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4WD won't disengage

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I've had this error come up several times: 4wd won't disengage. It usually won't give the notice until I come to a complete stop. One time the truck was whining so bad I had to pull over, then I got that message. Putting it in N, then switching back and forth between 4H and 2H seems to do the trick.

Dealership put in a new module (seems to be their solution for literally EVERYTHING). Hadn't really had a reason to drive with 4H until this weekend. Got the error again.

Wondering if anyone has had this issue and what the "fix" is.

Thanks.
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I do not have All Wheel Drive. I have noticed this effect a few times. What I have learned to do when going back to 2WD is to put the shifter in Neutral, then punch the 2WD button, and then pause for a few seconds. Finally I re-engage the shifter to Drive. Have stopped seeing this effect. The cause is gear wind-up. If you've been on a dry hard surface for awhile, the gears can begin to bind. The issue is the front axle and rear axle are slightly different in wheel circumference. Thus the gears will slowly get tighter and tighter against each other. The end point of this if you ignore it is the gears will eat into each other and destroy themselves.
 
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If it wont shift back then its a bad shift motor in the Transfer case. I dont believe its all that hard to access. The TCCM is probably what they replaced. The ATCM is the actual selector.

Have you looked to see if you have any DTCs?
 

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I've had this error come up several times: 4wd won't disengage. It usually won't give the notice until I come to a complete stop. One time the truck was whining so bad I had to pull over, then I got that message. Putting it in N, then switching back and forth between 4H and 2H seems to do the trick.

Dealership put in a new module (seems to be their solution for literally EVERYTHING). Hadn't really had a reason to drive with 4H until this weekend. Got the error again.

Wondering if anyone has had this issue and what the "fix" is.

Thanks.
Hi there, I'd be happy to look into your F-150 concerns on my end. Will you send us a message with your VIN and dealership info? I can look into things on my end.
 
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If it wont shift back then its a bad shift motor in the Transfer case. I dont believe its all that hard to access. The TCCM is probably what they replaced. The ATCM is the actual selector.

Have you looked to see if you have any DTCs?
What are DTCs? I have not looked.
 

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Another way to get out of this is to put your truck into reverse and back up for 50 yards or so, maybe more if the gears are really tight.
Yes, I actually had to do this once (the time it was whining). Used to have to do occasionally with an older Toyota too.
 
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Thanks! No, no check engine lights, or anything that stays on. Just a notice that comes up.

I'll check forscan in the coming days and see if I have any thrown codes.
 
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Okay, well I never got around to plugging in my ForScan, but I did take the truck to a different dealership after having this warning appear again. Of course, they couldn't get it to flash the warning – I did take a photo of the warning and show them. They ran it and provided a very detailed explanation of why I could get such a warning – really the big culprit being uneven worn tires (different sizes).... the system is so sensitive that apparently different PSI tires can trip it.

Anyway, in regards to requests from the above people:
- No DTC codes thrown
- Putting it in "N" then going back to 4h, then 2h seems to do the trick
- Had to reverse it one time to get it to switch out
- Snapped a pic of the warning the last time it did it (and of course, the dealership wants me to drive it in next time I get the warning)
Ford F-150 4WD won't disengage messages_0 (32)
 

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There are lots of reasons tires can be different circumference. You cannot undo this, it's just a fact of life. The issue is simply gear windup if on a dry hard surface roadway. Even a dirt road that is hard packed and smooth will do this... If the gears are really tighly bound, no drive motor can relaese them. If really tight, then backing up is about your only choice.
 

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How long has this been an issue?

The part time 4X4 is exactly that. Unless you’re on a loose surface; it’s going to be unhappy. Getting wound up and binding is going to happen in circumstances where the surface has decent grip.

IMO the Ford ESOF sucks and even when working correctly; it’s pretty slow compared with a manual transfer case. The shift motor is exposed to the elements and will degrade over time. Instead of firing the parts cannon at your truck and swapping in a new module; they should have tested the shift motor against a known good one, either with an oscilloscope or a multimeter.

The shift motor on my 2001 Navigator went bad at 60K miles. Looking at it underneath, it’s no wonder; since it’s just out in the open and just some crappy consumer part like you would see on a VCR or convection oven. Before I ordered my truck, I looked and looked for a decent used one and wanted the manual transfer case. Apparently, the forest service ordered enough trucks from Ford that they were able to get the MSOF TCs for a couple years after everyone else was forced into the electronic shift. There’s a reason for that!

An upgrade that you might want to look into in the future is the Raptor Hi-Lock TOD transfer case. The torque on demand TC is good for just leaving in 4X4 all the time and is casually referred to as the 4A transfer case. The Hi-Lock version also includes regular old dog clutches to lock it into part time 4X4 because some people were burning up the clutch packs in the regular 4A TC in sand and mud.

Good luck!
 
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Thanks for all the replies. This isn't a big deal when it's dry out — totally fine stopping, putting it in N, and then switching it out if 4h.

Im just a bit concerned for winter when the roads get shitty and I have to switch in and out of 4H going over mountain passes on I-70 in Colorado. This simply won't be an option.
 

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What I've learned to do is: on a gentle downslope,shift to N, punch 2H button, wait briefly (~ 5-10 sec) after 2H illuminates, then back into D. No longer get warning message.
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