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'96 Explorer electric 4WD not working

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by RubberneckSeth, December 28, 2011.

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    1. RubberneckSeth

      RubberneckSeth New Member

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      City, State:
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      Year and Model:
      '96 Explorer
      I have an explorer with electric 4WD and auto-locking hubs. When switching to 4WD, whether High or Low, the dummy light on the dash comes on, but the front axle never gets power.

      The engine turns the front drive shaft whether in 2WD or 4WD, but the axle doesn't get power. From this observation, I assume that the 4WD engages in the front diff. Is this correct? Should the front drive shaft be getting power in 2WD, or is there a transfer case between it and the transmission that should disengage it?

      I don't know much about 4WD front ends yet, but the dummy light suggests that the electric motor that engages 4WD is doing its part.
       
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    3. mr_valingo

      mr_valingo Active Member

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      Does the switch on the dash say 2hi 4auto 4low? If so in auto the front axle should lock while the transfer case only sends power when the rear wheels slip. Click it in auto and climb under and try to spin the front shaft. With the front tires on the ground the shaft should not spin, if it does the axle is not locking in. To check the transfer case you can drop the front shaft and try to spin the yoke will the truck is in 4low. Again if it spins you have a problem
       
    4. Beargap

      Beargap Active Member

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      As I recall the 96 had a front axle disconnect inside the front diff and is powered by a vacuum line. That line getting broken is a typical problem and what I'd expect is wrong with yours.

      =Vic=
       
      Last edited: December 29, 2011
    5. RubberneckSeth

      RubberneckSeth New Member

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      Thanks a lot for your input.

      Mr. Valingo: Yes, the switch says 2Hi, 4 Auto, 4 Low. Indeed, I can turn the front shaft while it is in 2WD, but not in 4.

      Beargap: I found a post describing a similar issue where vacuum lines come into play - http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=231882 - The problem is that I am just not sure what I am looking for. I found a few lines of metal tubing running down into the axle in a few places. Can you give me an idea of where to look or which of these it might be? Also, how does one troubeshoot a vacuum line?

      Thanks a lot to both of you for your comments.
       
    6. mr_valingo

      mr_valingo Active Member

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      If you can't spin the shaft with the switch in the auto position then the cad is working. You can try the brown wire mod which will allow you to "lock" in the transfer case giving you 4hi. http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=149388 if your front tires still aren't getting power then its probably time for a new transfer case
       
    7. Beargap

      Beargap Active Member

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      I have a '97, so I can't really tell you much about that beyond what the other posts said. That vacuum disconnect was a problem with GM SUV's too, and there was a kit that replaced it with a cable attached to a pull handle under the dash so you could manually lock the front axle by pulling the handle. Ford wisely dropped that entire mechanism in '97 and let the axle stay connected and run in 4WD Auto as the default position, which also allowed locking the transfer case in 4WD-Hi as well as 4WD-Lo.

      =Vic=
       

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