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What a great day today to test drive the Pathfinder in snowy chicago. So turned the knob to the 4x4 position and it displayed "lock" in the VID. In less than 10minutes it switch back to " Auto " you can turn the know again to x4 when the vehicle is in motion. So when I stopped at a red light I turned the knob again to 4x4 then the display was at lock again...and you guessed it it went back to AUTO. I called the service dept today and the serviceman says YES IT DOES NOT STAY ON LOCK. it senses the road and the 4x4 adjust to its liking..It just s*** that I found out about this now. I thought once in 4x4 it locks on 4x4 :mad:
 

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From what I understand, it automatically switches back to AUTO from 4x4 lock when you reaches around 40MPH. Not exactly sure the reason behind this is, might be to ensure that the driver didn't forget to leave it in 4x4 lock and cause horrible MPG.

But I agree with you, I would like for it to stay in 4x4 lock no matter what speed I'm driver.
 

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I am guessing because 4x4 is usually left for low speeds in bad and uneven road conditions. It would be nice to have 4x4 all the time but really in auto it'll be FWD and when it needs to be it'll switch back to 4x4 if it detects traction loss.
 

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The 4WD lock is not intended for normal driving. AUTO is the correct mode for driving in bad weather. The LOCK mode is intended to get you unstuck or in severe conditions (think snow up to the wheel wells). These kinds of systems use a clutch pack rather than a traditional 4x4 setup and they are not intended to be left on at all times. That's why the knob does turn and stay set in LOCK, but rather springs back to AUTO. It's just enough to get you out of true stuck condition.
 

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You can also use 4WD lock in extreme (for the pathfinder) off road conditions. I believe with clutch type 4x4s if you leave it on at all times you will wear out the differential.
 

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You can also use 4WD lock in extreme (for the pathfinder) off road conditions. I believe with clutch type 4x4s if you leave it on at all times you will wear out the differential.
thats what I have been told by some off road guys, it's always best to leave the system in auto and use the 4wd lock when you actually need it.
 

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I think too I read or saw something about the 4x4 lock somehow utilizes a lower gear setting, if you will, in the CVT--perhaps a different setting on the pully? So I believe the 4x4 lock might stay "locked" but only at low speeds. I'd be curious if it stays in lock, if you maintain that low speed? We have not had the snow yet to test this.
 

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Another note is that these systems are not differentials in the traditional sense. They are more like a transmission, and in fact, the fluids they use are often proprietary and have similar properties to ATF. So, if you don't get your service at the dealer, make sure they're using the right fluid and not some gear lube meant for a differential.
 

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The way my dealer explained it to me was, 4x4 lock is like 4L. On a normal truck you aren't driving over 40mph in 4L. It's like everyone else said, for when you need to get unstuck and drive slow.
 

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I agree with everybody's comments. It is always recommended NOT to drive in locked mode continously or at high speeds as you will damage your drivetrain. You should only use it when getting out of slippery conditions.
 

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We had it come unlocked at low speeds, but it was on tight turns with good traction. With other full out 4X4's the driveline will bind up and in the right conditions can break. It could be just a safety factor too to protect the driveline from damage.
 

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Was anyone able to switch back to lock mode (4x4) while in movement after it unlocked? I noticed I have to come to a complete stop before I can switch back to lock mode again... Simply wondering whether this is normal (couldn't find anything regarding this in the owner's manual).
 
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