04 Xterra, Warn manually locking hubs.

Is there any issue with switching into 4Low but keeping the hubs unlocked? The way I understand it, essentially everything up front will be spinning (cv axles upstream) but because the hubs are unlocked no power will be transferred to the front wheels. So you'd basically have a 2Low set-up, correct?

Any issue with doing that? The reason I ask: sometimes on steep/slow descents it's nice to be in low gear and engine-brake instead of riding the brakes. I don't need 4x4 for that, just a low gearing ratio - wondering if I could be lazy and just switch into 4Low or whether I need to get out and lock them hubs?

1 Answer 1


It depends on several things:

Is there a centre differential? If so then you get no drive to the rear unless it is a limited slip diff.

Can the rear drive train take the torque loading? Seen people do the same thing and snap the rear half-shafts due to sudden high torque - when in 4x4 and hubs are locked all four shafts share the loading.

Having said those two things, I used to do exactly that in rush hour traffic - first low and not have to touch any pedal for a while - a lot less clutch slipping.

But hill descents - I would lock the hubs - helps going up as well as down.

  • 04 Xterra has a front and rear diff, and transfer case on the automatic transmission. Not sure if I'm answering your question though?...
    – wild.coast
    Commented Apr 14, 2020 at 22:08

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