1986 Mustang LX 4 cycl 2.3 liter with manual trans. won't idle at all, but runs like a top when in gear. It's worn out the starter; also is there anyway to refurb. the starter on this model without having to buy a new one?
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I would check the timing could have jumped a tooth on the timing belt/chain. Also check the rotor in the distributer make sure that it is not worn out. I have also seen a plugged catletic converter cause big time power loss and really strange problems
Have you tried shifting the automatic transmission to neutral, or if manual transmission- place shift lever to neutral position, then shift the transfer case to neutral position wait a couple seconds then try shifting to 4 low- if you have manual hubs, engage those last. This removes most of the potential mechanical resistance that should allow for the transfer case to shift.
If it still will not go into 4 low you may be dealing with damaged teeth, bent shift dog or worn internal bearings inside the transfer case. As I recall, that was NOT a shift on the fly transfer case.
possible but could be head gasket or valves , or worn rings and is by passing the pistons going straight out the end ...or maby settings are wrong ? try carb cleaner and inspect visually air-filter etc.