Question about 2003 Ford F150 Regular Cab

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2003 F150 XLT with electronic 4x4. This morning I'm driving down the road things are good. Get to a stop sign, go to accelerate and nothing. Engine revs, speedo climbs, no wheels turn. Try 4H nothing. Try 4L nothing. Lights on dash light up. Try to put shifter into P and is sounds like a coffee grinder. So I shut it off put it in P, and start it back up. Put it through all the gears and combinations of 4x4 and 2x4 and nothing gets here to move. What do you think?

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  • david_schram Feb 02, 2010

    Well, this thing is solid as a rock. Nothing snapped or fell off or broke to pieces, that I am sure. I looked underneath it before I left it to get towed, it looked the same as the last time I was under it and I walked down the road leading up to the point where it broke. No pieces laying anywhere. Yeah, so the part about the sound when I tried putting it in park, that I only tried once since shifting into R or any other gear did nothing. It obviously would not let me put it in park unless I shut it down. Isn't there some solenoid / controller that engages the tranny to the transfer case, or is the xfer case only used for the 4x4? Reason I'm asking these questions is that the shop I towed it to said "your transfer case is shot" but apparently the guy was able to drive the thing into the bay. So when they told me it drove into the bay I asked if I could technically drive it home they said "don't know". In my mind this must be a pretty simple repair as compared to shelling the thing out by pulling tree stumps or doing donuts on pavement. And I just don't trust the shotgun mechanics that say "your need a whole new this or that" rather than an actual diagnosis.

    Oh yeah. the truck has 140k on it, all service is always done on time. Tranny fluid and filter was replaced about 4 months ago.


  • david_schram Feb 03, 2010

    ok, but don't mechanical things like that usually give some sort of sign before they fail? There was no noise that indicated anything shelled apart, no sudden difference in the feel or anything that would let me know that something just broke? Is there some solonoid or actuator arm that could possible be failed, or maybe a sensor? Is the transfer case only "openable" via removing the whole unit from the truck or are there inspection covers that I could look at to see what is moving and where?

  • david_schram Feb 03, 2010

    Thanks. It was tore apart and yes, the piece that broke was a small finger like alloy tab with 2 springs on it. What a **** poor design. Just another weak engineering trademark curtousy of Ford. At least the rest of the inerds look clean and solid.



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Hello U need to get under the truck and look to see if everything is there? when u tried to put it in park the noise u heard must have been caused by the transmission free wheeling, there is no other explanation for this noise, this means the transmission has lost connection to the rear wheels or front or that matter, since u have 4 wheel drive. based on the discription i would say some thing has broken in the transmission or the transfer case that allows the trans to keep spinning, just make sure you haven't broken a drive shaft joint or other drive line problem, if no drive line problem is seen the trans or transfer case is the problem, this will need to be put up on a rack and checked more carefully, any trans shop should do the inspection for free other than a dealership.

Posted on Feb 02, 2010

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  • yadayada
    yadayada Feb 02, 2010

    Like i said the problem lies in the transmission or the transfer case, the transfer case is the weaker link, so yes the transfer case broke and is allowing the transmission to free wheel and that is the cause of the horrible noise when u tried to engage the part pin, the trans was still turning, this makes one heck of a noise and will break the park lock pin, make sure that is ok after the transfer case is repaired or replaced, the transfer case is about $500 for a rebuilt unit.

  • yadayada
    yadayada Feb 03, 2010

    I just wanted to add that i am a Ford factory trained tech with 35 years in the shop, and the transfer case is really the only thing that could cause this problem. it is cheaper to install a rebuilt one and far less risky as far as durability goes to just get a rebuilt case instead of rebuilding yours, but that is up to u.

  • yadayada
    yadayada Feb 03, 2010

    yes they do often show some signs, but not ALWAYS

  • yadayada
    yadayada Feb 03, 2010

    I have never in 30 years seen this happen, so the design is not the problem, also Ford doesn't design or build these transfer cases, Dana and Spicer corporations. do, Ford buys the transfer cases from them. The box is box is uesd by every car and truck in one form or another, my point is I really doubt that will ever happen again to the truck.



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