How to operate your RVs 4x4 System
Taking your RV off-road allows you to get out and explore the path less traveled, but driving on asphalt and driving off-road are very different. Today we are going to go over RV off-road safety tips, as well as how to operate the 4×4 system on the Mercedes Sprinter Chassis.
4×4 vs. AWD Differences
Before we get started let’s explain the difference between 4×4 and AWD.
All-wheel-drive vehicles use, as the name suggests, systems that power the front and rear wheels. On dry pavement, this kind of AWD can help the vehicle handle better and ensure that full power gets to the road. And in slippery conditions, such as ice, snow, or mud, it provides additional traction for more consistent traction and more confident handling.
Four-wheel drive, also called 4×4, refers to a two-axled vehicle drivetrain capable of providing torque to all of its wheels simultaneously. 4WD systems tend to be more robust than AWD ones and can generally handle more rugged terrain. 4WD vehicles are generally best at handling adverse conditions, both on-road and off-road.
Off-Road Saftey Tips
Knowing the capabilities of your RV before taking it off-road could save you from some severe damage. keep in mind that not all Class Bs are created equal. Specific models of 4×4 vans are designed to help you do more serious off-roading. Models like the Winnebago Revel have higher ground clearance compared to other RVs. The manufacturers build them to be sturdier so the RV components can take more of a beating from being off the pavement.
Next is being aware of your surroundings as well as the dimensions of your RV. Most RV nowadays have Roof mounted solar panels and AC units. The last thing you want is to go through a heavily forested area and damage components on your roof. Whether you are on a fire road or a trail, take it slow, stay alert, and watch for low-hanging trees.
How-To Operate the 4×4 System
When engaging 4WD, remember that it’s best to be positioned on level ground if possible. Be aware of your surroundings and position yourself out of the way of other drivers. You will see to the right of your steering wheel the buttons for 4WD and Low range.
To engage 4 wheel drive, ensure that the van is completely stopped. With your foot on the brake, press the 4WD button and it should begin to blink. Once the light is solid the 4×4 is activated. Now you are safe to take to the trails or dirt roads!
Low Range is another option on the Sprinter Chassis. This setting is designed for climbing steep inclines or anything that requires low gears.
In order to engage the Low Range setting the van must already be in 4WD mode and must be completely stopped. Put the van into Neutral and press the Low Range button. The dash will show a “Low Range On” message but the button itself will not illuminate. The van is now in Low Range 4 wheel drive.
To disengage Low Range, ensure that the van is completely stopped. Put the van in Neutral and press the Low Range button. The “Low Range On” message on the dash will disappear. Once Low Range is disengaged, the van will be back in the default configuration of High Range 4 wheel drive.