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95 Limited "4wd auto" vs xlt's "4wd high" ?

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by Barrynewbie, August 2, 2017.


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    1. Barrynewbie

      Barrynewbie New Member

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      Hello gang,
      Serious thinking about purchasing a 95 Limited tomorrow..(4.0 ohv)....it's NOT the AWD like newer Limiteds (thankfully)...... so as title states this Limited has "4WD AUTO" in place of "4WD HIGH"
      It has 2WD and 4WD LOW settings so we're good there......but middle option, once again is 4wd "auto" instead of 4wd "high" .

      Anybody have input / knowledge of how responsive / quickly this "auto" setting will kick in ...and how sensitive it is? Does it function optimally or does it kick in once I'm halfway stuck in some mild mud? Roughly how long does it stay engaged once kicked in?.... so many turns of driveshaft..?

      Also, what is the maximum speed recommended with this engaged?

      Thanks.
       
      Last edited: August 2, 2017
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    3. XLTrunner

      XLTrunner Active Member

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      I don't have all the technical answers you're looking for...but, the 4WD Auto is designed to have a small percentage of power (5-8%) directed to the front axle at all times and to be increased as needed when sensors detect a variance in axle speed front to back. Presumably, it's constantly changing as conditions dictate. That's why it's imperative that you run matched tires all the way around to prevent premature destruction of your transfer case if truck is left in this mode for normal day to day driving. It's perfectly safe to run your truck in this mode at any speed. In fact, beginning in '97, Ford engineers eliminated the 2WD option and replaced it with the AUTO mode. Personally, I'd take the earlier models with the true 2WD option over the later models that didn't offer it.
       
    4. Barrynewbie

      Barrynewbie New Member

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      THANKS for reply.... turns out Explorer was somewhat of a beater when I got there to check it out (imagine that!) .....but I would STILL like to hear other people who own a 95 or 96 (found out ALL 95,96 explorers have this setup regardless of version) on their personal experience / feedback on this application.
       
    5. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      Those A4WD models have an internal clutch somewhat like the AC clutch, magnetically engaged. It's fast enough that it's only slightly noticeable in normal driving. When one tire slips a little from gravel or the front wheels turned on poor traction, then the 4WD module detects it and grabs the front driveshaft, internally as I mentioned.

      Keep perfectly matched tires on it, rotate often. Replace the TC fluid, and do that once a year ideally. The AWD only came behind the 302's for the 2nd gen trucks, all V6's would be the automatic 4WD option, and never AWD.
       
    6. Barrynewbie

      Barrynewbie New Member

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      Thanks Don for follow up!
       
    7. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      The air shock system(ARC) is a bigger deal with those 95-98's. If they haven't been taken care of, the air compressor is usually dead. Leaks are kind of common at this age, and the shocks are not cheap, so people usually swap them for regular shocks, and disable the system. I've got it on my 99, which I installed the system into, and I like it. I bought new shocks for the rear for little more than $100, and it keeps the ride level with any load.
       
    8. SWIGIN

      SWIGIN Active Member

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      Too bad it was beat but the 5.0 Explorers did not have that setup, they are all the time all wheel drive.
       
    9. Barrynewbie

      Barrynewbie New Member

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      That's interesting you mentioned the ARC ....I wasn't aware of it.....but while on short test drive we just happen to come across a field so I thought perfect place to test 4x4.....(which didn't engage - LS did but that was it) ....BUT owner mentioned he noticed it "lifted in back" while going up small berm....was thinking " I sensed that too" .....so now I know it had the ARC and that worked....too bad the rest was sub par...
      Thanks again all for input!
      The craigslist hunt continues..... me and my buddy joke about writing a book on the Explorers that we checked out that were suppose / claimed to be in "good shape" that were abused with multiple issues (not looking for perfect)......then again that's why half the reason people sell their used vehicles....they're about to fall apart so they try to dump them....
       
    10. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      The prices are good for most any Explorer that old. I'm partial to the 98-01's, the 302 and its V8 trans are far more reliable than the V6 units. It's worth whatever the cost to get a V8, even the minor gas costs. I have three now and that's all I need, two are for work and one is long term pleasure. If I had lots of space and money, I'd buy more and fix them up, but I can't get the ones I have done. Have fun,
       
    11. Mbrooks420

      Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer

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      I wouldn't consider a second gen Explorer unless it was the V8.
       
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    12. imp

      imp Well-Known Member

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      4X4 Auto is the MUCH poorer choice between that and a switch labeled 4X4 HIGH. Because a multitude of everyday driving situations NOT requiring 4X4 cause the Electronic Clutch to cycle, which is disconcerting when one knows he is climbing over a bump between gravel and pavement and experiences slight wheel slip, which produces a CLUNK as the front wheels are momentarily engaged, then quickly disengaged. It works, yes, but I don't like it.


      AWD? IMO BEST possible choice for the average, non-4X4 "combatant" who needs traction everyday in snow, ice, mud, gravel. Off-road? No damned good, comparatively. AWD is far simpler, pretty foolproof when compared to complexities introduced by electronic clutches, shift motors, wheel speed sensors telling you when you're "slipping", etc, along with those mind-boggling push switches the average guy, and especially the average gal, will not EVER understand.

      Just my opinions. The final decision is the buyer's. imp
       
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    13. 96eb96

      96eb96 Well-Known Member

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      I am talking here only about the V6:
      All 95 and 96 V6 engines are OHV, 97+ v6 are SOHC or OHV ,OHVs are generally more reliable and easier to repair, no one here will suggest an SOHC engine. 97+ also have a 5 speed transmission, which may debatably be a bit less reliable than the 4spd in the 95-96 (but they are similar).

      95 and 96 V6 (not V8) 4x4 systems differ from 97+. The earlier ones have a front center axle disconnect so you have 2wd (like a Crown Vic, Mustang, etc) unless you switch to 4wd Auto. 97+ ALWAYS have a 4WD mode selected.
      So, a 95-95 switch has: 2wd, 4wd Auto, 4wd Low
      97+ has: 4wd Auto, 4wd High, 4wd Low
      Only Auto or 2wd can be used on Dry pavement. Auto mode is an electronic part time system that reacts when the rear wheels lose traction.It may be a 95/5 rear front split during normal driving, but that changes with slippage. High and Low lock the front and rear axles together. Low adds about 2.5X gear reduction to give a ton of torque but low speed.

      I think the 96 Control Trac system works very well in snow. There is a tiny delay until it kicks but not terribly noticeable.

      V8 uses an always on viscous clutch AWD system with no electronics. The transmission is different too (actually the same one used in a Crown Vic).
       
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    14. Barrynewbie

      Barrynewbie New Member

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      Thanks for additional elaboration 96eb96 .....and yes....I only want an OHV that last forever....not the timing chain disaster SOHC....I had a Ranger with the OHV and must be honest I wasn't the best (nor worst) at timely oil changes / coolant etc...and the thing was running like a tank at 246,000 with all original engine components! when I sold it.
      And on that it's "interesting" looking at the second Gen Explorers- post 96 on C-list for the OHV.....notice that they have to be the XL or XLS model....but have seen a few XLS's with the SOHC and I saw ONE 2000 XLT with the OHV! I had totally passed on viewing post 96 XLT's because they all had SOHC's.....and then on a fluke I looked at on and saw OHV engine with XLT badges and trim all over it! .....the black sheep late XLT!

      One last thing for now.... what's your view on the 95/96 LS rear-ends....I hear they're decent but nothing to write home about....have any of you put a ratchet style locker in one .....I understand you have to change the yoke whereas a 97 and up (open diff) they pop right in somewhat..... true?

      Will follow up with you guy's later....thanks again for all the input.... no new/ good Explorers on Craigslist in my parts for the last two weeks...the hunt will continue though!
       

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    15. Barrynewbie

      Barrynewbie New Member

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      Thanks for additional elaboration 96eb96 .....and yes....I only want an OHV that last forever....not the timing chain disaster SOHC....I had a Ranger with the OHV and must be honest I wasn't the best (nor worst) at timely oil changes / coolant etc...and the thing was running like a tank at 246,000 with all original engine components! when I sold it.
      And on that it's "interesting" looking at the second Gen Explorers- post 96 on C-list for the OHV.....notice that they have to be the XL or XLS model....but have seen a few XLS's with the SOHC and I saw ONE 2000 XLT with the OHV! I had totally passed on viewing post 96 XLT's because they all had SOHC's.....and then on a fluke I looked at on and saw OHV engine with XLT badges and trim all over it! .....the black sheep late XLT!

      One last thing for now.... what's your view on the 95/96 LS rear-ends....I hear they're decent but nothing to write home about....have any of you put a ratchet style locker in one .....I understand you have to change the yoke whereas a 97 and up (open diff) they pop right in somewhat..... true?

      Will follow up with you guy's later....thanks again for all the input.... no new/ good Explorers on Craigslist in my parts for the last two weeks...the hunt will continue though!
       
    16. 96eb96

      96eb96 Well-Known Member

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      Yeah, after 96 the OHV went on the lower spec models. You would probably have to special order if if it was even possible on something like a Limited. I guess ignorance is bliss though, back then it seemed like a great engine. If you really want something reliable find an OHV with a 5- speed manual. Those can probably see 1 million miles. You can add toys like a nice head unit.

      The rear ends on these trucks are very solid and proven, it is the 8.8. Jeep guys scavenge them from the J/Y and use them for another 100K+ with no problem. They could be refurbished to look new if you put in some effort.

      The LS units are tradeoffs, but I think they are a good idea for heavy snow areas.
      I swapped in a new cobra LS unit, the whole thing with fluid, seals and bearings was under $300, and it helps a ton in the snow. I'm sure a product like that used for racing will long outlast my truck, I will probably sell it when the time comes. There are more expensive options like Torsen, depends on your budget. Depends what you want it for. Nothing except a locker though will lock both wheels, and that is something you only want offroad.

      You could always refresh a rear end with new fluid and clutches for cheap. The clutches do wear out (well over 100K) but it just become as an open until you repair. I know that my truck would barely move in snow without 4x4, but now with the LS I can leave it off until there are slopes. I took it on a rocky trail last week and the LS made it feel more sure footed.
       

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