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2003 4X4 engagement problem

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Old 12-08-2009, 05:19 PM   #1
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Default 2003 4X4 engagement problem

I have read several times that the 2003 Ford F150's have issues with 4WD kicking and I have experienced it recently. If the truck spins and you flip it to 4hi the front should engage and pull you out right? Doesnt yet if you engage prior to needing 4WD you can feel the front tires grabbing. What do you tell the Ford Mechanic?
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:54 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by bowhunter7* View Post
I have read several times that the 2003 Ford F150's have issues with 4WD kicking and I have experienced it recently. If the truck spins and you flip it to 4hi the front should engage and pull you out right? Doesnt yet if you engage prior to needing 4WD you can feel the front tires grabbing. What do you tell the Ford Mechanic?
A fellow '02 F-150 4 X 4 owner told me to STOP rolling FIRST... then switch to 4WD (whether you go to 4hi or 4lo.)

It takes a little to engage, and there is a big "CLUNK" but you'll know it when it engages.

Mine did this since it was new.
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:21 PM   #3
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i come to a stop when switching into 4hi, and have been told that putting it into neutral first helps lessen the ware and tear? any truth to this? ive only used 4low a couple times and i come to a complete stop and put it in neutral first, even though its the electronic 4wd , still better safe then sorry right? i see no reason to be driving 40mph and all of a sudden need to turn 4wd on
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Old 12-09-2009, 12:25 AM   #4
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All last winter I was shifting on the fly into 4 high from speeds of 30-55mph. Can't even feel it engage and is smooth, same with the disengage. Auto hubs weren't the best idea by any manufacturer.
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Old 12-09-2009, 10:01 AM   #5
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I've been battling this since I got my '03 two years ago, and its frustrated me to no end (including this morning when I was stuck in my driveway, which is why I'm on the forum now). I've heard that these trucks are notorious for having this problem, with the main reason being something about the hubs needing to be warm, or something like that (not really sure).

The only way I've had any luck getting it to engage is to stop, shift into neutral, shift into 4 Hi (or Lo), shift into Reverse with the wheels cranked one way, roll a few feet, then crank the wheels the other way still rolling, then repeat the process of going left and right for a few feet in Drive. The problem with this method is that it doesn't work when you're already stuck (like this morning, in my driveway).

If anyone has some insight as to why this happens, and how it can be fixed, it would be great. I'm tired of driving a 2WD truck that says 4WD on the side of it.
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Old 12-09-2009, 01:18 PM   #6
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Default 2003 4x4 engagement problem follow up

I just came from the service department at the dealership and was advised that there may be 2 issues.
1 The forks that engage the 4WD are broke and need to be replaced the replacement kit has aluminum forks. I talked with the mechanic and the front axles are engaged all the time not supposed to be but should not cause mechanical problems.
2 This is the big one the front transfer case has a clutch type mechanism and there may be a problem however I may get lucky and the first situation could take care the engagement problem.
I just want 4WD when I flip the switch. I had taken it in 2 times prior and nothing was found and I told them to take it to Ford because I am not the only one that has experienced the problem of no engagement. Yes I have 102,000 but I take care of the truck and I started back around 50 or 60,000 with the engagement problem.
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