2012 Jeep Wrangler: Smooth is a Stretch
November 03, 2011
While Mike Magrath was hard at work in Las Vegas, I decided to give his (and a few commenters) Jeep driving style a try. And yes, starting out in second gear and short shifting definitely smoothes out the driveline lash. I rarely got past 2,000 rpm and took it out of gear when coasting. But I'm still right.
And here's why I think I'm still right. We all agree there's a lot of driveline lash, and that was the whole point of my first post. For someone who's never driven a Wrangler, it will certainly seem excessive, at least with the manual transmission. For the dazzling urbanite outside of a rustic setting, this should certainly be considered before selecting a Jeep as a daily driver. The added time spent in the clutch's friction zone (starting in second gear) is sure to shorten its life. Just sayin'.
On my way to drop off the rent check this morning, however, I discovered another way to smooth out the driveline lash. I had to turn left from a small side street onto a busy boulevard. There are rarely gaps in traffic, so when I see one, I go for it. I started in first and gave it the kind of throttle I give lower profile cars. I got the revs well past my normal shift point, but still nowhere close to redline and shifted decisively and quickly. Nope, no driveline lash.
So there it is. As long as you don't drive moderately, the Jeep is fine in terms of driveline lash. Either nurse it off the line in second and lope it along at low revs, or get on it and drive aggressively. That's the key, at least for me.
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor