hi/low range 4x4 rant!

Phat4x4

New member
Somehow it seems to me that folks are convinced that the USA spec 4x4 Sprinters can be spec'ed out to the Iglhaut Allrad fully locked up 4x4 system.
Sorry, but the USA Spec 4x4 Sprinters are only available with the Oberaigner 4ETS (4Matic in passenger cars and SUVs) system.
It's a 65% Rear 35% front system with nothing "locked" that would/could damage the 4x4 system.
The only real difference is that in Sprinters, the entire 4ETS/4Matic "system" is selectable in that it can be turned off, giving you only rear 2 wheel
drive.
You can add the optional Hi/Lo transfer case, but that just provides a gear reduction to the overall system.
In low range with the 4ETS engaged you have 5 speeds, but an overall gear reduction that provides lots of power to the wheels, but they are still
35% front/65% rear.
So, there is really nothing wrong with running the 4ETS system on hard roads......there are an untold number of MB sedans/SUVS that are running the 4ETS/
4Matic system all the time with no way to disengage it.
Makes sense, on a dry road in warm temperatures to disengage it and run in 2 wheel drive for better fuel economy, but when it's cold and there's a possibility
of ice or snow, keep it engaged.
Hope this helps,
Roger
Thank you for this!
 

Eric Experience

Well-known member
Roger.
I think you are correct about the drive system you have seen, but some buyers are reporting that they ticked a different choice of transfer case. I have asked this question many times on this site but have not got an answer from any body when i ask "which transfer case did you choose". The system is similar to the 4matic in cars but is not the same, the 4matic is silent where the sprinter is very noisy when the front axle is being driven, normally gear noise equals loading equals gear wear. Eric.






' }m
 

sailquik

Well-known member
Eric,
I completely agree that in a 4x4 transfer case gear noise normally equates to the gears being loaded, and loaded gears do indeed wear much more quickly.
However, the USA specification 4x4 Sprinters make the same level of transfer case noise with the entire front axle drive system disengaged as when the front axle
drive system is fully engaged and pulling 35%.
I was about to purchase a nice 2015 4x4 144" wheelbase 4x4 Sprinter with the 1.42:1 reduction gear transfer case.
I test drove it at 25-35 mph back road speeds in 4x4 engaged mode, and it did pretty well, climbed up steep berms and slopes on wet
muddy grass, was not noisy at 30-45 mph on hard surface roads....I was about to sign on the dotted line.
I took it out onto the interstate and ran it about 65-75 mph (4ETS system disengaged) and the transfer case noise convinced me that I would have gone nuts
driving that Sprinter, with that level of transfer case gear noise for any length of time.
I spend close to 20 hours per week cruising along in my 2014 I4/7speed Sprinter and I know I could not have been happy with the gear train noise from the
4x4.
So, I didn't buy it, and I'm still very happy with the 2014 Sprinter and getting ~ 20% better fuel economy than I would have with the OM-642 3.0 liter V6/5 speed 4x4.
I will have a look at some of the 2015 and 2016 USA specification 4x4 data cards and see if I can find the option codes for the 2 variations that are available in the USA.
There are only 2 variations available (due to each configuration having to be tested and approved for emissions and safety by the US EPA and the NHTSA.
#1 Sprinter with OM-642 3.0 liter V6 and 5G-Tronic % speed auto/manual transmission with selectable (engage able/disengage able 4ETS) 4x2 or 4x4.
#2 Sprinter with OM-642 3.0 liter V6 and 5G-Tronic % speed auto/manual transmission with selectable (engage able/disengage able 4ETS) 4x2 or 4x4 with the added 1.42:1
reduction gear transfer case
Either option has the 3 differentials.....front axle....center differential at/in the transfer case......rear axle.
Both options are the 4ETS system with no ability to lock any of the differentials.
Option #1 has a simple in or out (engaged or disengaged) transfer case.
Option #2 has the in same in or out (engaged or disengaged) transfer case with the added 1.42:1 reduction gear....also selectable (either engaged or disengaged) for
hi range (no gear reduction) or low range (1.42:1 gear reduction).
Most likely not at all like the Sprinter 4x4 systems you see in AUS/Tassie/NZ.
Hope this helps,
Roger
 

Eric Experience

Well-known member
Roger.
I agree with your statement. But a true 4matic has the 3 diffs and runs silently, so where is the difference? Eric.
 

sailquik

Well-known member
Eric,
I have no answer to that question.
Why MB Sprinter USA and MB USA will only import the Sprinters with the OM-642 3.0 liter USA Spec V6 and the 5G-Tronic is an
even stranger question.
They bring in 4Matic cars/SUVs with the OM-651 4 cylinder/7G-Tronic 7 speed trans all the time (or perhaps the build some of them here with imported
parts) so there has to be a USA Spec for this engine and trans.
Probably it's the cost to certify each individual configuration.
They all have to be emissions tested and crash tested, even though the configurations already exist in Sprinters/Sedans/SUVs.
Roger
 

sprintguy

New member
First : The torque split is 67% rear 33% front. All 3 types of systems, selectable, 2 speed selectable and permanent which USA and Canada do not have use 2 planetary gear sets inside the transfer case with no center differential, no clutch pack for AWD engage disengagement. The front differential utilizes a ring and pinion gear and case that is connected to a planetary gear set and a differential gear set that is splined to the axle shafts. Option codes in the North America regions are as follows ZG1 for Engageable AWD and ZG3 for gear reduction Engageable AWD. Thats all we have here in NA market. Can you drive it in AWD mode on hard surfaces ? that seems to be the question. With the torque split in the T-case and the planetary gear sets used to activate AWD, I would say for a brief time ... why not.. The amount of loading on the T-case from the front wheels and differential is minimal. Now with that said I would not attempt a extremely tight radius curvy road in AWD or tight cornering parking lot maneuvers in AWD without some type of slippery surface. But I could be wrong the system could handle that just well without an issue.

Carl
 
Last edited:

mattyj

New member
All 3 types of systems, selectable, 2 speed selectable and permanent which USA and Canada do not have use 2 planetary gear sets inside the transfer case with no center differential, no clutch pack for AWD engage disengagement.
So, how does the full-time AWD not available in North America differ from the systems we get? I would have expected the transfer case / center diff to be different, but if I understand you correctly they're similar? The lack of publicly available information on the 4x4 drivetrain is frustrating.
 

RedCrew4X4

New member
I found some extra comments about the 4X4 system at the MB Forum in UK

http://forums.mercedesclub.org.uk/showthread.php?t=126021

Engageable all-wheel drive, new Downhill Speed Regulation

As a true professional, the Sprinter 4x4 makes life as easy as possible for its driver. Its all-wheel drive can be engaged at the press of a button, whereupon the 4ETS electronic traction system takes over. The driver simply needs to make well-judged use of accelerator and steering wheel while the technology takes care of the rest. The all-wheel drive is integrated into the standard-fit Electronic Stability Program ESP and complements the safety systems perfectly.

The Sprinter 4x4 now comes with the option of Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR), which ensures that a preselected speed is maintained constantly when driving downhill. This is possible thanks to the interaction between the engine, transmission and specifically targeted brake actuation. DSR is activated using a button in the cockpit. The speed is then controlled using the stalk for the cruise control - the prerequisite for DSR.

As a further option, Mercedes-Benz can equip the Sprinter 4x4 with Hill-Start Assist and off-road tyres with extremely deep tread. Plus the Sprinter 4x4 can be individualised by choosing from the familiar array of optional extras.

4ETS: proven all-wheel-drive technology

In keeping with the Sprinter 4x4 van's areas of application, the all-wheel-drive system has a professional configuration based on the Mercedes-Benz 4ETS electronic traction system. This technology is also used in the Vito 4x4, Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, and the ML-Class and GL-Class off-roaders.
In contrast to other models, however, the Sprinter's all-wheel drive is engageable so as to cover the wide range of conditions under which the van has to operate. Furthermore, this technology minimises fuel consumption in everyday use.

The all-wheel drive can be engaged when the engine is running, either when the vehicle is stationary or at low speeds of up to 10 km/h, using a switch on the instrument panel. In this case, an electric motor engages a pair of spur gears in the transfer case. An indicator lamp in the switch informs the driver that the all-wheel drive is engaged.

In contrast to other systems of this type, the Sprinter's engageable all-wheel drive does not provide a rigid through-drive. The power is transmitted variably, all the components of the standard-fit Adaptive ESP remain operational even when all-wheel drive is selected, and the acceleration skid control (ASR) is likewise activated.

When all-wheel drive is engaged, the drive power of the Sprinter 4x4 is split 35:65 between the front and rear axles in normal operation, ensuring handling performance practically on a par with the Sprinter's usual rear-wheel drive in everyday operation.

4ETS traction system replaces up to three differential locks

The Sprinter 4x4 model's all-wheel-drive system works with the electronic traction system 4ETS instead of with mechanical differential locks: should one or more of the wheels lose traction on slippery ground, 4ETS brakes the spinning wheels automatically with short pulses and, consequently, increases the drive torque at the wheels offering good traction by the same amount.

To do this, 4ETS uses the ABS wheel sensors. Automatic brake application by means of 4ETS has the same effect as up to three differential locks: the interaxle lock, the rear axle lock and the front axle lock.

The engineers have flange-mounted the transfer case directly onto the main transmission, while the front-axle drive has been kept very compact. It has a lifetime oil fill and, like the additional front-axle drive shafts, requires no maintenance.

Even more traction: the Sprinter 4x4 with reduction gear

The additional "Low Range" reduction gear for off-road use, available as an option, further underlines the fact that the Sprinter 4x4 all-wheel-drive van is designed for professionals. Engaged at the push of a button with the vehicle stationary, the engine running, the 4x4 drive activated and the clutch pedal pressed, the ratio is shortened by a factor of 1.42, i.e. by 42 percent. The maximum vehicle speeds obtainable in the individual gears are reduced accordingly whilst traction is increased.
 

sprintguy

New member
Carl.
Sorry to be a pain but I think you have no idea what you are talking about, you contradict yourself. Eric
Umm I am sorry you can't understand, but were actually did I contradict myself ? NA does not get permanent AWD just selectable. Now, selectable AWD has only 1 planetary in the t-case no center differential. Sorry a little miss communication there, selectable with gear reduction option has 2 planetary gear sets. The Front axle also has a planetary gear set along with a conventional gear set. The whole system is controlled by the AWD control unit and ESP module working together to achieve stability and traction in a wide range of conditions, (as stated in other posts in this thread). All the info I am posting now and before is from the Workshop Information System for North America Commercial vans (MB/CV WIS).

Carl
 

Spike HG

New member
Down Hill Speed Regulation for 4x4

Works great. Both feet flat on the floor, my grip on the steering wheel was less, with the auto braking on (Down Hill Speed Regulation). Works great even in neutral, testing. This system is perfect for my application, Down Hill Speed Regulation .


ZG3 ( H/L), ZH4 (Down Hill), what I could find ( G search ) was transfer High or High / Low, $300 for the H/L, $50 Down Hill ZG3 High only, one would think check H/L and the Down hill for off road use. Is there something else that one would want to check for off road use? Found these #s on Special EQ Handbook Sprinter 2016

The Sprinter Guy, thanks Dave, can be found on his site https://sprinterguy.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/sprinter-equipment-handbook-my2016.pdf
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Spike HG

New member
Found tight switch backs a bit tough with the 144 4X4 ( loose rocks/surface). Since I had used Jamar bakes back is the day, found my arm pulling on the e bake to allow steering, never even thought about it just happened. Nothing like going around a corner but the front end not. The Down Hill speed reg is a must for off road. Note: When the e brake is active the Down hill drops out.


The attached pic is weak

Down Hill Speed Regulation for 4x4

Works great. Both feet flat on the floor, my grip on the steering wheel was less, with the auto braking on (Down Hill Speed Regulation). Works great even in neutral, testing. This system is perfect for my application, Down Hill Speed Regulation .
 

Attachments

zither99

Member
Roger.
I agree with your statement. But a true 4matic has the 3 diffs and runs silently, so where is the difference? Eric.
The noise comes from the front diff on the sprinter that I believe is manufactured by Oberaigner.
When I was investigating the different noises on my van last year (clunking, droning, oscillating humm) I emailed an oberaigner representative and he specified as well that the front diff's sometimes make noise. Another forum member on the Australian sub-forum had his front diff replaced for noise.

This is the part:
http://www.kfz-tech.de/Engl/Biblio/Achsantrieb/AchsantriebV.htm

In the above database it specifies the dampening required for the planetary gears inside of that differential. I think those gears is what makes that annoying oscillating noise when the system warms up. The stuff inside that spin no matter if 4x4 is engaged or not.

The mercedes mechanic here in edmonton has not seen this diff on any other mercedes product. The youtube video on oberaigners channel show them manufacturing it and imprinting "Mercedes-Benz" on the housing but it's oberaigner that make it.

THATS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MERCEDES 4MATIC SUV's and THE SPRINTER VAN

[youtube]https://youtu.be/LgOjkjiiShI?t=2m22s[/youtube]
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Up345

New member
I have a 2015 hi/low range 4x4 passenger van. When I ordered my van in 2014 I checked the hi range 4x4 but my salesman said for $300 additional I could get the hi/low range so for resale value it was a no brainer. So, I got the hi/low range.

Fast forward to June when my van arrives and I love it. Pretty cool looking rig. I ordered a stone gray regular roof passenger van. I tried some forest service roads in 4x4 and practiced the tips and tricks to engaged/disengage the AWD system with no real luck finding consistent method shifting method. I never really thought much about it until now.

Currently I'm in the middle of a 5000 mile winter trip have discovered my fist major complaint about this van. The first 500 miles of my trip consisted of three mountain passes with chain laws in effect on all of them. It all started easy. Pull into the chain area and fiddle with the wonderful push button 4x4 system until it engages. When you push the button it quits trying to engage after some like 5 seconds. If it does not engage fist and you shift into neutural and reverse you need to keep pushing the button. I left it engaged in AWD but I could hear the transfer case whining at freeway speeds plus I am not sure that I'm supposed to drive at freeway speeds with the system engaged. I tried to read the manual with no guidance. After 500 miles of this stopping to engage/disengage the AWD system on my 2015 van I am ready to sell the damn thing. Why do I have to stop to engage an AWD system. It's like they added a 1970s era transfer case to a modern AWD system. I wish I never listened to my ?!# salesman when I could have shift on the fly system that would have worked perfect. No stopping on the snow covered shoulder hoping I can get this damn thing to engage before too long.

At the time I was ready so sell it, cut my losses, and start with another van. The problem is that I just spent $15k getting the van converted to a camper van. and after driving 1500 miles in two wheel drive it is a great traveling van.....but when I return home and have to engage the AWD system I'll leave it engaged for the entire mountainous area. If it whines or cuts the gas mileage too bad I'll be b_tching about it again.

The moral of the story is that if you only need AWD DON'T get talked into ordering a hi/low range 4x4 system because it's a badly designed system.

JON

I have just test driven a Roadtrek 4x4, RV. Its noise level was not much different using 4x4 vs. 2x4, going down highway at 75 miles. I don't know whether the RV has better sound proofing. You may want to take yours to dealer have it checked.
 

Top Bottom