Need help understanding front axle disconnect. | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Need help understanding front axle disconnect.


New Member
January 3, 2010
Reaction score
City, State
Plainville, Ma.
Year, Model & Trim Level
1995 XLT
1995 Explorer. Front wheel axle disconnect. Hello. My front wheel axle disconnect stopped working. It has two vacuum lines and an electrical plug with two small wires going into the disconnect motor assy. Could someone please tell me what actuates the disconnect motor? Should there be vacuum in one line, two lines when in 4WD? Is there a solenoid somewhere to open vacuum to the motor? How does this all work is really my question. Any help would be really appreciated. Thanks...

There are two electronically controlled vacuum solenoids that control that vacuum motor. With the engine idling in park, you should have vacuum on one line, then when you shift to 4high or 4low, you should have vacuum on the other line. You should never have vacuum to both at the same time. The solenoids are controlled by the GEM.

I don't recall off the top of my head where the solenoids are located or which way the lines run on the Explorer... I'd have to do some digging.... But does that answer your question?

It's not uncommon for one or both of the solenoids to fail, the vaccum line(s) to get brittle and leak, or the motor itself to go bad. In fact, the same setup (albeit super-sized) on my F-150 just got replaced last month for the same reason.

That does help. Thanks for writing and answering my question. I'm gonna look at that right away.