How Do I Engage My 4-Wheel Drive?

Newman

Newman

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I took my 2008 Ford F250 out to the store this afternoon because of the ice on the roads. Actually, what I thought was ice. The roads weren’t icy, per se, but I certainly thought they were, based on what I experienced trying to get the truck out of the back yard and out of the driveway onto the road. I parked the truck in the back yard, just to keep it out of the way of the other cars.

Short story – after I let the truck warm up for a bit, I hopped in, put it in drive and tried to go forward. All I got was the spinning of the back wheels. I then turned the little switch on the dashboard to “4-Wheel High.” Nothing. The truck was still in 2-wheel drive. I then got out of the truck and turned the hubs to the “locked” position.

ford-f250-locking-hub.jpg

I got back in the truck, put it in drive and took off like a bat out of hell. 4-wheel drive kicks butt. I drove around the lawn, in the snow, bouncing over all the bumps and had a great time. I’m not sure you know how difficult it is to stop something like this once you start. Good thing no one else was in the truck. They'd probably have way too much fun.

After that, I left and once I was out on the road, I switched the hubs back to “auto.”

Later on this evening, I started to wonder how in the world I’m supposed to switch the transmission in this truck into 4-wheel drive. I thought it was “on-the-fly.” This means, as I’m driving, I’m able to simply turn the knob on the dash to 4-wheel drive and off we go. Why didn’t that happen today?

Just a few minutes ago, I decided to go out to the truck for a short experiment. First, I wanted to read the manual, which I did.

ford-f250-manual.jpg

Then, I wanted to take a picture of the lights on the dash because they look so cool, which I did (still have to fill the tires with northern air).

2008-ford-f250-dash-lights.jpg

I wanted to see what would happen if I locked the hubs and kept the knob in 2-wheel drive mode inside the truck. With the hubs locked, would 4-wheel drive still be engaged, even if it’s set to 2-wheel drive mode inside? The answer is no. If the inside knob is set to 2-wheel drive, even if the hubs are locked, the truck drives in 2-wheel drive.

Then, with the hubs still locked, was I able to shift on the fly to 4-wheel drive? Yes, I was able to. I drove around the back yard again, this time in the dark and this time even faster than last time. I felt like I was on an ATV and am having difficulty, right now, holding myself back from doing it again.

Anyway, my concern is that I thought this truck had on the fly shifting into 4-wheel drive, no matter if the hubs are locked or not. And it may. I just don’t think I’ve created the right conditions for that yet. The manual says that the truck needs to be moving to have it shift automatically into 4-wheel drive mode. I wasn’t. All I was doing was sitting still with the rear wheels spinning. Which brings me to my next point. The manual also says that you shouldn’t shift into 4-wheel drive with the rear wheels spinning. Whoops.

So it looks like I completed half an experiment. The next time I drive, I’ll complete the other half – shifting into 4-wheel drive with the truck moving – hubs unlocked. It’s just that it’s so much easier to test whether or not it’s in 4-wheel drive in the snow, when the wheels spin. Hmmm – I suppose I can try it in the back yard again and just get some speed to see what happens. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
 
Newman

Newman

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Driving Ford F250 During Snow Storm​

Well, that didn’t turn out like I thought it would. It was actually much more difficult. All I wanted to do was to bring my lady for a nice 4-wheel drive in today’s snow storm and things turned into a fiasco. I’ll tell you all about it.

It was still light outside. I don’t know what time it was, but I know it was light because I wanted to get in the truck before it got dark so my lady could get some nice photos. I went out and cleared the snow off the truck. Then, I sat inside of it, turned the key and waited for the glow plugs to warm up. When that was done, I tried to start it. Click. Click. Click. That’s all I got. I was actually really surprised. I never had a problem with this vehicle before and to find an issue just two days after it ran perfectly to the vet and back was a shocker. Very strange.

I suspected something was going on with the battery terminals. Well, first, I thought the batteries were dead (there are two). But after testing the headlights and the blower fan on high at the same time and having no issues, I concluded it was the battery terminals. Or, just one terminal.

I popped the hood, jumped out of the truck, lifted the hood and began twisting the terminals to see if any were loose. Low and behold, the negative terminal on the passenger side moved fairly easily when I turned it. I gave it a nice twist until it was seated a little tighter and tried to start the truck again. Nothing. It has exactly the same problem. I decided to run inside to get my tools so I could properly tighten it. I did that and tried to start the truck again. I got the same issue. This was perplexing.

Since I was standing in a blizzard and the snow was flying sideways, I thought I could make better use of the time I had by looking around online for answers. I found what I expected. The battery, the solenoid or the starter itself. I didn’t think it was any of these things, but I did want to go poke around under the hood one more time, just to see if any connections on the solenoid were loose. So, I got all dressed again with my boots and all that and headed back to the truck. I popped the hood and couldn’t even find the solenoid, much less see if any of the wires were loose. It was getting darker and I had already told my poor lady that she wasn’t going to go for a ride. I was so disappointed.

While I was out there, I decided to give the truck one last headlight/blower test, just to see if the lights would dim when there was another load on the electrical system. I did this and turned the ignition key to find the truck start up wonderfully. It was very odd. I turned it off, let the glow plugs warm properly and started it again and everything was okay.

I hightailed it inside to tell my lady she was going to get to play in the snow after all. She got her gear on and we headed out to the truck for our drive. Man, that took a lot out of me.

Anyway, as she was sitting inside the truck waiting for it to warm up, she snapped a pretty cool photo. Here it is.

ford-f250-lock-switch.jpg

She got a bunch of other ones, but I didn’t want to post too many interior shots here.

We got going in the snow after everything was warm. I would say we only had about four inches on the ground, but no plows had come by yet. Here’s a picture of us climbing the first little hill.

backroad-snow-storm.jpg

After we made it to the end of the road, we turned around and started to head back. That’s when we saw the plow coming. Our road is pretty narrow, being dirt, so we knew it was either him or us – not both. I decided it was him, so I backed up for a while until we made it to our good buddy Dave’s driveway. I backup up there and waited for the plow to pass. Here it is.

plow-truck.jpg

As you can see, it was he who was going to get by, not me.

That was pretty exciting. We made it back to the house and I concluded that, yes, this is what you’re supposed to do when it’s snowing outside. It makes you feel alive. I haven’t run around like that in a while. I’ve been far too civilized. I need to get back at it.

Anyway, I have to pick up some stuff from the auto parts store. I need to get some tools for the truck, a battery terminal cleaner, a battery charger and some electrical grease for the terminals as well. I need to quit messing around and get stocked up.

Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny. After that, between Saturday and Monday, we’re supposed to get upwards of thirty more inches of snow. That will add to the three inches we got on Tuesday and whatever we get tonight. Add all that to the foot and a half we already have and we might actually have almost five feet of snow on the ground. I find that insanely fun. I will surely take photos for you.
 
How Do I Engage My 4-Wheel Drive? was posted on 08-24-2021 by Newman in the Motor Forum forum.

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