A Dictionary of Off-Road Terms
The off-roading scene has its own jargon just like any other enthusiast group does. If you are new to the "hobby," then here's a list that might be able to help you as you learn the jargon. Many thanks to Landrover of Napperville, Napperville, IL, a factory-authorized Landrover dealer, for their help with this article.
AIR DOWN: Lowering the pressure in a vehicle's tires to improve traction. This is commonly done off-road and then the tires are pumped up by a portable compressor before one goes back on road.
APPROACH ANGLE: The maximum angle that a vehicle can climb up without causing vehicle damage. This is an important number for hard core off-roaders.
ARMOR-CLAD: A vehicle that is equipped with heavy-duty skidplates underneath. Skidplates are generally added by owners to protect components under the vehicle.
BEATER: A beat up vehicle that looks horrible but is mechanically sound.
DROPPED PITMAN ARM: An aftermarket part that extends the steering linkage longer than the stock arm.
FULL-FLOATER: A rear-end design in which the axles don't carry the weight of the vehicle. This is the preferred setup for four wheeling because if the axle breaks, the vehicle can still roll freely.
GRANNY GEAR: An ultralow first gear in a manual transmission. It's called a granny gear because the vehicle moves along so slowly.
LIFT BLOCK: A block placed between the rear axle and leaf springs to lift up the vehicle.
LOCKED IN: Manual locking hubs set in the lock position.
LOCKER: A differential that allows engine power to be delivered to both wheels simulanteously, giving maximum traction. This is helpful during situations when one wheel is off the ground.
LOW GEARS: Gears with a numerically higher ratio; 4.10 gears are lower than 3.72 gears.
MONDO: Large, huge, or massive.
PTO: Power Take-Off, An output shaft on the transfer case that sends engine power to accessories like a winch.
PUMPKIN: The center section of a front or rear differential housing.
ROCKCRAWLER: A 4x4 built specifically for maneuvering through rocky terrain. Rockcrawlers are generally not used on the road for transportation.
SNATCH BLOCK: A pully-like winching device to change the winch's direction of pull.
TACO'D: A frame or other part such as an axle that has been severely bent.
TAG: To hit an obstacle with some part of the truck.
TAIL GUNNER: The rear vehicle in a caravan of off-road vehicles.
TALL GEARS: Gears with a numerically lower ratio; 3.72:1 gears are taller than 4.1:1 gears.
T-CASE: Short for transfer case. A device usually attached directly to the transmission. The transfer case is a gearbox that splits engine power to the front and rear axles.
TRAIL BOSS: The trail leader on a trail ride.
TRANNY: Short for transmission.
TREE-HUGGER: Derogatory term for an environmentalists
TWEAKING: Modifying something to enhance performance.
TREE-SAVER: A nylon strap designed to go around a tree to protect it while it's being used as an anchor point for winching.
YANK STRAP: A large nylon strap used for pulling out stuck vehicles. Also referred to as a tow strap.
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