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4WD problems-- done broke again


Well-Known Member
October 11, 2000
Reaction score
City, State
Staten Island/ Boscawen ; NY/ NH
Year, Model & Trim Level
'92 XLT 4.0
I have a question about this following passage:

A test you can perform to the processor board that is located in the rear left access panel next to the jack and rear windshield washer container. In has 2- wire harness pin connectors attached to it on the left side. If you remove the 2- wire harness pin connectors and turn on your ignition switch. Now you can push the white square button on the bottom edge of the processor board and it will turn on a red LED right next to the button. If the red light flashes this means you have a problem with your actuator motor assembly. If the red light stays bright this means you have a problem with the processor board.

What do i do now that the light stays on?

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The Little red light?

What do i do now that the light stays on?

Ummm....did you read your own post?

If the red light stays bright this means you have a problem with the processor board.


yeah but that is why i rewrote it here:

Does anyone know what the little red light actually means? how can i go about repairing it? or is that the computer and i am SOL?

The only reason i am asking is i got it from another website and wanted to verify the little quote i put in there


Yes, you are correct about the lights. However if you are thinking you can repair the circuit board like you can repair/clean the motor...thats not possible. The circuit board can go bad from a number of reasons, most likely that it has gotten wet or too hot and cracked.

You could try resetting the computer to see if the computer is confused about the position of the motor. or go to a junkyard and get another board from a wrecked Explorer. The boards, new, are pretty expensive.

How would i reset the computer?

Is it just a matter of undoing the battery for the night or something like that? i am terrible at electical systems. If i get the board is it just a matter of plugging it in or do i have to rewire?

When it broke i was just driving around in the mud and had turned it on and off a couple times. I turned it off and then it would not turn on. I have already turned from auto locking to manual, and cleaned the motor so i guess it is now the board.

Any help with that would be great.

Yes, unhook the battery and turn on your headlights(this will speed up the process).

Leave the car like this for 15 to 30 min, then rehook the battery. You're done! Now you can test to see if the board is working or not.

I had the flashing LED, so I cleaned my motor out and all is working again. One question, you did unhook the two plugs on the board facing the rear washer tank...right? If you do not unplug those two wires, the LED stays lit.

I haven't looked into installing a new board, but should be as simple as unplugging all the wires and removing. Check one out at a junkyard before removing your own.

Thank you

that is beautiful. thank you so much. If you have any additional suggestions then please let me know. thanks.

Tristam77, if you do end up needing the board, I think I still have mine in my wrecked '92.


completely forgot about JDraper...he rolled his 92 and has sold all the parts off of it, Ive bought quite a few myself. :D

Give him a holler if you need the board.


I am going to have to look at the board today. I didn't get a chance to look yesterday.

Last night i did unplug the truck and had it unplugged with the lights in the on position all night. Unfortunately that did not work. So i will pop the board today to double check it.

If it is the transfer case motor again i will have to take a look at buying a new one. Any suggestions where i could get a new one (I now know who to ask for a used one)?

There is also a way to check the operation of the motor while it is off of the vehicle.

You can apply voltage to the wires and watch it spin the gear from 2H to 4H to 4LO. I'm not sure of the exact voltage or where to apply, but I would check the operation of the motor before replacing. Mine has been completely reliable since cleaning it. There doesn't seem to be much that can go wrong....just needs cleaning evey once in a while. Besides, a new one is about $200 easy.

Can someone assist on checking the operation while the transfer case motor is removed?

click pause click

The cleaning worked like a charm for me the one time i did it. I think i will probably do it again and then if it breaks just throw down the $200 or so for brand new piece of mind.

I have another question that might be symptomatic of the problem: when i press the 4X4 button i here a click in the back than then roughly 5-10 seconds later another click. It sounds like it is coming from the board. Do you have any idea if this is normal or possibly a symptom of the problem?

My theory is that it is normal.

hmmmm....on mine I didn't hear any clicks. I cleaned the motor and all worked fine again.

Do a search on transfer case motor or automatic 4X4, this has been discussed quite a bit. If the motor worked fine after the cleaning, then the problem is probably not the motor. I would start with testing the motor off the transfer case, if it works you replace the board.

I didn't even think to do a search

This is what i came up with when i did the search for the transfer case motor:

When you push the button, do you hear a clicking noise coming from the rear of your truck? If you hear it, that noise is (I think) the relay trying to activate your dead transfer case motor. In this case you can replace the motor. The dealership wanted quite a bit of money to replace it. I found a used/rebuilt one and installed it myself. Its not difficult. You can easily get to it from the bottom of your truck, its located somewhere in the middle (further back than the transmission).

On the other hand, if you don't even get any clicking, you may want to have it tested to see if there is an electrical problem. The switch could be bad, or a relay somewhere. I don't know what to do in this case.

In my case it was the opposite...I had no clicking. So, having nothing to lose I tested the board. The board bllinked, so I removed the motor and cleaned it. After reinstalling it worked great. That was about 3 months ago and its still working good.

You should test the transfer case motor with it off the vehicle. Thats the only way to know if its the motor or electrical in your case.

I think that makes the most sense

Might as well be safe and once the whole thing is apart test it.

I didn't have the steady red light - mine flashed when I tested with the connectors removed, but I did have the same "click-pause-click" symptom. I rebuilt the motor and it's been working fine ever since.

When I did the job, I decided to clean everything possible so that I could minimize the likelihood that I could have missed something. That meant cleaning the armature in the motor and also disassembling the contact/limit switch assembly (the plastic part with the three security torx screws keeping it closed). There's a metal post inside that's supposed to have a rubber ring around it - that ring hardens and disintegrates. I believe the rubber ring is white - mine was so disintegrated that I thought it was just hardened grease inside the housing until I examined it closely. A piece of 5/16" fuel line trimmed to the same height as the metal post works well as a substitute.

Before you take anything apart, be sure to scribe the current positions of all of the components, so that you can reassemble with the right alignment.


I have to say i did the same exact thing. Took the motor completely apart including the torx bits. and poped on some new hose for a seal as well. I even used ultra-fine sandpaper to clean the contacts with contact cleaner as well and put some more tension on the springs. I will give it one more shot and see.

I will have to do it again and see what the deal is.

I was looking and found this:

Does anyone know what the redesign was? This transfer case problem seems very common. I am wondering if it is worth throwing down the money and not worrying about it any more.

Best explorer site right after this one:

Dead Link Removed

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