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#1168 of 6386 1999 Explorer 4WD grinding sound/vibration
Jan 13, 2002 (2:08 pm)
I have a friend who has a 1999 Ford Explorer with just over 20k miles on it. For the last several days the 4WD H/L light blinks while in 2 wheel drive. When the vehicle is in 4WD and you take a slow turn on dry pavement there is a profound grinding and vibrating that comes from the front end. After taking it to the dealer she was told that this is normal on all 4WD vehicles. I personally own a 97 Chevy Blazer that does not do that at all... no vibration ... no grinding. Has anyone else ever experienced this type of problem and is it something that is normal for the explorer and if not can it be fixed and what is really the problem.
exploring a solution ! ! !
Jan 14, 2002 (7:27 am)
You should not use the explorer in 4wd mode on dry pavement... especially on sharp turns. It was not designed to be used on a surface with no 'slip'.. such as dry pavement .. rather on snow or mud. Remember that this is not a AWD version... and making turns on dry pavement makes the front wheels fight each other and can wear out the linkage.
Jan 14, 2002 (7:49 am)
You seem to know a heck of a lot more than most of us here, but I will ask anyway:
I have a 95 Explorer. I think the 4WD system on my vehicle is pretty darn close to the version in the 99 vehicle. One of the implied benefits of this 4WD system was that you could run it in 4WD even if the conditions were only marginally poor. I have run mine many times on areas of dry pavement, with patchy icy spots, without any problems. I have never felt any type of binding in my 4WD system even when turning into areas such as a dry driveway. The issues with smokn14jo's vehicle does not sound at all normal to me.
Jan 14, 2002 (11:05 am)
Your truck (and mine) will complain and groan if you try to make sharp turns on dry pavement too.. especially if you do it a lot... an wear out the linkage. Going straight is no problem.. it just puts a strain on the 4x4 system when you try to turn. When you turn, one front wheel must travel a further distance than the other, but since they are locked, they turn together, so thus the problem. That is why Ford does not recommend using the 4x4 on dry pavement.. it does not allow one wheel to 'slip'.
You should look into replacing and repacking the front 4x4 wheel cylinders every 35K miles, and lube the linkages before every winter. The tranny case and the 4x4 transfer cash should have the fluid serviced as well.
#1172 of 6386 RE: 4x4 grinding
Jan 14, 2002 (11:56 am)
Mazman is absolutely right regarding the 4x4. The 4WD system in the 1991-2001 Explorers (minus the v8) are part time system and so is the one in your Chevy Blazer. They are designed to run on surfaces that allow the tires to slip (ice, snow, gravel, sand, etc.) If you use them on dry surfaces, you are fine as long as you go straight. What the system does is lock the two front wheels together. When oyu make a turn, the inside tire turns at a slower rate then the outside tire (it may be the other way around. It's been so long since I took Physics). When you have the 4WD activated then the wheels turn at the same rate. The grinding is your outside wheel trying to go faster to get around the corner. That is not a good sound at all.
Quick story: My wife went hunting (a whole story in itself) and was stuck in a ditch. She put our 1991 Explorer in 4WD and finally got out. Well I guess she really raced the engine and stripped the nut or bearing that holds the axle in place when the vehicle is in 4WD. Needless to say we had ot get it fixed a s I found out later in a snow storm that eventhough I had the 4x4 button pushed, the front wheels were not locked in. $800 later I had my 4WD back (repair done at the dealership).
My advice is your friend has already done serious damage to the 4WD system. Suggestion is to have a private shop do the work (not difficult at all). It wil be much cheaper to do. Tell your friend in the winter time to leave the 4WD drive in Auto. To be honest, this is why I bought the V8 AWD rather then the V6 Full-time system.
Nowbck to my steering problem. Can anyone help me?
#1173 of 6386 mazman, dtownfb
Jan 14, 2002 (2:08 pm)
OK, now I'm confused
My 95 Explorer only has 2WD, 4WD Auto, 4WD Low. So what is the difference between the 95 and 99 4WD systems? I get the impression that the 99 has a 4WD High setting? How does that differ from 4WD Auto then? I try to not make it a practice of driving in 4WD Auto on dry pavement, but I have never noticed any binding when doing so. I'll qualify this by saying that the Explorer is my wifes so I don't drive it that often.
Jan 14, 2002 (3:11 pm)
IF your 4WD Auto is the same as my 2002 Explorer 4WD Auto, there should be no harm in leaving it in that mode all the time. The 2002 Explorer doesn't even have an option of switching it out of 4WD Auto, so I sure hope it's OK. It does use up a little more gas and is turning components unnecessarily (as compared to 2WD on dry pavement), but it shouldn't damage anything like a part-time 4WD will on dry pavement.
#1175 of 6386 The real story on the 4wd systems.
Jan 14, 2002 (9:02 pm)
Unfortunately, there appears to be some misinformation on previous posts.
The 91-94 Explorer used a part time system for use on slick roads. The 95-2002 use the control trac system that uses computer monitors to apply an electromagnetic clutch (except the awd v8 from 96-2001)(and except the 2001 two door) to put power to the front wheels. Originally the dial on the dash had three spots, 2wd, automatic 4wd, and 4wd low. The 2wd can be used on any surface. The automatic 4wd can be used at any time,rain, snow,dirt, dry concrete,etc. The 4wd low is a part time system. At some point, ?97 or 98 or 99, the switch was modified to be three postions, automatic 4wd, 4wd HI, and 4wd low. So the vehicle can be left in automatic 4wd on any surface (heck, there isn't even a 2wd mode) or placed in 4wd Hi with locked differential for slippery surface or 4wd low for slippery surfaces only. Now the redesigned ?2001 two door explorer sport appears to have the old style 2wd, 4 hi, and 4wd low...with no automatic settings. It is purely part time. (Also in the mid to late 90s, the Ford Expedition used a 4 postition dial to give 2wd, auto 4wd, 4hi and 4 lo) Some of this may be incorrect, but is correct to the best of my knowledge. If anybody spots any errors, please post.
Jan 14, 2002 (11:11 pm)
hmmm, rear-ended... I would first squirt heavy silicone on all the body isolators, including the ones that support the rear springs, and see if squeaks improve. I am not sure where my issue was as it has disappeared again now that it's cold but I suspected mine was in the drivers seat, low and back. it might have been the pillar, as some have reported, but if there were sorta-welds there, it shouldn't have quit squeaking when it got cold.
one thing I have always fallen back on with squeaks that never go away over the years is try to get them to squeak in my key, so we can sing along together down the road.
Jan 16, 2002 (10:16 am)
Hello all. Just noticed the other day after I decided to look for a cause of an annoying squeak/grinding noise as I opened the liftglass that the top of both "strong arms" and their connecting pieces to the back window are rusty. The truck is a 2000 XLS, so I intend on having Ford rectify the situation on warranty, but have any of you had a similar problem?