Diesel Place banner
1 - 20 of 45 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just took my rig out in the mud today and got it stuck! The rear wheels were spinnin like crazy but I got nothing from the front.

What steps should I take to fix this? Are there cheap things (like replace thermostat to fix overheating) that I can do to fix this? I assume T-case replacement is the final fix?

Thanks guys!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
570 Posts
If it's on the truck in your sig, I would be looking at the front axle actuator. (pretty common)
Are all of the fuses good ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If it's on the truck in your sig, I would be looking at the front axle actuator. (pretty common)
Are all of the fuses good ?
Yeah, thats the truck. What exactly is a "front axle actuator" and do you have any further info/pics?

Thanks!
 

·
Gone but not forgotten member
Joined
·
11,311 Posts
it's a thermal actuator on the front diff that when electric current is applied releases a plunger into the diff to engage the front axle. About $130-$150 last time I checked.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
it's a thermal actuator on the front diff that when electric current is applied releases a plunger into the diff to engage the front axle. About $130-$150 last time I checked.
This applies even though my truck has the mechanical 4x4 shifter on the floor? Where is this sensor? I want to replace it ASAP so i can get it in 4x4 before the next snow storm.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
570 Posts
Yes, even though you have a mechanical shifter, you still have an actuator in the front axle. (also known as a "dildo"). As stated, common failure. Should be plenty of info if you were to search.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
804 Posts
There is an updated part for this failure as well.. First you have to see if the front driveshaft is turning to rule out the transfer caes (yea i know not common but i've seen them be "engaged" and not even able to turn the front shaft)..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok guys, I found the actuator and removed it. I tested it and it extends about 3/4" then stops. Is this the correct distance or is it stopping short? Also, the 25A fuse is fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
UPDATE: The front driveshaft is free when its in 2WD but is locked when I switch to 4WD. This means my t-case is good right?
 

·
Gone but not forgotten member
Joined
·
11,311 Posts
I'm not sure about the t-case . I would think it would be engaged all the time but I may be wrong on that.
The actuator on the other hand should go out twice as far if I remember correctly. Has it been slow to engage and disengage prior to not working at all? maybe you might have had to back up to get it to disengage before ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm not sure about the t-case . I would think it would be engaged all the time but I may be wrong on that.
The actuator on the other hand should go out twice as far if I remember correctly. Has it been slow to engage and disengage prior to not working at all? maybe you might have had to back up to get it to disengage before ?
I just picked up the truck a week ago so this is the first time I really tested the 4x4. I thought everything was good because the transfer case was engaging. I had no idea to make sure the 4x4 was really working.

I think I will put in a manual actuator using christmas money from my parents (I'm only 16 so I still get presents and money:D). After breakfast and everything tomorrow, I'll head out to the garage to make sure it's not just a loose connection. When tested, the actuator works and the 4x4 light works. The light doesn't come on when engaged into 4wd nor does the actuator extend.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
387 Posts
the main issue with the acutator is the "thermal" part. Stops working as effective after awhile and heaven forbid it gets splashed with cold water or snow and disengage the front axle.

As for the t-case. With a malfunctioning front end, the front output shaft on the t-case will still be directly connected to the rear driveline when in 4x4 so if both back tires are on the ground you shouldn't be able to rotate the front driveshaft.

I'd say with 99% assurance it's most likely your front actuator. Do you get the low range gearing when you put it in 4Lo? If so then that's another indication that the t-case is fine
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
the main issue with the acutator is the "thermal" part. Stops working as effective after awhile and heaven forbid it gets splashed with cold water or snow and disengage the front axle.

As for the t-case. With a malfunctioning front end, the front output shaft on the t-case will still be directly connected to the rear driveline when in 4x4 so if both back tires are on the ground you shouldn't be able to rotate the front driveshaft.

I'd say with 99% assurance it's most likely your front actuator. Do you get the low range gearing when you put it in 4Lo? If so then that's another indication that the t-case is fine
Yeah, I get low range. Would it be wise to install a cable-operated manual actuator? I can buy the kit for $220 and it looks like a good system.
 

·
Gone but not forgotten member
Joined
·
11,311 Posts
I would really make absolutely sure it's the actuator before I spent that. But if that was something you want anyways go for it.
A little advice if you haven't already (especially if you don't know how it was taken care of) Change all the fluids. Axles,transfer case,trans,of course the engine and coolant. I lucked out when I was your age and had a auto class and the instructer helped me get the right fluid and helped change it-made a class out of it too. I'd hate for it to be like a boy I knew that bought a used Z71 and the front diff was ate up. Changing the fluids will let you see how the insides are doing and can only help.
If you have a friend with close to the same year truck I wouldn't be above installing his actuator to see if it fixes it (providing you know theirs works.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I would really make absolutely sure it's the actuator before I spent that. But if that was something you want anyways go for it.
Well, if we know its a piece of junk, it might be something to look into anyways.

A little advice if you haven't already (especially if you don't know how it was taken care of) Change all the fluids. Axles,transfer case,trans,of course the engine and coolant. I lucked out when I was your age and had a auto class and the instructer helped me get the right fluid and helped change it-made a class out of it too. I'd hate for it to be like a boy I knew that bought a used Z71 and the front diff was ate up. Changing the fluids will let you see how the insides are doing and can only help.
I've got the greatest shop teacher and this was actually my plan from the start. I'll be ordering some amsoil synthetics to put in the diffs and the transfer case. The tranny was just rebuilt in April so that fluid is nice and pink still. The cooland was just changed about a year ago when the block heater was replaced so thats OK too. Engine oil will be changed becase its looking pretty black and there's no record of the last change.

I just can't wait till I solve this stupid 4x4 issue!!:mad:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
387 Posts
Yeah, I get low range. Would it be wise to install a cable-operated manual actuator? I can buy the kit for $220 and it looks like a good system.
I believe the aftermarket replacements are not thermo-activated because of those issues. Get one of those and you should be good to go. Chevy stopped using the thermo ones after a few years, don't remember what year though '96 or '97????

Might even be able to swap out a newer version at a junkyard for cheap, just make sure it fits.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I think i'll just pick up a cable operated system to save me the hassle, regardless of whether or not the actuator is shot. Its either the actuator or an electrical connection, so the cable system will solve both these problems.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
570 Posts
Probably not a bad idea.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
430 Posts
If you are looking at the Posi lock system then I would go for it. I installed one recently on a 300,000 mile Dodge that I got sick of chasing vaccuum on and it works great. It even turns of the 4wd light. (the Dodge kit did anyway.):D

Good Luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
429 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
If you are looking at the Posi lock system then I would go for it. I installed one recently on a 300,000 mile Dodge that I got sick of chasing vaccuum on and it works great. It even turns of the 4wd light. (the Dodge kit did anyway.):D

Good Luck.
Yeah, thats the one. It looks like a decent kit and its selling for a good price.
 
1 - 20 of 45 Posts
Top