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All 4 Wheels Are Engaged All the Time

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by Calebwitdafro, October 13, 2017.

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    1. Calebwitdafro

      Calebwitdafro New Member

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      97 Explorer XLT
      98 Explorer XLT 4.0. I have tried researching this, but there isn't a clear answer. My dash has 3 options: 2wd, 4wd AUTO, and 4 low. From auto to 4low it grinds and I can hear it switch. From auto to 2wd, there is no noise at all. No switch. Lights show up on the dash like they're switching, but I can only HEAR it switch from auto to 4low. Is this normal? How do I know if I'm stuck in 4 auto? I can't do a burnout to test, I've tried. The steering feels fine in tight corners, yet I jacked the car up and all 4 tires spin when in drive. In 4low, only the right side spins. In 2wd and 4auto, all 4 tires spin. What's going on?
       
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    3. Jacob Williams

      Jacob Williams New Member

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      Pretty sure AUTO means it's 2wd unless one of the back wheels starts slipping. Then it will give power to the front wheels. This is a 4x4 explorer's standard running mode, it doesn't technically have a true 2wd. Mine has 3 options of auto, 4 high and 4 low. Are you sure yours isn't 4x4 auto and straight up 50:50 4x4? That would make more sense. Or maybe transfer case is messed up. Somebody on here will know
       
      Last edited: October 13, 2017
    4. Turdle

      Turdle Moderator Masterbaker Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    5. 96eb96

      96eb96 Well-Known Member

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      2wd option was gone after 96, replaced with auto. There is additional hardware for that setting, a disconnect on the front axle. It is true 2wd, less wear and tear. But you have an extra system that could mess up. It is vacuum controlled.

      F150s have that till this day.

      As a 98 you should have Auto, 4hi, 4lo. There is always 5% given to the front wheels.
       
    6. J_C

      J_C Well-Known Member

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      This puzzles me, pretty sure my '98 switch has Auto, 4WD High and 4WD Low.

      Anyway you could take the shift motor off the transfer case to see if it's moving when switched and verify its alignment, but as 96eb96 mentioned you may have a little torque going to the front wheels in 2WD mode but it's probably not stuck in 4WD if you're not getting binding on tight corners.

      It's entirely possible for it to operate without your hearing it. 4Low needs to switch gears. 4H just keeps an electric clutch engaged, same one always active if a wheel slips in Auto.
       
    7. 96eb96

      96eb96 Well-Known Member

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      Motor does not get involved unless low is selected. It swaps in low range gearing.
       
    8. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      From previous investigations on the different types of Explorer 4x4 dash switches, there seem to be quite a few variants offered over the years (check out what's available on eBay for Explorer 4x4 radio bezels).

      If I assume the OP has the AUTO/4WD /4WD LO dash switch and if he had the switch in AUTO with all 4 wheels jacked off the ground, started the engine and put the transmission in gear, I would expect all four wheels to begin turning. I believe this should happen because it would be the same thing as driving, having the rear wheels slipping and AUTO engaging the front wheels. No?

      I have no need for 4WD at this time, but if I had the stupid AUTO setup I would definitely do the "brown wire mod" and add a switch to the wire.
       
    9. J_C

      J_C Well-Known Member

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      Auto really doesn't bother me except in the case of making a sharp right hand turn, accelerating from a stop in wet weather. Every time it rains (or snows, never dry) and I hit the stop sign at the end of my street and turn 90' right, 4WD kicks in for a ~half second.

      This I believe is due to my tires having poor wet traction, yet ironically after I had done my brake lines I did a straight stop ABS test a few times in rain and they stopped fine in a straight line, took a surprising amount of deceleration to break grip and activate the ABS.
       
    10. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      I have a dislike for most things "automatic". Your experience with AUTO is exactly why I'd want to do the brown wire mod. I've owned multiple 4WD vehicles and learned to drive in the northeast with it's snow storms. I can't think of any situation where I'd want my vehicle to automatically go into 4WD, but adding a switch to the brown wire would give me the option of using it.
       

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