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How to: 2nd Gen 4wd Troubleshooting Guide

Discussion in 'Transmissions & Transfer Cases' started by gijoecam, January 2, 2008.

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    1. gijoecam

      gijoecam Village Idiot Elite Explorer

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      Seeing as it's that time of year again, I thought I might create a quick, dirty, and simple troubleshooting procedure for those having issues. I don't plan to cover all the possible causes, but it's quite easy to narrow it down to a mechanical issue with the transfer case, front axle, or an electrical gremlin. Everyone seems to start with 'My 4wd isn't working! What now?' so here's my quick answer to help you get started troubleshooting.

      Background

      First, on the 2nd gen Explorers, there are a few different transfer case setups depending on the model and year. I'll try and be as comprehensive as possible, but I'll probably miss a couple.

      If you have an all wheel drive V-8-equipped Explorer, you have a Borg-Warner 44-06 transfer case. It uses a viscous coupling between the front and rear driveshafts. It's a relatively simple system, with no switches, knobs, or electronics to fail. I won't get into troubleshooting here because there isn't much to do. In general, either it works, or it doesn't.

      The 44-05 transfer cases used behind all the V-6 second-gen Explorers fall into a few groups:

      --The 95-96 4-doors have an electronically controlled t-case. They also use a electro-vacuum-actuated center-axle disconnect to lock and unlock the passenger side axle shaft.

      --The 97-01 4-doors, and the 95-00 Sports use the same 44-05 transfer case as the 95-96, minus the center-axle disconnect in favor of a live axle.

      --The '01-'04 Sport and '01-'04(maybe '05?) Sport Trac uses a 44-05, but it functions much like the 1st-gen's 13-54 (i.e. it uses a lockup collar actuated by the shift motor).

      When in doubt as to which group you fall into, use the control knob on your dash as the guide.

      I won't get into the precise details of the inner workings of the transfer case here. If you're curious, there's more info at the beginning of the 'Comprehensive Brown Wire Mod Thread'. If you still have detailed questions about the inner workings of the t-case, please start a new thread. Someone more knowledgable than I will be along shortly to serve inquiring minds.

      Now, that being said, I want to make one important note perfectly clear:

      If you have a 95-01 4-door, or a 95-00 Sport, the transfer case shift motor does not control the transfer case lockup. The transfer case shift motor is solely responsible for range selection and range selection only. If the 4 wheel drive is not working on the afore-mentioned models/years, it's absolutely NOT the fault of the shift motor, and the shift motor does NOT need to be

      Also, if your mechanic suggests that you've blown the hubs on your second gen Explorer, laugh uproariously, then run, don't walk, to another mechanic. You do not have locking hubs that can fail like the first-generation Explorers did. The outer CV joints are solidly splined to the front wheel flange/hub assemblies, just like on a front wheel drive car. If your 'hubs' are bad, you'll know it (and it'll have nothing to do with your 4wd system).

      Finally, please note that I'm making the assumption that your 4wd light comes on in any of these cases. If the 4wd light is not coming on to start with, please start a new thread and we'll go from there. Each model and year's wiring can vary slightly, so to try and include every combination here would be very difficult.

      OK, enough background. Let's get started!

      My 4wd light comes on, but it isn't working: Now What?!!?

      95-96
      Your control knob should say 2wd, 4auto, 4low.

      First, we need to narrow it down to a transfer case issue, or a front axle issue.
      Step 1) Jack up the front end and place it securely on jack stands.
      Step 2) Verify that the front driveshaft turns by hand. When turning the front driveshaft by hand, the front wheels may or may not turn. Do not be alarmed if they don't turn. This is normal for your vehicle.
      Step 3) Start the vehicle and let it idle.
      Place your foot firmly on the brakes, place the transmission in NEUTRAL, engage 4low, then place the vehicle back in park. DO NOT ENGAGE ANY GEAR!! The lurch as the transmission engages could cause the vehicle to lurch and potentially fall off the jack stands.**If you can turn the front driveshaft, the transfer case is not locking. This could be due to a mechanical issue with the transfer case itself, or an electrical gremlin with the control system. Start a new thread with the results of your checks, and we'll go from there.
      **If the front driveshaft does not turn, the transfer case is locking properly and we need to continue searching.
      Step 4) With the front wheels in the air, engine idling in PARK, spin one front wheel. The other wheel should spin the opposite direction. If both wheels spin in opposite directions, then the front axle *should* be properly engaged. Take it for a test drive (after safely lowering it to the ground, of course). If the front wheels do not spin in opposite directions, there is a problem with the front axle. This could be due to a mechanical problem with the diff, or a failure of the center axle disconnect to engage the passenger side axle shaft. Start a new thread with the results of your checks, and we'll go from there.

      Troubleshooting the CAD on a 95-96 is a bit more involved than I want to get into here, and the problems can vary widely. This'll get you started.


      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.

      Step 1) Jack up the front end and place it securely on jack stands.

      Step 2) Verify that the front driveshaft turns by hand. When turning the front driveshaft by hand, the front wheels should turn. (If only one turns, don't be alarmed. One wheel sometimes has more resistance in the brakes, bearings, or CV joints. This is normal)

      Step 3) Start the vehicle and let it idle in PARK. Engage 4high. DO NOT PUT THE VEHICLE IN GEAR!!! Crawl underneath and see if you can turn the front driveshaft.
      **I
      f you can turn the front driveshaft, the transfer case is not locking. This could be due to a mechanical issue with the transfer case itself, or an electrical gremlin with the control system. Start a new thread with the results of your checks, and we'll go from there.
      **If the front driveshaft does not turn, the transfer case is locking properly and we need to continue searching.

      Step 4) With the front wheels in the air, engine idling in PARK, spin one front wheel. The other wheel should spin the opposite direction. If both wheels spin in opposite directions, then the front axle *should* be properly engaged. Take it for a test drive (after safely lowering it to the ground, of course).
      If the front wheels do not spin in opposite directions, there is a problem with the front axle. Start a new thread with the results of your checks, and we'll go from there.


      '01-'03 Sport and '01-'05 Sport Trac
      Your control knob should say 2wd, 4high, 4low

      The transfer case in these trucks functions essentially like the 1st-gens' 13-54 t-case. (i.e. it uses a lockup collar engaged by the transfer case shift motor) The troubleshooting procedure is very similar, but you don't need to worry about hubs or center-axle disconnects engaging.

      Step 1) Jack up the front end and place it securely on jack stands.

      Step 2) Verify that the front driveshaft turns by hand. When turning the front driveshaft by hand, the front wheels should turn. (If only one turns, don't be alarmed. One wheel sometimes has more resistance in the brakes, bearings, or CV joints. This is normal)

      Step 3) Start the vehicle and let it idle in PARK. Engage 4high. DO NOT PUT THE VEHICLE IN GEAR!!! Crawl underneath and see if you can turn the front driveshaft.
      **I
      f you can turn the front driveshaft, the transfer case is not locking.
      The shift motor could be falsely reading an incorrect t-case position, or it could be a mechanical issue with the case itself. Start a new thread with the results of your checks, and we'll go from there.
      **If the front driveshaft does not turn, the transfer case is locking properly and we need to continue searching.

      Step 4) With the front wheels in the air, engine idling in PARK, spin one front wheel. The other wheel should spin the opposite direction.
      If it does, the system should be properly engaged. Safely lower the vehicle to the ground and take it for a test drive. If the wheels do NOT spin in opposite directions, there is a problem with the front differential or axle. Start a new thread with the results of your checks, and we'll go from there.



      ___________________________________________________________________

      IF YOU HAVE MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR SPECIFIC VEHICLE'S PROBLEM, PLEASE START A NEW THREAD DESCRIBING YOUR TROUBLE. Please limit the discussion here to details specific to this troubleshooting procedure.

      I hope this helps a few people get started!!


      Now what did I forget? Tips? Comments? Suggestions? I'm all ears!


      -Joe
       
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    3. gijoecam

      gijoecam Village Idiot Elite Explorer

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      I forgot to mention.... I plan to expand this to include the 1st gens if anyone thinks it'll be helpful... they'll be similar to these, but I'm not awake enough at this point to get into them... Hopefully later this week or this weekend if time permits. I'm not as familiar with 1st gens as I am with the 2nd gens, but I'm willing to do some reading and learn a new trick or two. If anyone has any suggestions for that portion, please e-mail or PM them to me. Thanks!
       
    4. IZwack

      IZwack Moderator Emeritus

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      Thread made a sticky -- tHanks much for taking the time writing this up gijoecam!
       
    5. gijoecam

      gijoecam Village Idiot Elite Explorer

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      IZ, can you modify the title for me? It doesn't make much sense the way I wrote it... Can you change the last part to "A Troubleshooting How-To" for me? I can't modify the title...

      Thanks!
       
    6. IZwack

      IZwack Moderator Emeritus

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      But of course!
       
    7. margaritian

      margaritian New Member

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      Great information! I would love info on the 1st gen. I have a 1992 explorer w/electronic 4wd. 4WD high would intermittently work--found transfer case motor gears stripped. Replaced motor and it worked great for 1 week. Now it is stuck in 4wd. I do not hear the relays in the rear drivers side (I did before). Checked the fuse under the hood--good. Raised on jack stands and spun all 4 wheels--no help. It has manual hubs which are working fine. It has been below 20 degrees here since the problem started and can't get it in the garage. Hopefully it will thaw and work--it is supposed to get into the 50's this weekend.

      Thanks for the time invested in putting the information on here!! It really helps those of us with limited knowledge.
       
    8. IZwack

      IZwack Moderator Emeritus

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      Sorry margaritian -- this is for second generation Explorers which are 1995 and newer.
       
    9. pavodive

      pavodive New Member

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      I absolutely agree, shift motor is responsible for range selection ONLY. I would contend, however, that many people searching trough Explorerforum can confuse 4x4 with low range. Having myself experienced the problem subject of this post, and after reading lots of threads to understand my problem, it's almost clear to me that many people write "my X won't engage in 4x4" or "4WD is not working" meaning it won't go into (out of) low range. And that, as you have solved many times in this forum, might be a problem of the shift motor (the little plastic bushing in most cases).

      Thanks for an excellent --and very comprehensive-- post!

      G.
       
    10. gijoecam

      gijoecam Village Idiot Elite Explorer

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      Please note I referenced the 4wd light specifically, not the 4low light.



      In my opinion, if the reader of this thread can't distinguish between 4high and 4low, they need to go back and re-read their owner's manual. That operation and the differences between the two are covered pretty thoroughly there.

      Now, that being said, I'll see if I can work in a short addendum regarding 4low. I honestly hadn't thought of that aspect of the potential problems because, in my experience, it's caused by a bunch of different things, none of which are easily identified in a single, simple troubleshooting guide. In my experience on this board, the single most common cause, by far, of low range not engaging on a 2nd-gen is operator error. Not using the proper procedure to engage/disengage low range is the most common cause, so maybe I'll try to add that later today. (Gotta do an oil change and do the 00M12 service kit)

      -Joe
       
    11. jonboymv

      jonboymv New Member

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      4 high is staying on always

      when the explorer is on auto the truck still stays on 4 high indefinately. How do I get it to go back to 2wd. I don't want to ruin the 4wd. Please help
       
    12. gijoecam

      gijoecam Village Idiot Elite Explorer

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      Please start a new thread. We'll be happy to help. :)
       
    13. bob in mn

      bob in mn New Member

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      bob in mn

      94 exp xlt 4 door 4.0 4x4 not engageing.
      light does not come on , it worked last week. Checked 20 amp fuse under hood, is good.
       
    14. gijoecam

      gijoecam Village Idiot Elite Explorer

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      Umm, not a second-gen Explorer, and not a new thread... But thanks for playing. We have some lovely parting gifts for you...
       
    15. KPT

      KPT Well-Known Member

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      I could be wrong but I'm fairly sure lockup will not occur until either the engine or the rear driveshaft turns the main shaft in the tcase.

      The electromagnet just pulls the apply cam towards the cam/coil assembly. The main shaft turning causes the balls to ramp up in the apply cam and put enough force on the clutch pack to lock it.
       
    16. gijoecam

      gijoecam Village Idiot Elite Explorer

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      You're partly right... It's not the main shaft turning that causes the balls to ride up the ramp, it's relative motion between the front and rear outputs that'll cause the two halves of the clutch to turn relative to each other.

      The real question (which I haven't yet looked into) is whether or not there is enough magnetic force to cause it to lock when the TCCC is at minimum duty cycle. I'll be checking it out the next time I have it in the garage. It's been too doggone cold here this winter to spend unnecessary time monkeying with it.

      -Joe
       
    17. thecoug

      thecoug New Member

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      I have the 98 Sport with 5 speed. The 4hi and 4 low lights flash on the dash intermittently and I am unable to switch to either on the dash...or at least have the lights come on to confirm and have transfer case shift.. Help!!
       
    18. gijoecam

      gijoecam Village Idiot Elite Explorer

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      Please see above. Start a new post and someone will be along to help shortly. Thanks!
       
    19. thecoug

      thecoug New Member

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      98 sport 5 speed.. flashing hi4x and low4x lites no engage...

      I did yesterday and nothing came of it.. Thanks in advance...
       
    20. gijoecam

      gijoecam Village Idiot Elite Explorer

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      Have you tried searching on the issue? I think not. This gets discussed as often as once a week, sometimes more often. Search and yee shall find.

      -Joe
       
    21. coombs

      coombs Member

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      came to a conclusion

      i checked everything on the truck had it up on blocks today and id say its a vacuum leak cause i hear a hissing noise where do i find the vacuum lines at lol any help ? thanks
       
    22. gijoecam

      gijoecam Village Idiot Elite Explorer

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      Please start a new thread and someone will be along to help shortly.

      Thank You,
      The Management.

      p.s. It's not a vacuum leak. Follow the directions posted in this thread.
       
    23. ttavenieriii

      ttavenieriii Member

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      help me please ive asked mutiple people for help and no ones helping i need to start a new forum so i can get some help but i dont know wherer to go or what to do please explain in detail my email is ttavenieriii@aol.com thanks
       
    24. gijoecam

      gijoecam Village Idiot Elite Explorer

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      Your first post was in the wrong thread. Your second post was just 15 minutes ago. Go to the lost of forums, click on 'Transmissions, transfer cases, and Differentials' then click on the 'New Thread' button at the top.

      Please list the year, model, and engine of the vehicle you're having problems with, as well as all the details you can give about what the problem is and what the conditions are when it occurs. The more information you can give about the problem, the more help we can be in troubleshooting it.

      Good luck!
       
    25. Cstoliker

      Cstoliker Active Member

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    26. bilgobill

      bilgobill New Member

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      2002 explorer 4x4 4.6 v8
      2002 Ford 4X4 4.8 V8 XFER CASE

      The lights for either hi or low do not come one, when the buttons are pressed.

      This vehicle is in 4 wheel drive all the time. It has either HI or LO.
      It will not transfer to low.

      What are chances that the 4X4 computer module is kaput.

      The number on the module is 1L24-7H473-AG
      I have been told by the Ford garage that there are a number of revisions to
      this device. The above number is the OEM module.

      Have you had any trouble like this?
       

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