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Old 08-02-2009
joatmon's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: SMC MD
Posts: 54
my no 4wd low fun

Recently picked up a 96 3L 4x4 AT ranger for a good price, but I noticed before I bought it that it wouldn't go into 4wd low. I thought, no problem, I have a wrecked 97 4x4 to use for parts.

So first I tired the easy things, checked fuses, swapped switches, no effect. I read a really large number of threads about the shift motor, so I thought maybe that was it I went to pull the shift motor off the parts truck, but I didn't see how to deal with that brown wire, and couldn't find any reference to it in all the threads, and I didn't want to cut and splice it. So I figured I'd try the shift motor service techniques.

Working under the truck, cleaned the rotor where the brushes contact, put it back together, and then I got the 4wd and 4wd lights flashing. Took the motor apart and put it back together four times, lying under the truck. A full range of expetives later, I finally found a link on trs that explained how to pull the lock out of the connector, release the catch tab and take the brown wire out, so I went and took the shift motor off the 97, put it in the 96, and same thing, flashing lights. Another full dose of expletives, went back under, took a fine file and cleaned up the contacts on the connector for the shift motor (the side that foes to the chassis wiring) put it back together, and was pleased to see I was back to where I started. 4wd switches on and off, but no 4wd low. So I learned that the flashing lights happen when the connection to the shift motor is bad. Might be caused by other things too.

I know you've got to be in neutral with your foot on the brake to get into 4wd low, but I by chance noticed that I couldn't start the truck in neutral, only in park. My 97 cranked in both, so I figured maybe the neutral start switch was not indicating I was in neutral. I took off the one on the 97 and went to put it on the 96, only to notice that the connectors changed between the two years. The 97 is more rectangular, the 96 is oval. Hooked the connector back up in the 96, and now the reverse lights don't work. wonderful. I go back in tomorrow to get the last few things checked off on the state inspection so I can get it fully registered, and they'll notice no back up lights.

back on the net, find a store that has one in stock,run off to get it before the close, back in the garage, put it on, and the truck now starts in neutral. But no reverse lights. and no 4wd low. So back on the net, find that there is a special tool used to align the switch, and obviously I don't have one. Finally, another site says just shift into reverse, the loosen the two screws on the switch and move it a little until the lights come on. Finally, get reverse lights back, tighten it up, back in the cab, starts in park, reverse lights in reverse, starts in neutral. almost afraid to try, expecting failure, but shift into neutral, step on the brake, turn switch to 4wd, and 4wd light comes on, turn to 4wd low, and what seemed like a lot longer than it actually was, then finally, 4wd low lights up.

I might someday put the original shift motor back in just to know if it's still good or not, but no hurry, truck's working like it should now.
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Old 08-02-2009
Melt's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 3,392
sounds like a straight PITA but youre good for inspection and wheelin now
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