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Old 05-17-2014, 05:40 PM   #1
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Unused 4x4 capability - hazards?

Membership -

A general question, albeit a long and tortuous one ...

If the owner of an SMB, one hailing from a fairly mild Western climate state, one having garaged his vehicle and having driven it gently, one who has never off-roaded it to any great extent, one whose vehicle is equipped with an SMB Atlas 4x4 system ...

Get the picture? Now add this: Let's say this owner hasn't utilized his vehicle's 4x4 system in more than 5 years! No 5- or 10-mile "exercising" once or twice a year. No shifting into 4x4. No messing with the manual hubs. Not used. At all.

How severe the consequences? And, more importantly, what would be the membership's consensus in advising the next fellow who came along, the next owner possibly, as to how he should proceed? Take it to Fresno for an inspection? To any 4WD shop? to not use it at all until inspected? Other options?

Thanks for your thoughts!

- Rusty
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Old 05-17-2014, 05:41 PM   #2
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Re: Unused 4x4 capability - hazards?

How many miles have you driven since it was shifted?
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Old 05-17-2014, 06:28 PM   #3
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Re: Unused 4x4 capability - hazards?

I'd say the hubs would be the biggest area of concern, but even that is relatively easy to address. Inspect the hub, have them lubed, or just have them replaced and eliminate the concern.

As for the Atlas t/c, I wouldn't bother taking it to SMBw unless you are really close to them. I don't know if I'd say 'any 4WD' shop, but one that actually knows 4WD gear and Atlas'. To me this rules out 4WD Parts (and their like), but others have had good luck with them depending on particular location. Ask some local 4WD clubs for shop recommendations.


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Old 05-17-2014, 07:47 PM   #4
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Re: Unused 4x4 capability - hazards?

Advanced Adaptors will give you the names of shops that know their products well. I ended up in Stockton CA at a place that does Land Cruiser expedition vehicle work that was suggested by them.
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Old 05-17-2014, 10:52 PM   #5
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Re: Unused 4x4 capability - hazards?

San Diego has M.I.T. http://www.mit4x4.com/ that is recommended by Advance Adapters
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Old 05-19-2014, 12:02 PM   #6
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Re: Unused 4x4 capability - hazards?

Take off the 4x4 shifter boot and inspect for corrosion on the shifter linkage pivots.
The PO of my van "never put it in 4x4" and the shoulder bolts that the levers pivot on had seized up. The front one actually twisted off the threads when I tried pull it into gear for the first time. While you have the boot off, shoot some penetrating silicone lube (garage door stuff) on the pivots just in case.

You mentioned "mild western climate" though, so you'll probably be fine.
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Old 05-19-2014, 01:15 PM   #7
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Re: Unused 4x4 capability - hazards?

When I purchased my 2006 in 2010, the owner never used the 4x4. I had zero problems with the hubs or transfer case other than regular maintenance. It was a west coast van. Good luck!
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Old 06-01-2014, 11:13 AM   #8
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Re: Unused 4x4 capability - hazards?

Along with driving The Van once a week just to keep things moving, I lock the front hubs in every couple of weeks and drive a few miles just to slosh the lube around in the front diff. I also run the transfer case through all the different permutations every now and then to keep things loose in there. Sure, might be obsessive, but I spent a lot of money for The Van, and want to take care of it, and make sure it lasts.

Oh, did I mention that when I'm not using it, I leave the fridge door open, so the door gasket doesn't lose its flexibility.
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