How to Troubleshoot the Four-Wheel Drive on a 1998 Ford Ranger

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The Ford Ranger is a two door compact pick up first introduced in 1993. The 1998 Ranger four-wheel drive model came with a 3.0-liter V-6 engine. A four-wheel drive system can have problems with the actuator, the hubs or the wiring. Start troubleshooting with the electrical system, because no mechanical work or disassembly needs to be done.

Things You'll Need

  • Volt meter
  • Acuator
  • Hub
  • Wiring
  • Check the wiring going to the actuator. The acuator converts the electronic signal to engage four-wheel drive into a mechanical response. Sometimes the wiring leading to the actuator can become loose and, as a result, the actuator does not receive the signal to engage the four-wheel drive system. Make sure the actuator wires are secure and intact. If they are frayed, then replace them.

  • Check the actuator. The majority of the time, issues with four-wheel drive in the Ford Ranger are caused by a faulty actuator. Try engaging four-wheel drive and see if the actuator motor engages. If it does not, then it is broken and needs to be replaced. The job is not overly complex, but owners who are inexperienced in truck repair are better off going to a mechanic.

  • Check the truck's automatic locking hubs. The 1998 Ford Ranger has on-the-fly four-wheel drive. When the nob for four wheel drive is engaged, the hub automatically engages. After prolonged use, the hub can break down and this results in the four-wheel drive system not being able to engage. An automatic locking hub is around $200 and the repair can be done relatively quickly.

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References

  • "Ford Ranger Pick-Ups, 1993-2005"; Chilton Repair Manual; Chilton; 2005
  • "Ford Ranger Pick-ups: 1993 thru 2008 - Haynes Repair Manual"; Max Haynes; 2009
  • Edmunds: 1998 Ford Ranger
  • Photo Credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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