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Old 10-17-2005, 02:37   #1 (permalink)
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98 ranger 4wd issues

New to 4wd, any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

I recently purchased a used 1998 Ford Ranger XLT 4wd and I'm having some issues with the 4wd system. Forgive me if I don't use the proper terminology, this is my first 4wd and I know next to nothing about it.

Vehicle Specs:
98 Ranger XLT SuperCab
Electronic 4wd
4.0L V6
5 Speed Manual
ABS

When I engage 4wd high and begin to move forward there is a substantial clinking or chunking sound which increases in frequency as the speed increases. I assume something is stripped somewhere or not fully engaging? Also, I assumed up until today that 4wd low was working properly, however I tried to back up a steep gravel hill in 4wd low and after a few feet the rear tires just seemed to jump up and down quickly and I ended up going nowhere. Conversely, while going forward in 4wd high everything seems to have engaged properly, I assume this because it is somewhat difficult to control the steering, the power seems to be there as far as I can tell and the speed is lacking which leads me to believe that it is engaging properly at least in forward motion.

Where should I begin troubleshooting first? Are the hubs just worn, and if so how difficult are they to replace?
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Old 10-25-2005, 09:03   #2 (permalink)
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cool Re: 98 ranger 4wd issues

Most likely the front hubs are either shot or not engaging properly. The 98 and 99 Rangers had vacuum-controlled hubs, which proved to be troublesome. A lot of people just replace the hubs and axle shafts with parts from a 95-up Explorer or 00-up Ranger, where the front hubs were always locked in.

http://www.therangerstation.com/tech.../99hubswap.htm
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Old 10-25-2005, 17:40   #3 (permalink)
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confused Re: 98 ranger 4wd issues

im not completly shure about this but i seen the same thing happen on a dodge dokota and a s10 never a ford though this is what they said u should do, when going into 4wd after engagine go in reverse for a good 6 feet then forward as with disengagingdo the same thing, but im pretty shure u dont have to when engineg, they would anyways
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Old 10-26-2005, 18:31   #4 (permalink)
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cool Re: 98 ranger 4wd issues

On a late-model Ranger it isn't necessary to go in reverse to disengage the hubs. Like I said elsewhere, 98-99 Rangers have vacuum disconnect front hubs, so as soon as you shift into 2wd they unlock (assuming they actually locked in the first place, which was the problem). 00-up Rangers and 95-up Explorers have front hubs that are always locked in, so all the 4wd switch does is turn the t-case on and off.
I don't know how the Dodge and Chevy systems work. I wouldn't own one, so it doesn't matter.
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Old 10-28-2005, 22:59   #5 (permalink)
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Re: 98 ranger 4wd issues

should i just choose to replace the necessary parts for what's already existing now, is it just a matter of replacing the worn hubs if that is in fact the source of the problem. or is it much more involved than that? just seems like a ton of work to swap out with an explorer or newer ranger.
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Old 10-29-2005, 23:31   #6 (permalink)
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Re: 98 ranger 4wd issues

I had a similar problem my hubs were shot, did a lot of grindin and not much else haha...
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Old 11-01-2005, 19:05   #7 (permalink)
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cool Re: 98 ranger 4wd issues

It's cheaper just to replace the bad parts but they'll go bad again. You don't have to swap the whole axle assembly, just the shafts and hubs.
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Old 11-08-2005, 02:20   #8 (permalink)
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Re: 98 ranger 4wd issues

perhaps i will go with the swap then, do it right the first time. thanks for your help, i appreciate it
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Old 11-25-2005, 04:26   #9 (permalink)
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Re: 98 ranger 4wd issues

had this problem, since these hubs engage by vacuum, check seals, 1 at back of hub where axle comes through and an O-ring onthe out side where hub snaps on, I also sprayed some lithium grease in the hub and worked it a few times by hand before putting back on truck, working OK now.
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