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I have a 2000 AWD. The mileage ratings for the 2 wheel drive vehicles is higher than the AWD vehicles. Was wondering if anybody has removed the rear drive shaft to reduce what's turning and if so was there an increase in MPG. Also if this is done is there any possible damage to the pump in the rear differential?

Where I live, an AWD vehicle is used only a few months a years when snow is a possibility; rest of the year it's not needed so there is a potential to save around 8 months a year.

Older Jeeps and other true 4 wheel drive vehicles had lock in hubs on the front wheels which basically did what I have in mind; disconnect half of the moving drive train parts when not needed.
 

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I don't think it would make any difference because the rear gears, axles, etc are still turning. The locking hubs disconnected the axles, etc. from the drivetrain and that decreased the drag on the powertrain.
 

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Well, the 2WD EPA rating was about 1 MPG more. Don't forget, the 4WD helps during summer downpours, too.

You certainly won't damage anything by removing the driveshaft/propshaft. Many people have done this to diagnose drivetrain vibrations. Just be sure to support the center bearing as you work on it. Don't forget to mark the orientation of the flanges so that they mount up the same way.
 
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