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'93 Sport - Won't Shift in 4-wheel. Lots of Snow!

SeattleMike

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'93 Sport
Hi Folks,

I'm new to the forum, but have had my '93 Sport 2Dr since it was new. It now has about 140k miles on it and is running strong. Except... the other day after a good snow here in Seattle, the 4-wheel drive would not engage. As a result, I cannot get out of the neighborhood I'm in due to the steep hills.

The symptoms include: Push button lights on dash do not come on, 4-wheel drive never engages. I've looked for blown fuses, but couldn't find anything obvious. There does not appear to be a specific fuse for this feature.

It's been about a year since I've engaged the 4-wheel. Brakes were replaced about a year ago and new rotors and pads installed. New front bearings as well. Wasn't sure if this would affect anything, so I thought I would include it.

Right now the truck is almost unuseable given the snow and ice conditions where I live.

Any insight on what the problem could be or where to start the diagnostics would be appreciated before I have it towed to the shop. I'm pretty handy mechanically and willing to take most things apart to find out what the problem is.

Thanks for any help!

Mike
Seattle, WA
 


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88vert

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Try tapping on your 4x4 shift motor it probally stuck
 




Blee1099

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Hows your hubs? Are they auto or manuals? Also try cleaning the electrical contacts on the shift motor if knocking doesn't seem to work.
 




SeattleMike

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The hubs are automatic and I thought knocking on them would help. I took a 2x4 and a hammer and gave them a few whacks. It's been unseasonably cold here, in the low 20's, and I thought the coldness might have something to do with it.

It's warmed up though and it still won't shift into 4-wheel. I'll try knocking the motor though. I haven't see it before, but assume it will be obvious somewhere on the transfer case. I'll also check the external electrical connection.

Does anyone have any experience with the switch itself being an issue? Or possibly a blown fuse or breaker of some sort?

Mike
 




AlaskanJack

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I will have to look for the thread but there is a test you can run on the computer in the rear compartment and it will tell you if its the shift motor or the computer in the back. Oh and it could be the push button on the dash.

I once pulled the shift motor and manual switched the t-case and motor settings, but I don't have the autohubs so maybe thats how I got away with it. But there is also a way to put power directly on the correct wire and get the motor to move.

Its on here somewhere and after looking I can't find it.
 




SeattleMike

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Thanks AlaskanJack for the looking through the threads. If you or anyone else can point me to the right place to look I'll poke around as well.

I have another question regarding the hubs. Are the automatic hubs a critical part of the Explorer operating in 4-wheel? I know that sounds kind of stupid, but I'm wondering if the hubs need to be working correctly in order for the electric shifter to shift into 4-wheel. In other words, could I be shifted in 4-wheel, but the hubs not working?

I suspect the issue is not the hubs, but I'm simply trying to understand how the transfer case shifting and the automatic hubs work together.

Mike
 




Blee1099

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Originally posted by SeattleMike
Thanks AlaskanJack for the looking through the threads. If you or anyone else can point me to the right place to look I'll poke around as well.

I have another question regarding the hubs. Are the automatic hubs a critical part of the Explorer operating in 4-wheel? I know that sounds kind of stupid, but I'm wondering if the hubs need to be working correctly in order for the electric shifter to shift into 4-wheel. In other words, could I be shifted in 4-wheel, but the hubs not working?

I suspect the issue is not the hubs, but I'm simply trying to understand how the transfer case shifting and the automatic hubs work together.

Mike

If you have auto-hubs, either the hubs have failed or something else.. Try jacking up both the rear and front and turn on 4wd and see if you get any motion from the front wheels. The auto-hubs are known for going bad.. Alot the members on here switched to one of the many manual hub conversion out there.
 




bronco351

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I have a '93 sport also, and the same exact thing happened to me last winter. The dash light would not go on and 4wd would not engage. I took it in to have it looked at and they ended up charging a few hundred to fix it. I don't recall exactly what they did, but it had something to do with the transfer case, not the hubs.

But I do agree that the automatic hubs are not as great as some would say they are. I would much rather prefer the manual locking ones.

BTW my guess would be the reason your four wheel drive doesn't engage is because of the length of time it's been since you have used it. I like to engage the four wheel drive at least once a month to keep it operating properly. I don't know what causes it to seize up, but it's bad when you count on it to work and it doesn't.
 




DeRocha

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I've been there and down that road several times.

If you press the 4x4 button and nothing happens then your problem lies in the 4x4 control module, shift motor, or its wiring harness (HUBS only come into play once the "T"-case has sent power their way via the front drive shaft 4x4 light on)

I would guess 99% of the time it is the shift motor. The shift motor is actually 2 parts. The worm driven motor and the geared position sensor. The Position sensor is notorious for getting "lost". This occurs because the plastic stop inside the sensor breaks apart over time and allows the sensor to travel slightly outside it's operating range. If this happens then the the 4x4 computer module next to rear washer fluid reservoir will have no idea what position the T-cases is in and will shut down and do nothing. Other members have found a high amp draw on the motor, which indicates the motor is getting bound.

You should read the info on T-Case Trouble Shooting and then take the wire harness off the shift motor and test for 4H continuity among the various pins.

1) Disconnect the battery,
2) Disconnect the shift Motor wire harness. Note the connector tabs push in to remove)

Sensor position Test.
This test is basically the same thing the 4x4 module in the rear trunk is doing to determine what position the T-Case is in (2H, 4H, 4L).
We are going to Assume the selector shaft is pointing towards 2H.
2) Test the shift motor wire harness for 2H continuity.
3) If you fail to get continuity then the position sensor is your problem. We need to align the Loosen the cover and rotate slightly <1/8" (left or right).
Repeat step 2

Note: You really need to engage 4x4 each month to keep things moving and lubricated. Failure to do so can lead to more problems than a dead shift motor (frozen u-joints etc...)
 




ohfugit

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I recently picked up a 93 sport as well. same issue. just got it going day before yesterday

I pulled the little transfer case motor and took it in the basement and replaced the disintegrated bumper with fuel line and cleaned it up..

you only spend 15 minutes at a time under the truck if you take it out and work on it inside...

If you have that balancer deal on the back of your transfer case its only 8 bolts. 4, 13 mm to remove the balancer , and 4 10 mm holding the transfer case motor.
I had about 3 hours into it including the 2, 15 minute 13 degree outside sessions..... I grabbed my small 120v heater (w/fan)and kept it with me under the truck while I was working and parked the drivers side close to a wall to keep warm.
the link in the post above has pretty much all the info you need... not hard work at all

at the end of this link is where I did mine.. notice the date.
http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=96597

good luck .. feel free to contact me for any questions.. if the links above don't answer them
"D"
 




F14CRAZY

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The hubs do not have to work for the transfer case to engage properly. It would also agree that it is the motor. Tapping on it might work like others have suggested. Otherwise, you will have to remove it and clean it out or replace it. I replaced mine, which ran $300 or so from Ford. (I can't remember exactly)
 




duck210

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Funny story. I live in Seattle. We had a snow storm last tuesday and some unusually cold weather. My hubs on my '94 would not engage. I could only think of the recent front brake job that I had done at a major brand shop that happens to give out beef jerky and frozen meat sometimes. My 4wd has never let me down until now. It sound like a barbaric fix, but I will also get out my club and beat the hell out of my transfer case. I will keep you posted.
 




duck210

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Update.

I have raised the explorer off the ground. I ran it in gear, and activated the 4wd. The transfer case appears to work. I get power from it down to the front differencial and out to the axles. Problem is the hubs are not engaged. I recently had front brakes done. New bearings rotors ect. Is it possible that a spacer or bearing could have been sucessfully installed incorrectly to dis-allow the hubs from locking? Is the transfer case motor still questionable, or can I eliminate it from my problems? Also would like to know how much grease is too much. There is more grease in the hub than I would think is nessesary.:rolleyes:
 




ronbo256

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duck the wonderful technician that did your brakes probably broke your auto hubs. My brother went through that with his '88 F-150, but the guy that did his brakes was a friend and didn't charge much, so rather than losing a friend, he bit the bullet and bought some manual hubs. I have never had my auto hubs apart, but I know they have to be put back together just right or they will not work. And yes, too much grease in the wrong places will keep them from engaging properly.
 




DeRocha

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The axle and hub do not have any moving parts that would require grease (they rotate as a unit); As such there should only be a light coating of grease within the HUB to prevent rust. An excessive amount of grease will force the spring mechanism at the end of the hub towards the disengaged position. This sping is at the very end of the hub and hidden from view under the snap ring.

I would take off the hubs and clean them with solvent (I use paint thinner). Poor in a few ounces and rotate the splines (you are trying to work the solvent to the spring). Let it sit for a while and rotate some more. Drain off the crud into an old soup can. Repeat the above steps until the solvent appears clean. Once clean you want to drain the hub for several hours to ensure all the solvent has been removed. Soak the hubs in ATF for a few hours and occasionally rotate the splines. Poor off the ATF and re-install the HUB.

Please see the following site for
Ford Maintenance - HUBS
 




mjancola

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Another 94 Explorer, in Seattle, with bad hubs! Except mine went out the weekend before the big snow. I took mine apart and noticed a generous amount of lub in there. I was going to spend time cleaning it up when I noticed the drivers side had two little square chunks of metal in them. Comparing to the passenger side, I see those pieces were probably once part of a ring near the end of the hub assembly (once you remove the auto hub). Broken metal - I assume shot hubs.

The shops here want $160 plus another 20-50 for the conversion kit (nuts) to convert auto to manual. I guess I'll see what I can find online. They tell me Warn is the only one that makes them and they are backordered until February anyway.
 




DeRocha

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I have seen them from Warn, MileMarker, and Superwinch for about the same $$. I would go with the Warn HUBs as they seam to be the best.
 




BeaterExplorer

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I got stuck in the mud and turned on my 4x4 to get me out. The next day it wouldn't turn on anymore. Been driving like this for over 6 months. It sucks in the snow so I decided to find out how to fix this. Did a search found this.:D I'm gonna check the shift motor this week if I have time.
 




AlaskanJack

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FYI guys the best place to go for the Hub conversion is a salvage yard. I find these things laying around all the time and they don't charge me a thing for them. I have also picked up manual hubs from Salvage Yards for around $75 for both.

Oh and that tire shop you mentioned is I believe Les Schwab. Always giving away free meat.
 


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MikeP

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Thumping Transfer Case Worked

The 4x4 high push button light would not go on on my 91 Explorer (but the 4x4 low range light would go on). So after reading this tread, I thought "what the heck", may as well try the "thump" approach. So I hit the transfer case actuator with about 3 solid "thumps" with a 2x2 piece of wood. Now the 4x4 high push button light goes on (and I assume the transfer case is shifting into 4x4 high). By the way, I had the Warn Hubs installed some years ago after the automatic engaging hub went haywire.
Mike in Seattle
 




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