Accidentally had transfer case selector in 4L

Hello everyone, I bought my dad’s 2004 Ford F150FX4 about 4 weeks ago. I got the truck home and happily cleaned, vacuumed, etc. In the process, I must have moved the selector to 4L and drove it to work about 2 miles each way and once to Madison about 40 miles away. The truck never gave any indication it was in anything but 2H, no grabbing, high rpm, no indicator light, smooth shifting, good acceleration. I’m hoping that since the selector was flipped while in park (book says must be in neutral) and vehicle off the transfer case never engaged the 4L and everything’s still ok? The truck only has 12,000 miles on it and I’m sick to my stomach that I have ruined something but the truck seems to be operating well.

What kind of selector is it? I would suspect it to be electric in nature rather than mechanical, in which case you are correct in guessing that it never actually engaged 4wd. How did you discover it was no longer in 2wd?
Was there any light indicating 4wd? How fast did you drive? Were the roads clear? Look in the owners manual there may even e special instructions for using 4lo. Or warnings about following steps in order or it won’t engage.

Right now, from here it seems like you are okay. If you went close to 50 and never noticed extremely high rpms then you were definitely never in 4lo.

Thank you for the reply. It is an electronic selector on the dash. I didn’t figure it out that the selector was in 4L until I leaned over doing something. It’s out of my line of sight behind the steering wheel normally. There never was an indicator light indicating 4L. I drove 55 mph on dry highway at times and never had any high rpm, light on, grabbing tires, etc. The book does say to put the vehicle in neutral and I had it in park and off while cleaning when I must have flipped it. I have never had a 4WD truck before so I took it out after discovering this to see what 4L felt like. It was hugely different from the way it felt driving before with high rpm and a tank like crawl. So again I am hopeful I didn’t ruin anything and that Ford built in some kind of fail safe for people like me!

Find a dirt road, read the manual and put the truck in 4L properly and see how it goes. The rev’s in 1st gear should get very high very fast if you are truly in 4L. Try 4H as well. If all is OK I’d not worry too much over it.

Since the truck is an '04 it is likely due for new fluids in the differentials (front and rear), the transfer case, and auto transmission. Check with dad to see if and when these fluids have been changed. If never, it would be a good idea to get some fresh fluids in these critical parts. Replacing any of these items is costly. If you were in 4L the transfer case would benefit from a fluid change ASAP.

I agree, you would have known about low range.

We have a 2003 Toyota 4Runner. When I put it into 4L, I know it without even looking at the light on the dashboard that tells that it is in 4L. In order to engage 4L,the 4Runner must be in neutral. Go test your F 150 and put it in 4L. You will see what I mean.