The Range Rover has always featured innovated 4 wheel drive systems but there are many versions of these drive systems, in addition to the host of other Land Rover off road technology.
The first thing to note is that 2wd needs 1 open differential to ensure power is delivered smoothly around corners. This also means that if one of those wheels has no traction the open differential sends all of the power to the wheel with the most slip!
An all wheel drive system adds two more open differentials, one in the center between the fore and aft and two open differentials on each axel. In this system again the power will go to the wheel with the most slip. So basically if one wheel has no traction you still aren’t moving by positive power train action.
A permanent 4wd system like those employed on range rovers provide a viscous coupling in the p38a, a torsen in the 2003-2005 Range Rover, and electronic locking in the 2006-on. The point of the (partially) locked center differential is that some power will be sent to the opposing axel so if one wheel has no traction you will still be able to move. Or if both front or both rear wheels have no or limited traction you will be able to move forward, unless truly no traction is provided and then you would need a locker, or an electronic locker.
A main difference between the h1 and the hmmvee is the differentials in the H1 are torsens and the hmmvee had lockers. The G500 also has 3 lockers.
A 4wd system implies a true center locking center differential and a low range, although new gearing and gearboxes have made some off-roading available without low range.
So you just got a new truck or you just moved to Colorado and you want to know the next steps in off roading and enjoying the Land Rover Lifestyle?
Please familiarize yourself with the vehicle, including the X angle and the four corners. Most notably the rear wheels track tighter than the center wheels so typically you can start steering past an object when you see it in your rear view mirror, however your truck may be different. Make sure you are able to reverse a great distance and with curves. I’d also recommend that you are confident in operating the Electronic Air Suspension, Low Range, DSC off, HDC on, Terrain Response, or locker controls if so equipped. The P38a is tricky because essentially the center differential is actuated by slip.
You may want to watch this series of Land Rover offroad instructional videos on youtube. These are fantastic resource that used to be difficult to view. If you have a similar vehicle you may want to browse our Off Road Trail Reports for inspiration of travel locations and their challenges of traversing.
Check out stay the trail if you are in Colorado, they have great information about the trails available, rules, and most importantly links to seasonal closure status.
You may want to run a few trails in tandem with a group such as traildamage.com or Solihull Society which hosts the national Land Rover Rally. Running with a group is much safer and provides a greater degree of enjoyment in many cases allowing more difficult, remote terrain to be tackled safer than if you were to ride with just one vehicle.
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