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1997 Explorer XLT ControlTrac 4wd Issue - HELP

nhoeven

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1997 Ford Explorer XLT
Hello, ExplorerForum, looking for some help dealing with my 4wd in my '97 Explorer XLT.

When I have my 4x4 switch set to AUTO, it acts as if I am in 4HI, I can tell this by the binding I get when taking sharp turns. This is obviously not right, because I am in the AUTO mode on completely dry concrete.

The 4HI and 4LO dash lights blink 6 times every minute or so, as well.

I was able to get it out of 4HI by unplugging the big plug by the transfer case, which I think goes into the transfer case motor. I have left it unplugged for about the past week so I can drive to work and such without it binding in turns, but I am looking for a more permanent fix. I would like for it to get back to normal so AUTO and 4HI work properly again.

Not sure if it is a bad transfer motor, or some sensor, because, again, when I unplug it, it goes back to not binding up in turns. Would a simple brown wire mod fix this issue, and then the brown wire mod switch just be my new 2wd/4HI selector, or what? Please help.
 



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J_C

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The brown wire mod would prevent it from going into 4WD, so yes for driving scenarios where you only need RWD that would give you only that, but odds are that either you have a driveshaft speed sensor problem, or a genuine shaft speed mismatch due to different tire diameters... if one or more is a different tire or worn worse than the others, or in wet weather if the tires are losing traction.

Bad transfer motor will cause problems shifting modes but not cause it to shift modes when it shouldn't.
 






drdoom

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Get it on ForScan and see what codes are stored. Make sure your tires are good and change the fluid.
 






nhoeven

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Thanks for your replies thus far, going to change the fluid out tonight and report back here. If problem still persists, I will then look at the sensors. Other users, please keep adding more feedback, I really appreciate it.
 






nhoeven

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I just got done replacing the transfer case fluid, plugged the transfer case cable back together, and the problem still persists. Anyone have any ideas?
 






Mbrooks420

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It's nothing to do with the t case shift motor as it doesn't do any shifting between 4 high and 4 auto. Like stated above, it could be a speed sensor making the truck think it is slipping, and trying to compensate by cycling the front drive. it's most likely electrical in nature, or unplugging the t case would have no effect.

The brown wire mod would band aid the problem but still give some type of 4wd.
I'd get the codes scanned, buy a cheap scanner like mentioned above, or start ohming out speed sensors.
 






Cstoliker

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There are two hall effect speed sensors (front/rear) on the T-case. Start with those. Simple inpediance test.
The blinking 4wd lights indicate a fault. Here's how the system works. The GEM reads the rotation speed difference between the front and rear drive shafts though the Hall effect sensors. It sends a varying voltage proportional to the difference though the "brown wire" to the transfer case clutch. When the voltage reaches around 10-11volts the transfer case locks. There are only 4 possible problems:
Hall sensors, (or wires)
General electronic modal (GEM),
the transfer case clutch (mechanically stuck in gauged)
Or the dashboard switch.

The control track system is a fairly dumb system and IMOP pretty useless. The slamming of the t-case constantly engaging/disengaging can cause loss of traction on the wheels that had traction. I would just do the brown wire mod on a nicely minted switch to have 2wd and 4hi.
 






XLTrunner

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I agree wholeheartedly with the brown wire conversion. I do think the design does compensate to some extent with the harsh engagement of the transfer case as there is always a small percentage of power (I've read anywhere from 5-8%) directed to the front wheels when in Auto mode...unlike true 2WD.
 






nhoeven

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Thank you guys for your feedback on what I should do. Today, I did the brown wire mod which works perfect. I more or less did this just so I dont have to plug/unplug the wires under the car near the transfer case whenever I want to switch from 2wd to 4wd. For now, I will wait on those sensors for another time. Dont have the money for them as of right now, and I'd more or less be doing that just so AUTO can work correctly again, which isnt a priority for me as I kind of like 2wd over AUTO anyways.

Again, thank you.
 






Bob Swaters

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Thank you guys for your feedback on what I should do. Today, I did the brown wire mod which works perfect. I more or less did this just so I dont have to plug/unplug the wires under the car near the transfer case whenever I want to switch from 2wd to 4wd. For now, I will wait on those sensors for another time. Dont have the money for them as of right now, and I'd more or less be doing that just so AUTO can work correctly again, which isnt a priority for me as I kind of like 2wd over AUTO anyways.

Again, thank you.
nhoeven, you described exactly the problem I have with my 2000 ex. I was hoping to find a solution here. So I took the advice given you and did the brown wire mod today and that fixed it! It took me longer to scrounge around the junk boxes to find a suitable switch than it did to install it. I used a DPST rocker salvaged from old amp and fabricated a bracket so I could mount it sorta under the dash, on the floor air discharge vent-I didn't want to poke holes in the dash. Wires go straight up and behind the GEM and tie in to the brown wire.
If I figure out how to post a picture, I might take a pic of my switch and mount if anyone is interested.

Thanks all
 






drdoom

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Same model truck here, and yesterday I also had the flashing 4x4 lights. Hooked up to ForScan and have a GEM code P1837. Rear Output Shaft Speed Sensor Circuit Malfunction. I am going to get underneath and have a look here shortly and will update.
 






drdoom

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I drove while hooked up to ForScan live data and read 0 mph from the rear sensor. Prior to that I did have the truck on jackstands, and checked the fluid and pulled the sensor and main connector. I took the resistance readings front and rear, but I am not certain I read the right pins.
 






J_C

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drdoom

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OK I just cleaned the sensor and connector, then took readings on both the front and rear sensors. Front reads 3.45 Mega ohm, rear reads zero. Book says to replace it.
 






drdoom

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So I just replaced the sensor with Motorcraft SW5645 and will post the results after I get hooked up to ForScan.
 






drdoom

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SOLVED: P1837 rear shaft speed sensor. Have steady signal and matching speeds front and rear. No longer in 4x4, all is well so far. About $80 USD and ten minutes on the creeper.
So that's an option for those who do not wish to do a BWM.
 






J_C

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Spaznaut

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Is it the same sensor for the front and the rear? Also are the front wheel speed sensors part of the equation? I replaced my front driverside bearing (with speed sensor) and my 4x4 started blinking and won't engage even sitting still. 2wd,4hi,4low '95 6 cyl. If so is there a good way to test them?
 






Mbrooks420

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You can test them with a multimeter. I'm sure a search would scare up the proper values.
 



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drdoom

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'95 I believe used a disconnect at the front axle. Have you read the 4x4 troubleshooting thread?
 






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