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Re: 4 wheel drive
I own a 1996 and it's manual says you can shift on the fly with no problem.........if there was a noise accompanying the shift to 4hi i would be concerned but if it just went in and you were able to shift it out with no problems i would not worry hope this gives you a little peace of mind!
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It's very difficult to see how BTSI can affect your transmission in the manner you describe. BTSI simply prevents you from moving from neutral or park into drive unless your foot is on the brake.
The vibrating steering you describe is symptomatic of out-of-balance wheels though as it was a tyre shop who changed your tyres I would assume they fitted them correctly.
The next thing that springs to mind is are your brake disks - rotors - worn, warped and distorted? Distorted rotors can cause vibration that will be felt through the steering wheel. Though this would only be felt when you actually brake.
Vibration when driving can be caused by worn ball joints, track rod ends and worn couplings in propshafts. Or even worn engine/gearbox mountings.
There would seem to be a problem with your transmission. In some cases a fractured flexi plate - the gearbox torque converter bolts onto it - can fracture and cause vibration. Though this does not explain your loss of reverse gear.
My honest advice to you would be NOT to spend any money yet. Give a mobile mechanic a call - these guys are usually very good. It is worth paying him to look at your car and to give you an opinion. Or take it to a workshop and pay them to identify the fault. Mobile mechanics are cheaper... and as every bit professional.
Bear in mind that you have a 1996 car. I am in the UK - I have a 1998 4 litre Jeep and a 1995 900cc Fiat. At a car auction I paid approximately $300 US dollars for the Jeep and $200 for the Fiat. They are worth nothing, as such. Any problem with them and they go to the breaker's yard..
Automatic transmission is not cheap to have fixed. Manual gearboxes are (well, replaced with a second hand unit).
That's just to say that the cost of repair could well outstrip the value of your car. Give a mobile mechanic a call and ask his advice.
I have a 2003 GMC it has two buttons to use 4 wheel drive as most all do with push button controls...One is for standard highway driving with 4 wheel drive the other is for 4 wheel drive a low speeds for off road driving and conditions that need low speed less spin driving..not designed for highway use..and must be stopped to engage where 4 speed highway can be shifted on the go..hope this answers your question..good luck..
I would suspect you have a bad wheel speed sensor or a speed sensor defective... do you have an ABS/CheckEngine/4 wheel drive light on somewhere on the vehicle display... That might help fix the problem.
driving in 4wd on hard surfaces produces what is known as torque wind up as the wheels cannot slip so the variations of distance going around corners , dips in the road etc place considerable strain on the transmission , transfer case , drive lines and diffs
that is why it is difficult to get out of 4wd unless you drive with 2 wheels on a grass verge to relieve that torque wind up
as for the noise check wheel bearings and the cv ("U") joint at that wheel as there appears a proble where the dog teeth in the hub are not engaging properly or are jumping out of engagement
Replace the speed sensor in the transmission this issue has caused rear differential damage on vehicles I have heard of, also check the under neath electrical connections that go to the transfer case to ensure no damage to the wiring harness or electrical plugs has occured
converter clutch regulator valve is worn causing line pressure to rise to maximum in turn causing your harsh shifts. Sonax makes a repair kit for it or you can install a stiffer spring to make it work correctly
The owners manual should state, but you should be safe at speeds up to 45. I have a Tahoe and have driven in slush and snow up to the speed limit on highway. 4 Low should be on off road terrain only, you can cause serious damage if you drive in 4 low on pavement.
Have a complete service done on your truck. When your fluids are changed, have the technician look for metal particles in them. While some are common, if a lot are present, it may indicate sever wear. I would look for this especially in the engine oil. Though I doubt any damage was done, that was for sure very stressful on your truck. I didn't know that a truck would go that fast in 4low. Also watch the behavior of your transmission and engine. Your transfer case should be shifted a few times too.