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1997 ford Explorer Trouble with 4 wheel drive

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Old 01-02-2013, 07:30 PM   #1
Harleysofttail06
Amherst Ohio
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1997 ford Explorer Trouble with 4 wheel drive

Hello the one i have is the 1997 but says 1996 on the door
97-01 4-door and 96-00 Sports
Your control knob should say 4auto, 4high, 4low.
First, we need to narrow it down to a transfer case issue, or a front axle issue.
I have checked the fuses all of them i put a new trasfercase motor on and just put two new hubs on last night and still the front end will not engage i have jacked the front end up and turned the wheels the turn the oppeset way but sometimes when turning it one wheel stops turning when you spin the drive shaft they both turn and go the oppest way the 4 wheel high and low light will come on when switched just don't understand why the front won't lock in any help would be great
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:45 PM   #2
Kevlar7R
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Little hard to follow you, but sounds like you have no problem at all. With an open axle the wheels will spin opposite directions when there is drag on the drive shaft (meaning it IS in 4x4). It will probably do it in 2x4 also, since the spider gears are smaller than the ring and pinion.




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Old 01-02-2013, 08:22 PM   #3
drdoom
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I would say a problem with the electromagnetic clutch, and you say the fuses are good, I would check to make sure a previous owner hasn't done a brown wire mod. So what you need to do is check for power at the brown wire, because, when commanded by the GEM, that is what energizes the electromagnet.

Last edited by drdoom; 01-02-2013 at 08:36 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:39 AM   #4
Harleysofttail06
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1997 explorer 4 wheel drive

Where is the Brown wire at does it come out of the back of the T-Case should that wire be hot all the time or when it is locked in to 4 Wheel Drive only
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:51 PM   #5
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the Brown wire going into the tranfer case is hooked up to the electromagnetic clutch which controls the front drive shaft.
The wire get a pulse voltage to it all the time on these control trac systems. In normal auto mode the ratio is about 20% front drive shaft 80% rear. The two hall sensors are placed one on the rear output shaft and one on the front output shaft. If the back drive wheels start to slip the sensor(s tell the computer and the pulses are supplied by the gem module to put more torque on the clutch/front drive shaft. Longer pulse time and frequency are all determined by those sensors and computer.

When you shift into low four wheel drive you must be stopped, and the brake on then switch the switch to low 4 x 4. You can read the voltage at that brown wire to a good ground and you should have a stead 12vdc because the electromagnetic clutch is lock in solid, any other time, you will only get pulses of voltage. If you take a 12vdc source and entergize the brown wire it will lock in the clutch, and the front drive shaft will run. Take away the voltage and there is freewheel in the front driveshaft.
hope this helps!
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:27 PM   #6
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1997 explorer 4 wheel drive

brewman I have checked the pins on the connector from the harness and jacked it up can hear the transfer case motor switch from high to low.I turned the passanger side front tire and the rear drivers tire will turn and turning the drive shaft the tires will turn on the front when the wheels up off the ground but i dont know why the front won't engage when it on the ground getting
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:01 PM   #7
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The high low shift motor is a separate motor to change the transfer case gear ratio. That motor has nothing to do with locking in the front output shaft that runs the four wheel drive. The electro-magnet in the tranfer case is what does that. When you supply 12 volts DC think about a scrap yard crane that has an electro magnet on it. The operator moves the magnet over the metal he wants to move then flips the switch, the magnet energizes and grabs the metal. If he turns off the switch the metal drops. This is what happens inside the transfer case. The brown wire is the wire hooked up to the magnet. Put 12 vdc to it and it locks in the driveshaft, take it away, and the driveshaft doesn't spin, this is all done from inside the transfer case.
You say that you checked the connector pins.. Did you get 12vdc from brown wire to ground?
The other thing is you say you changed the shift motor. Why did you do that, was the motor not working?

When on the ground and you shift from 4x high to 4x low at a stop brake on does the low gears change so when you give it gas it only runs in low gearset mode (only can drive at about 25 mph without it sounding like it is going to blow up the motor)? That shift motor changes the gear ratio for both front and rear driveshafts not only one. Is this happening?

I would definitely use a separate voltage source on the magnetic clutch brown wire after disconnecting the connector from it's gem source. That would prove the magnet is working or not (front driveshaft locks all the way in).

Second would be to make sure the shift motor is actually shifting the internal gears into low mode. Once you have proven you have a good magnetic clutch and the transfer case is actually shifting from high to low modes, then you can work backwards and check the gem and hall sensors and wiring.

One big problem with these transfer cases is the shift fork assembly and gear that shift from high to low mode. There is a sticky on this.

The Brown wire mod is another "sticky" that cuts the brown wire after the gem and adds a switch so you can make these run in 2 wheel drive only.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:20 PM   #8
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Am I missing something? I still don't think he has a problem.

He turns the front tire and the opposite rear tire turns? They are open axles and they are definitely connected through the transfer case.

How are you establishing that it is not engaging on the ground?




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Old 01-07-2013, 01:29 PM   #9
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I removed the "wanted" prefix from your thread title. I don't believe you "want" 4wd problems.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:32 PM   #10
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Does the "abs" light illuminate when you first turn on the key?

Does it turn off when the engine is running?

If the ABS system is in foul--the 4wd will not function.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:33 PM   #11
dimension12
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Under the air filter box is a relay panel. Check the two thin relays located at the rear side. Clean the terminals of both. One controls the washers and the other has something to do with the transfer case clutch.
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Old 02-04-2014, 07:06 PM   #12
palauborne
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What was the outcome of this thread? I have a 1999 Ford Explorer with a similar 4WD problem. I only get 2.1 volts on the brown wire when disconnected from the harness and set to 4High. Trying to narrow it down but it may be a GEM issue. Any thoughts?
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