CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

1970's Ford 4WD truck transfer case slips out of gear in 4WD-L

It has a floor shifter for the xfer case with 2wd, 4wd-H,and 4wd-L, and Neutral positions. It works fine in the 2wd and the 4wd-H positions. The problem is it sometimes slips out of 4wd-L position into 4wd-Neutral, which I have just lived with, but it is annoying. I think I heard this is a known problem with these 1970’s Ford xfer cases, and the fix involves removing the xfer case and replacing a part. Anybody here have any experience with this problem?

The shift linkage may be the problem. Find someone familiar with that single lever transfer case and have them check it out. It may have a ball of mud preventing the lever from fully engaging or the transmission mount may be getting weak. Of course it could be internal but again, a mechanic familiar with those old units should quickly get it straightened out. I have owned several of the old Ford 4x4s and don’t know of any common problem other than above.

After half a million miles and 40 years, this sort of stuff happens…Rebuilding the T-case will exceed the value of the truck by a large amount…I’ve seen some clever arrangements with bungee cords…Now, if you crawl under there and look at the linkage, you will be amazed it ever shifted at all…But as RK suggested, you may find happiness there…

If you find a problem with the transfer case and I think you will. You can find them in junk yards cheap. They are not to hard to fix or pull and replace. I don’t think the linkage is your problem. If it shift’s into 2H,4H or 4L the linkage should be fine. My guess is the fork that moves the gears into 4L is wore or bent.

Caddyman A Ford 4X4 truck form the 70’s in good shape will bring $3500 up. Most will bring $5000 easy. Restored as a driver your are talking $15000.00 up. Something minor like a transfer case will not exceed its value. A friend has just a frame with motor and drive line. He just turned down $1500 for it. When we find the a body for it he will drive it for a year or 2 and sill sale it for more than he will have in it.

In about 1980 I paid $2,500 for a 1972 Bronco in original condition. After driving it 25 years I sold it for $5,500, still in original condition. The new owner had an automatic transmission, AC and power steering installed, fresh paint and upholstery renewed and turned down $15,000 the last time I spoke to him. The body is uncut, BTW.

Anyone who would turn down $15K for a '72 Bronco has been watching too many TV car auctions…The bidding stopped on this one at $7600, which is STILL way to much…

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Ford-Bronco-1972-Ford-Bronco-/290676607947?pt=US_Cars_Trucks&hash=item43adad0bcb

Thanks to all for good comments. I bought this Ford 4wd truck when it was only 2 years old and have owned it since. It has been pretty dependable. But this xfer case shifting problem has been there all along. It isn’t due to 40 years of wear and tear in other words. If I thought I could fix it w/out removing the xfer case, I might spend some time on trying to fix it. If I have to remove the xfer case, I’ll probably just live w/it until such time I have to remove the xfer case for another reason. Ok, so I’m lazy! Yes, I discovered the bungee cord work-a-round solution. It works, but it’s not very elegant. But then again neither is the truck.

I couldn’t turn down $5500. But uncut does up the price some.

Are these older Ford 4wd’s more valuable w/auto transmission or manual? With the 302 V8’s, or the smaller – I think it’s a 289 – V6? Just curious. I’d guess people would prefer the V6 w/the manual, but Rod Knox said one owner had an automtic installed on his and had turned down $15k. I’m assuming that Bronco to be that valuable is is pristine condition and mostly stock.

Here are some Broncos

http://www.autotraderclassics.com/find/vehicle/vehicleSearchResults.xhtml?conversationId=96259&firstRecord=1&numRecords=25&distance=0&address=38801&startYear=1968&endYear=1977&minPrice=&maxPrice=&make=Ford&model=Bronco&keywords=&refined=true

There seems to be a cult following for them. Here in N-E Mississippi the half cabs with V-8s, automatic transmissions and power steering are the most popular.

But back to the shifter. Ford used a single lever to operate both the low-hi linkage and the 4 wheel drive linkage and the system worked well enough most of the time but the basic 2 lever system was much more reliable.