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99 explorer 4x4 trouble


Well-Known Member
May 24, 2011
Reaction score
City, State
Zanesville, Ohio
Year, Model & Trim Level
99 Explorer Sport 4X4
I am puzzeled at all I have read here. lol Here is the problem, I cant get my 4wd to engage, on my dash the 4hi light comes on(no clicking behind dash) 4 low light will not come on(has clicking sometimes about 6 or 7 times) neither engage, We found the 4x4 module behind my stereo and unplugged it and both 4hi and low lights were flasing together which tells me it knows it wasnt plugged in, hooked it back up and same thing as before. I just bought this over the summer and the lady said she used it the winter before. We also took off the transfer case motor and grounded it to check to see if it moved but no luck. Then I got to reading about the GEM and what it controls, I also have a problem with my dome lights, if I dont turn the dimmer all the way off my mirror lights will not go out with the car off for a long time, but if its running then they are ok. Has anyone else had any issuses like this? Oh by the way its a 99 explorer, 2 door with 4.0 SOHC

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the most common problem in my experience with the 4x4 not engaging properly is the shift motor. sometimes one light comes on, but its not realy engaged, sometimes hi works but low doesnt etc etc.
there are quite a few rebuild threads for the shift motor on this sight.
I have to hit mine with a long pipe to make it work sometimes kind of like a stuck window motor. hope this helps, good luck!

well I even hooked up a remanufactored motor and grounded it but it didnt move either. Unless it wont work without all the other wires being transfered over to the new motor( we just plugged the pigtail in and didnt remove the all the other wires going into the old plug)

what 2 sensors are wired into the plug? will they put out a DTC ? Or can you tell me what they do? these are the other wires we never switched over to the new motor when we tried to get either motor to move

I dont understand what you are asking... everything needs to be plugged in for it to work. there should be one large pigtail, a brown wire that is hrd wired to the transfercase, and a little round barrel looking guy that you have to unbolt a a hold down to pry out of the transfercase.
The do however make a few differnt variations of these motors depending on year engine size and trans options.

I have never seen the shift motor throw a dtc.

You should be able to shift the transfer case into 4x4 hi and low with a pair of pliers once the motor is removed. The indicator light on the dash will not light because the shift motor will not be in the 4x4 position, but the truck will be in 4x4.
I hope this is helpful

mine has 2 sensors connected to it

just replaced the 4x4 module relay(little grey box behind stereo) and still the same, guess Ill change out the GEM module tommaro

The shift motor won't work without all the wires hooked up. It doesn't work off of a ground signal. It applies +12v to the appropriate wire depending on where the sensor ring is located.

what are the 2 sensors that are wired into the pigtail as well?

Those 2 sensors are the front and rear output speed sensors. They shouldn't stop the 4wd from engaging. Your 99 has the 4405 t-case so there is actually no movement of the shift motor for 4hi. The TOD relay activates the clutch at 100%. If you switch to 4lo do you hear the motor switching? If so the TOD relay might be your problem.

when I switch to 4 low I can hear a click behind my dash, but I get no 4low light, I can get 4hi to light up but I dont think its engaged because I cant feel any difference in the steering or anything. What is the TOD relay and where is it located at? I couldnt get the motor to move at all, even with a new one plugged in to the harness

when I first start it both lights come on so I know its nots a bulb. Is the TOD relay just a standard relay, I have a part number from a 99 exp. F80B-2C013-AA would this be correct? Im gonna try to get to pick n pull today and see what I can find. I have replaced the 4x4 motor relay and nothing has changed and Im almost certain the 4 hi is not engaging. Is the brown wire a better way to go?

offtopic but I gavew up trying to get my 01 4x4 transfer case to shift electrically,
I took my spare shift motor apart,there is a steel wheel inside that turns the shift shaft,
I keep the wheel in my console,when I go off road takes me two seconds to jump underneath and shift it manually myself, a lot cheaper than replacing all the computer 4x4 crap and it works 100% of the time, the positions on the case are marked (4hi 4lo 2hi)once you remove the electric motor , mark an arrow on the wheel and your all set .

That won't work for a 99 4405 t-case. The ranges on the case are Hi - N - Lo. If the electronics aren't working it defaults to auto.

replaced the relay on the right side center dash and still nothing, going to check out a junkyard with the GEM modules now, could also be my dome light problem if I can get the right one

replaced GEM(multifuncutional module) and switch but still the same, anyone got any ideas?

am I missing any relays or anything? maybe the 2 sensors connected to the shift motor? Can I buy them at a parts store? does anyone have a picture of the TOD relay?

Check my swap thread. There's a pic of the TOD relay about mid way down the post.

is it the flat one bolted on the right with a number F87B showing? WHat is the other relay behind that one? I replaced the one on the right in the back that you can see the top of

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The TOD relay is the one with F87B showing. I'm not really sure what the one you replaced is for but I don't think it's for the 4wd. Have you checked the shift control module? It's on the left, below and behind the GEM.