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AWD ---> 2WD?!

1052 Views 10 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  2k2_AtlanticBlu
Hello fellow Dodge/Durango enthusiasts!

I'm a long-time lurker (first-time poster) and am eternally grateful to all those on this forum who find the time to spread their knowledge and help those in need!

Anyways, to my questions... I've read a couple of posts written by people who have converted their AWD Durango to 2WD. How is this possible (drive shaft removal?) and are there any 'side-effects' with this kind of operation? What kind of improvement in efficiency (ie. fuel economy) would this result in?

I don't regularly take my Durango off road and would love to get a few extra MPG (actually L/100km here) so I'm wondering if this is something to consider.

Thanks in advance for any/all help you can provide!
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You will not get any better MPG. My 99 Full Time has the option of selecting 2wd. Myself and others who have the same drivetrain have found negligible to no difference between FT and 2wd. Yes you can remove the drive shaft with no issues. R/T Mark who post here did a test on the durangoclub forum where he took off the shaft and found no difference in mgp. Even if there were a slight hit in mpg for having FT or AWD, I take the the trade off for safety any day. That's why I got the FT option.
The only good reason to remove your front driveshaft for 2WD would be if you want to break your tires loose on pavement. Wait, is that a good reason? Maybe not.
I don't mean to hijack the thread here...maybe I'm not hijacking it idk, anyways, if you removed the front driveshaft, wouldn't that basically make it a 2wd? So then your drivetrain loss would be 20% instead of 33%. So you would have lots more power hitting the ground?


Edit#2: I'm an ignorant fool-please forgive me. I just realized that even if you removed the driveshaft, you still have to spin the transfer case. Never mind my stupidness. Just....welcome to the site canuck. :crazy:
I did the AWD to PT 4WD and noticed a very slight gain in MPG. Approximately 1MPG at best. The only reason I converted was because I had a lot of trouble with the AWD transfer case and was tired of it taking Dodge three weeks to assemble a new one for me. My particular transfer case had to be built from a "kit". Dodge did not have a fully assembled case to install right off the shelf. I now have almost 30K miles on the PT case and have had no problems what so ever. I think the problems I had with the AWD cases came from the mechanics that reassembled the new cases not quite right. The reason I say this is that not many people at all have complained about their AWD cases blowing apart. I had about three people reply to my original post on this topic with similar problems which tells me that the AWD is a very good system after all. I still don't regret converting though!
David -

That's a very good question, and one that I reached intuitively myself. However, if memory serves me correctly, Neil (and others) tried track times in both configurations, and found no significant improvements. I think the consensus was that the launch in AWD was superior to 2WD, and negated the powertrain loss. Although, baby, can you TURN the tires!

Did I get that right, Neil?
Thanks for the great info guys!

I completely agree with the safety factor on the AWD, but I live in a relatively small community with no appreciable winter and 90% of my driving is simply the 10 minutes it takes to drop my kids off at their school & get to my school (I'm a teacher) in the morning & then back in the afternoon. For this purpose, the AWD is not entirely necessary. When we travel, however, I am definitely pleased to have the extra traction and stability with the AWD. We're planning on getting a travel trailer for this summer & I'm sure that it will be great to tow with!

On another note, although we don't have a dedicated drag strip here, there is a small group of racers that take over the local airport twice a year to hold 1/8 mile races. Last year, an early 90's Dodge Caravan took out a 250+ hp camaro and a 300+ hp mustang to win his division - he was slow, but EXTREMELY consistent and nailed his dial-in time almost every pass. I'm thinking of entering my Durango next year!!!

I've got a CAI on order and a magnaflow muffler sitting in my garage waiting to be installed. Next on my list is a Fastman throttle body & a possibly a Superchips programmer. My goal is to maximize towing power & hopefully gain a slight increase in efficiency when not towing. Anything else I should consider?

Thanks again!
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Hey `nuck -

You've got a good plan going on there. I would add optimizing your ignition (plugs, wires, cap, rotor) and a 180 degree thermostat. Some of my mates here will insist that a coil/MSD is necessary, but the stock arrangement provides plenty of spark (get a Blaster, if your coil goes AWOL someday). So many of these mods work well if implemented together. Basically, (IMHO):

Phase 1 - CAI (IAT relocate, if you're inclined), free-flow muffler, ignition bits & pieces.

Phase 2 - PCM (pick a color, Superchips is good. I went with a B&G because of my mods), throttle body.

Phase 3 - Headers, CAT, intake manifold.

Phase 4 - roller rockers, cam, heads...christ, a Fastman 408 with a blower & HD tranny, whatever floats your boat!
Thanks Warren, I forgot to include the plugs and thermostat (they're both on the list)!

I'm not a mechanic, but my understanding with the 4.7 is that there are no plug wires, cap & rotor to deal with, just the coil pack thingy atop the plugs. Are there any aftermarket upgrades to my ignition system, other than plugs?

I'll definitely work my way up to Phase 2. As for going any further, well I suppose 'Mrs. Nuck' would have to be consulted and I just can't see that conversation going well... You should have seen the look on her face when the Magnaflow muffler arrived.

If only I could slip a small dose of testosterone into her morning coffee, I'd be on the phone ordering the Fastman 408 that afternoon :rck:
Canuck Fan said:
If only I could slip a small dose of testosterone into her morning coffee, I'd be on the phone ordering the Fastman 408 that afternoon :rck:
All you need is plugs for the 4.7, not really anything to improve with the ignition system on them.

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