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Nothing will replace a mechanical traction aide, but the electronic-aides are actually quite impressive. On my '11 Tundra, the A-LSD was super effective in sand, snow, etc. even with A/T tires.

Any plans for the WJ?
 

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Nice. My (ex)wife and I had three WJs. 99, 00, and 02. The 99 had the Quadradrive and would go anywhere. Unfortunately, it was rear ended by a cement truck and totaled. Been thinking about looking for another Quadradrive WJ. We'll see.
 

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pc1p said:
Nothing will replace a mechanical traction aide, but the electronic-aides are actually quite impressive.
The vari-lok isn't electronic.... it uses wheel-spin to turn a pump that hydraulically activates the clutch pack. Kinda cool, but I read there's some cautions about effectiveness with large tires.
 

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The Grand Cherokees are pretty nimble, but they are built light and won't take a lot of abuse.  They are ideal for snowy roads and light trails but just don't have the durability to do much more without serious upgrades.  The WJs with the aluminum D44 are to be avoided.
 

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didn't most ramchargers come from the factory with a LSD in the back? i have always found mine can go nearly anywhere when put in 4x4. i would agree with Kurt about that being able to be done in 2wd with a locker
 

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Elwenil said:
The WJs with the aluminum D44 are to be avoided.
I think almost all WJs are aluminum D44s. I've read that a Dana 35 was used in them sometimes, but never actually seen one. Not that its any better.

crazzywolfie said:
didn't most ramchargers come from the factory with a LSD in the back? ... i would agree with Kurt about that being able to be done in 2wd with a locker
My '84 and '90 RCs had no factory traction aids. I prefer a locker in everything... unless its automatic. 8)
 

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Most of the Ramchargers I have encountered, or at least those that I had reason to look at options or the rear axle, had an open differential from the factory.  That will certainly vary from region to region, but I've heard a lot of "old timers" here say that a limited slip would get you stuck in snow and that an open differential was better.  I'd don't really agree with that, but I suppose for some the tendency to kick out could cause problems if you aren't used to it.  For me, a locker in the rear, a set of tire chains and a Ramcharger is damn near a tank.  ;D
 

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i just though i read somewhere that most RC had a LSD in the back. both of mine do. i know my 93 has scared me a couple times when the back end starts going sideways on a wet road while trying to get up to highway speed. a LSD or locker can at least be predictable back end goes sideways. open differential would likely have you stuck stuck around here today with little to no traction. i had to use 4x4 just to get around when i did go out today and even then there was quite a bit of sliding and spinning
 

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Elwenil said:
Most of the Ramchargers I have encountered, or at least those that I had reason to look at options or the rear axle, had an open differential from the factory. That will certainly vary from region to region, but I've heard a lot of "old timers" here say that a limited slip would get you stuck in snow and that an open differential was better. I'd don't really agree with that, but I suppose for some the tendency to kick out could cause problems if you aren't used to it. For me, a locker in the rear, a set of tire chains and a Ramcharger is damn near a tank. ;D
Oldtimers... yeah they always argued that skinny tires were better than wide ones.
Way back in '75, I proved one of those guys totally wrong.
One reason why was I had the factory Sure- Grip (not a "Posi" Chevy guys!) in my 8 3/4 Chrysler rear axle.
That is a sad argument about limited slip/ lockers that the oldtimers use too.
My truck will out climb ANYTHING with open differentials.
 

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For the uneducated, I can see where that line of thinking comes from. I think over 1/2 the drivers with 4 wheel drive, do not understand how they work. Then they cannot figure how they got stuck, or how to get unstuck. Had a neighbor in Pa, that drove a Range Rover for several years. Then could not get out of her driveway one winter. I showed her how to use the 4wd, but I could tell she did not understand the basics. Her husband told her to never touch the lever on the floor, and she was not comfortable with me telling her she needed to pull it back, to get out of the snow packed driveway.  Too many drivers know nothing more then how to start the vehicle. In Pa, I lived on a corner, the side street was a good grade going up hill. When the road was snow covered, there would be at least a car an hour attempt to go up the hill, and end up having to back into the main street. There were plenty of other ways they could go, that were not as steep, but they thought they could go anywhere.
 

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SuperBurban said:
Her husband told her to never touch the lever on the floor, and she was not comfortable with me telling her she needed to pull it back, to get out of the snow packed driveway.
"U Can't Touch This..." M.C. Hammer
 

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u2slow said:
The vari-lok isn't electronic.... it uses wheel-spin to turn a pump that hydraulically activates the clutch pack. Kinda cool, but I read there's some cautions about effectiveness with large tires.
Ahh, thanks! Despite having had 3 Jeeps over the years, with the exception of the original Quadra-Trac, I've never bothered to commit the various "-trac", "-drive" or "-lock" monikers to memory, and especially so when they started adding numbers lol...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Elwenil said:
The Grand Cherokees are pretty nimble, but they are built light and won't take a lot of abuse. They are ideal for snowy roads and light trails but just don't have the durability to do much more without serious upgrades. The WJs with the aluminum D44 are to be avoided.
A stock Quadradrive WJ is infinitely more durable and capable than a stock ramcharger, so I'm not sure what your metrics are? The iron 44 in a Ramcharger will fail outboard long before the carrier in the 44a in the rear of a grand cherokee. Stock WJs do the rubicon trail on a regular basis, and were designed to do so. Without a 2" lift you'll bash it to shit, but it will do it. My ramcharger is also stock and it's simply not as capable, even with 3" larger tires. Adding front and rear lockers would put the RC within swinging distance on capability for sure, the open diffs are the most crippling part (most RC have open rears, all open front, and the LSD design was not one of the better ones). I'm not suggesting the WJ is a hardcore crawler or a good choice to put 40" tire on, stock to stock, the jeep significantly more capable, durable and efficient. Having logged tens of thousands of miles on both...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
More WJ vids uploaded, and some XK Commander. Also more capable than the ramcharger.
I do have some videos of the XJ, which is lighter and more agile but otherwise actually quite similar to the RC, both 33" tire double open diff. You really have to work them both to get through the twisties.
 

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william said:
A stock Quadradrive WJ is infinitely more durable and capable than a stock ramcharger, so I'm not sure what your metrics are? The iron 44 in a Ramcharger will fail outboard long before the carrier in the 44a in the rear of a grand cherokee. Stock WJs do the rubicon trail on a regular basis, and were designed to do so. Without a 2" lift you'll bash it to shit, but it will do it. My ramcharger is also stock and it's simply not as capable, even with 3" larger tires. Adding front and rear lockers would put the RC within swinging distance on capability for sure, the open diffs are the most crippling part (most RC have open rears, all open front, and the LSD design was not one of the better ones). I'm not suggesting the WJ is a hardcore crawler or a good choice to put 40" tire on, stock to stock, the jeep significantly more capable, durable and efficient. Having logged tens of thousands of miles on both...
Sorry, but after doing as many warranty claims on the Grand D44 rears, I am going to have to disagree. I can't really remember how many of those things I had to order working at the dealership. Grand Cherokees are intended to get people through rough roads to fishing or hunting spots or get soccer moms that don't want to drive a mini van to work and the kids to school. A stock 4WD truck will do all the same stuff, but simply due to the ground clearance and beefier parts. I can take my Ramcharger places a Grand can't go simply because it will get hung up. About the only way a ZJ, WJ or even the failed Commander excel is due to technology and their traction control. Toss lockers in the axles of a Ramcharger to make up the difference and the Jeep can't beat it, plain and simple.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
No doubt the commander was a failure in durability and reliability, and the ZJ isn't a capable contender because it essentially has the same obsolete open diff setup as the truck, although it is lighter and more agile. I've never owned one so I can't speak anymore to it, the closest I've had was the XJ which was useless. I wrote all about in the video descriptions.

And yes, of course the lockers and traction control are very simply why the newer jeeps are more capable. Adding them to a ramcharger greatly increases their utility and puts them on par with the newer jeeps, it's giving them similar technology, which = similar capability. The WJ quadradrive is the first significant improvement in 4wd design to hit the roads in numbers, which is incidentally entirely hydraulic using zero electronics, nothing preloaded, the same diff design as used in some of the viper models. The WJ actually has almost 2" more ground clearance than the ramcharger, and the underside is smoother, so what's the hang up there?

You ordered lots of wj rear ends? I have a subjective, meaningless anecdote also; I've replaced 0 rear end parts in the WJ, and I've done more front wheel bearings on 70's and 80's ramchargers than I can remember, some of them never being off road, and nothing bigger than a 33x9.5 on any of them. To be fair, what did annoy me about the WJ was the suspension bushings which beat out way too easily, the blend doors, the heated seats, which were poorly designed. The truck had issues like the steering shaft, inadequate wiring and undersized brakes. None of those are big deals though and are easily upgraded or worked around. As soon as you turn a bolt on either, they aren't stock and you are outside the scope of my original comments.

I've had the 75 for 20 years (several other 70s-80s trucks previous to that), 5 years on the WJ. I've daily driven them both, wheeled them both, and I can tell you objectively that the WJ is more capable, and every bit as rugged, period. In the winter, the truck is comparatively unsafe, and often doesn't get up the driveway without a fight. In fact, my RWD BMW got up the driveway one morning when the truck took 3 tries. Yeah, technology and stuff. That's why the truck is parked in the garage for the winter. I could go on about how my stock 330 will run circles around the stock 360 duster, but I enjoy them both for what they are. Old=obsolete unless you upgrade. Old+money=less obsolete, it's pretty simple. I get off on stock stuff, it's just my thing. It's fantasy to think that 40 year old vehicles are just as capable as new ones, and it's entirely NOT the point. Sticking my foot in the 440 ramcharger and banging through the gears with the wind whistling through puts a smile on my face that the jeep never will, but if I'm going hardcore off-road (this word has entirely different meanings for each of us, which is very important to note), the Rc stays home. The ram is good for moderate off-road duty, but that's not what I have it for.

You either genuinely missed my point, or you're being deliberately obtuse. From what I remember when I stopped coming on the site a decade ago, it's probably the latter. It's clear you are a truck guy and think jeeps are for girls, that's cool, why come in to the jeep section waving your dick? Nobody is challenging your expertise on trucks or your advanced experience fabricating and modifying. My experience is simply in owning stock vehicles, and enjoying them to the limits of their original design. Having the amount of seat and ownership time that I do in each entitles me to state my very simple opinion on the capability of 2 stock vehicles, without having to defend against vague assertions from people who presumably haven't owned both side by side. I happen to like them both enough to own them both, and they both fit a niche that the other can't. Huffing and puffing about ring gears and soccer moms is just open diffs on ice, I've got nothing else to add.
 

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Careful, don't poke the bear.

As for Jeeps, I have no issues with them as a brand, or a vehicle.  As you say, they fill a niche and mostly serve their intended purposes.  Things like the Liberty and Compass I think we can both ignore for the purposes of this discussion.  The XJ that you say was useless is actually one of the more popular vehicles to build on by the hard core off road crowd and is probably only slightly less popular than a 4Runner build.  And I would hesitate to call the WJ "new" as it was last in production almost 15 years ago.  The issues with the aluminum D44 rear in the Grands is well documented and there were several TSBs on them for various noise complaints.  The bushing issues in the front end are also a common complaint, which transferred directly to the BR series Rams as they used the same basic design and had the same issue.

As far as technology goes, yeah, I am old school and I prefer manual things to automatic computer controlled gizmos.  The traction controls on most modern vehicles are less a function of the drivetrain and axles and much more a function of the braking system.  I lost faith in them years ago, but they have gotten better.  It's just funny to have to tow a $70k Mercedes G-Wagen off the trail with an old beat up pickup because their sensors or something got wet and refused to engage the traction control again. 

Currently I run without any lockers and just open differentials, though I do have D60s and 37s but I am not lifted.  I rely on my granny gear 4 speed and feel to maintain traction and when needed, I use my winch or tire chains.  Eventually I would like to have lockers, but I want a manually actuated locker, which means an expensive OX Locker.  Again, I like manual controls, with as few electronics, pneumatics, hydraulics and what have you as possible.  It's simply less stuff to break.  But my truck is more of a bugout sort of vehicle and the thinking with it is more getting somewhere when nothing else will and being able to get back.  I live in a flood prone area and when my house floods, all bridges into town were long since closed, so my only option is to go up on the mountain.  If I break, I can fix most things with basic hand tools and the spare parts I am carrying.  New tech is nice when it works, but I won't have an expensive scan tool, all sorts of specialty tools and Internet access to download some revised flash to a computer or body module to get things working properly again.  Today's CAN BUS systems means you can control your engine from the radio, but it also means something wrong with your radio can actually shut down the engine or at least put it in limp mode.  So it's a double edged sword.  I like tech, I'd own it if I could afford it, but when the shit hits the fan, I will always fall back on something that has proven durability and has already outlasted everything that has come after it.
 

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I've been on numerous "Jeep" runs over the 45 years I've owned my truck.
I've seen these guys try the same hill numerous times without making it. I sat there thinking "that must really be a tough hill". When it came my turn... my truck went right up it the first time.
About the only thing my truck has a disadvantage of compared to Jeeps is it's width.
Otherwise my truck has out climbed/ out performed many a Jeep... any type of Jeep. Including any of the modified SUV style wagons. And there are quite a few of them out there now. Modified way more suspension wise than my mildly modified suspended Power Wagon.

 
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