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Can '98 Exp CV axles be Removed for 2WD only ?

Mike789

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Curious, not that I will go out and do this today, or tomorrow, but, it seems to me the CV-axle-joints could be removed, for true 2WD operation. This might save some gas, and wear and tear, etc. It also seems to me, that due to the CV-axles having 2 CV joints each, one might be able to remove them w/o removing the F wheel subframe or anything. Is there enuff room to get the axles out w/o removing any F end parts ?

I'm asking as, what if the transfer case locked up, but 2WH still worked, I'm just curious as to how many things can break and still the Explorer will keep going if the right parts are removed.
 


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410Fortune

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If you remove the Cv axle half shaft from the front wheel bearings the wheel bearings will come apart and the wheels will fall off

The front wheel bearings (unit bearings) on the 95-01 Explorer 4wd and awd and HELD TOGETHER by 220 ft lbs of torque put on the cv axle nut.
Plenty of people on this forum have found out the hard way, that with no CV axle in there the bearings separate.
Now you CAN remove the axle shaft and inner CV axle, leaving just the "stub shaft" in the wheel bearing, that does work.
 




96eb96

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Curious, not that I will go out and do this today, or tomorrow, but, it seems to me the CV-axle-joints could be removed, for true 2WD operation. This might save some gas, and wear and tear, etc. It also seems to me, that due to the CV-axles having 2 CV joints each, one might be able to remove them w/o removing the F wheel subframe or anything. Is there enuff room to get the axles out w/o removing any F end parts ?

I'm asking as, what if the transfer case locked up, but 2WH still worked, I'm just curious as to how many things can break and still the Explorer will keep going if the right parts are removed.
410Fortune is right. Either cut the CVs, or remove the Driveshaft.

96 Trucks have true 2wd. The front axle has a vacuum disconnect.
 




Mike789

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Does the 96 arrangement make it more valuable ?
If I do buy a different Exp, I would want it more simple than this 98 I have. I don't mind getting out and locking hubs either, i just want it to work, always.
Do the early Exp's have locking hubs ?
 




C420sailor

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Manual locking hubs? No.
 




410Fortune

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the 96 front diff is not really more valuable although some of us do like to install them on our builds. It can free up some power and wear and tear on the front end parts

first gen Explorers (91-94) use a dana 35 TTB front suspension with a spindle and roller style inner and outer wheel bearings. Yes these trucks either have auto hubs or manual hubs.
The 95-2001 Explorers use a SLA (short long arm) IFS suspension that utilizes unit bearings, no more spindle.... there are no hubs for this arrangement this is a live axle
Only the 95-96 v6 trucks had the vacuum center axle disconnect front dana 35 IFS differential
It will not fit the 5.0 oil pan easily so the 96 v8 did not have
Ford did away with the CAD and the hubs that were on 98-99 Rangers. 97-01 explorers, -05 sports and sport tracs and 98-11 v6 Rangers all have the SLA IFS suspension without hubs........these are pretty tough front ends... the only drawback is the torsion bar springs........yuck!
 




96eb96

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Does the 96 arrangement make it more valuable ?
If I do buy a different Exp, I would want it more simple than this 98 I have. I don't mind getting out and locking hubs either, i just want it to work, always.
Do the early Exp's have locking hubs ?
Depends. I think it contributes to their overall reliability. I'm in 2wd most of the time and there is less wear and tear on the TC, front diff, etc.
I'm sure it was a cost cutting thing. They could have had 4 modes too like the Expeditions. (2wd, 4hi, auto, 4lo).

95-96 seem to have less issues. There is also the simpler 4spd trans.


I drove a ranger recently and it had 2wd, 4wd, and 4 lo. No auto mode. And I believe it has vacuum lines going to the hubs, instead of the 96 style axle disconnect. So, that isn't a soccer mom truck. If it snows, you put it in 4wd. If its dry, it goes back to 2wd.
The axle disconnect is actually very reliable. The newer F150s have IWE - vacuum hubs that are always going bad. It is probably a gas mileage thing I guess though. A hub that disengages is pretty much a spinning wheel with nothing else.
 




410Fortune

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98-99 rangers had PVH (power vacuum hubs)
in 2000 Ford did away with those too
First thing to get deleted on a 98-99 ranger here is the problematic PVH system
The 91-94 explorers were also shipped with "auto hubs"
again, the first thing to get removed on those trucks here is the auto hubs in favor of some manual hubs

If you want to take control of your 4x4 so it will be there when you need it the most you have a few options:
manual transfer case and a live axle
or
carry tools to remove/ fix the electronic shift transfer case motor when it fails and parts/tools to remove/fix the CAD or PVH when they fail........

My stock shift motor (1988) made it 320K miles and was rebuilt on the bench twice in that time. I finally went to a manual t case and never had an issue since!
 




96eb96

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98-99 rangers had PVH (power vacuum hubs)
in 2000 Ford did away with those too
First thing to get deleted on a 98-99 ranger here is the problematic PVH system
The 91-94 explorers were also shipped with "auto hubs"
again, the first thing to get removed on those trucks here is the auto hubs in favor of some manual hubs

If you want to take control of your 4x4 so it will be there when you need it the most you have a few options:
manual transfer case and a live axle
or
carry tools to remove/ fix the electronic shift transfer case motor when it fails and parts/tools to remove/fix the CAD or PVH when they fail........

My stock shift motor (1988) made it 320K miles and was rebuilt on the bench twice in that time. I finally went to a manual t case and never had an issue since!
I agree. The control trac is well intentioned but there are MANY failure points. I posted a bit back about a dumb wire under the hood that would prevent shifting. Also, if it is never used, the encoder wheel in the shift motor will stop reporting position(indicated by contact fingers touching traces). Then you may be stuck in low or not be able to shift. Usually though "rebooting" the car (ignition on and off) will reset the T/C to the non-low position (assuming that crimp above is ok).

I suggest exercising the motor at least once a month, or at least at an oil change. A ford tech told me that once when I brought it in for discount oil change. He said it don't matter if its a 2020 or a 1996, the mechanism is the same. Take it up and back to 4lo a few times. He don't do it because it on a strange car because could be in poor condition and not shift back.
 




96eb96

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I bookmarked this article in the past. It is a very good read:
 




Mike789

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Ok, I read all these posts and those in other threads too...
What would be the general opinion on MOST RELIABLE 4WD system, completely manual, no AWD, no sensors, no computers, etc ?
Does the Explorer come in such a model ? 4Runner ? Range Rover ? Pathfinder ?

I'm still not clear on another thing, how is the 4WD system in my 95 4Runner different than the system in my 98 Exp ?
 




C420sailor

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I know nothing about the 4Runner.

But a late model Gen 2 5.0L V8 Explorer with a BW4406 manual transfer case (this is a mod) is considered to be the holy grail.
 




gmanpaint

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4wd to 2wd can also be accomplished by swapping the front knuckles, and the hub bearing units the 2wd 5.0 uses. You drop the differential out with the front drive shaft as well.

As far as keeping 4wd, the 4406 from the f150 or Expedition is a great mod that gives true 2wd, and true 4wd. Manual 4406 is the easiest to swap, and the most reliable.

As far as the 4406 being the holy grail, umm.... nope. Lol

An Atlas is the next step up, and there is another case above that one as well. That case is like $5k!
 




C420sailor

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Lol okay, the holy grail for those of us poor folk 😂
 




410Fortune

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there are two ways I build an explorer or a ranger typically if you want reliability and longevity as well as general TOUGHNESS this is the recipe:

1) 4.0 OHV pushrod with M5OD manual mated to 1354 manual t case (the best combo here would be a 98-00 4.0, a M5od HD in front of the 1354m)

or

2) 5.0 OHV pushrod SBF with a 4r70w auto and 4406 manual t case (best combo here is any year 5.0 mated to 98+ 4r70w using any year 4406 manual)
 




Mike789

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Is it possible, w/o a ton of $, to make my 98 SOHC 4.0 better ? Ie, manual TC ?
 




410Fortune

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yes
find 1354m transfer case, including front driveshaft, shifter linkage, appropriate interior shift boot
install new manual t case in place of the current t case
We routinely sell these transfer cases complete with shifter and linkage for $400-700 depending on year and miles
You can find them at local wreckers, ebay, craigslist, facebook, etc

The 4x4 lights in the dash will flash because you removed the control trac
Now cut the wires from the Gem module to the instrument cluster that feed those two lights
and add the wires from your new manual t case, one wire for 4hi and one wire for 4 low, route them directly to the instrument cluster

DONE
Now you have a true 4x4 truck
You will need 91-97 front driveshaft or a rough country front driveshaft, or build your own at local driveline shop
 




AA7KN

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Curious, not that I will go out and do this today, or tomorrow, but, it seems to me the CV-axle-joints could be removed, for true 2WD operation. This might save some gas, and wear and tear, etc. It also seems to me, that due to the CV-axles having 2 CV joints each, one might be able to remove them w/o removing the F wheel subframe or anything. Is there enuff room to get the axles out w/o removing any F end parts ?

I'm asking as, what if the transfer case locked up, but 2WH still worked, I'm just curious as to how many things can break and still the Explorer will keep going if the right parts are removed.
NO...the CV axles go through the front wheel bearing hub and the big nut also holds the hub bearing together. you won't get very far if you removed the front CV axles and go driving. sounds like a good idea, but it really will distroy your front bearing hubs with nothing holding the bearing together. hope this helps
 




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