Truck Popping out of Four Wheel Drive

Sep 2, 2004
I have a 2002 Ford Ranger with a manual transaxle and good old fashioned short stick to put the truck in 4WD.

Yesterday, I put in the clutch, pulled back the short stick and it went into 4WD. Light came on telling me I'm in 4WD. I can tell I'm in 4WD from the way the truck pull out of my icy drive way. Driving down the road, I start spinning and the rear end kicks out. :eek: I didn't lose control, but was concerned. 4WD light is off and truck is not in 4WD.

I stop the truck, and check 4WD, I notice that even with the clutch all the way out, it "falls" out of 4WD when I just lightly push the short stick.

I'm going to have it looked at, but what is likely cause of this? Probably expensive. :mad:

Sounds like the detent on the little-shifter is worn so it doesn't hold the transaxle in "gear". Call your Ford dealer and ask if this is a known issue or if there is a recall on your model, many times something like this is covered by the dealer. If not, get a quote and head down to the neighborhood tranny shop to see what they'll do. I'm not familliar with that system, but it may just be as simple as a new bracket or adjustment...

On the other hand, if the transaxle gear is worn down, you're talking a rebuild...

Legal Disclaimer: I am not a Ford mechanic, nor do I play one on TV.

Check your fluid level in your tranny/tansfer case. If it is already low then the damage has been done. This usually indicates a major repair, expect a large bill.
Might check to see if it has a linkage(not too sure on the Ford)? Maybe it needs adjustment? My Blazer did the same thing until I adjusted it.
I'd crawl enderneath and look at the linkage between the shift lever and the transfer case. There is usually a rod that runs into the transfer case and pushes a ring gear into engagement with the front shaft, and the shift lever is hooked to it with a hinge that sort of acts on a cam. If a bolt came loose, or something is bound up with dirt it may not engage all the way.
Worth a try before you go to a dealer anyhow :)
Could also be a fluid issue too much or too little i had a similar problem with a blazer due to too much fluid