Car Advice

Mitsubishi’s Super-Select 4X4 System Explained

How to use Mitsubishi’s Super Select 4X4 transmission system on Challenger, Pajero and Triton.

THE SUPER-SELECT SYSTEM has been around for quite a while now on Pajeros of different types, as well as some Challengers and Tritons.  There are four modes:   2H –  4H –  4H LC –  4L LC   2H is two wheel drive, specifically the rears only.  4H is 4X4, driving all four wheels, but in an all-wheel-drive mode that is safe to use on high-traction surfaces like bitumen.  4H LC is the same, but locks the “centre differential” (LC = Locked Centre) for better traction offroad.  Don’t use this on high-traction surfaces like bitumen.  4L LC is the same as 4H LC except the crawler gears are engaged.   So, what to use when?

  • Normal driving; 4H.  Just leave the car in this mode.  You may as well drive all four wheels, as you never know when that extra traction will come in handy as Editor Bober found out recently.   You will NOT get something nasty called transmission windup in this mode
  • Offroad driving at speeds above about 30km/h – 4H Lc
  • Offroad driving at speeds below about 30km/h – 4L Lc

When to use 2H?  Pretty much never, in my considered opinion as an ex-owner, specialist in this subject and 4WD driver trainer.  The only time I use it is on high-speed freeway driving when the tiny, tiny improvement in fuel saving may perhaps be worth it.  Otherwise, I prefer having the surety of all-wheel-drive, 4H mode, which is essentially the same as the Prado, LC200, Discovery and most other recent wagons.  

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Pajero Sport in 4LLc and its Rock Mode.

In fact, I’d go so far to say that 2H should be deleted from the Pajero as very few people understand it, and they end up driving in 2WD then getting into trouble.  Like this….  

It’s not the car’s fault –  Super Select is complicated

Here’s a story from a a few of years ago.  A retired couple, onto their third or fourth Pajero were in a stoush with Mitsubishi.  The story was that his wife had been nearly taken out by a truck, and he blamed their Pajero.  She’d stopped at an T-junction in the wet, seen the truck coming and turned in front of it…with sufficient but not a lot of time to spare, so gave it a bootful.

Now the hoons amongst you know that circle work is done by turning tightly and a heavy right foot.  The rear wheels break traction, the back end spins around and it’s all joy.  Except when you’re an older lady trying to make a quick getaway. So what happened was that the Pajero detected imminent loss of traction, and applied the brakes as well as cutting the engine power, slowing the vehicle.  You can imagine the effect on the driver of the Pajero, and the oncoming truck – there was very nearly a nasty accident.

The owners were upset, and contacted Mitsubishi to complain. The engineers looked at it and said there’s no case the answer, the car works as designed.  No resolution, unhappy owners.  Then it came to my attention, and I was interested enough to go and take a look.   The Pajero drove and reacted exactly as it should, so I agreed with Mitsubishi.

But it was clear the couple only drove it in 2WD on the road, never 4H.  I was able to demonstrate to them on a dirt road (similar low traction to wet bitumen) how the back end would kick out in 2WD, then be stopped by the stability control system.  In 4H, that kickout would never happen.  Their previous Pajeros had been much lower powered and had no stability control, so they’d never had a problem.

The solution was simple – drive in 4H all the time, and especially in the wet.   One final point was that if the Pajero’s stability control system had not activated that nearly-fateful day, then the lady would have either spun the car or had to deal with an oversteer skid recovery. Actually, one final final point. Every 4WD system is slightly different so “engaging 4WD” to drive on high-traction bitumen roads is not something that you should normally do, it’s just that the Super-Select system is a bit different to most others.

How to buy a used Mitsubishi Pajero - fourth-generation model

Further reading

All these vehicles have the Super Select transmission:

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Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper is a motoring journalist, offroad driver trainer and photographer interested in anything with wings, sails or wheels. He is the author of four books on offroading, and owns a modified Ford Ranger PX which he uses for offroad touring. His other car is a Toyota 86 which exists purely to drive in circles on racetracks, and that's when he isn't racing his Nissan Pulsar. Visit his website: www.l2sfbc.com or follow him on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RobertPepperJourno/