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How to: Rebuild 4X4 Shift Motor

Discussion in 'Transmissions & Transfer Cases' started by Brain, December 20, 2004.


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    1. mpierich

      mpierich New Member

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      I felt I had to add this - it saved me a ton of money and a lot of grief...

      I was going to do as this excellent thread suggests and try to fix the motor. But the screws on back of the gear housing were so bad I was down to Easy-outs, and didn't want to mess with that. So I got a rebuilt motor (Advance Auto Parts, $169). Reinstalled it and although I could tell there was current draw, it still did not shift.

      I posted about it and my friend "toppermansworld" told me he found he had to loosen and retighten the motor to get it to work. Seems if the rear bracket on the motor is not just right, when you tighten it, it pulls the motor sideways (toward the transfer case) and binds up. So, especially w/ a new motor, or if you have taken the actual motor apart, you need to leave the motor's rear (end) bracket loose on its screws (the same two screws that pass thru the motor body and keep it together). Put the three mounting bolts in and hand-tighten. Test the operation. If it works, torque down the three bolts. _Then_ push the loose rear bracket tight against its mount, hand-tighten the bolt, re-tighten the two screws holding the bracket to the motor, and torque down the bracket to the transfer case.

      Also, Lisle company makes a pin removal tool with different-sized doodads that make it easy as pie to push the pins out the back of the electrical connector. So you don't need to cut the brown wire, nor the blue/green if you are installing a new/rebuilt one.

      Hope this helps somebody; I know you guys have helped me a lot. I'll keep an eye on this board in case there's something I can help somebody else with (you don't get to be 55 and poor w/out learning a bit about mechanics, lol).

      Mike
       
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    3. mpierich

      mpierich New Member

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      The Lisle Corp. of Clarinda, Iowa makes a "Wire Terminal Tool System", part no. 56500. Yyou take the red core out, then just push any of the pins (including the center one) out the back, easy as pie.

      I got mine from a motorcycle supply house, but I imagine NAPa or anyone has them on th especialty tool rack.

      Just wish I woulda remembered I had the damn thing before I cut three wires, loo! :rolleyes:

      Mike
       
    4. N7XME

      N7XME Member

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      I use a long dental pick tool that I picked up years ago for who knows what. It slips down and has a nice little bend on the end to get under the red lock ring. Pull it out and pry back the tab on the center pin, pull the brown wire from the back and Voila. No cut wires and neat as can be. I was having trouble with my shift motor as well and took it off and on so many times in one day that I now can have the whole motor off the case in 5 minutes flat, including pulling the wire. Only tools required are a 10mm nutdriver, a t-20 torx(busted out my security pins), and the long pick or paperclip. My motor turned out to have the commutator and brushes a nice black color, the bushing was gone and the sensor wheel had a lot of carbon buildup. 5 minutes with a pink eraser and 2 minutes to find, measure, cut, and install a new rubber hose bushing and BINGO, 4x4 again. This writeup helped tremendously and I wanted to share my success story and tips.
       
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    5. glfredrick

      glfredrick Well-Known Member

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      My question runs past the shift motor into the switch and computer controller for the motor.

      I have tried multiple good shift motors and sensors and none will function on my 92 (they work on my Ranger) - which leads me to believe that I have a bad switch or relay (computer?). Anyone have experience with those parts - as in replacement or diagnosis?

      Also, as a stop gap measure for all the people that just can't make their own shift motors work, I have worked out a way to make that motor a manual affair... This is still in the works, but I should have it running this week some time (and I'll take pics).

      I got a flexible drive shaft (a piece of E-brake cable with its sheild) - cot off the rotor of a known bad motor - and made a collar by drilling a piece or round stock to fit both the end of the worm gear (that drives the shift selector) and the flexible cable. I also drilled and tapped the collar for set screws to hold each shaft securely. Then, I epoxied the flexible shaft into a part of the old motor housing (I used one with a broken magnet) and reinstalled the end cap, now drilled to support the flexible drive with shortened screws (I ran a die down them to thread them further). I now have a "shorty" motor housing, that intead of holding an amature, holds a flexible drive shaft epoxied into place.

      I am running the other end of the shaft up into the interior of the truck and I'm using a window crank from a moble home window to turn the shaft, thus duplicating the efforts of the electric motor to shift the truck.

      It's sort of a cheese fix, but so far, it gives me every indication that it will work fine. My final steps once I get all of this together are to simply count the number of turns I need to get it into 4 Hi and 4 Low (low is easier - just turn until you can't - high needs to be at a particular spot).

      Perhaps my fix will help some other guys that want a "manual" T-case shifter for some application, but can't find or afford the change over to the true manual shift T-case.

      Oh - and BTW, the two cases - manual and electric shift - are identical once you get inside the case. One is not stronger than the other - the only difference is the back half of the case and the shift mechanism - so spedning a lot of money to get a manual setup is rather cost innefective becasue you really don't get any true strength difference - just the satisfaction of pulling a lever instead of pushing a button.

      One further thing - my son's shop has a TON of these T-cases - in both varieties if anyone really needs a replacement. They have them in stock and ready to ship - sorry - no linkage for the manual shift T-cases. PM me for contact details.
       
    6. EXPLORER DAD

      EXPLORER DAD New Member

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      What is the aproximate time to R & R the transfer case?
       
    7. glfredrick

      glfredrick Well-Known Member

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      You should be able to do it within an hour if you have a few tools and some skill...

      You just have to drop the two drivehafts - he electric harness - and the 5 bolts that fasten it to the transmission adaptor. It just slides right out then...
       
    8. Low End Torque

      Low End Torque New Member

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      I want to personally thank you for posting this information. I just completed this rebuild and it worked great! This is a very enabling piece of information and emphasizes the internet as a tool for freedom. Many of us, that like to do our own maintenance, hit road blocks on a regular basis and it is refreshing to find support from others in this regard.

      Thanks,
       
    9. mpierich

      mpierich New Member

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      Only thing I read was to disconnect two flat connectors from the computer module and push the test button on the bottom. If it flashes, the computer is good, if steady or nothing, it's bad. Mine flashed and turned out to be OK, FWIW. There also must be way to check the relays. There is a fuse (40A I think) in the panel on the right fender.

      I like it. I was going to work on something but might try this. You will likely be able to tell (feel) when it snicks into 4H and 4L and back, it's a defintite detent. My attack was going to be an emergency-brake type or stout push-pull choke cable and a crank arm on the shaft. Might still try that, too. 'Course, now I have my electric working perfectly.

      As simple as it is convert, I wouldn't know why you'd need to buy the manual one. My mechanic tells me somebody does sell a cable-actuated conversion kit, I'll find out who makes it. But it likely will cost as much as a rebuilt shift motor.
       
    10. Jonny813

      Jonny813 Member

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      Thank you Brian! Finally my 4x4 works again... After bolting it back in place I couldn't find any wire splicers... So I had to wait till the next day to hook it back up. Just finished it about 2 hours ago (only thing needed to be done was reconnect the brown wire) which took a whole 5 minutes. I was so sweating bullets when I threw it into nuetral and turned the switch then I saw the light come on and a click from the motor! Wallah! Again, thank you so much for the wonderful thread!
       
    11. Flyswat

      Flyswat New Member

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      I'm new here, but not new to forums (I moderate www.mx6.com)...I'd just like to tell everyone that www.rockauto.com sells a remanufactured Shift Motor for $90...which is the cheapest price I've seen anywhere.
       
    12. glfredrick

      glfredrick Well-Known Member

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    13. Spdrcer34

      Spdrcer34 Well-Known Member

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      I just made $100 with the help of this thread! Thanks!

      My friend bought a 91 or 92 EB X, he picked it up for nearly nothing, one of the 'major' problems it had is the 4x4 hasn't worked in a few years....I told him I just 're-built' my 4x4 shift motor, and I could do the same for him. I removed his shift motor, pulled the red 'keeper' out of the plug using a nail and some needle nose pliers. pulled the brown center wire out, and took the motor to my house for disassembly. Sure enough, the nylon/plastic bushing was in 5 pieces in the housing. I replaced it with a small section (1/4" - 3/8" long) of rubber hose, cleaned up the motor contacts (they were VERY black with carbon deposits), lubed and re-assembled.

      I installed the motor and it worked perfectly........

      Thanks!

      Now I have more money to spend on the X!

      Ryan
       
    14. cwb8791

      cwb8791 New Member

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      DUDE! That was an awesome write up. I haven't had 4X4 capability in over two years. Had no idea. Saw this, printed it, followed it step by step and it went right into gear after putting it back together. Only problem, that added about two hours to the project, was that two of the three damn torx heads snapped right off. Had to put in new threads, but it all worked out in the end. Thanks a lot for the time to put that write up together.
       

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    15. snikwah32153

      snikwah32153 New Member

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      thanks

      if this works you guys have saved me a bunch of monies. I will put it back together tonight. thanks again
       
    16. Linkster

      Linkster New Member

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      I have no high or low, switch and lights work and seems to be in lower gear but no 4 wheel drive! Damn aggravating get stuck in my driveway every night after this record snow fall!

      HELP!!
       
    17. glfredrick

      glfredrick Well-Known Member

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      It almost sounds like you are a victim of bad automatic hubs...

      Try putting the truck into neutral when you shift into 4 low and see if that makes a difference. Otherwise, do you hear any popping or grinding noises coming from the front axle area? If so, then your hubs are most likely not working. I recommend manual hubs (Warns).
       
    18. DeRocha

      DeRocha NEX Vice President Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      If the switch works and the 4x4 lights on the dash and button come on then your shift motor is working. Unfortunately this means your HUBS are not. If you have autohubs you should replace them with manuals as the autos are more than twice the cost of manuals (even though manuals are stronger).
       
    19. Linkster

      Linkster New Member

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      Hubs

      Well that was a fast reply for sure!

      Maybe I will just drive to Brockton and have you check them to be sure..LOL


      Will check on hubs for sure, had manuals on my old Blaser which was a beast to be sure! I know I put new rotors on recently and put a lot of grease in there so maybe that is the issue. Kinda nasty out to be doing that now, another 9 inches we really need, but tired of getting stuck in my semi-cleaned path to the yard!


      Thanks again guys! :usa: ;)
       
      Last edited: January 26, 2005
    20. glfredrick

      glfredrick Well-Known Member

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      If the auto hubs are full of grease, they will almost certainly fail - and/or "freeze up" and be unable to engage.

      I'd pull the wheels and hubs and clean out all but the thinest film of grease and see if they work. That should take less than an hour counting the time spent jacking up the truck...

      Clean them out with mineral spirits. Just fill them - and use an ond tooth brush to get all the grease out - then try them again. Oh - and if your hubs still have the factory clip on one of the studs, just dump it and forget it. It isn't needed.
       
    21. 3spd on floor

      3spd on floor New Member

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      Another Method

      First of all, I would like to say thanks to Brain for this writeup. I took my malfunctioning shift motor off today and replaced the bushing that was broken into 5 pieces with a piece of rubber hose, as was mentioned above. (also thanks to whomever mentioned that)


      Additionally, I would like to add to the procedure another method for alligning the shift motor servo. It was friggin freezing here today and I didnt want to spend time under the truck putting the drive gear back in and then putting the cover back on. :(

      What I thought of, and then did, was to make a match mark on the housing, as Brain mentioned in the first write-up. This allows the cover to be put back on in the factory alligned position. Next, I simply placed the large drive gear in the housing in a position that was obviously between the 2HI and 4HI positions. After this I just replaced the cover, alliging the marks I made, all in the comfort of my warm basement. The trick to this method is to let the computer and servo automatically allign the gear to where its supposed to be. To do this, I simply set the assembly under the truck, plugged in the wiring connector, started the truck and pushed the 4x4 button on the dash. Sure enough, the motor rotated to the 4x4 position, so I pushed it again to let it rotate back and it will automatically stop at the correct 2HI position when it gets there. Dont you just love servos? Then just bolt it on and go wheelin'!
       
    22. DeRocha

      DeRocha NEX Vice President Elite Explorer Moderator Emeritus

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      :thumbsup: That is a great idea 3spd on floor!. I fiddled with my sensor alignment for 2 hours getting it dialed in with a multi meter. I assumed the 4x4 computer would do nothing if the sensor wasn't in its 2H starting position. I will have to try this out next time I tear into a shift motor.
       
    23. blkman9

      blkman9 New Member

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      How difficult is it to add a body lift and suspenstion lift to my 91 explorer.I,d like to run some 35"s...Hello....anyone?
       
    24. jaxon1174

      jaxon1174 New Member

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      Thanx for the great thread

      I just wanted to say that is an awesome thread. I realized my 4x4 was out on my 93 XLT a month ago when we had a big snow and decided 400 bucks for a new shift motor wasnt worth the trouble. When the weather man predicted another snow storm I was determined to find a cheaper way to fix my explorer. I found your thread through a search engine... I couldnt believe how easy it was to fix that motor. I spent less than 10 bucks on the torx bit and some new RTV sealant... you saved me 400 bucks and a lot of trouble from the next snow storm which accumulated 14 inches. Thanx again
       
    25. Glacier991

      Glacier991 EF Tranny Guru Moderator Emeritus

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      Blkman9, I see you are somewhat new here. You might want to start your own thread on your question... this thread is about:

      "This is a general how-to thread for fixing the transfer case shift motor for the 4X4 models."

      Your question is:

      Q>" How difficult is it to add a body lift and suspenstion lift to my 91 explorer.I,d like to run some 35"s...Hello....anyone?"

      NOT A MATCH. Yours is an excellent Q... but you might want to post a new thread with that Q here or in the Modified Explorers Forum.

      It is best when the people reading your Q are in the same frame of mind. Your own thread will probably get your lots of answers ! Good luck! And welcome to the site. And you are excused, we all had to start somewhere! This is not a flame or anything!
       
    26. Linkster

      Linkster New Member

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      Took off my hubs and cleaned all the grease out but the rear wheels still and nothing from the front wheels it seems. Has anyone ever taken apart the hubs or could explain to me how they work? Hate to replace it if it is repairable!
       

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