In a nutshell, a Crawler Gear: Low speed, high control

Purists and enthusiasts were rooting for a manual transmission to be offered in the Bronco and Ford decided to make them happy. However, the automaker went one step ahead and offered it with a Crawler gear. Now, everyone knows that the Crawler gear features an ultra-low gear ratio that will be extremely helpful when traversing over rocks and mountains. But, how does it work? Well, Jason Fenske from Engineering Explained has broken down the math in this video.

It’s All In The Math

The Bronco’s first gear has a ratio of 4.283 to 1 whereas the crawler gear has a ratio of 6.588, which is very tall in comparison

. This means the gear has higher torque and low speed. Jason focuses on the wheel torque in this video instead of the engine torque. When the transfer case is engaged in low range, the crawler gear derives 29,372 pound-feet of wheel torque, which could put any vehicle out there to shame.

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However, this is impressive only on paper. In the real-world conditions, a Bronco equipped with 33-inch tires cannot use more than 5,000 pound-feet of wheel torque anyway. Anything beyond this will lead to wheels slipping. The wheel torque amount can change based on the tires and mass, but it still won’t utilize all of the torque that’s available at your disposal.

Tesla Fanboys Won’t Be Happy Seeing This

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Fenske even compared this to EVs and said that the electric automakers use the wheel torque figures to promote their vehicles and note its benefits since these are much higher than the engine torque figures. But, as explained in this video, these numbers are impressive only in theory as all of it can’t be used in the real world. The Tesla Roadster churns out 7,400 pound-feet of wheel torque, but does it matter? If that were the case, the Bronco with its near 30,000-pound-feet of wheel torque figure could’ve beenr four times faster than the Roadster.

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But this doesn’t translate to overall performance. The Bronco’s speed tops out at 7 mph when the transfer case is engaged in low. The benefit of this comes at creep speeds because you will have superior control and won’t have to disengage the clutch to maintain control.

You can watch the video for all the math and calculations if it intrigues you, But, the bottom line is that the crawler gear’s main job is to offer maximum control at very low ‘crawling’ speeds.

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
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