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Old 09-06-2007, 09:03 PM
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Default 97 Cherokee 4WD wont engage

I may have asked this a few months ago but I haven't found the answer, so here goes again!

The 4WD just wont engage on my 97 Cherokee. It was working fine 2 winters ago and then the shift lever froze up last summer. I was able to finally free the shift lever by using penetrating oil and hauling on it. Now that the lever is free, I am able to move the shift lever through all of the grears. However the light on the dashboard does not come on.

I put the Jeep up on ramps and had my wife climb in with the beast in neutral while she shifted through the 4WD gears and I did see that the lever on the transfer case is moving fine.

I don't know much about transfer cases but I see there are two electrical connectors on the case. I believe one to be speedometer related? but have no clue what the other one is.

One other thing to mention is that I had changed out the neutral safety switch and in the process crimped a hose, which I now know is the vent hose for the transfer case. I uncrimped the hose and cleaned off the little filter that is attached to the end of this hose, but this did not help.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 09-07-2007, 12:10 AM
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Have you confirmed that the xfer case is in fact not engaging?
Just because the light is not on does not mean it's not in 4wd.
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Old 09-07-2007, 06:29 AM
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I am not really sure how to do this. I did place the shifter in 2H while driving and the front steering seemed to tighten up so I thought maybe it was in 4wd. Is there any easy way to tell?
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Old 09-07-2007, 08:05 AM
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One of the electrical switches is for the dashboard 4wd light.
When I shift into 4wd high range, I can usually hear the different sound the front driveline makes when it is engaged. Can you hear any difference between the 2wd and 4wd modes?

Drive forward slowly, shift into 4wd. Stop the Jeep, set the parking brake, shut off engine. Lift the front axle slightly off the ground, placing jack stands under both sides of axle to avoid suspension droop; just enough so the front tires are completely off the ground.

Crawl under the Jeep and try to spin the front driveshaft by hand. If it is locked and won't turn, then the case is in 4wd; if it does spin then it is in 2wd.

I'm afraid that you may have broken the shift fork by forcing the shift lever but there is a chance you didn't. Good Luck !!
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Old 09-20-2007, 06:41 AM
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I have yet to test what xjy173 suggested but did crawl under the jeep to have a look. I noticed that the transfer case front output yoke is a little sloppy when I wiggle the front driveshaft. Should there be any play in the yoke and could this cause the transfer case to not engage?
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Old 09-20-2007, 03:04 PM
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There could be a little play in the front driveshaft when you try to spin it. That would be normal. If it moves side to side, that might mean U joints are bad.

Neither condition would stop the transfer case from shifting into or out of
4wd.
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Old 10-29-2007, 09:53 PM
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I finally lifted the front of the jeep and put the transfer case into 4WD and then spun the front tires. They did not spin so I assume that the transfer case is in 4WD. When I put the shifter back into 2WD I am able to spin the front tires. So it would appear that the part time indicator light is bad? Looking at the schematics, the indicator lamp is controlled by a simple switch, which I assume is attached right on the transfer case?

The only other thing I noticed is sometimes it is very difficult to move the 4WD shifter, almost impossible. Something that seems to free it up is to put the transmission in neutral and then the 4WD shifter works great for a while.
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Old 10-31-2007, 04:32 AM
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Just check if the bulb is burned or if there's any power in the holder when engaged.
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Old 10-31-2007, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by central1ny View Post
The only other thing I noticed is sometimes it is very difficult to move the 4WD shifter, almost impossible. Something that seems to free it up is to put the transmission in neutral and then the 4WD shifter works great for a while.
Don't try to engage the 4wd low range until the transfercase has shifted completely into 4wd hi range. Many times, you have to place the transmission into neutral to get into low range without grinding.
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Old 11-21-2007, 11:54 PM
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I've had a similar problem. on my '96 XJ, the Hi range doesn't seem to want to engage until the lever is almost into neutral, then it will engage, and once engaged, i can move the lever back to where is should sit in Hi range. But this also means it will not go into 4-Lo, so i'm not sure if the linkage is just messed up and need to get it tighter to where it will go into 4-Lo. Any suggestions?
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