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Old 10-13-2013, 03:08 PM
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Is This Normal?

Bear with me here as this may be a stupid question:

My truck is an 04 4x4. I lived in Texas until earlier this year so I never actually needed the 4 wheel drive. Last winter when we had our first snow I couldn't get out of my driveway (uphill slope). I clicked the switch over to 4L, put the truck in drive and continued to spin and go nowhere. The 4x4 light was on in the dash but the front wheels were not pulling.

Only after flicking the switch back and forth a few times, going from reverse back to drive etc, it did actually engage and get me going. After I got to level ground at the end of my driveway I put the truck back in 2 wheel drive and pulled out into the street. Wouldn't you know it, now it won't come out of 4L. Pulled over in someone's nice shoveled driveway and started the back and forth ritual again. After 2 or 3 times going back and forth it unlocked and I went about my day.

Is this what I have to look forward to every time it snows or am I doing something wrong? I know I can get out and lock the hubs manually, but that would require removing the center caps on my wheels every time, and to be quite honest, I'm lazy. Any advice is welcome.
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Old 10-13-2013, 03:27 PM
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were you sitting completely still with the truck in neutral when you shifted it to and out of 4 low?
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Old 10-13-2013, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford_Fan1 View Post
were you sitting completely still with the truck in neutral when you shifted it to and out of 4 low?
Yes.

I actually played with it earlier today and it did the same thing. My driveway is about 150 yards long. Put truck in neutral, selected 4 low, light came on in dash. Shifted to drive and started up the driveway. About half way to the road (75 yards or so) it engaged.

Backed down driveway, put truck in neutral and selected 2 hi. Put truck back in drive and start back up driveway but I'm still in 4 low when I reach the end of my driveway. Put it in reverse to go back down to the house and it disengaged immediately.

If I have to be able to move the truck for the 4 wheel drive to engage it seems fairly useless in the event that I actually get stuck. (The switch that is, I could still get out and do it manually)
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Old 10-13-2013, 05:34 PM
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Make sure that both hubs are set to lock automatically. If they already are, I would guess that you have a vacuum leak somewhere in the system. I would start be checking the little grey hose that connects to the heater control vacuum line (this is about 4 inches behind the oil fill cap). After you make sure that little grey hose is connected, get in the truck and turn on the AC so that it is coming out of the vents. Now switch the truck into 4wd and see if the AC start to come out of the defrosters- if it does then you still have a vacuum leak somewhere in the system.
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Old 10-13-2013, 05:46 PM
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You don't have to be moving to get the 4wheel to engage but it helps. My advice is when you do flip the lever be gentle with the go pedal at first,when everything starts to turn the gears will all get into position and lock. If you just cram it to the carpet you can screw things up. At the very least the truck will bang around pretty good. Not a cool noise comin out of the front end....
But Id agree with the guys up above. It just sounds like your lubs for some reason weren't lockin.
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Old 10-13-2013, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford_Fan1 View Post
Make sure that both hubs are set to lock automatically. If they already are, I would guess that you have a vacuum leak somewhere in the system. I would start be checking the little grey hose that connects to the heater control vacuum line (this is about 4 inches behind the oil fill cap). After you make sure that little grey hose is connected, get in the truck and turn on the AC so that it is coming out of the vents. Now switch the truck into 4wd and see if the AC start to come out of the defrosters- if it does then you still have a vacuum leak somewhere in the system.
Checked all that already. Everything is good to go.

This is really annoying because my 4 wheel drive does work, you just have to drive it in 2 wheel until it decides it's ready to engage the front wheels. Once it goes in 4 wheel, it works like a champ.
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:01 PM
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First, let me say that I am more familiar with the Explorers "shift-on-the-fly" system... which is similar to ours.
What would cause this problem on those would be that the grease inside the shift motor would actually harden over time, slowing the movement of the motor, and eventually stripping the plastic gears inside the motor.
Might be worth a shot investigating the shift motor if you are sure there is no vacuum leak present.

EDIT: I found a pdf file, but it is the diagnostic for the newer, '05-up, system..
I will have to dig around on my other computer to find the other system...I'll try to find it tomorrow early afternoon...
PDF File: ESOF system, 05-up

Last edited by NYC F-350; 10-13-2013 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYC F-350 View Post
First, let me say that I am more familiar with the Explorers "shift-on-the-fly" system... which is similar to ours.
What would cause this problem on those would be that the grease inside the shift motor would actually harden over time, slowing the movement of the motor, and eventually stripping the plastic gears inside the motor.
Might be worth a shot investigating the shift motor if you are sure there is no vacuum leak present.

EDIT: I found a pdf file, but it is the diagnostic for the newer, '05-up, system..
I will have to dig around on my other computer to find the other system...I'll try to find it tomorrow early afternoon...
PDF File: ESOF system, 05-up
Thanks I'll check it out. This could very well be the problem since the 4 wheel drive wasn't used when I lived in Texas.
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