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4x4 seems to rarely work

  #1  
Old 06-10-2019
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4x4 seems to rarely work

I just bought a 2011 sport 4x4 with only 50k miles on it. Noticed 4x4 wasn't kicking on so I took it to the dealer, as soon as I got there a tech hopped in put it neutral (just as I did) & it kicked on. Then I repeated the same process in front of him & it once again worked no problem. We did this four or five times & I was just in shock that it was working & felt embarrassed. Once I got home I tried it again just to be sure, this time it took a couple tries & now I'm having the same problem. I can hear it clicking like its trying to engage but no 4x4 on the dash & it doesn't feel like its on. Any info would be appreciated! Thanks!
 
  #2  
Old 06-10-2019
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Welcome to the forum

Does the 4WD light Flash when you try to shift to 4WD?

If not then I would suspect the 4x4 Control Module(4x4CM) is failing

You only need to shift to Neutral and have your foot on the brake pedal when shifting to 4Low, you should be able to shift between 2WD and 4High at any time, if under 50MPH

Mentioned in 2011 Ranger brochure here: https://www.ford.com/services/assets...stalCode=72201
Page 5

Electronic shift on the fly(ESOF)


The system is pretty simple, 3 parts
1. 4x4 switch is just 3 resistors, on power up the 4x4CM sends switch 5 volts, if it gets back 4volts it knows switch is in 2WD position, 3v = 4high, 2v = 4low
So when you move the switch the voltage changes

2. Shift motor on transfer case, this is a 12volt motor like a power window motor, it turns clockwise if you send it 12v/Ground, then turns counter-clockwise if you send it ground/12v, the "click" sound you hear from behind the radio, is a relay sending motor the correct polarity voltage
The shift motor also has 5 contacts inside, these "tell" the 4x4CM what position the transfer case is in, 2WD, 4H, or 4L
So 7 wires, 2 for 12v/ground, 5 for position

3. 4x4 CM, the brains, on power up the 4x4CM gets voltage back from switch, then checks the contact wires, to make sure position of switch matches position of transfer case
When you select 4high, for example, the 4x4CM sees the voltage change, it then powers up shift motor by closing one of the two relays, it then WATCHES the contacts, if the contacts do not change instantly, so no movement, then 4x4CM opens the Relay and Flashes 4WD lights so driver knows there is a problem
Flashing 4WD lights would indicate blown shift motor fuse, or failing shift motor

4x4CM opens relay when contacts in shift motor show 4high position, and THEN turns on the 4High light on dash, so when working there should ALWAYS be a delay between turning the switch and seeing 4WD light come on or go off(2WD), shift motor has to move transfer case to correct position FIRST, the 4x4CM turns on, or off, the light

No flashing lights and no 4WD would indicate 4x4CM would be the problem, could be the switch, but 4x4CM were a known issue, 2001 to 2006, Ford made a new model 4x4CM in 2007 and it had less failures, but not none.

With key on both 4WD lights should come on and go off(assuming your in 2WD) thats just a Bulb test, not 4x4 test

In 2004-2011 the 4x4CM is located behind the Radio so not easy to check or change, but not super hard either, the 2 relays are in the 4x4CM box
 

Last edited by RonD; 06-10-2019 at 09:57 AM.
  #3  
Old 06-10-2019
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Yea they come come on momentarily with all the other dash lights that flash when you start the vehicle. It seems like it had no problem coming on after the long drive to the dealership, not sure if there could be any relation or if it was just dumb luck
 
  #4  
Old 06-10-2019
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No, thats just the way it works

Any problem or noise STOPS the instant you reach the mechanic's shop, always has been, and always will be, this way.

Don't know why, but I do believe in a higher power, and I KNOW he/she has a sense of humor


Best bet would be to unhook the battery, pull the radio and unplug the 4x4CM then plug it back in, hook up battery, and test if 4WD is working before putting radio back in, also 4WD switch, do the same thing
Dirty connector contacts are cleaned just by unplugging and plugging back in

You could hit a wrecking yard and pick up a different 4x4CM, usually about $40, and install it
 
  #5  
Old 06-10-2019
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Just got home from work, tried 4hi & 4lo both worked, tried switching a couple times & then it stopped working again. I'm dropping it off at the dealer tomorrow it came with a 4000 mile warranty so they need to figure it out
 
  #6  
Old 06-10-2019
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Also wanted to say thank you for taking the time to break it down for me 😁
As for the future I was wondering if in your experience if these trucks are pretty simple & cheap to fix/work on?
 
  #7  
Old 06-10-2019
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Yes, they are cheap to repair and simple if you take your time to learn some new methods

The Engine is still a self powered air pump, computer and sensors just make it a more reliable air pump

A $30-$40 Bluetooth OBD reader works with ANY vehicle sold in North America since 1996, its a LAW, so a good investment if you plan on driving cars or trucks
You can watch Live Data while driving to see what the "sensors" are telling the computer, and what the computer is doing about it
I recommend getting one of these and then learning to use it BEFORE there is a problem and you are in a panic to get it fixed RIGHT NOW, lol

Vacuum gauge and Volt/OHM meter are the other two things that are good to have
As said engine is an air pump, how do you test any pump, with a pressure gauge........thats what a vacuum gauge tests, negative pressure

Volt/ohm meter will save you hundreds on replacing perfectly good sensors, swapping out sensors is popular with DIY and Pro Mechanics, its just easy to do, lol, but it gets expensive, not for Pro Mechanics since they just add it to your bill, laziness on their part

Only sensors that wear out are O2 sensors, they use a chemical reaction to detect oxygen in the exhaust, and they run out of the chemicals, takes 100,000miles or more but they do wear out.
Other sensors do not, anything can break, but 90% of swapped out sensors were working just fine, usually problem was just a dirty connector, unplugging it and plugging it back in cleans terminals, which is why swapping out the sensor worked to fix a problem, you cleaned connector, lol
 

Last edited by RonD; 06-10-2019 at 09:46 PM.
  #8  
Old 06-11-2019
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If I pull the mudule is there a way to test it?
 
  #9  
Old 06-11-2019
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I have a mulimeter
 
  #10  
Old 06-11-2019
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No, not that I know of.
The older 1983-1994 4x4 modules were testable but 1995-2000 use the GEM and were not testable, same for 2001 to 2011 as far as I know
 
  #11  
Old 06-11-2019
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The dealer is just giving me the run around so I'm gonna try n figure it out on my own. So would I be able to pull parts from 2001 & up? Also side note it worked fine once I got home again starting to seem like there is some correlation to it being warmed up. I also tried changing going about 15 mph with no success
 
  #12  
Old 06-12-2019
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You need parts from 2007-2011 Ranger, Ford changed the 4x4CM in 2005 or 2006 because of failures in the 2001 to 2005 version
 
  #13  
Old 4 Weeks Ago
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So I pulled the radio disconnected the module & put it all back.. No change. I'm Hoping its the shift motor, because its not that expensive of a fix. I just hope that there is nothing wrong with the transfer case itself. I kind of doubt it since it works fine sometimes I'd think if the case was damaged it would probably never work this seems like more of a glitch somewhere
 
  #14  
Old 4 Weeks Ago
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If the shift motor was the problem, or the transfer case, the 4WD lights on the dash would flash when you tried to shift the transfer case

I tried to explain that earlier

Only thing it can be is the 4x4CM or the switch, or the wires between them

If the switch doesn't "tell" 4x4CM to shift then it won't shift and no flashing lights


If 4x4CM is ignoring the switch then no shift and no flashing lights



IF.................4x4CM sends 12volts to shift motor and it doesn't shift then Flashing Lights

Not a complicated system
 
  #15  
Old 4 Weeks Ago
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Ya you explained it perfectly, I guess I was just reaching in hopes that I'd get off with a bad T-case motor (or at least get some kind of reinforcement on my hopes lol) but as you said its a simple system & I have no flashing lights, so I'm just going to have to keep an eye out for the rangers at the scrap yard. I've been browsing & haven't had any luck with my year & model, but I'm sure will one will come along. I'm really just mad at myself for getting into a bad deal with the dealership! Like I said earlier I really appreciate you taking time to give your input
 
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