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Switching 2WH to 4WH


PaulZ

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I use 4WH in my stock 99 Ranger frequently to get to my cabin. I have always come to a stop before switching, but recently tried it on the fly, as you are supposed to be able to do. Sometimes it works, sometimes it clunks and sometimes it doesn't work. Have others had this experience? Always works when I switch at a stop. Oh, btw, I did change out the vacuum hubs for manual, which I leave engaged.
 


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racsan

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as long as the hubs are engaged, tire sizes are the same, and youre not spinning a tire as you try to shift the transfer case , you should be fine. Remember if youre in a turn at the time your tire rpm speeds will be different from front to back so Id only shift on the go when going straight.
 

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+1 ^^^

With manual hubs engaged front and rear drive shafts are rotating at a same RPM so inside the transfer case the chain drive and output shaft are rotating at the same speed, so engaging 4WD should be smooth, or disengaging

There is an electric clutch on Ranger transfer cases up thru 2000 that allow for Auto Hubs and PVH
But that shouldn't come into play with already locked hubs, like 2001 and up Ranger had

Clunk could be front u-joint issue, as power is added(4WD) and removed(2WD)
 

PaulZ

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Thanks guys. Tires all the same size, not slipping, not turning. The dash light turns on, or off, like it's supposed to. Today as I approached my driveway I switched it to 4wh, light went on. Got to the steep part, rear tires spun, couldn't climb the hill. Stopped, put it in 4wl and was able to continue on with front tires now pulling.

I know it should work.. don't really know how that shift motor moves the fork inside. The manual says something about not shifting above 45mph in freezing temps, neither of which I have, but apparently that causes some issue. It's a manual trans btw.
 

racsan

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When I had my 93 4x4 I mostly used 4wd in the winter, I had changed the auto hubs to manual ones and usually left them locked from nov-march. Id always start off in 2wd to get a feel for the road. (hard to tell how slippery it really is if youre in 4wd). Once I knew what I was dealing with Id shift to 4wd. Now my setup was different from yours, had the electric shift transfer case but still had no issues going in or out of 4wd on the go. I did often use 4L with hubs unlocked if I was backing a trailer or pulling a boat up the ramp out of the water, that effectively gives you a creeper gear, just cant go from low range to high range while moving.
 

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4x4s in 4WD are actually 2 wheel drive if rear axle is OPEN style differential, front is always OPEN from factory
So only 1 rear wheel and 1 front wheel gets power, and its the easiest to turn wheel that gets the power

But in either 4H or 4L you should have had 1 front wheel working, it may have lost traction but should still have been spinning
I would test it again on loose ground to see if a front wheel will slip like a back wheel does in 4H

But if 4L works then 4H would as well because they use the same 4WD engagement, no difference, 4L just has a separate planetary gear set, and its not involved in 2WD or 4WD selection
 

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My experience with these is that as the shift motors start to get weak, they don't want to shift unless the vehicle is stopped. Why that makes a difference is not clear to me, but that is how it has worked in my experience.
 

PaulZ

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My experience with these is that as the shift motors start to get weak, they don't want to shift unless the vehicle is stopped. Why that makes a difference is not clear to me, but that is how it has worked in my experience.
Well that could be it maybe. I see new motors are only 50 bucks, worth a try. I'm actually more concerned about forgetting to put it in 2H when I leave my property and get on the road, hard asphalt highway with few places to stop and switch it. Thanks!
 

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My experience with these is that as the shift motors start to get weak, they don't want to shift unless the vehicle is stopped. Why that makes a difference is not clear to me, but that is how it has worked in my experience.
About the only thing that will make a DC motor "weak" is worn brushes or a dirty commutator. I would suspect that in the lifetime of RBV's, there has only been a handful of shift motors that wore out their brushes. The commutator is "cleaned and conditioned" through use. So, the more you use a DC motor, the better it runs. That is one reason that it is wise to exercise it monthly. The other reasons are to clean the rotating switch assembly and distribute lubrication.

The controls are designed to require you to be stopped to shift in or out of low range. Since there is no way to therwise synchronize the gears. Shifting from 2-hi to 4-hi and back at low speeds is OK since everything is turning at the same speed. Occasionally, a hard shift may occur whole stopped, if there is stress on the case. So shifting on level ground, brakes on and clutch in or automatic in neutral is best case scenario.
 

rubydist

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If you have ever had one of those shift motors apart, or seen photos of one apart, you will note that the commutator is very dirty. Yes, using it more can help "recover" one, but I have seen a lot of them get weak.
 

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Well that could be it maybe. I see new motors are only 50 bucks, worth a try. I'm actually more concerned about forgetting to put it in 2H when I leave my property and get on the road, hard asphalt highway with few places to stop and switch it. Thanks!
To the best of my understanding - if the 4x4 lights switch back and forth properly, then there is no issue with the shift motor (I believe the lights change state when the shift system detects that it's in the selected position).

Ron would certainly have more useful/reliable information to contribute.
 

ericbphoto

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My credo
In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are different.
If you have ever had one of those shift motors apart, or seen photos of one apart, you will note that the commutator is very dirty. Yes, using it more can help "recover" one, but I have seen a lot of them get weak.
I’ve completely rebuilt mine and I’ve been working on DC motors since 1982.

the commutator can be cleaned. But you don’t actually want it a bright shiny copper color. A properly seasoned commutator will be a chocolate brown color.
 


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