If it is so bad that i cannot get traction in 2wd, 4wd works perfectly fine. I see no reason for the awd.

Having it as an option is okay with me, just not standard.
Agreed !

Here's another fuel economy observation . . . there are way the he!! more people driving four wheel drive and all wheel drive vehicles than there needs to be. If you aren't an off-roader or don't have a big boat to unload on the ramp there is very little reason to have more than a front wheel drive vehicle. I applaud the folks that have 2wd FJs because not only are they realists, it makes their wheeling exploits (if there are any) that much more adventurous.
 

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Toyota already offers one version with permanent 4x4. So we can easily turn it around and say I wish I could get that version - but with an Automatic transmission.

I have seen many people on the forum comment that they wish they could have the best of both worlds. If you are truly looking for an offroad vehicle then permanent 4x4 with three locking diffs is the way to go. It is no coincidence that that's what you get in a Land Rover Defender, Range Rover, Mercedes G-Wagen, Toyota Land Cruiser, Porsche Cayenne. There is only one drive-train option in the Jeep Grand Cherokee that is not permanent 4x4, that is the 4x2 version. Quadra-Trac 1, Quadra-Trac 2 and Quadra-Drive 2 are all permanent 4x4.

Fortunately it is now possible to add in a center differential on the AT, an aftermarket option that is offered by two different FJ Cruiser importers in Germany, that I know of. But it would have been nice to get it from the factory.

I guess I wasn't truly looking for an offroad vehicle when I built this from scratch:



To think, I could've put AWD in it. What was I thinking? :lol:

Oh ya.....now I remember, there isn't an AWD system out there that can stand up to this kind of abuse. :rolleyes:


You listed the G500, LR, RR, TLC and Porshe as examples of what we all really need.....yet you see very few, if any of those in the newer models on really tough trails. I wonder why that is?


Look, I don't mean to bust your balls here....if you want to recommend Toyota make the AWD feature an option on the auto....it's none of my business. Just don't try to sell me that AWD is better than part time for my uses when you don't understand what I use 4wd for.

Sean
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sure, it'd be nice as an option - if you read the forum header it says "This is for constructive suggestions to be made to Toyota regarding the FJ Cruiser. This is a flame free forum and heavily moderated." I am definitely not recommending that you change your mind about your 2WD which has a completely different purpose. I chose the FJ 4x4 AT, so this is just my input to what could make for an even better offroad expedition vehicle in the future. Sorry if that makes you take offense. Cheers.
 

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Sure, it'd be nice as an option - if you read the forum header it says "This is for constructive suggestions to be made to Toyota regarding the FJ Cruiser. This is a flame free forum and heavily moderated." I am definitely not recommending that you change your mind about your 2WD which has a completely different purpose. I chose the FJ 4x4 AT, so this is just my input to what could make for an even better offroad expedition vehicle in the future. Sorry if that makes you take offense. Cheers.
I wasn't offended in the slightest....hopefully you can say the same.

I agree....your suggestion for an AWD option on the auto is perfectly acceptable in this forum and none of my comments were meant to be construed as flaming (light-hearted joking in a few instances, but nothing more).

With my first post I was trying to determine what you were actually asking. It sounded as if you didn't realize that you had "real 4wd" as soon as you shifted into 4H or 4L. I commented to get you to clarify your position and determine if AWD was actually what you wanted and why.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with your and Mr. Sheppard's preferance for AWD....I just don't agree that it's the best system for "true" offroad vehicles for the numerous reasons I listed.

Take care,
Sean

***EDIT***Oh, and if my rig really is 2wd, it must be the most capable one on the planet. :lol:
 

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Automatic transmission has proven itself as the preferred transmission for off-road driving as it is easier to control the delivery of torque (an almost completely smooth curve when up/down-shifting is automatic), its easier to drive extremely slowly over hurdles without stalling the engine or using the clutch, and its easier to work with on steep inclines without roll-back (once you learn how to tackle the need for quick reversals in case of failure to overcome an uphill obstacle).
I dont know If I agree with this statement, yes AT has some advantages, mostly for the beginner or novice wheeler. I'd be willing to bet most hardcore experienced wheelers still prefer the manual. First of all it won't overheat like an AT, then the clutch although may take some getting used too gives much more positive control than an automatic, once it is engaged you are engaged, a AT has a slip zone that you need to stay at higher rpms to avoid. And lastly Decents are much more controlled with an MT. there are probably many more benifits and downsides on both side of the coin. I just dont believe it has proven itself as the preferred trans. JMO
 

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I'd say he's right about it being the preferred trans....and it literally pains me to say that as I am a die hard manual transmission guy.

They both have their advantages and disadvantages....but in the last decade or so, the auto has come into its own.

I still think for the ultimate in reliability, the MT is better. For the ultimate in performance and driveability....the AT now has the edge.

2 cents,
Sean
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Let me elaborate a little bit.

If we focus on extended offroad expeditions or military use (rather than softroaders for mall runs or, at the other end of the extremes, rock climbing), then the modern automatic transmission has considerable advantages. Most military users today specify it.
- The automatic transmission is easier to use. This frees up driver attention to focus on track circumstances and choice of route. It reduces driver fatigue in difficult terrain that requires frequent up and down shifting.
- The automatic transmission has higher durability as it is more protected against transmission shock loads and driver misuse. Note that the FJ AT uses the A750 transmission from the 4Runner V8 (also used in Lexus GX, European Land Cruiser 120, or Toyota Land Cruiser Prado in Asia-Pacific markets), this is a very durable and proven transmission.
- The automatic transmission offers quick and seamless gear changes and a smooth torque delivery curve. This is a big benefit both when accelerating and when slowing down in difficult terrain with lack of traction.
- Probably less that can go wrong if you lend your 4x4 to a novice driver - as long as they are used to driving with an automatic transmission, of course.

There are also disadvantages, among them
- higher initial costs. For the 4x4 FJs the AT costs $410 more than the MT in spite of the MT also having a center diff. (This is just an example, there can be other explanations for this specific cost difference)
- in principle you wear your brakes more on an AT as engine braking can be poor. Correct use of the FJ's low range (L4) and transmission in engine braking settings (L, 2, 3, 4) can reduce this somewhat. (Again, the fact that the FJ 4x4 AT does not have a center differential restricts the use of low range for engine braking purposes - and/or increases shaft stress.)

The FJ 4x4 AT has a good coordination between transmission, range, diff lock, ESP, TCS and ABS, offering excellent offroad capabilities in combination with the right tires and some driver experience. So it is in this context that I state, that the "only thing missing" would be to have the option of permanent 4x4 (i.e. have a center differential) on the AT.
 

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re: AT vs Man. I've wheeled manual Jeeps for decades now. Never thought AT's had any real benefit on the trail. My auto TT has given me a new perspective. I originally chose the AT because I'm getting older, lazier and I've burnt out too many clutches backing trailers up a driveway. But now I'm glad I have it, particularly on the trail, and although the FJ is not quite as capable as my old Rubicon, it's got nothing to do with transmission.

Back to the original proposal. No, I agree with most posters that a full time AWD is not needed in the AT FJ. In addition to the increased gas milage, and given the weight and size of the truck, I don't see much to be gained in road handling. Also, in terms of durability, the less moving parts, the better
 

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Let me elaborate a little bit.

If we focus on extended offroad expeditions or military use (rather than softroaders for mall runs or, at the other end of the extremes, rock climbing), then the modern automatic transmission has considerable advantages. Most military users today specify it.
- The automatic transmission is easier to use. This frees up driver attention to focus on track circumstances and choice of route. It reduces driver fatigue in difficult terrain that requires frequent up and down shifting.
- The automatic transmission has higher durability as it is more protected against transmission shock loads and driver misuse. Note that the FJ AT uses the A750 transmission from the 4Runner V8 (also used in Lexus GX, European Land Cruiser 120, or Toyota Land Cruiser Prado in Asia-Pacific markets), this is a very durable and proven transmission.
- The automatic transmission offers quick and seamless gear changes and a smooth torque delivery curve. This is a big benefit both when accelerating and when slowing down in difficult terrain with lack of traction.
- Probably less that can go wrong if you lend your 4x4 to a novice driver - as long as they are used to driving with an automatic transmission, of course.

There are also disadvantages, among them
- higher initial costs. For the 4x4 FJs the AT costs $410 more than the MT in spite of the MT also having a center diff. (This is just an example, there can be other explanations for this specific cost difference)
- in principle you wear your brakes more on an AT as engine braking can be poor. Correct use of the FJ's low range (L4) and transmission in engine braking settings (L, 2, 3, 4) can reduce this somewhat. (Again, the fact that the FJ 4x4 AT does not have a center differential restricts the use of low range for engine braking purposes - and/or increases shaft stress.)

The FJ 4x4 AT has a good coordination between transmission, range, diff lock, ESP, TCS and ABS, offering excellent offroad capabilities in combination with the right tires and some driver experience. So it is in this context that I state, that the "only thing missing" would be to have the option of permanent 4x4 (i.e. have a center differential) on the AT.
Just b/c the military uses something doesn't mean it's best....it may just mean it's easiest for troops to use and is bid the lowest by the contractor to build.

2nd, far and away, the manual transmission is a more reliable option than automatic. I've seen it enough to know.....if you have a problem with your AT, you will not be moving the vehicle. Often times, they will not even shift out of park....sure, I can disco both driveshafts and have it tugged off a trail, but on the trails I run, you can't be towed off the trail. You have to DRIVE it off.

By contrast, a MT can usually find at least ONE gear that still functions (usually more than one) and even if it's reverse, I can get it off the trail.

Then there's the issue of pull starting/roll starting a MT vs. AT....again, the MT has the advantage.

Then there's the heat issue.....ATs build huge amounts of heat that gear boxes do not.

There's the strength issue. Yes, the newer autos can be built strong, but if you compare apples to apples, you can build a stronger gear driven unit in the same amount of space.....you can even make it lighter than the AT in some cases.

The AT has advantages too....the torque converter is the biggest....acting as a cushion in the driveline and a torque multiplier similiar to 2:1 gear reduction.

The other thing, as Psychlone mentioned is seamless gear changes....a big plus when hitting a big wall at WOT.

The auto is now king in offroading....but the MT still has some advantages that make it a worthwhile consideration....just depends on what your biggest concern is: performance or reliability....and to be fair, if you choose the right auto (Powerglide for example) reliability is generally extremely good. However, that isn't really a fair comparison to what is offered stock for ATs in most vehicles either.

Ah...but who leaves anything stock? :lol:

Sean
 

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I just want manual, with the option for 2wd! I love the full time 4wd, but I don't need it all the time. I would like a bit of gas savings if i could, when I'm on the road...

If i was toyota, my MT transfer case would have these options
2H
4H*
4HL*
4L*

the * are all I have now!
 

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i've got to say, having 4x4 all the time, it is a pain on gas milage but it's very convinient, if rain or whatever comes i know that its in 4 and i dont have to worry, i trust the 4hi, and even taking the fj on the trail using 4hi most of the time i'm extremely confident with it. it's pulled me through water and mud up to the windshield (whoops) and up extremely steep dirt and loose rock slopes
 

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I would like the option of 2H or 4H for onroad use. When it just starts to rain and you pull into traffic on a slight grade, the extra traction of 4H would be nice. On dry roads, 2H would offer better fuel economy...best of both worlds.

Note: this should be the case for both AT and MT models
 

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I'm not sure I understand the above comment. If it's raining outside and I have any traction problem on the street....I shift my 99 4Runner into 4wd high range. No more traction problem and binding is only an issue when pulling into a tight parking space....of course at that point, I can just shift back into 2H.

Is there something on the FJC that doesn't allow for this?

Sean
 
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