That pesky trans case shift motor - Ford Explorer Forum - Forums for Ford Explorer Enthusiasts
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Old 10-25-2019, 04:32 PM   #1
Revolution
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That pesky trans case shift motor

Help!
I need some experienced advice.
Been a lurker for a while without much to say or bring up here but I'm about to tear into the sticky shift motor on the transfer case to hopefully free it up to shift in and out of 4X4 LOW.
Auto, to 4X4 HIGH works great but I rarely, if ever used the low so now it's seemingly gummed up and won't work reliably.
I'm able to get it into 4LOW if I work real hard at it with the trans shift lever from neutral to R and D but then it's a real struggle to get it back into high range or AUTO.
I've been told that since I never really used the LOW in the 5 years I've had it that it's just gummed up or crusty.
I was thinking about pulling it free and let it hang while my helper shifts the button and I "Help" it with a wrench from underneath.
I know they are cheap but a new one isn't within my budget right now (Retired)
Can the car be driven without the shift motor in place should something bad happen while trying to free it up?

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Old 10-28-2019, 07:15 PM   #2
J_C
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? Why would you drive it without the shift motor in place? Once it is in High, it won't go into low unless you set it to with the dash switch.

What I would do is take the shift motor off and see if you can open and lube it, or if not, at least spray some lube on the accessible output shaft bearing, and have a helper actuating the high/low to move it around to work the lube in. I guess one person alone could do it with crawling around more.

If you (nobody has) have never changed the fluid in the transfer case it is probably a good idea to do that now too.

Sometimes it is easier to get a difficult one to go into or out of high and low by putting it in reverse and backing up a bit before neutral, or maybe I have that backwards and mean backing up a bit after putting it into the other gear range.

You can temporarily take the shift motor off and manually shift it with a screwdriver or wrench or something, but remember that you have to then actuate the shift motor to get the shaft into the right position to fit back on. You should not drive the vehicle with the shift motor off as it keeps contaminants out of that junction, but as above you don't really need to. If you are worried about someone accidentally activating it via the dash switch, simply unplug the electrical connector to it and ideally, cover the connector with a plastic baggie tied off and secured out of the way. There might also be some fuse you can pull to deactivate it but I don't know if there is anything else on the same circuit that you might want to retain the use of.
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Old 11-01-2019, 10:40 AM   #3
Revolution
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I would only want to be able to move it out of the way if I had to with the motor hanging while I waited to be able to afford a new one, not really driving it!

Again, it goes smoothly into, and out of Auto to 4X4 HI but coming to a stop, hitting neutral, and switching to 4X4 LO is a gamble whether it actually shifts or not and when it does it seems to be a bigger gamble, taking more effort to get out of four lo and back to four Hi or Auto.

I haven't been under the rig yet to even see how big of a pain it would be to access. Being near 60 years old and not having the use of a garage or creeper to get under it easily is keeping me from trying it so far.

Old dudes hate rolling around in gravel!
The garage is too full of winter storage goodies to empty out for any length of time. I don't want the Chevelle sitting outside in the cold in case the Exploder takes more time than a few hours.
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Old 11-01-2019, 02:45 PM   #4
J_C
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I don't understand the problem. Leave it in auto/4-high then. If it's stuck in 4low and you need to pull the motor off to manually move it back to 4high, it is trivial to just bolt it back on, takes an additional 2 minutes once you're at that point.

There is no reason it can't be driven normally with the shift motor installed but not working. It does not try to automatically engage 4low so it will only go into 4low if you turn the dial to that.

Except for the whole crawling under the vehicle thing, it is not hard to take the transfer case motor off. Gotta love youtube videos for repairs!

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