2002 explorer Transfer case Problem...4x4auto/high/low | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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2002 explorer Transfer case Problem...4x4auto/high/low


Well-Known Member
March 26, 2006
Reaction score
City, State
queens, ny
Year, Model & Trim Level
02 XLT
i posted this in the transfer case forum but figured ill give it another shot here...thanks

whats up everyone...any input on my problem would be very helpful...This is long so my real question is all the way at the bottom ...thanks

i have a 2002 ford explorer xlt with the 4x4 auto/high/low setting on my transfer case...in may of 2010 i had my transfer case replaced with a rebuilt unit...(the original one was on its way out)...about 7 months later i was hearing a noise and brought it back to the mechanic and the truck was put on the lift...come to find out the transfer case was making a noise and the front wheels were not engaging...after a week of waiting they put in another rebuilt unit free of charge...

As of yesterday it was snowing in NYC and my truck did not engage in 4 wheel drive. I was sliding everywhere and when i did the 4x4 high light on my dash would light up. I brought it back to the same mechanic and we put it on the lift. When you put the car into drive and let go of the brake only the rear wheels spin. He then accelerated and at around 25-30 mph the front wheels started to accelerate also. I found this wierd and told him that the transfer case was no good. He told me otherwise and hence why i am here.

If the rear wheels are spinning and it takes the truck to get to 25 mph to get the front wheels spinning is this a transfer case internal issue? Meaning is the actual mechanics of the transfer case at fault? thanks

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If your Explorer was on the lift and left in 4x4 auto then yes it would take time for the vehicle to determine that the rear wheels were slipping before it would engage the front wheels. Did you stop and put it in 4x4 high and try it again? The front wheels should have driven right away in this mode.

Something does not sound right, on mine the 4x4 high light only comes on when I put it in 4x4 high it has never come on when in auto. When diving on the street it goes into 4x4 instantly I can't see why it would take extra time when on a lift although I have never tried. If I had to get up to 25 mph or even 5 mph for the 4x4 to engage I would never make it out of my driveway :)

If the case in not making any "funny" sounds I would check the case motor and the 4x4 control module.

I agree with tower. The only time my 4x4 dash lights are lit is if I have selected either 4x4 High or 4x4 Low. If I have it in 4x4 High, there is no delay with the front wheels. If it is in Auto and the rear wheels slip, the front wheels kick in immediately.

I have never tested the 4x4 while on a lift so I don't know about that.

Check the ground on the Transfer Case Shift Motor. Could also be related to the 4x4 Control Module.

Here is a good link for troubleshooting the transfer case: http://www.scribd.com/doc/14896101/2002-Explorer-Transfer-Case-System-Diagnosis

Here is a good link for troubleshooting the 4WD System with the 4.6 V8: http://www.scribd.com/doc/14896008/2002-Explorer-4WD-46V8-System-Diagnosis

Hope this helps out. :thumbsup:

thanks for the response guys...

my mechanic also has an 04 explorer so we put that on the lift....in 4x4 auto and in 4x4 high once he let go of the brake all 4 wheels started to spin.

As for my truck they did not in either mode until the truck went to around 20-25 mph...

I also wanted to state that in the snowy day that i figured it was working...once i started sliding the truck was spinning out and the 4x4 high light came...

i was also thinking of any sensors that may be messed up and not make the transfer case work properly... maybe a speed sensor or something? i will try and lift the truck to check it out thanks again

Edit: My 4x4 Control Module is New. I purchased it last year and installed it. When the old one broke i couldnt put the truck into any 4x4

Good luck to you sir.

I feel your pain. I went through 4x4 issues when I first got my Ex. Definitely check the ground on the Transfer Case Shift Motor.

im just updating this thread...it ended up being my transfer case again...the guy said something about the clucth for the front drive shaft and the fork isnt really working so the guy who rebuilt it jerked me and its out of warranty and my mechanic of 10 years basically told me to go fly a kite...sux that it happened in the middle of the winter but o well...thanks for the help guys