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~1994 ford F350 dump truck 4WD not working

A relative just bought this truck used, took to shop they looked over were like this things is in good shape, saw nothing wrong with it. He decided to buy it, today went to plow snow found out the 4WD doesn’t work. He said he can just put rock in the back to weight it down instead. To me it seems it is common issue, and would think could be like low fluid of some sort, or maybe some sort of adjustment needs calibration. I don’t know if the enrage for 4WD uses a clutch of some sort and that maybe fails. Or some gear or shaft maybe broke. I would think issue is in transmission area, but could be in the differential in front maybe too.

I tried googling it to see if could come up with anything that may be a simple fix, but finding hardly anything. Almost everything says check fuses, etc which for a truck this age seems kind of silly it would have electronics for the 4WD.

Did he ever check out the 4wd mechanism before he bought a twenty year old truck ? If he is real lucky, it might be just the linkage and /or lack of use and lubrication if it’s mechanical. If it has electric actuators, on many trucks they may not be too expensive to replace and it’s not a hard job. But if the transfer case is shot, it may not be worth it on such a large truck unless you can get a junk years replacement. Take it to a shop and pray. It doesn’t sound like anyone is experienced enough to do it yourself.

You can throw weight in the back and it does help traction. But only on level ground and only if the snow is light and not heavy and slippery or very deep. Generally, trying to do much plowing on anything but a faily flat surface without 4wd is pretty useless and can be very unsafe. You can get stuck easily. They have almost no ground clearance on front with the plow rig. I know a bunch of people k who have bought really old plow trucks which had the crap beat out of them; they are only worth it if you are mechanically inclined enough yourself to keep them running. My neighbors and I plow our road all winter and I never would think of doing it where we are with out great tires and 4wd.

If it has locking front hubs, one of them might not be engaging.

I wasn’t there when he bought it. What he told me was the guy said it has dualies you don’t need 4WD. I guess he was like a contractor, and used in winter to do drives, etc. He said he didn’t even know was 4 wheel til after bought it.

Usually he tells me these things its because he may need help troubleshooting, etc. Maybe one of us try and activate it while the other adjusts, looks for issues, etc. I’m just trying to get some idea of things to make sure to look into. He knows cars better than i do, restored some, etc but neither of us have dealt with 4WD issue before.

This truck had manual locking hubs. Make sure he’s actually locking them in by turning the hub by hand. If so, then check the linkage and make certain the front driveshaft is turning.

We just looked It has a knob on the front wheel says lock and free. I don’t know why they’d have both a lever and that seems kind of odd. They were in free though we’ll probably try it in a while see if it works.

Both manual hubs have to be in lock for it to work. Then you shift the 4 wd in and out as needed. When driving around with no need for 4 wd, set them to free. Otherwise, you use more gas an unnecessarily wear components in the front differential. Sounds like a simple fix then…no charge !

Put them both in the lock position, then shift the lever to 4H. A 4x4 light should illuminate on the dash, you should be good to go. He needs to lock them in a few times in the summer with the shift lever in 2H for a couple miles to keep everything lubed.

He said 4 low don’t work i assume it won’t go in that gear, said he don’t care about that though. Wants 4HI though.

If it’s an automatic, there are steps you have to take to engage low range. In mine, you have to be in 4h first, come to a complete stop and put the transmission in neutral. Then you engage 4L while at a complete stop… I think your friend needs to acquire an owners manual for his truck from the manufacturer before he assumes too much more. For this big a truck, having low range is important at times.

4L is tricky to engage and disengage. The truck needs to be rolling at 3-5mph with the transmition in neutral to shift the transfer case into and out of 4L. Like the owner said, he’ll probably never need to use the 4L. Glad he’s got the 4 wheel drive working.

I looked at it there was all kinds of levers, knobs, switches, etc I’ve never even seen. Could see it taking some learning to run it. Seems maybe person he bought from just showed him basic stuff if anything.

May not hurt to try to find manual for it. I Google searched the issue pretty much all i saw was 95 pickups this is a dump, dual fuel tanks, 8FT plow. Saw some sort of large dial knobs on floor for like flow or speeds assume relates to the dump or hydraulics.

Can he go back to the seller to further explain everything? The transfer case will be marked 2H N 4H 4L. There though be s switch or a knob to engage the pto and another lever to raise and lower the bed. It’d be best if he went back to the seller before he tears something up

The seller would be a great reference but, A manual is also an absolute must. There are electric locking mechanical rear differentials (which you may too) and there are lots of switches on trucks, especially with plow and dump body . I would not guess any more but get a manual, read it and especially get all info on plow controls.

I would go to a local Ford dealer. If they are “good”, they can be helpful. I would also call Ford customer service or get on a Ford truck forum. I would not use the truck while guessing what was going on. You don’t want to know " just the basic stuff" as everything is in play when you are plowing and you will need at least a working knowledge of everything. If some one hits the wrong button and raises the body while plowing for example, you can roll it over or take out a house power line.

We changed the front wheel setting, it worked. He said this thing will be hard to get stuck now.

He took it out and plowed the lane. From what i was the plow had a relatively simple joystick type switch. He said the bed raises, dumps, i guess vibrates.

He wants me to replace a light switch in it now since the top beacon don’t shut off. I know electronics, and usually have spare parts so i’ll probably do that tomorrow.

Has a CB radio, and some kind of small white plastic thing on the dash by the steering column. has a couple LEDs on it and some marks says like 12/24V. Maybe some like float indicator for the plow or something like that.

Looks like it may have manual i saw him bring this mini binder thing out that was pretty thick in the house. I assume it’s a manual of some sort.

If it is like my Ford 4x4 truck, you have to be a little careful with this set-up, otherwise you can cause problems at the front wheel locking hubs. Always make sure the hubs are locked before engaging 4wd. And put the transfer case back in 2wd before changing the hubs back to free. Avoid running with the transfer case in 4wd (either hi or lo) while the hubs are in the free position.

I’m glad it was ok for you guys. Another hint, when he’s done plowing and knows he’s done with the 4x4, unlock the hubs. They’ll more than likely freeze in the locked position after it sets overnight in freezing temps with the snow packed around them, unless he keeps it in a heated garage.