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The Truth About 4Wheel Drive/ 87' Ford F150 V8

My son has an 87 F150 with Locking Hubs,the manual says to leave the 4wheel in 2high or low(not sure).

Says in neutral it will roll.

I thought you shouls leave it in neutral when not in use

No, put it in first gear with the parking break on. This will prevent it from rolling. Interesting story on Car Talk a couple of years ago of someone who parked their stick shift car on a flat driveway. Left it in neutral without the parking brake. Some backed into it doing about 1 or 2 mph. That was enough to send it out of the driveway, across the street, over an embankment and into a ditch.

If it’s in 2 high, the 4WD is not in use. The 2 means two wheel drive. Don’t go against the owner’s manual. It’s there to teach everybody, but it is especially intended to teach those who are starting from square one. Good thing you read it.

Use 2-high pretty much all of the time. Use 4-high in completely slippery conditions, such as snow COVERED roads or mud. If you don’t know when to use 4-low, you probably don’t need it. The “neutral” position is just a place holder-- I can’t think of a single situation in which you would need it.

Leave the hubs unlocked and leave it in 2H unless you absolutely need the 4wd-- using it on dry pavement will damage the transfer case.

The transfer case in neutral will completely disconnect the front and rear axles from the engine. This means the parking prong in an automatic transmission or using first gear in a manual for engine-compression holding will not work. The main purpose for the neutral gear selection in the transfer case is to ‘free wheel’ the truck to prevent damage when having to get pulled or towed. This is so that the front and rear axles can move independently of each other and a very expensive engine and transmission.

My wife and I use to own a Suzuki Sidekick 4WD. Suzuki designed the transfer case so that you can tow it behind an RV with all 4 wheels on the ground and with the T-case in neutral without damaging anything. But, I doubt you can do that with a big F-150.

BTW, you should leave the transfer case in 2WD unless your off-road or on snow and ice or other slippery conditions. Using 4WD High or Low on dry pavement will put the axles in a bind, and damage something expensive.

I wasn’t sure with the truck being an automatic.

My son has read the whole thing from back to front and has asked me many questions since that I can’t answer.
I’m not a mechanic and never owned a 4x4.

Ah, that makes sense, but with a manual transmission does the transfer case neutral have any advantage over the gearbox neutral?

My GM manual says to use only the neutral position on the transfer case 4x4 when towing. Keep it in 2 wheel high on solid surfaces,and 4 hi in snow,mud,etc.