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2009 Ranger XL Question on 4WD System


redondomark

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I am newbie to 4x4s and in the process of looking at & buying a 2009 XL Ranger, 4.0L, automatic, 4H & 4L, open front & rear differentials (rear is an open 8.8 inch with a 3.73 ratio).

My primary goal is to do some light to medium off roading / camping (80% daily driver 20% weekend warrior).

I have looked at the forum's resources and found a lot of valuable information - very well done!

That said, I am seeking a better understanding of the drive train system.


- Per this link (https://www.therangerstation.com/tech/the-ford-ranger-4wd-system/) I understood that my XL would have only the right rear that spins and the left front when in 4wheel drive.

- At the same I link it also states the following for the front end: "From 2001-2011, the Ford Ranger used a ‘Live Axle’ setup, which simply meant that the front wheel spindle was permanently connected to the front axle, and could not be unlocked."

- I called the my local 4 Wheel Parts store today and they told me that all 4 wheels are being driven at all times with the open differential. Further, if I had a situation where the front left was stuck in the air, or spinning on a rock, that is when the truck would NOT transfer the power to the front right (because no LSD or locker).

Can someone please validate if indeed the vehicle I am thinking of buying drives all 4 wheels when in 4 wheel drive? Is the explanation from the 4 Wheel Parts store correct?

Thank you very much for your time and help!!
 


Rock Auto 5% Discount Code: F9A1A579ACFAD1: October 1st, 2021

rubydist

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This is a bit confusing, so bear with me.

The "live axle" in the case of a 01-11 Ranger means that the front axles and differential are always turning with the wheels whether the transfer case is engaged or not. So there is no front hub disengagement on those vehicles.

When the transfer case is engaged, power is applied to all 4 wheels. The transfer case has no differential ability, so the front driveshaft and the rear driveshaft are always running at exactly the same speed.

When a vehicle has an open differential, that means it is not possible to provide more torque to the wheel on one side of the vehicle than to the other. That means that if one wheel is up in the air, it is transmitting no torque to the ground, so the wheel that is not up in the air is also not transmitting any torque to the ground, and the wheel in the air will simply spin.

If you have open differentials on both axles (front and back) it is possible to be in a situation where you are simply spinning one wheel on the front axle and one on the rear axle and not going anywhere. This might happen when on ice, mud, or in a rock crawling situation.

If the vehicle has some type of properly functioning limited slip or locking differential, then both wheels on that axle will spin even if only one of them is actually transmitting torque to the ground.

Hope that helps!
 

pjtoledo

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it all depends on the traction of whatever you're driving on as to what wheels spin.

when in 4wd hi or low, all 4 wheels have power applied to them, even with an open differential. the first one to loose traction is the one that spins. usually the right rear, the front is a bit different.

why the right rear????
because as power is applied the driveshaft attempts to turn the rear gears, since both wheels have traction there is resistance to the driveshaft turning the rear gears.
the drive shaft says "oh yeah, take this" and gives the whole axle housing a big twist which lifts up on the right wheel causing it to loose traction and start spinning.
of course if the left wheel has less traction it will spin first.

the front is a bit different because the differential is bolted the frame, not flexible springs.
so when power is applied the driveshaft tries to lift the entire front end, not just the axle.
which results in a better balance of power, but all other things being equal it's the left front that will spin first.

under "normal" conditions open differentials get you where you want to go, I'll let you decide what is normal.
 

redondomark

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Copy all and thank you Rubydist and pjtoledo for the reply and information!! I am sure I will be reaching out for more information in the near future.
 


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