2Gen Explorer 4WD will not Engage | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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2Gen Explorer 4WD will not Engage


New Member
January 2, 2011
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City, State
Folsom, California
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 XLT Eddie Bauer
2Gen Explorer 4WD will not Engage
1998 Explorer Eddie Bauer 191,000 miles

After 4 trips to a mechanic, still no luck.

The mechanic has replaced the switch and replaced the shift motor. The switch on the dash does change from 4high to 4low and can hear the switch occurring underneath. It does change the gearing when in 4low, but I do not have 4wd.

When on a mechanics lift (all 4 wheels off the ground) the four wheels spin, although the front ones spin much slower than the rear wheels. Although once it is on the ground (driving on roads) it is apparent 4wd is not operative.

I did lift the front wheels off the ground and spun the front wheels while the engine was running and in Park, the other wheel does spin in the other direction, although at a much slower spin rate than the other wheel. The same is true when I change front wheels.

Not sure it is a vacuum leak or problem with the vacuum solenoids?

BTW transfer case is less than 40K miles on it.

Any guidance would be appreciated.

Have a Great New Year and Thanks in Advance for Any Insights

The 98 doesn't have a vacuum 4WD. The front T-case output shaft is engaged by an electromagnetic clutch working on a ball ramp. The first question is, does the brown wire have current when you engage 4x4 high?

Thanks, I will check it out later today.

Thanks, it took some time, but ended up putting a switch on the dash to direct 12V to the Brown wire. Works great now and was relatively inexpensive.