Ford Explorer AWD 4WD Questions

gi_joeygi_joey Member Posts: 2
edited August 2018 in Ford
I have a 1999 explorer with the 4.0 sohc. The truck has 128,000 miles on it. I has been okay to me so far, wait there was those two times I have had to replace the transmision. I may be just a bit rough on her at times but she's, all n all has been good to me. :sick: Her new thing is she won't go in to 4wd at all and she flashes her 4WD Hi/Lo lights at me 6 times every two min. I think she is telling me she is sick. I don't trust dealers, because at about 60,000 miles they told me she would not make it back to my house (9 miles away) with the front diff the way it is. She still has not had a problem yet with it. I love her so i want to get her feeling better but I have no clue where to start. Please make her better doctors! Thanks for your time.


  • expo1expo1 Member Posts: 5
    what did you do to fix
  • expo1expo1 Member Posts: 5
    hello, i have a 1998 explorer with 134k when driving both the 4x4 high and 4x4 low lights flash 6 times every couple of minutes. It has auto locking hubs, and when making left or right turns it clunks like it's in 4x4. any ideas? Thank you
  • gi_joeygi_joey Member Posts: 2
    I found out that the plug to the transfer case was loose. I found that because i went threw a small creek and the felt the 4wd kick in. so i put it on the lift and found a plug half on. I pulled it and cleaned it, then put it back on. Then i reset the computer. its been about 4 months and still have not had it happen again. I might have just got lucky but i knew something was weird when i got it wet and it worked. I hope this helps somebody. the main thing is to check all the plugs cause the trucks are getting older.. :)
  • bungeemasterbungeemaster Member Posts: 1
    My 4WD switch does nothing when I turn it to 4H or 4L. Also, when I start the car I dont get momentary illumination of the 4H or 4L lights. Fuses are all good. Any suggestions?? Maybe a switch or relay??
  • tmac4tmac4 Member Posts: 1
    I can't get my explorer in to 4 wheel drive? When I turn the switch, nothing happens, the 4X4 light won't even come on?
  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,239
    Need a little more data, like mileage on truck and previous performance, how often you use the 4WD, etc. However, it sounds as if your shift motor has failed, that's the most common reason for this malfunction. It's about a $500 repair to have it done. The part is around $300. It could be electrical, like a fuse, but that's quite rare. If your explorer has over 75,000 miles, I'm betting the shift motor is your culprit.
  • frozennuggetfrozennugget Member Posts: 2
    Expo1, did you ever get this one solved? I have a similar problem. '98 Explorer with 101K miles. The 4WD High and Low indicator lights blink 5-6 times a minute.
  • expo1expo1 Member Posts: 5
    no, i found that this only happens when its cold outside around 45 and below. read that the code for lights flashing 6 times to check 1) clutch & front sensor connectors. 2) clutch coil. 3) internal circuitry sensor have discontinvity. hope this helps, let me know.
  • rocky32rocky32 Member Posts: 1
    My 4x4 switch will not light up or engage to 4x4. Does anyone know what the problem is...Thank you
  • news1news1 Member Posts: 1
    Hello, I have a 2002 ford explorer and i had problem with my battery that went dead few months ago.After changing the battery, my 4x4 light never comes on again; I checked my fuses,everything is allright; Can I get any help for this situation if someone can.
    Thank you.
  • newdavidqnewdavidq Member Posts: 146
    I have a 2002 xlt 4x4 and had the intermittant flashing light issue. Took it to a trusted mechanic and he diagnosed a 4x4 control module. Said could have been actuator motor which would have been more expensive. Charged me $360.00 p&l. I also had a dealer check and they said the same thing, although they would have charged me $480.00. Got it done just in time for the snow in Chicago.
  • redline6redline6 Member Posts: 2
    inappoprite abs activation at 20mph-0
  • pathughespathughes Member Posts: 1
    I sure could use some help...I have a 95 explorer with an apparent early model of Control Trac. The problem with this system is that my options are, "2High, Auto, and 4Low", 4High is not an option. I drive in the sand a lot, and having the car decide when it wants to select 4 high just isnt working for me, I need to be able to select 4High and count on it locking in for me. Does anyone know how to modify the system to allow full time 4High in this thing? Thanks!
  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,239
    There is no way. Sorry... :cry:
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Do you have the same problem when you air down the tires?
  • jmdolan2jmdolan2 Member Posts: 1
    I have same problem with my exporer - anyone have solution?My 4WD switch does nothing when I turn it to 4H or 4L. Also, when I start the car I dont get momentary illumination of the 4H or 4L lights. Fuses are all good. Any suggestions?? Maybe a switch or relay??
  • jko29jko29 Member Posts: 1

    I had the exact same thing happen. Battery died, got it jumped then 4x4 lights started the blinking every 5-10 min and it wont engage 4 wheel drive.

    Did you ever get an answer? I am still having the problem.
  • gnrosefangnrosefan Member Posts: 2
    I have a 1998 ford explorer 4.0 4wheel high/low blinking and universal/cvjoint (not sure which) is banging and told that my 2 front hubs are engaged and need to be disengaged i was wondering if there is a way to manualy disengage them with out pulling them out of the car even if it means i only have 2 wheel drive. I apprecaite your time and opinions thanks
  • jsimsjsims Member Posts: 3
    I have the same problem! Have you been able to find out what the problem is?

    Jonah Sims

    please send me an email if you have an answer
    [email protected]
  • chris89883chris89883 Member Posts: 3
    sounds like a bad axle, look under your truck and see if one of your front axles is loose. if their good then i suggest you take your truck to any shop with diagnostic scanner and they will tell you whats wrong with it.
  • gnrosefangnrosefan Member Posts: 2
    I have replaced both axles and both wheel barring hub assemblies on both sides i still have the loud noise when i hit a bump with left front tire. im running out of options of what it could be my next thing im gonna replace is the shocks see if that works.
  • allisonmiallisonmi Member Posts: 5
    My 4x4 quit working as I was driving into a blizzard this past winter. It was the first time in the past year that I needed to engage it, so I had no idea it wasn't working until I actually needed it. I was furious. Took it to Ford that week and they had to replace a part (I'm sorry I can't remember the name of it) which cost around $450.
  • cralcral Member Posts: 3
    i had that problem and found out it was the 4x4 motor which is on your transmission (about 10" long) i took a hammer and lightly hit it and walla fixed.

    this is a common problem from what the dealer said and they were the ones that suggested the repair like that.

    i own a 1998 explorer 4.0 sohc
  • expo1expo1 Member Posts: 5
    are you talking about the 4X4 shift motor on the transfer case?
  • firecar36firecar36 Member Posts: 1
    Rocky....mine does the exact same thing ... 2002 .....did you find out what caused it and how to repair it? What about the wheel bearings......I replaced both front and now need to replace the have the same problem?
  • fillr68fillr68 Member Posts: 22
    I have 99 explorer 155.000 miles noticed that the 4 wheel drive engages going up hill or through a turn..its just started doing this..any help?
  • goodgirl93goodgirl93 Member Posts: 1
    I have a mazda navajo just about the same as a ford explorer sport?
    Yesterday it snowed I put in 4x4, drove just fine. Today I went to put it in 4x4 and nothing light wont come on nothing, any one have a solution?
  • adelesalisburyadelesalisbury Member Posts: 1
    I have the same problem with my 92 Explorer. I know nothing about car parts so will you please tell me where to find the 4x4motor and also describe the transfer case too. Describe the 4x4motor too.
    Thank you :)
  • roncastroncast Member Posts: 1
    just bought a 2002 4x4 explorer limited. it has 3 buttons (4x4 auto) (4x4 high) and(4x4 low). what exactly is 4x4 auto? I notice the 4wd is on all the time, even on the highway. had my friend drive it forward and reverse while I was looking at the front drive shaft from under the hood, and it would move at both directions. is this normal? please help.
  • fillr68fillr68 Member Posts: 22
    auto is what it means rainy weather snowy weather if you have it in auto the 4 wheel drive will engage ONLY when the tires start to slip ,,its a nice feature plus it helps on wear and tear and gas mileage. yes the front drive shaft does always move if the truck is in a drive have a nice truck have fun........
  • redddoggredddogg Member Posts: 3
    I have a 1992 explorer the electronic [non-permissible content removed] for 4x4 is not working is there anyway to shift this transfer case manually?
  • fillr68fillr68 Member Posts: 22
    not sure you can on those older explorers..on the later models there is a brown wire that can be bypassed ....I have seen the shift motors on ebay for around 140.00 ..Ford wants 450.00..that is what I would do it is easier then trying to modify your truck.
  • redddoggredddogg Member Posts: 3
  • nettlesnettles Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 ford explorer 4wd since 2001 and it has 70K miles on it. It has always had a rough ride when turning into driveways etc and it rocks you all over the car. It has a very stiff suspension overall. I would like to fix this and am thinking it might be shocks. What would you recommend to fix this problem and what shocks would you recommend. We don't tow a boat but if we did it would be no bigger than 18 feet.
  • fillr68fillr68 Member Posts: 22
    well my truck is a 99 ...same as yours...I changed my front shocks only because of the hard ride it had on bumps...that was at 100.000 miles....I bought a monroe gas shock very close to the diameter of the orginal Ford shock...the best way is to remove a shock an take with you when you buy your new ones...match for diameter size...some replacement shocks are smaller in diameter..meaning a cheaper shock and ride...and just the front shock change was a night and day difference,,,,,,,hope this helps...
  • rskurkarskurka Member Posts: 1
    how r ya. did not know if anyone replied to u but i have a 2001 that is lifted 4 inches on 33 in. tires and if i leave it in auto the traction control works almost the same as four wheel high.
  • pckidpckid Member Posts: 1
    I have been looking at some used Explorers. I have asked the dealers that are selling these if they are on demand 4WD but they don't know if the ones they have do. How can you tell by looking if the car has this feature?

    I had a company Explorer that had On Demand and I traveled to some remote radio tower sites in all weather conditions and never got stuck so I would like that option if I can find a vehicle with it.


  • jonboymvjonboymv Member Posts: 2
    My truck is stuck on 4 high. I have the switch on auto which is my only 2wd option. I have tried putting the truck in neutral and switching it but that doesn't work .I just put brand new tires on it to see if that would help but it didn't. Can someone please help me!!!!
  • fillr68fillr68 Member Posts: 22
    are all the tires the same size??? are the front tires balanced ???..its does matter....otherwise it maybe your can unhook the motor..or you can remove the front driveshaft...I had a unbalanced tire that caused this...any front end vibration can cause the auto 4 wheel drive to engage....hope this helps
  • jonboymvjonboymv Member Posts: 2
    The tires are balanced, same size and all. Can I unhook shift motor myself or do I have to bring it to a mechanic?? Thanks for the help and anymore you can send my way!!!
  • fillr68fillr68 Member Posts: 22
    yes you can unhook the shift motor..the motor is located on the back of the transfercase. it is a electrical motor you will need a flat screwdriver to pry away the plastic clips that hold the plugs together. most of the time these motors go up..they are about 450.00 from Ford or 160.00 on ebay..worse case you can remove the front driveshaft. this will stop your 4 wheel drive from working. hope this helps.
  • vossenvossen Member Posts: 1
    Hi, I have a 2002 Ford explorer with 50 000 miles that has given me nothing but troubles. My main concern is that my 4 wheel drive is allways on. The relay that is in the front passenger side compartment will click on and off randomly and in no specific seqcuence. If I turn the 4x4 selector switch to 4 high while it is clicking this stops the relay. I am not sure whether it is the switch, relay or the motor on the transfer case and was wondering if there are some voltage tests I can perform to see where the problem lies. Thnks.
  • fillr68fillr68 Member Posts: 22
    sorry to here you have nothing but problems...but we all have this problem at can disconnect the shift motor buy unplugging it...the high and low lights will flash on and off while the motor is disconnected this most likely is your problem the shift motor does go bad and can cause the 4 wheel drive to engage.I have seen them on ebay for about 160.00 but not sure how good they are,,Ford wants 450.00..worse case you can remove the front drive shaft until you fix your problem...there is a brown wire mod ..that can be done to stop the auto 4 wheel drive to engage ,,hope this helps........
  • mmesichmmesich Member Posts: 1
    my explorer seems to jump in and out of 4 wheel when driving on slippery roads. This happens when the truck is in 4 wheel high or auto 4 wheel.
  • jeder212jeder212 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 Explorer, 4.0 V6 with 110K miles. It started jerking and bucking while driving down the road. I figured out it was the auto 4WD kicking in and out. If it was in 4Hi or 4Lo, it drove fine. As a quick fix, i removed the front drive shaft, but would like to know how to fix the problem. Any help??
  • fillr68fillr68 Member Posts: 22
    if your explorer drove fine after removing the front driveshaft...very possible it is the shift motor...located on the back of the transmission on the drivers has some wires going to it...also unbalanced tires can cause this...or depending on your mileage..(high) your wheel bearing hubs can cause this also......otherwise during the summer leave the front driveshaft off........hope this helps
  • fillr68fillr68 Member Posts: 22
    yes the auto four wheel drive can do this ..otherwise maybe the shift motor is causing you this problem.........located on the end of the transmission on the drivers 4 wheel drive can engage in wet conditions..also be sure your front tires are balanced...vibration in the front end will cause the auto 4 wheel drive to engage....hope this helps
  • shiftedshifted Member Posts: 1
    I was in 2wd, and as I slowed toward a stop it sounded as if the transfer case gears were trying to mesh (bumping). I switched to 4wd auto, and the problem stopped for a while. Then as I came to a stop it felt like it shifted into 4wd low on its own I don't think the 4wd low light came on (not sure). The pavement was dry, and it bogged down and lurched to a stop! I put the trans in neutral, and switched from 4wd auto, to 2wd. I was able to drive in 2wd to a nearby trans shop.They found a fault with the brake pedal switch, and said something about the GEM module.They could not fix it for me,but disconnected the wire from the solenoid at the transfer case to disable the electronic shift function to keep it in 2wd.Where do I go from here?
  • fillr68fillr68 Member Posts: 22
    not really sure about the GEM module..why it would effect the 4 wheel drive most cases with the Explorer the shift motor does go bad causing problems like you had..depending on your milage and how often you use the 4 wheel drive the transfer case may be a problem..check your fuild level the transfer case......if the shift motor is disconnected as you mentioned and the problem has stopped?? well thats what I would go after it maybe the cheapest place to start......
  • brownhornet2k8brownhornet2k8 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 Ford Explorer Limited and as i was pulling out of the drive way one day my ABS light and 4x4 high light began flashing and the vehicle went into 4x4 high and i was unable to go no more than 20 mph all of a sudden i was able to accelerate and the ABS light remains on with check advanctrac message
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