Driving in 4-Wheel Drive


How to Use Willys 4-Wheel Drive

Booklet Cover
Willys Motors published several editions of a booklet on how to safely take advantage of four-wheel drive. In an era when 4WD was less common, and when the majority of Jeep customers were likely to actually drive their vehicles off-road, this was probably quite wise.

Willys also wisely kept the booklet short and easy to read, so that customers would actually look through it. There is general advice like, "Don't try to be a mountain goat," mixed in with the instructions on when to use four-wheel drive and low range. There are also specific tips like: "If the wheels start to slip with only a few feet of the ascent remaining, headway may be maintained by cutting the front wheels sharply left and right which will provide a fresh bite into the surface and will usually result in enough traction to complete the ascent."

Here are two pages from Form W-604, the 1960 edition of How to Use Willys 4-Wheel Drive:

Know your vehicle Avoid this situation.

CoverThe earlier CJ-3A-era edition of the booklet was even more easy-going, filled with cartoons that looked like Dad out for a drive in the Power Wheels toy Jeep. It featured this classic piece of advice. I can only say that it still applies today:

Keep your eyes on the road!

Transfer Case Operation

From the dash plateChuck Wootton provided this description of how to use the Dana/Spicer Model 18 transfer case shifters: "The left hand, longer shift lever is for 2WD or 4WD. 2WD is in the forward position, 4WD is in the rear position. The right hand, shorter shift lever is for high range, neutral, and low range. The transfer case must be in 4WD in order to shift into low range. The short lever when in the rear position is in high range. One notch forward is the neutral position where the drive shafts are disconnected from the transmission gears. The next notch forward is for low range."

SticksThis photo shows the two transfer case shifters beside the gearshift in Rankine Roth's 1960 CJ-3B, in 2WD high range position.

If you think this is complicated, check out Six Sticks in Dixie, a 1962 CJ-3B with a Warn overdrive added, plus front and back power takeoff shafts, requiring a grand total of six shifters.

'53 3BThis photo shows 14-year-old John Ashley getting some clutch lessons on Jeff Heidman's CJ-3B in Georgia. Knowing when to use and when not to use the clutch, is important off road (see "Down Hill" in the Owner's Manual below.) As Jim Allen says in the Four Wheeler's Bible, "Above all, don't ride the clutch any more than you must. Except for the actual moment of the shift, keep your left foot flat on the fllor -- if it's not on the brake."

JohnJohn demonstrates proper non-power-steering-Jeep driving, with his thumbs outside the steering wheel, in case of kickback when the wheels run into something unexpected.

From the 1963 Owners's Manual

Owner's Manual

Thanks to Dan Fedorko for scanning this page, and to Tom Griesser and Eric Lawson who provided the booklets above. -- Derek Redmond

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Last updated 7 January 2018 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond