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-89 Ranger, 4wd/transfercase/transmission issues.


Creekroad Factorium

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Hi there, newcomer to the forum and to Ford Rangers.
(If this should be in another forum-section, pleaser let me know.)

TLDR; HELP!!! I can't get it out of 4wd, can't get it into R and I have a video to prove it below.


Longer version.
Bought a -89 Ranger of a buddy yesterday. It has a few issues here and there, but being a car that has lived it's whole life in Sweden and is rust-free, I bought it as a fixer upper. Now, the issues it had up to a few hour ago are things like fubard fan-clutch, broken tempsensor and a bad generator/voltage-regulator was something I could live with for a while, but now something new just happened...

I went driving for a bit this morning w/o any issues, and when I came back home I decided to do some work on the truck. It had an old tape-recorder in it, so I started out with popping in a cd with a AUX input and got some Spotify going while I continued the day.
I cleaned out the past 5 years of dirt and dog-hair from the interior, cleaned the windows inside and out and took care of the vinyl.

I went to start her up to move it a bit closer to the barn when I realised I had drained the battery with all that speed-metal that was blasting out of the speaker.... Thankfully I have a spare battery on a charger for these kind of situations (you live, you learn) so I popped on some jumpercables and fired her up.

At this point I see that the 4wd is engaged and the 4 Lo is blinking. I push the button to turn it off. Nothing.
I put it into N and push the button. Nothing.
I drive a few meters forward and push. Yeah, you get the drill.
It's basically stuck in 4wd.
To make matters worse, I can't shift into R. The gears are just grinding, badly.
And well, to add insult to injury, there are some not-to-pleasant clunking/snapping sounds from the driveshafts and/or transfercase in the front.

List of underlying problems that maybe causes the issue:
Low voltage - The generator (and most likely battery) will need to get checked at. O emptied the battery woth the domelight and a stereo in 20 mins. Can low voltage make it so that the shift motor doesn't work correctly? IIRC the battery reads somewhere around 12.4V with the engine running. On an european car I would say that anything below 13.5 is kinda bad. I do hear clicks from behind when pushing the buttons in the dash.
Something got disconnected - I pulled the stereo again and made sure that the connector on the back of the switchpanel was secure. It actually was popped out a few mm.
One of the front wheels has a smaller diameter - One wheel is 235/15, the other is 245/15. The buddy had a flat a few weeks back. Im thinking this can be an issue with driveshafts turning slightly dirrerent and it creates a lockup that the shiftermotor cant pull apart.

I filmed a short video on how it behaves when I am in different gears and pushing the buttons.
Sorry for the Swedish accent, but hey, Im Swedish so.

Any ideas on where to start?


<iframe width="560" height="315" src="
" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
 
Last edited:


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Creekroad Factorium

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My google-fu is amazing, I figured it out by going to the youtubes.
I pulled the shifter motor and lo' and behold, the bushing was shot. The axel was stuck between 4Hi and 4Lo.
Got it into 2wd, replaced the bushing (with a piece of hose) and she drives again.

Mind you, I didn't dare to test the 4wd at this point. I was just happy it worked and since I need to haul some stuff the coming days I will try to stay clear of the 4wd buttons on the dash until I have a day or two to pull it again if needed.

New question tho.
I've seen that there are various types of manual shiftknobs to replace the motor with.
Can you just drive around without anything at all if need be? Or maybe just cap off the shaft with a suitable piece of plastic or something.
 

45-70

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Kul med en till svensk här 😊
Min -88 behöver oxå en renovering av lägesställaren till fördelningslådan, men mitt problem är nog att de där kopparslingorna ovh släpskorna som skall tala om vart den är.

Visste du att det bara finns 38st first gen rangers i sverige?
 

rusty ol ranger

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My google-fu is amazing, I figured it out by going to the youtubes.
I pulled the shifter motor and lo' and behold, the bushing was shot. The axel was stuck between 4Hi and 4Lo.
Got it into 2wd, replaced the bushing (with a piece of hose) and she drives again.

Mind you, I didn't dare to test the 4wd at this point. I was just happy it worked and since I need to haul some stuff the coming days I will try to stay clear of the 4wd buttons on the dash until I have a day or two to pull it again if needed.

New question tho.
I've seen that there are various types of manual shiftknobs to replace the motor with.
Can you just drive around without anything at all if need be? Or maybe just cap off the shaft with a suitable piece of plastic or something.
Google "the shiftster"
 

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85_Ranger4x4

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+1 to the Shiftster for a minimal expense option.

To convert your transfer case to manual you have to replace the transfer case with a manual version with the lever and linkage that goes with your transfer case and transmission combination.

More on transfer cases here:

 

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Kul med en till svensk här 😊
Min -88 behöver oxå en renovering av lägesställaren till fördelningslådan, men mitt problem är nog att de där kopparslingorna ovh släpskorna som skall tala om vart den är.

Visste du att det bara finns 38st first gen rangers i sverige?
I'm gonna try to translate...

What's up bro! I'm in Sweden too!

Myself and the St. Paulie girls are tipping some brews about to get them all in the hot tub... C'mon over and we'll party like rock stars!

BTW... I have 1 of 38 first gens known to exist here... what whatttttttttttt!

Was that even close?
 

85_Ranger4x4

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I'm gonna try to translate...

What's up bro! I'm in Sweden too!

Myself and the St. Paulie girls are tipping some brews about to get them all in the hot tub... C'mon over and we'll party like rock stars!

BTW... I have 1 of 38 first gens known to exist here... what whatttttttttttt!

Was that even close?
Kinda close:

Fun with one for Swedish here 😊
My -88 also needs a renovation of the positioner to the distribution box, but my problem is probably that those copper loops and the lugs should tell where it is.

Did you know that there are only 38 first gen rangers in Sweden?
 

Creekroad Factorium

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Dis is legit!


Thanks for the replies all.
I've googled the Shiftster, but apparently the links i found to the store were all dead. I'll see where I end up when it comes to the shiftmotor. It might even work at this point, I just haven't tried it yet.

It's very cool if this is one of the surviving 1st Gens in Sweden.
It's in really good condition, just a few spots with rust on the body apart from the major stuff. Which is a hole in the doorstep on the driveside, and surfacerust on the floorpanel on the passengerside. Gonna spray her up with some linseed-oil and leave it as is for this summer. (Yeah, gonna drive it exclusively during the non-winter.)

I should probably make a "buildthread" somewhere. I guess that's a thing on this forum aswell?
 

85_Ranger4x4

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Build threads are good. It would be interesting to see how an export truck compares to a standard US truck too.

For what it is worth first gen is 83-88. Second gen is 89-92, third 93-97 etc.
 

Creekroad Factorium

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Build threads are good. It would be interesting to see how an export truck compares to a standard US truck too.
For what it is worth first gen is 83-88. Second gen is 89-92, third 93-97 etc.
I'll start one later on then.

Also, thanks for correcting me. I was under the impression that second gen started -91 for some reason.
 

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I'll start one later on then.

Also, thanks for correcting me. I was under the impression that second gen started -91 for some reason.
Opinions vary...

Wikipeda has 83-92 as first gens. Ford considered 83-97 first gens.

We took the following stance since with what we call generations because there are a lot of differences between them.

 

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Scandinavian girls ♡

And welcome to the forum! This is definitely THE ranger forum to be a part of.

Wicked cool that you own one of 38 first gens in Sweden. I had a turbo subaru outback that due to color and options equipped was one of 65 made that year, but that's not nearly as cool
 

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Where did you come up with that info?
@bobbywalter

But in Fordland it is different than here. They are not wanting to know if a grille from a '88 will fit a '93 or something that varies between our generations.
 


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