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Transfer Case and or Shift Motor Issue 98 Explorer

Discussion in 'Explorer & Ranger Transmissions, Transfer Cases, &' started by PitCrew, January 15, 2012.

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    1. PitCrew

      PitCrew New Member

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      City, State:
      Western Australia
      Year and Model:
      98 XLT
      Quick background,

      1998 Ford explorer (185 000 Kms) XLT auto V6 SOHC 4.0L Located in Australia

      Was in low gear (4x4) slowly reversing (with trailer), up my garage driveway on loose gravel. Got up the top stopped the car and could not disengage low gear. Removed trailer and drove off slowly to try and disengage low, went to a section I could reverse but could not disengage (low 4x4 light on dash). Slowly drove the car back to the house and felt like it was in low gear.

      I have search this issue online so have tried all the normal tricks disconnect battery, drove backwards in an "S" etc.

      Decided to remove the shift motor and manually move the shift rod. This is where it gets annoying.

      On level ground, turned the knob on the dash to "auto" but the light on the dash stayed on "Low".
      Disconnected the battery and put explorer into neutral.
      Disconnected the shift motor wire hanrness.
      Left for 20min reconnected the battery and put the key to "ON". The "low 4x4"display disappeared, when I turned the 4x4 knob to high the display came on as "High". Went back to "auto" and the "high" display went away. Unfortunatly when I put the knob back to "Low", the display light "low" appeared but when I turned the knob back to either auto or high it remained displayed on low. During all this there was no normal clunking sound.

      Went back and disconnected the battery and removed the shift motor from the transfer case. The transfer case is a Borg Warner so it has a LOW, N and HIGH.
      To my surprise the shift rod was pointing towards the High (not the expected low). The shift rod was able to move freely between the high and neutral but not into the Low (did not roll the explorer back to put it into low).

      Reconnected the shift motor wire harness and the battery (shift motor still off), put the key to on. The low 4x4 light was on but the knob was on auto. Moving the knob did nothing as the display light remained on low, also the shift motor did not move.

      So Im not sure if either the transfer case has died or the shift motor has died, does anyone have any ideas???????

      Any feedback would be appreciated

      Currently I've reconnected everything but disconnected the shift motor wire harness, have the 4x4 knob in auto and the low light display off. Is it OK ie will not cause any harm, to drive the explorer with the shift motor electrically disconnected? I know 4x4 will not work but do need to drive the explorer (kid taxi).

      Thank you for reading the novel of a thread.
       
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    3. Torqueranger

      Torqueranger Active Member

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      Well if it was me I would test the shift motor outside the trans and that should help you go from there..If i was you and need to drive on it then I make something to hold it self in 2wd or auto or 4h and disconnect the harness till you get it fixed ..
       
    4. drdoom

      drdoom Well-Known Member

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      Were you in NEUTRAL, foot on the brake, when trying to shift out of 4-LOW?
       
    5. PitCrew

      PitCrew New Member

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      City, State:
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      Thanks for the replies,

      Neutral into 4x4 low, with brake on is not working.

      What is the best way to "Test", the shift motor?

      As it only deals with the 4x4 High and 4x4 Low shifting, Im assuming with it removed from the transfer case but connected, it will only move when shifting from 4x4 High to 4x4 Low (on vise versa). So auto 4x4 to 4x4 High, the shift motor will do nothing (will not spin).

      I was thinking (manually) putting the transfer case into LOW via the selector shaft on the transfer case, connect the shift motor and see what happens?

      Would the shift motor automatically shift to LOW position? (if working)

      With the shift motor connected, the 4x4 Low light on dash is ON, (even when both the transfer case and the 4x4 knob is not). So as the 4X4 Low light is ON (will put 4x4 knob to Low) would putting the transfer case also in Low, please the electric gremlins? then reset (battery out) to see what happens?

      Do you think this is a good idea to try or could I be causing more of an issue (might this stick it in LOW)? :thumbsup: or :thumbdwn:

      Any input would be appreciated.
       
    6. albi1cnobi1

      albi1cnobi1 Elite Mountaineer Elite Explorer

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      It sounds like you have a bad shift motor. Inside of the motor in the part where the t-case shaft fits in there is a sensor plate that tells the GEM module what range the case is in. There is also a plastic piece that stops the rotation of the gear in either direction. That piece can break off or become deformed and the sensor plate gets "lost" so to speak. Sometimes disconnecting the battery resets it as you have seen, but not always. 4lo is at the extreme end of the rotation of the sensor plate and thats usually where it gets stuck. Also, you're right about the shift between auto and low. It's done electronically so there is no actual movement of the shift motor. You would have to go from auto to hi to lo and back again to test it once it is unbolted from the case. One last note. When the motor is off, hook a ground wire from the case to the motor. I found a bad ground on one of mine once and it wouldnt work off of the case without it.
       
      Last edited: January 21, 2012
    7. blair1980

      blair1980 New Member

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      Sorry to interupt

      first time on a forum dont know if im doing it right. I have a similar problem with same year make model but grinding when i put it in park and wont go in gear. Pushing vehicle backwards makes it go in 1 and reverse but wont shift into 2. I think its stuck in low and needs a new shift motor to fix it. Does that sound right? PLEASE HELP
       
    8. Erek_97Sport

      Erek_97Sport Member

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      hay man this tread is pretty much dead (meaning no one writes on it) im having a simular problem

      here is the link the a thread i started yesterday

      http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=406470

      no one commented yet but hopefully soon.

      im gonna change out my shift motor in the next couple days and hopefully thatll be it. im gonna write the resaults on my thread so just a heads up
       

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