confusion with manual hubs


Since the snow has arrived I seem to found a new sport for the Winter Olympics!
For some unknown reason I seem to be sliding all other the place at the first sign of any ice or snow in my diahtsu fourtrak!
Please help!
At the moment I think i have my manual hubs locked , does this mean that my trak is driving as a rear wheel drive, cos it sure feels like it.

I have been reading the forum letters and think I may have sussed how to use my 4wheel drive.
Am I right in thinking

- If my hubs are not locked and it is snow/ice I can press the switch on the dash to help me stop sliding around like bambi Unknw
- if my hubs are locked i can use the little gear stick to help pull me out of muddy areas is this the only time you use it?

What if I am towing a horsebox, what do I need to be in if the weather is ok?
Can I use unlock hubs and dash switch to climb a steep hill if pulling a horsebox?
Do you have to press the switch while the trak is moving or do you do it stationary?

When using the little gearstick for 4wd do I use other gearstick as normal?

Sorry to be such a dimwit, would appreciate any help thanks


the front wheel hubs need to be locked to drive the front wheels, they can be left locked all the time. unlocking them when in two wheel drive dissconects the front wheels from the axle and drive shaft back to the hi lo gearbox in theory saving the effort to turn the shafts thereby using less fuel. when the little hi lo lever is in hi the gearbox is in two wheel drive . u can shift into 4wd using the switch on the dash, which activates a vacuum switch in the hilo box to engage the front wheel driveshaft. putting the little lever into low engages a reduction gear in the hilo box which reduces all the gears including reverse, at the same time it also engages the front wheel drive shaft. so in theory lo is allways in 4wd., however u can then unlock the front hubs to dissconnect the drive at the front wheels it just means u move slowly driving only the back wheels.

in practice u leave the front hubs unlocked to save fuel, use the hilo lever if u need the low speed gears, and only lock the hubs to enable u to engage hi 4wd with the dash switsh or lo 4wd with the lever before entering mud or snow or slippery wet grass etc. dont leave hi 4wd engaged (by the dash switch) if u dont need it (on road) at best it will scrub out the tyres, at worst knacker the drive shaft joints

still a bit confused

Thanks for your help, I think I am almost there!!

On my dash the switch says 4H are you saying I can only engage that if my hubs are locked?
But avoid usinG it if I can?
The little gear stick says 4L N 2 when using the dash switch I keep the trak in 2 Unknw
So when I use the 4L gearstick, my hubs need to be unlocked?
Sorry to be a pain, you are probably thinking I should stick to a fiat or something!
You're probably right!!


you nead to have your hubs locked in 4L and 4H for it to work. even with the push botton for 4H on the dash

to clarify the drive goes fr

to clarify
the drive goes from the engine via the clutch to the 5 speed plus reverse gearbox, from there it goes to the two speed transfer box (giving 10 forward and 2 gears) the transfer box normally sends drive to the rear axle, when in high (h2) pressing the vacuum switch engages the drive to the front axel (h4) using the little gear lever changes the transfer box into slow 4 wheel drive ((L4) sending the drive to both axles irrespective of the position of the dashboard switch. the locking hubs on the front axle engage or dissengage the drive from the front axle to the front wheels. the hubs need to be locked for the front wheels to be driven, unlocking was introduced as a fuel economy measure only, though it does mean u can get low speed two wheel drive.

confusion with 4wd

Driving technique is important, both off road, and on road, especially bad snowy weather. The fourtrak manual says engage 4wd with low range gearing for snow. The low range gearing is so that you put the power down to the road gently, and try to avoid loss of traction and wheel spin. Traction is what you want at all times. Always anticipate the use of 4wd, and engage it early before you loose traction and get stuck. Going down hill in snow you should be in a low gear under engine braking, (not using the brakes). If you start to slide on a hill it is because traction has been lost and then you really need to pray that you won’t hit anything on the way down or at the bottom. There are techniques that you can use to try to regain control, but these are best taught off-road with an instructor next to you. Going uphill in snow use a low gear but you will probably have to use some reasonable power levels to keep you moving forward. If you cannot make it to the top a controlled decent is needed - a technique that needs to be taught and practiced off-road.

Any vehicle can get stuck in snow, even 4wd vehicles. I think it is always a good idea to carry a set of snow chains in winter just in case you want that little bit extra traction. They only cost about £55, will last decades, and are a lot cheaper than returning to an abandoned vehicle to find that it has been ransacked and a stuff stolen. (They should be used on the rear tyres only for a fourtrak) They are a bit tricky to fit, especially if it is cold and snowing. I have used mine only 3 times in the last 10 years, but I wouldn’t be without them because I know that however bad the snow conditions become I will definitely get home.

With regard to the use of 4wd for other occasions – you should be ok with 2wd for towing on paved roads in good weather, but in heavy rain and sleet, snow and ice 4wd will give better traction. If towing a heavy load then you might need 4L at times, depending on the terrain you are travelling over and the load, but try to keep in 2wd as much as possible. If you make all the shifts between 4h, 4low and 2wd whilst stopped it avoids any confusion.