Navigator 4x4 system

Welcome to the busiest full-spectrum Lincoln community online!

Please join us! We'd really love to have you as a member...

Truckstop

New member
6
3
3
I'm trying to figure out what kind of 4x4 system the navigator uses. Info says transfer case, but the one I test drove didn't have selector switch anywhere, and driving around with 4x4 selected on drive mode did not seem like front axle was engaged at all. Is it effectively an all wheel drive system that works without being noticed, or is it a traditional transfer case that tries to guess when to engage?

My main concern is that my wife is used to very good all wheel drive systems on Audis and Volvos and I do not want a system that has to be manually engaged or is clunky and distracting. It's been years since I've driven one, but I've never driven a vehicle that had an automatically engaging transfer case where I didn't think the system was terrible.
 

MarkA

New member
13
16
3
I recently purchased a 2018 Navigator Black Label, so it pretty much has every available option....

I’m told that it will not allow you do do something that will damage or destroy the drivetrain, but I’m not about to test that. The instructions do say not to try to use the slippery / deep mud condition selection on dry pavement (I believe that is 4WD High Lock in the standard terminology. Same goes for hilly/towing/slippery (I forget the exact term) which is the old 4WD Low. This is the same advice as the prior SUV 4WD drive systems

there are options for 2WD: Normal, conserve. The Excite option is for maximum performance which brings in about 20% of the front drive to supplement the rear wheel drive.

if you looked at a current Navigator without the drive selection, it must have been a base (Select) model with only 2WD.

auto 4WD also works well and unless you really challenge the vehicle you wouldn’t even know that it’s on.

today I drove in heavy rain and had a chance to test out the Excite and Auto 4WD options. They both work very well. It’s an excellent vehicle, the best I’ve ever owned.
______________________________
 

Black Label

SUPPORTING MEMBER
1,794
633
113
Burr Ridge, IL
I recently purchased a 2018 Navigator Black Label, so it pretty much has every available option....

I’m told that it will not allow you do do something that will damage or destroy the drivetrain, but I’m not about to test that. The instructions do say not to try to use the slippery / deep mud condition selection on dry pavement (I believe that is 4WD High Lock in the standard terminology. Same goes for hilly/towing/slippery (I forget the exact term) which is the old 4WD Low. This is the same advice as the prior SUV 4WD drive systems

there are options for 2WD: Normal, conserve. The Excite option is for maximum performance which brings in about 20% of the front drive to supplement the rear wheel drive.

if you looked at a current Navigator without the drive selection, it must have been a base (Select) model with only 2WD.

auto 4WD also works well and unless you really challenge the vehicle you wouldn’t even know that it’s on.

today I drove in heavy rain and had a chance to test out the Excite and Auto 4WD options. They both work very well. It’s an excellent vehicle, the best I’ve ever owned.
Nice! Glad to hear all that.
 

Truckstop

New member
6
3
3
The one I drove had the center console switch and it eas set to 4x4 auto or something along those lines. Made sure it was in something that said 4wd because I was curious. When I say it didn't have transfer case selector, I'm talking about 4H,4L,2H switch my F250 has. With that, and older expeditions I've driven, if you're in 4H on dry ground you've got axle binding and wheel hop, etc. I can't imagine a vehicle like the navigator would function like that, but older attempts to make a traditional transfer case work like an all wheel drive system were just a computer turning the 4H switch instead of the driver when slip was detected. Often very clunky and noticeable. Doesn't sound like that's the case with the navigator, but unless I drive one in slop I won't know for sure. Based on what I've gathered, they've finally managed to engineer something that functions mechanically like a transfer case but behaves more like a good all wheel drive system. In the past, good all wheel drive systems couldn't handle the power so bigger vehicles were stuck with transfer cases.

Also, it is scary how little knowledge even the service departments have about these things. Blank stares all around when I asked at local dealer.
 

MarkA

New member
13
16
3
The Transfer Case is mentioned several times in the owners manual in regards to the 4WD system. But there is no separate knob for the transfer case. It is controlled by the drive mode selector.
 
Last edited:

Truckstop

New member
6
3
3
The Transfer Case is mentioned several times in the owners manual in regards to the 4WD system.
Yes, I'm aware..... where are all the car guys who actually understand what I'm asking?
______________________________
 

Truckstop

New member
6
3
3
Maybe a better way to ask, can I set the mode to 4wd auto or whatever it is and leave it there without it ever being noticed as engaging, disengaging, binding, etc, and that be fine mechanically for the vehicle, and also work well when snow cones out of nowhere when my wife is driving somewhere?
 

Truckstop

New member
6
3
3
Maybe a better way to ask, can I set the mode to 4wd auto or whatever it is and leave it there without it ever being noticed as engaging, disengaging, binding, etc, and that be fine mechanically for the vehicle, and also work well when snow cones out of nowhere when my wife is driving somewhere?
Maybe I'm just an old man or too used to super duties, but 15 years ago the answer would have been "no" for every vehicle that used a "transfer case"
 

Black Label

SUPPORTING MEMBER
1,794
633
113
Burr Ridge, IL
Maybe a better way to ask, can I set the mode to 4wd auto or whatever it is and leave it there without it ever being noticed as engaging, disengaging, binding, etc, and that be fine mechanically for the vehicle, and also work well when snow cones out of nowhere when my wife is driving somewhere?
"Excite" and "Normal 4A" puts it in 4WD Auto, is suitable on any road conditions, and you can drive in that mode all day long if you want. But, I'm not a car guy. ;) So, I could be reading it all wrong.
 

Truckstop

New member
6
3
3
"Excite" and "Normal 4A" puts it in 4WD Auto, is suitable on any road conditions, and you can drive in that mode all day long if you want. But, I'm not a car guy. ;) So, I could be reading it all wrong.
Some personal experience doing just that works for me too, thanks!

Still need to convince a salesman to let me take a test drive through some of my fields though!
______________________________
 

07navi

Active member
140
35
28
Maybe a better way to ask, can I set the mode to 4wd auto or whatever it is and leave it there without it ever being noticed as engaging, disengaging, binding, etc, and that be fine mechanically for the vehicle, and also work well when snow cones out of nowhere when my wife is driving somewhere?
Yes, it's all in the manual, look in there.
 

07navi

Active member
140
35
28
"Excite" and "Normal 4A" puts it in 4WD Auto, is suitable on any road conditions, and you can drive in that mode all day long if you want. But, I'm not a car guy. ;) So, I could be reading it all wrong.
That's right but unnecessary parts are spinning and using extra gas.
______________________________
 

Ice Bear

Member
52
50
18
I had the same question after I bought my 2020 Navigator. The answer I've come up with is that the Drive Mode is essentially the translator for the Lincoln owner. You don't have to know what the drivetrain is doing, you just select for your driving conditions and the Navigator takes care of the rest. As best as I can tell, and you can see the information in small white print on the left side of the driver's display, here is the translation (picking up a number of the points made earlier in this thread):

There are two rear wheel drive modes (2H):

Normal - 2H - Rear wheel drive.
Conserve - 2H - Real wheel drive. Shift points, suspension, etc., changed to give you better gas mileage.

There are three all wheel drive modes (4A):

Normal 4X4 - 4A - All wheel drive mode for general on-road driving.
Excite - 4A - All wheel drive mode with a performance emphasis.
Slippery - 4A - All wheel drive mode for less than ideal conditions. Lowers throttle response, changes shift points.

There is one traditional 4X4 mode (4H):

Deep Conditions - 4H - This is a traditional 4X4, Four Wheel Drive, for mud, snow, sand, etc. It is not for use on dry hard surface roads.

There is one 4X4 Low mode (4H):

Slow Climb - 4L - This is a traditional Four Wheel Drive, Low gearing, for slippery steep grades, pulling a boat out of a launch ramp, etc. It is not for use on dry, hard surfaced roads. I'm not sure, but this may only be available with the trailer package.
 
Top