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Ford Expedition 4WD Problems

mudhopper2mudhopper2 Posts: 2
edited August 2015 in Ford
I have a 98 that the 4x4 indicator lights will go on but it will not be in 4 wheel drive. I put all new ball joints in and after that I noticed 4wd was not working. Is there something I could have messed up doing that? Or do you think the transfer case shift motor just happened to go bad, and if so would the indicator lights still work? they dont blink. thanks for any help.

See Also
Edmunds Answers: Expedition 4wd Questions



  • skuddskudd Posts: 3
    My 99 Expedition Eddie Bauer has full time 4 wheel drive. Or at least it has A4x4 on the switch. WHen turning steep into a parking space or out on the road it jumps and hops as if it were in 4wheel high or something. Is this normal or is something wrong?
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    You are destroying your 4x4 system!!! either use 2h until you need 4x4 or get your transfer case fixed. It is clearly not working automatically.

    You are seriously damaging your wheel hubs in the front if you continue to drive on dry pavement in 4x4.

  • skuddskudd Posts: 3
    I took it to a mechanic and he told me that the posi trac clutches needed to be rebuilt, in other words the rear end needed to be rebuilt,,but another mechanic told me that he would first try replacing the grease and additive in the rear end and see if that fixes it first. What do ya think? And, there is no 2H on this ride,,,its either,,A4x4, 4hi, 4lo,,,both mechanics told me that its auto 4x4,,only comes on if the front and rear wheels are turning at different speeds,,,then some rotation is transferred to the front wheels.
  • I agree totally that you can't leave it as is. This type of wear will distroy your gears very quickly. I'm no mechanic, so I don't know the ins and outs of how the auto system engages and disengages, but it could be that something is hung/stuck. If that's the case it's possible that adding some sort of "lube" (be it grease of oil) could correct the problem. However, being a 99 (and assuming about 80k+ miles) ... it certainly wouldn't be shocking to need a rebuild.

    Either way, if it is in the state all the time, I would stop driving NOW!!
  • skuddskudd Posts: 3
    Yep I plan on it,,,only to drive it to the shop.
  • hmo66hmo66 Posts: 1
    Hello skudd,
    Could you please elaborate on how did you resolve this problem? I am having the exact same problem and can't seem to find a resolution.
  • cud1105cud1105 Posts: 1
    I recently got a 2008 Expedition Eddie Bauer 4+4, and immediately started smelling what seemed to be exhaust fumes in the passenger cabin. The fumes were masked at first by the strong "new car" and "new leather seat" smells, but evntually they wore off and now exhaust or similar fumes still seem to be seeping into the passenger cabin. They seem strongest with the right rear window (located above the tail pipe) is rolled down, especially if a window on the opposite side of the car is also rolled down. This arrangement apparently reduces internal passenger cabin air pressure, creating a suction allowign exhaust to get in???

    Fumes seem also to be either entering the cabin in the rear cargo area, or gathering there and being distruibuted by the rear heat-cool system ventilation fan through the ceiling air ducts.

    Ford has tried repeatedly to diagnose and fix the problem, but seems to be having trouble identifying the cause. They are willing it fix it, but so far have not figured out the cause. Has anyone else had this problem? Any suggestions?

    I need help. I have new car that I cannot drive or take my kids in safely.

    Thanks for any ideas.
  • galcalagalcala Posts: 4
    Im having some issues with the automatic 4x4 I think. the truck is making a vibrating sound when it picks up speed i was thinking maybe the transfer case was stuck or something of the sort because it started doing it right after I had used the 4x, but ive tried everything from pulling in reverse, to going back offroad to loosen it but with no avail. please help me!!
  • mrnaturralmrnaturral Posts: 1
    I have a 2005 Expedition with 4wd. Lately, when I turn the switch to engage 4 wheel drive, nothing happens. I can crawl underneath and locate the spot where the wiring goes into the transfer case and pound on it with a rubber mallet. After doing that it works fine for a few days or even weeks then it stops working and I have to crawl back under and pound on it again. Obviously something is gummed up and the pounding shakes it loose. I'm a shade tree mechanic but I'm leery of removing the part to take a look. If I do remove it will I have any problem putting it back together? I'm afraid a bunch of small parts will fall out and I won't be able to get it back together.
  • alwaysfords2alwaysfords2 Posts: 339
    That is the transfer case shift motor. Easy fix - old one unbolts, new one bolts right back in it's place.
  • taneka88taneka88 Posts: 1
    my 99 eddie bauer is doing the exact same thing right now. Please what was the problem?
  • recently while turning in 4H drive mode in my 2004 Ford Expedition 5.4L,. I noticed it was having problems going around a corner. Turning back to 2H resolved the issue. However when I turn the switch back to either AWD or 4H and turn a corner the rear wheels seem to be operating independantly or the wheels have a hard time moving around the corner, 1 wheel moves and the other doesn't... What could be the issue? Do you think transmission, transfer case? Ideas?
  • Was it on dry pavement? The wheels do have to spin at different speeds in a corner, the inside wheels turn less, which is what the differentials do.
  • My Exp will not go into AWD, 4H or 4L when I select any of these on the dash switch. The dash lights to indicate any of these selections do not come on and the the 4X4 does not engage. I also have an instrument cluster problem on this car. The cluster went bad when the alternator failed. Alternator was replaced but I have just been living with the bad instrument cluster. Is the 4x4 problem related to the cluster problem? Or unrelated? If unrelated, any ideas on where to start troubleshooting on the 4x4 issue? Thanks for any replies...
  • I would check the fuses related to 4WD, particularly for the transfer case shift motor. It is electrically activated and is what gets you 4wd
  • Thanks alwaysfords2, I checked the fuse to the transfer case shift motor today - it looks fine. I will do a more thorough look through other fuses when the weather warms up - high of ten degrees F today...bbbrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I am thinking it may be related to the GEM system!? Still looking for other ideas. I think I will also check to see if I am getting power at the transfer case shift motor.
  • I've also read of people having temporary luck hitting the shift motor and waking it up, sort of like hitting a starter that has a dead spot on it, so after you check the power, give it a smack or two.
  • Issue Resolved!

    Thanks for the tip on giving the transfer case a pop. I had read that elsewhere too. I did not get to that point in troubleshooting but was able get the 4WD working today. I rechecked the transfer case fuse, as well as checked all of the GEM (generic electronic module!?) fuses. The circuit for the 4WD selector goes through the GEM. All fuses looked okay, but there must have been a bad connection in there cause after checking and reinserting the 6 or so fuses, I started her up the AWD and 4Hi are working. yeah!! Just goes to show - start with the simple stuff first!
  • Simple and free. Doesn't get much nicer than that.
  • fundadfundad Posts: 27
    Heres the story... 2003 E.B. Expedition, 5.4L, control trac and traction control. It started jumping out of 4 wheel drive a couple years ago and slowly got to the point where it wouldnt go into 4 wheel drive at all. Didnt worry about it since we have another AWD GM suv to use when roads are bad.

    Fast forward to today. I finally decided to take a look at it. Here is what it does: Select A4WD on ice. Get rear tire spin only, then the 4x4H light illuminates for some reason. Select 4x4H and i hear solenoid by the seat belt click. 4x4 indicator illuminates on the dash and only have rear tire spin. Put trans in neutral, foot on brake, select 4x4L. Transfer case engages in low range and 4x4L indicator illuminates. Rear tire spin only. Also crawled under and listened and felt the transfer case shift motor and it seems to be working when someone switches from 2HD to 4x4H
    Now today, I am hearing a noise like a rattle ONLY when 4x4 is selected and while I am getting rear tire spin. I thought it was coming from transmission/transfer case area. My wife says it was coming from the front of the truck (hubs?).

    I changed the transfer case fluid with appropriate fluid and only then, during a test drive, the ABS light and (red) brake warning light came on. Also received a "check control trac" message in the MID.

    I am thinking that it may be the hubs but I was told that if they fail (loss of vacuum by hose or seals) that they fail in a locked position so I should still have 4x4. However, this summer, I did notice a clicking sound from the hubs when turning the wheels sharply in either direction in 2WD but no drive line bind like you get with an operating 4WD system.

    Any thoughts? I m at a loss. Tear apart the hubs or should I pull the transfer case and inspect the internals? Could this be a speed or ABS sensor?
  • rhtransrhtrans Posts: 84
    When you have it in 4WD is the front driveshaft spinning (all wheels off gound) if so the tranfer case is doing it's job! The hubs are problematic on this vehicle and yes they are vacuum controlled by a Integrated wheel end solenoid (IWE) The solenoid simply diverts the vacuum when you command 4WD engaging the hubs. You won't be waisting your money replacing the locking hubs...they will cause clicking noises and go bad often... then check to see if the IWE soleniod is being controlled and working properly. Make sure it has power to it (fuse) and switching vacuum like it should. They are usually located in the right rear of the engine compartment by the battery. It has one 2wire plug and 2 vaccuum lines running to it. Hope that helped.
  • rckharorckharo Posts: 1
    edited June 2010
    We have a 2003 Expedition with 120,000 miles on it. While at the Ford dealer for an oil change this morning, I was told that the transfer case input seal in leaking fluid -- and they want $400 to replace the seal. Assuming the dealer is correct, what happens if we don't replace that seal?
  • mndadmndad Posts: 3
    Just want to let everyone know that the problem was the nut on the end of the front axle behind the dust cap that had stripped off. Now nut and cut threads, I now have 4 wheel drive again
  • a year later, but this worked for me too! (fuses good, but pulled and reseated all awd and gem)
  • I have a 1998 ford Expedition we put it in 4 high during our last snow storm and now it won't come out. We have checked all of the fuses, pulled forward and backed up in a straight line, basically we have tried everything we can think of. Does anyone have any idea what to do?
  • Sounds to me like the shift motor is stuck.
  • bcd123bcd123 Posts: 1
    We have a '10 Limited Expedition wish about 10,000 miles on it. When trying to take it out of 4X4 we hear a loud clunking noise. It happened while in TN and we took it to a dealer down there and they said that someone what definitely wrong with the 4x4 but told us to go ahead and drive it home to NY and have it fixed here since they'd have to order parts. Once home, the dealership said nothing is wrong with it and these sounds were normal. When it happened in TN it actually sounded like we hit something, it was that loud. We continue to hear this noise especially after it's snowed and taking it out of 4x4. Of course, I'm going to be taking it back to the dealership but was wondering if anyone would have any clue what it would be so I can help "guide" them in the right direction. Thanks!
  • The dealership in Tenn may be more experience with 4 wheel drive units. I would consider attempting to seek service at a different servicing dealer if that is feasible. A noise like you describe is NOT normal or acceptable.
  • Me too, I heard due to newer tires on front than back (previous owner only bought two new tires)...
  • marvinntracymarvinntracy Posts: 4
    edited November 2011
    when it rains, my 4x4 light flashes, and I have not put it in 4x4. What does that mean? Also, when I turn a corner from a complete stop, it feels like the tire is grabbing the road ....The ball joints were changed a few years ago, and the control arm bushings look good...I do have wear on the inside of the this just an alignment issue? Are the two issues related?
  • The tire grab description sounds like it is the limited slip rear end binding. Do you have the LSD? Have you changed the fluid in it? Added modifier?
  • this is a 99' and I don't think it has LSD. the grab feels like it is coming from the front tires..mostly drivers side.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited November 2011
    Front tire scrubbing and/or wheel hop during low speed tight turning can be, is caused by a locked center diff'l. Absent the 4X4 light I would guess a front CV joint, sounds as if that flashing 4X4 light shouldn't be ignored.
  • I'm having the same problems on my 2003 expedition . I just had my front two tires changed recently; Now my A4WD , Hi or Lo is grinding and pulling to the right when I accelerate, feels like the front end of my truck is falling apart. But it works fine in 2wheel hi , so thats what I driving in now; till I figure this thing out about what the hell!!! went wrong to the point where no one knows what happen in that Very short period of time. Do I have to buy a new hub for both sides or just the (IWE) SOLENOID ? what would be your best suggestion at this point?
  • alwaysfords2alwaysfords2 Posts: 339
    edited December 2011
    Your problem may be the new tires. How old were the rears? The diameters need to be very close because the A4WD and beyond utilize the wheel rpms to determine if there is wheel slip. A larger (new) tire rotates less than an older more worn tire, the A4WD sees that as wheel slip and engages. I bet the shop suggested you do all 4 tires didn't they? They were not over selling you, they know the deal. 4Hi and 4Lo couple all the wheels together, but with different diameters the fronts and rears are trying to turn different rpms, hence the noise. 2 more new tires will fix your issue.
  • I have a 1988 expedition with 180,000 miles. It runs like a tank usually. Today after returning from a 20 mile trip to the office I arrived home to find I needed to go out to pick up dinner. I started the truck and started down the road only to hear a grinding noise and felt the truck lurch forward. I pulled over and started out again same result. The dash light shows 4x4 low but the switch isn't set in 4 wheel mode. Any ideas?
  • Sounds like the a4wd is engaging. Did you try running it through the 4wd selections, i.e. put it in 4 hi, then 4 lo? See if that gets it back to where it belongs. Your '98 has A4wd and no 2wd drive, correct?
  • My 98 has 2H A4WD 4H and 4L. I haven't had it out of 2H in over a year. Tried switching through 4W modes no change still have light saying 4x4 Low Range.
  • Sorry first post should have been 98 not 88. Typo
  • Could this be the electronic shift motor? Can I test to prove its not working?
  • Yes, but usually the failure is that it doesn't engage, not that it randomly does. Not sure how you would go about fooling it into disengaging. Did you try 4x4 just before this happened?
  • No its been ib 2h. Wondering if Solenoid for 2h or the one for A4WD is out. cant find them just read abiut them.
  • The solenoid is what would send the impulse to the motor to move. If you didn't switch it, there is no reason for it to be in 4WD. Are you still driving it?
    The motor is a plug and play and unbolts pretty easliy. You could take it out and see if there is anything going on.
  • Hi I have this problem with my truck I had this happen before but it went back to awd. I was driving in the HWY. and as I exit and stop it made a loud sound and it seem like it engage in 4x4 but it was still in awd road conditon a little slippery. so I parked and check it see if anything came lose or broken,nothing that I could see so climb back an did a test on my awd,4h and 4lo to see if I could disngauge or something .so I thought it was the transfer motor and to my luck it wasnt so dont know what else to do or replace,..low on $ has any one had this problem..any sugestions
    thank you..
  • dale77dale77 Posts: 16
    4WD will not engage and no light on the dash. Had GEM problem from windshield leak but repaired leak and electrical is functioning well for over a year. I checked one 30-amp fuse and it looked fine. I would like suggestions of things to check before I start spending money. Thanks in advance.
  • airconmanairconman Posts: 14
    Dale, I have had this problem a few times before on my 97 Exp. On my year there are a few different GEM fuses. But what solved it for me was I removed every (not just the GEM related) fuse and reinserted. None were burned. But there must have been a bad connection on one or two that was affecting it going into 4wd. This has happened 3 different years, always in the fall. We live on a dirt road and it is a little rough and dusty in summer so maybe this is the cause for me. Hopefully you'll have the result - cheap and easy.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    You seem to think you can drive on a non-slippery surface in A4WD.

    Is that true..?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    In general you only have driveline STRESS and thereby NOISE if you are in either high or low A4WD mode on a tractive surface. Slightly differing front vs rear tire circumstance will not really matter unless you have teh F/R coupling enaged and you are driving on a tractive surface.

    Also, ABS, VSC and TC are typically disabled with the F/R coupling engaged, so those wouldn't be the causative noise factor.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Until proven otherwise put full faith in the indication.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    There is NO such thing as a roadgoing vehicle without 2wd. No 4WD of any flavor could be driven on our roadbeds without a 2wd as primary mode.
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