Seems to switch in and out of four wheel drive while driving

Tiny
RANGERSHANE
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 FORD RANGER
  • 4.0L
  • V6
  • 4WD
  • MANUAL
  • 175,000 MILES
While driving at low speeds or slowing down and taking corners the truck seems to be shifting in and out of 4wd. The whole truck will jolt very hard intermittently.
What I know currently:
Fluid was just changed, reddish brown fluid came out and the transmission fluid was changed a month prior so I know they have not been mixing due to a blown seal. Problem only occurs when accelerating. If in neutral moving forward problem does not occur. Transfer case shifter is not loose and shifts into all gears (2L-4H-N-4L). Shifter linkages are tight and appear to have no damage. No check engine light. With vehicle on jack stands problem does not occur. Front and rear driveshafts do not spin freely without turning the wheels when in 2L.
My troubleshooting has led me to believe: 1. Internals of transfer case are broken (what would be broken I do not know). 2. Front axle is broken internally.
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Sunday, November 25th, 2018 AT 3:44 PM

32 Replies

Tiny
HEYMAN1104
  • EXPERT
Okay, I gotcha. What type of 4x4 setup do you have? Is it a push button or other automatic/electronic setup, or is it a manual setup with a shifter that you pull on? I am guessing that it is an electronic setup. If so, what we are looking at is likely a problem with the transfer case control module, or a short in the actuator/electric motor that engages and disengages the front wheels. So let me know which it is and we'll go from there. I will do more research and dig up diagrams and such for you.
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Monday, November 26th, 2018 AT 9:00 PM
Tiny
RANGERSHANE
  • MEMBER
Manual transfer case, permanently locked front axle (not sure how this works but it is like having manual hubs that are always locked in and can not be unlocked).
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Tuesday, November 27th, 2018 AT 6:09 AM
Tiny
HEYMAN1104
  • EXPERT
Yours is the live axle assembly. Basically, the connect/disconnect is done at the transfer case, instead of at the hub, which means that you do not have to manually lock and unlock the hubs.

The images below describe how the transfer case works.

You might try simply unplugging the 4x4 switch and see if anything changes. I have seen 4x4 problems (such as unwanted operation) to simply be a short in the switch. If it stops when the switch is out, then we can (1) look into further testing of the switch or (2) simply get one from eBay or the local salvage yard.
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Tuesday, November 27th, 2018 AT 9:42 PM
Tiny
RANGERSHANE
  • MEMBER
I understand how my differential works now. Not sure if you know that my transfer-case is manual and has no switches. Still went and tried driving with my one electrical connector that goes to the transfer case unplugged (pretty sure it is just a sensor that tells which 4wd light to come on) and my problem is still there.
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Wednesday, November 28th, 2018 AT 10:54 AM
Tiny
HEYMAN1104
  • EXPERT
Sorry. I just realized that you are talking about a manual transmission, and Prodemand and AllData do not show a manual transmission as an option for a 2002 Ranger with the 4.0L engine and 4x4. I completely missed that. The 2002 Ranger with the 3.0L engine and 4x4 does show as having a manual transmission option. Neither shows having a 4x4 setup that is run by a lever instead of an electrical switch. So I do not know exactly what is going on there, so I will try flying blind until I can figure it out. It is possible that this is a really very super simple fix. You might just need to get under the vehicle and grease the various linkages on the transfer case. Sometimes, when these things get dirty, they just do not move quite like they are supposed to. Especially with manual shift setups. You might check the linkages and make sure that the are tight, and not out of adjustment (hard to tell, I know, but give it a shot).

In the meantime, if you can get the VIN# for me, it might help me figure out exactly what is what here. And is this a US market truck, or is it some other market?

Thanks for bearing with me. Let me know.
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Thursday, November 29th, 2018 AT 4:14 AM
Tiny
RANGERSHANE
  • MEMBER
2002 4.0L V6 Fx4 Off Road model. The linkages look fine to me and the hardware that secures it is tight. It shifts through all the gears fine so I do not think that it needs greased. I do not have a VIN on it I believe. It is a Borgwarner model 13-54. Here is the rest of the numbers that are on the transfer case.
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Thursday, November 29th, 2018 AT 7:11 AM
Tiny
HEYMAN1104
  • EXPERT
Has there been any work done on it in the past? In particular has anything been done with the differentials? Because if so, it is possible that the gear ratios are not matched up.
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Thursday, November 29th, 2018 AT 8:05 AM
Tiny
RANGERSHANE
  • MEMBER
I am not sure as I am not the original owner, but all I have done is changed fluids.
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Thursday, November 29th, 2018 AT 8:11 AM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
It sounds like the encoder motor is not pushing the transfer case all the way into gear. I would start by changing it. Here are diagrams to help you see how the system works and how to change the actuator. Check out the diagrams (below). Please let us know what happens.

Cheers, Ken
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Thursday, November 29th, 2018 AT 10:27 AM
Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
I am thinking maybe it is something like an Eaton positive traction differential popping in and out (slipping).

Just a guess, my friend had one in the rear of his 1981 CJ5, when he made hard turns, it sounded like he sheared an axle in half each time!

The Medic
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Thursday, November 29th, 2018 AT 6:48 PM
Tiny
RANGERSHANE
  • MEMBER
Yea, I am going to be pulling it apart tomorrow to find out what it is. Hopefully I can find parts easily for it. Unless someone has another diagnosis for what else it could be or something that I could try.
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Thursday, November 29th, 2018 AT 7:19 PM
Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
I did a little more looking for a video of the Eaton making the racket and jolt.

So far I found no video yet.

The one I am referring to is not the "Elocker", My friend's has no electric to it.

I did find this video showing operation. It kind of looks like a pencil sharpener. I would say the worm-like gears are what does the jerk when they snake past each other.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZmsY2YvVsc

Pop your differential cover off and see if the differential has the pencil sharpener goodies instead of the normal side gears.

The Medic
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Thursday, November 29th, 2018 AT 7:32 PM
Tiny
RANGERSHANE
  • MEMBER
Okay, so new diagnosis. The front differential is out of the question now. I took off the front drive shaft and drove my truck around and the problem is still there. While it may still be the transfer case I am leaning towards more the rear axle is messed up. Took off the cover and there was quite a bit of shavings and metal chunks inside. Only saw some minor damage to one gear. The pencil sharpener style gears is what I s on the inside but they have a cover around them which is what The Medic was talking about. Going to look up what could or might be causing my problem and see about taking the differential apart further. (Yes I did take off the bracket on the left side)
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Friday, November 30th, 2018 AT 3:38 PM
Tiny
RANGERSHANE
  • MEMBER
When I changed my fluids I never added limited slip additive. Could this have ruined my differential?
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Friday, November 30th, 2018 AT 5:35 PM
Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
If this unit does not have clutches in it, it probably did not require a friction modifier additive. My buddy's Eaton unit did not require it.

The Trac-Loc limited slip differential did use friction modifier in CJs, they had side clutch packs in them (other vehicles had similar set-ups). For sure yours is not Trac-Loc.

I do not know what you have, so I do no know if it has clutches or similar components inside.

Is there a manufacturer name or model stamped or embossed on the unit?

I will look stuff up for you if you can get me some information.

The Medic
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Friday, November 30th, 2018 AT 5:50 PM
Tiny
RANGERSHANE
  • MEMBER
V313A
4L10 88 2D03
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Friday, November 30th, 2018 AT 6:07 PM
Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
That is the tag on the outside, probably the original set-up.

I am guessing this is not original innards? Anything stamped on the big ole spindle on the inside (edges or the flat parts)?

Surely they were proud enough to put their name on it somewhere.

The Medic
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Friday, November 30th, 2018 AT 6:17 PM
Tiny
RANGERSHANE
  • MEMBER
Not sure on that, but I did not see anything stamped. I know that this ranger fx4 off road does come with limited slip differentials from the factory. If they were changed from that I do not know.
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Friday, November 30th, 2018 AT 6:20 PM
Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
Can I have your VIN? It will get me to the right references fast.

The Medic
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Friday, November 30th, 2018 AT 6:28 PM
Tiny
RANGERSHANE
  • MEMBER
1FTZR45E72PA01763
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Friday, November 30th, 2018 AT 6:30 PM

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