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Front wheels do not turn in 4wd modes. Front driveshaft is turning and actuator does move. I removed actuator and observed the motion when 4wd drive is selected. Mobil synthetic 75w 80 is in the front diff.

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  • Anonymous Nov 29, 2008

    I have a 1994 blazer my 4low works good but no 4hi how can i fixs this

  • bzgmtech May 11, 2010

    have you raised the front wheels off of the ground and used a screw driver to engage the shift fork inside the axle and have somebody turn the wheels to see if the axle locks in. The actuator may not extend all the way to engage.



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I did run the vehicle on the lift in 4wd. The actuator is trying to engage. I removed the right side axle housing and found the shim on the end of the shaft had fallen out of place. The small roller bearing in the shaft was damaged as well. This may have happended on a previous axle seal replacement. A new shim, and bearing fixed the problem. Thanks for our reply

Posted on Nov 28, 2008


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4wd not engaging. Check actuator and seems to working properly. Jacked front end up and and when in 4wd the front tires spin freely. Any suggestions?

Does the driveshaft for the front wheels turn when in 4wd? The actuater might work but the diff lock for the front wheels might have broken. If the front driveshaft does not turn when in 4wd, the transfer case might be the problem.

Jan 02, 2014 | 2008 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

1 Answer

I have a 1979 ford f250 4x4 and the tranfer case will go in but it wont turn the front driveline

I am a bit rusty on the 22 year old part. Someone else may be more informative, but on some of the 4x4 actuators they used different methods of moving the internal parts.

The actuator used to be Vacuum operated and the part would move a certain distance to put the transfer into high or low mode. If the actuator did not fully extend or contract you would be between gears; sort of in Neutral.

You are now faced with the front driveshaft free-wheeling(But which end?). Disconnect one end of the front driveshaft so you can feel whether the transfer case is free-wheeling or if the other end of the shaft is turning anything in the front axle. With the front hubs locked, the front driveshaft should not turn or if jacked up, the tires should spin when the front driveshaft is turned by hand.

When you are assured that the front axle is fine, then the problem can only be the transfer case. I remember people had a lot of trouble with the actuators.

I hope this gives you a way to test which end of the front driveshaft is the problem.

There are some Blogs on the internet like and Off-Road Blogs which can be very helpful. I hope my suggestion helps.

Jul 08, 2012 | Ford Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

When put in 4 wheel drive the tranfer case engages but the front axle does not turn?

Check the 4WD fuse. They are also prone to bad front axle actuators. They are electrically controlled and sometimes too weak to engage axle shift fork. If fuse good check for power and ground to actuator, if good you'll need an actuator. They do have issues with the transfer case encoder motor, so make sure it actually engages as you said. Front driveshaft turning.

Jan 28, 2011 | 2004 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab

2 Answers

How to tell if yoour Jimmy is in 4wd

You will have to look under the vehicle to see if there is a driveshaft running out from the transmission, towards the front of the truck, to the front axle. If no front drive shaft, then no 4WD.

Dec 27, 2010 | 1993 GMC Jimmy

1 Answer

I removed the 4wd actuator on my 1997 1500 gmc located on the front differential and pressed the 4wd hi button in the cab. The actuator traveled out. I then pushed the device inside the differential...

4wd actuators are in the transfer case not the diff housing
on a diff housing it is more likely to be a diff lock to lock the 2 front wheels together

Jul 02, 2017 | GMC Sierra 1500 Cars & Trucks

2 Answers

2005 ford f150 4x4

friends are usually right but first check actuator first for free movement sometimes needs only to be lubed so actuator rod moves freely

Oct 07, 2009 | 2004 Ford F150

2 Answers

Transfer case wont engage

shift into 4wd and move truck a couple of feet.
if light is still off, park truck block the wheels set the park brake jack right front wheel and try to hand spin the wheel if wheel doesn't turn 4x4 is functioning properly but there is a wiring problem use an ohmmeter to check the 4x4 switch wiring fuse and bulb
if wheel turns freely the front axle or transfer case is not engaged
attempt to hand spin the front driveshft if the driveshaft will spin the transfer case is not engaged check the transfer case shift linkage, problem is in linkage or transfer case internals
if the driveshaft will not spin the transfer case is engaged properly
with trnsmission in neutral or park start engine measure vacuum on the two vac lines at front axle shift motor . one line should have approx 20" vacuum. other line should have none
if no vacuum measured look for vac leak or bad vac switch
if both lines have vac look for a bad vac swithc or ruptured cad actuator diaphragm
if one line has 20" +- VAC
move transfer case lever to 2wd measure vac again lines should have swapped vac signals
if no vac switch bad or 4wd shift likage needs adjusting
if yes vac motor bad or stuck or shift fork stuck
remove vac shift motor from the axle attach vac lines to shift motor engage disengage 4wd
does shift motor plunger move at least 1/2 inch
no shift motor bad
yes check axle shift fork and vac motor for binging

Jan 27, 2009 | 1999 Dodge Ram

1 Answer

Chevy Tahoe 2001

Place vehicle in 4wd (high or low). This will hold the front drive shaft still for the rest of the test. Jack up the front end of the vehicle. Remove the actuator. Have a buddy spin the right front wheel while you use a long punch or screwdriver to try to manually engage the diff. The left front wheel should spin in the other direction if the diff is good. Also before you check the diff you need to grab the front driveshaft and make sure it is locked, If it spins freely when the truck is in park and in 4wd with the front end raised then problem is in transfer case. If you can't make the diff engage manually with punch then the problem is in the diff. If front diff engages manually then the problem is the actuator. Hope this helps..

Nov 25, 2008 | Chevrolet Tracker Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

95 Grand Cherokee front drivetrain

Hi Terrell,

First off, thanks for the detailed description of your problem. I wish they were all as well written as yours.

It's tough not being able to hear the noise it's making. Luckily I can draw parallels to my own experiences with GC's. Mine has 'Select-Trac', which like your 'Command-Trac', enables us to shift on the fly to 4WD. Meaning, we don't have to stop, get out, lock the hubs, get back in then shift to 4WD. Also like yours, my front end was making some noise.

What was up with mine: The 'Select-Trac' on my G.C. is a lever type switch on the center console. When I switch from 2WD to 4WD it routes a vacuum line to an actuator which engages the transfer case. The moving parts are all near the T-Case. While in 4WD, going any faster than a crawl I'd hear a mild grinding/whirring sound. It increased with speed, all but disappeared as I decelerated and made me crazy.

What it turned out to be was a Vacuum leak. The 'bellows' (for lack of a better description) type actuator was only partially engaging the the 4WD. Enough to lock the drive train, not enough to fully mesh the gears resulting in all sorts of worrisome noises. I found and fixed the leak, adjusted the range on the mode rod and that was it.

You're thinking, 'That's special'.

Well here's the parallel.
Command-Trac is also vacuum actuated. The difference is it engages your hubs from the the front axle by means of a 'shift fork'. The technical name is the 'Command-Trac Axle Shift Motor'.
When applied, the vacuum actuator moves the fork one way or the other, engaging or disengaging the hubs.

From your excellent diagnosis, it sounds like 4WD isn't fully disengaging.
You were correct about the front drive shaft. It should not be spinning while in 2WD.

Qualifiers: Is the grinding sound different at low speeds? While making sharp turns?

Have another look with these new facts in mind. Check vacuum lines, lubricant in the axle.

If you get me your engine size, tranny type, etc. I can probably scare up some vacuum diagrams (on the off chance you need them).

I hope this opens new doors for you.
Comment me back with what you come up with.
Good luck buddy.

Oct 14, 2008 | 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee

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