94 jeep wrangler, reverse ok, forward only in 4L

I have a 94 jeep wrangler, 4 cylinder. The jeep goes in reverse fine, but goes forward only in 4L, sometimes in 4H. The night before this problem, I had put the parking brake on and then temps dipped to below freezing. Also, cold and icy conditions. Forward felt like lack of control, wasn’t able to steer very well, car was about 15degrees off of true and couldn’t get straight. Could see the rear wheels were just sliding through the snow when car went forward. Still below freezing temps. I have been told that this could be frozen parking brake (even though I could pull the hand lever to release) OR problem around the transfer case. My friend suggested that I start the car and get someone else to see if the drive shaft is turning when I try to put the car in reverse and forward. Any other suggestions?

A frozen parking brake sounds like a reasonable explaination to me. It may be as simple a solution as crawling under there and making sure the cable isn’t frozen to the body of the rig or you may have to take the wheel off. Smacking the rear drums with a hammer might free things up too.

Don’t drive this thing around like this, though. In addition to dangerous handling (and what happens if it suddenly breaks loose!), you could cause some serious damage to the drive train.

EDIT: Also, I though I would expound on the transfer case theory. When you’re in 4wd, the front and rear driveshafts should be moving at the exact same rate-- so that the rig is moving at all should indicate that both of them are turning, unless the rear one is physically broken, which should be quite apparent. That wouldn’t explain the tires scooting across the snow, though. One other question is have you actually seen that BOTH tires are scooting? I’ll bet that one of them is moving, albeit only grudglingly under the huge amount of torque you get with 4L.

Success! You were right, it was just a frozen parking brake. I was able to free it without taking the wheel off. And thanks for the extra info on that the front and rear driveshaft move at the same rate. Yes, I think 1 rear tire was moving a little bit, althought mostly both were siding through the snow.

Congrads…take a two blocks of wood with you, to block wheels in those times when you might freeze a parking brake and terrain is too steep to trust the tranny only.

Good idea. I guess I will leave the big log for just at home use, and dig around in the wood pile for something smaller for use elsewhere. :slight_smile: