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Home 4X4 Do you believe these 4X4 transmission windup (transmission bind) myths?
Do you believe these 4X4 transmission windup (transmission bind) myths?

Do you believe these 4X4 transmission windup (transmission bind) myths?

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Transmission windup, otherwise known as transmission bind, is definitely something you want to avoid, but it’s not well understood. And it’s becoming less of a problem as 4X4s move to computer-controlled centre clutches, but it’s still something every offroad should understand. Here’s some myths, none of which are true:

  1. You can cancel out windup caused by turning left by turning right the same amount of degress.
  2. Transmission windup has the same effect on your drivetrain as driving with a cross-axle locker engaged.
  3. You can simply reverse straight back and that’ll undo the windup (1)
  4. You need to disengage your free-wheeling hubs as well as move your transfer case selector into 2WD in order to avoid windup.
  5. You can’t get windup on a wet bitumen road.
  6. You will get windup if you drive in 4WD on a loose dirt road.
  7. Windup is only a problem after you’ve driven for a long distance.
  8. Any 4WD can get windup.
  9. The speed you travel has an effect on windup (2)
  10. Windup only happens in low range.
  11. Windup can never happen offroad.
  12. Windup is only a problem for part-time (selectable) 4WDs.
  13. Windup is only a problem for full-time (AWD) 4WDs.

Transmisson windup is explained with examples here:

(1) Reversing straight back may allow you to disengage 4WD if you’ve got just a bit wound up, but it doesn’t materially change the amount of windup.

(2) if you drive fast enough everything changes, your wheels will leave the ground or at least be unweighted in corners, and that’ll dissipate windup. But it’s really not recommended for 4WDs.

Robert Pepper Automotive journalist specialising in 4X4s, sportscars, camping and future tech.

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