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Stuck in Neutral

FresnoFlats

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95 explorer ltd, 140,000 miles, 4 L v6. Drove out to a job site and parked. Awhile later, started the car, switched to 4L, heard a clunk and then had no movement when put in gear. The car is stuck in neutral and won't go into any gear and won't go into park. I left it at the job site and want to find out what things I can check when I go back to look at the vehicle.
Switching in and out of 4L has always been clunking and delayed, but I hardly ever need it. The transfer case was rebuilt about 9 months ago. I have not had any other problems with the transmission or transfer case. When I rotate the 4WD switch between the 3 positions, the appropriate dash light comes on.

What things can I check in the field to diagnose this problem before I have to tow it back to town? Reading other threads makes it seem that this problem is likely in the transfer case and that I can check the position of a switch.
 



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CDW6212R

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The shift lever for Park etc, is trans only, not connected to the TC at all. If the trans won't shift through the gears, then something is jamming the linkage outside, or the manual valve inside. Outside also it may be possible for the shift lever parts in the column to break or jam, but I'd check other things first.

Start by checking for an object in the shift linkage underneath. If nothing shows up there, then disconnect the linkage at the trans, and see which way the problem is(in or out of the trans). If the linkage is clear, then the trans pan needs to come off to see what's stopping the manual valve from moving. Hopefully it's outside, don't force the shift lever.

Looseness in the column lever at this age is kind of common, and there are a few parts to replace for under $50. Good luck,
 






FresnoFlats

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Thanks for the reply, it is helpful. The shift lever is a bit loose but I don't feel any increased looseness now. It moves through all the gear positions normally. There is just no response from the trans. Although, if I try to put it in park while the engine is running, it grinds. I have not yet looked underneath as I was too busy and it was too hot to crawl under. I will find the shift linkage and see if maybe it is missing a connection.
 






CDW6212R

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If the linkage is intact to the trans, then the transmission is gone. It might be a single part, but it would have to come out to fix it. I'm sorry it seems you're looking at a transmission rebuild, I hope it isn't excessively expensive.
 












koda2000

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I think the problem is in the transfer case. Try removing the shift motor to see if you can get it to manually go back to 2wd.

I'm not a 4WD guy (though I've owned a few) but I agree.
 






FresnoFlats

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Thanks for the additional suggestions. I will be crawling under this morning to see what I can figure out.
 






CDW6212R

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I think the problem is in the transfer case. Try removing the shift motor to see if you can get it to manually go back to 2wd.
Smart Jon, I agree now that I recall it has the 4WD shift motor. Those shift motors are very good when new, but at this age they do have issues often. Those can be had for under $75 new, though I've watched them on eBay for $75 used a lot.
 






FresnoFlats

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Turns out it is the transfer case itself. I had it towed to my usual garage. When they called and told me it was the transfer case I asked, "Again??" They had put a rebuilt transfer case in the car in November and it had less than 2,000 miles on it. It looks like it will be covered by a warranty and I will get another rebuilt case next week. The case is being shipped out of someplace in Ohio.

Thanks for the suggestions.
 






CDW6212R

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Thanks for the update, and it's sad to hear it needed another TC again.
 






drdoom

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I have done el cheapo "rebuilds" on my 4405, they never lasted long. Finally I took the cases to a top machinist for bushings, and myself I did bearings, worm gear, pump tab repair, and sonnax roller.
 






drdoom

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Fresno yeah check that shift cable while you are under there, the plastic tabs do pop out of the bracket some times, although in my experience a SHIFT ERROR code is set when this happens. And make sure you have enough fluid in the transmission.
 






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