4x4 Doesn't Engage


holsch1076

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U.S. Military - Active
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Location
Arizona
Vehicle Year
1994
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
31x10.5r15
I took my new manual 94 Ford Ranger XLT supercab off-road for the first time just to find out half way up the hill that my 4x4 doesn't work. First thing I checked was the fuse box in the cab just to find out there was nothing in place for the one touch module. Replaced it and still nothing. Took the dash off to make sure the buttons were connected properly and saw no problems there. Set the truck up on jack stands today and found the button, although the amber lights don't turn on, still activate the automatic locking hubs and with the help of a multi-meter found that the actuator was getting power. Even when in gear I could still move the front drive shaft by hand freely so I realized the transfer case was not engaging. Got a new actuator on order and should have her back off roading before the weekend. Anybody else have similar issues with these older models so I can be prepared in case of future mishaps?
 


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RonD

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"Actuator"?

Electric shift motor is often the weak link on the Rangers 4WD in any year
They sit without being used for sometimes YEARS and then people wonder why they don't work when they need them, lol

Anyway, what happens is the brushes for the electric motor get stuck or corroded so motor doesn't work, just needs a good cleaning

Good How-to here with pictures: https://www.explorerforum.com/forums/index.php?threads/how-to-rebuild-4x4-shift-motor.123542/

Second common failure point is the Auto Hubs, people over lube them to the point they can't move.
Rangers 4x4's have an OPEN front axle, this means if only one hub locks you lose 4WD.
Pull off the cover on the hubs wipe off excess Grease, lightly coat parts with ATF or 20 or 30w oil, they have to move in and out to lock and unlock
If you need to rely on 4WD then change to Manual hubs

Couple of tips
If you select 4WD and lights flash that means Switch and Control module are working, but shift motor is not
Usually this means Shift Motor fuse is blown(engine bay fuse box) or Motor is, rebuild time

Shift into 4h and then 4l and then back to 2WD once a month just sitting in the drive way, that will keep motor working a long while
Don't have to drive it in 4WD, doesn't hurt or help keep shift motor working

Auto Hubs often don't unLock, shift to 2WD then back up 25-50ft to unlock them, a Clicking noise means hub is partially locked, so not locked but also rubbing so not unLocked

Think about Manual hubs, 1997 and earlier will work, 1998-2000 will not, 2001 and up Ranger had locked front hub all the time, just a nut on the axle
 

holsch1076

New member
U.S. Military - Active
Joined
May 5, 2019
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Location
Arizona
Vehicle Year
1994
Make / Model
Ford Ranger
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Tire Size
31x10.5r15
"Actuator"?

Electric shift motor is often the weak link on the Rangers 4WD in any year
They sit without being used for sometimes YEARS and then people wonder why they don't work when they need them, lol

Anyway, what happens is the brushes for the electric motor get stuck or corroded so motor doesn't work, just needs a good cleaning

Good How-to here with pictures: https://www.explorerforum.com/forums/index.php?threads/how-to-rebuild-4x4-shift-motor.123542/

Second common failure point is the Auto Hubs, people over lube them to the point they can't move.
Rangers 4x4's have an OPEN front axle, this means if only one hub locks you lose 4WD.
Pull off the cover on the hubs wipe off excess Grease, lightly coat parts with ATF or 20 or 30w oil, they have to move in and out to lock and unlock
If you need to rely on 4WD then change to Manual hubs

Couple of tips
If you select 4WD and lights flash that means Switch and Control module are working, but shift motor is not
Usually this means Shift Motor fuse is blown(engine bay fuse box) or Motor is, rebuild time

Shift into 4h and then 4l and then back to 2WD once a month just sitting in the drive way, that will keep motor working a long while
Don't have to drive it in 4WD, doesn't hurt or help keep shift motor working

Auto Hubs often don't unLock, shift to 2WD then back up 25-50ft to unlock them, a Clicking noise means hub is partially locked, so not locked but also rubbing so not unLocked

Think about Manual hubs, 1997 and earlier will work, 1998-2000 will not, 2001 and up Ranger had locked front hub all the time, just a nut on the axle
Thanks for the help! Do you happen to know any good links for a how-to on switching to the manual hubs? The automatic are working right now but I would rather eliminate any possibilities of electronic failure. I have a new electronic shift motor on order, but would you think it's worth it to switch to a manual switch transfer case?
 

RonD

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Messages
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Location
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Vehicle Year
1994
Make / Model
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Transmission
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