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Author Topic: car help
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Icon 1 posted December 01, 2005 13:36      Profile for nerdwithnofriends     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Alright everyone, I need some help here. I drive a '92 ford explorer with a five-speed transmission and push-button 4WD, with auto-locking hubs.

My tires are very worn in the back, to the point that the one on the right side doesn't even have tread along its center.

Here's my problem: today, I think my differential locked up. Not being an uber-mechanic, I can only make that guess, because when I tried to move forward in first gear while not in 4WD, only my back left tire would spin. The other wheel would lock up and drag, causing me to swerve towards the right each time. It got better when I put it in 4wd, because the front two tires would pull me straight, but I could still feel the drag produce by the rear right wheel locking up.

The funny thing is, I had no problem going in reverse; the wheel wouldn't lock up, no matter if I was in first or reverse, and everything would be dandy. Then I'd try to go forward and everything would screw up again.

Just now, I put it in 4wd, and drove it down the block until the dragging went away. I put it back into 2wd and it works just fine.

My question is: could the severe lack of traction on both rear tires, coupled with the huge disparity between them even though they both suck, have something to do with my differential locking? I've been inadvertently burning out a lot lately, whether it be on packed ice or dry pavement. I had attributed this to a lack of tread and a screwy clutch (my clutch lets out at different speeds depending on the temperature; that's a whole 'nother can of worms, but not a major one). Could these unchecked torques on the axle be causing damage to my differential? Besides getting new rubber, is there anything I should do?

EDIT: Wow there were a lot of mistakes in this post. If you read it right after I posted it, I advise you to re-read it.

"The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower." - Robert M. Pirsig

Posts: 948 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
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Icon 1 posted December 01, 2005 13:43      Profile for CommanderShroom     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
First is first.

Pop that rear wheel and check the brakes. You may have a shoes sticking. It is very rare for a rear diff to do something like that. Also check to see if the parking brake cables are moving freely.

These can cause the wheels to lock up.

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Posts: 2476 | From: Utarrrrggggghhh!!!!!!!! | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged

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Icon 1 posted December 01, 2005 13:45      Profile for garlicguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 

Transmission shops love it when it snows - they know they're gonna have plenty of work.

There are several phenomena that may be causing the condition that you are referring to as your "rear differential lock-up". Two of them, (that come to mind) are not terribly expensive. ALL the others (and there are a handful) can be quite expensive.

A rule of thumb: Any transmission or drive train problem you may have (including everything from the engine back) will cost a lot, lot less if you drive the vehicle in, as opposed to waiting for it to get so bad that it needs to be towed. None of this work should be done by an amatuer, unless it would be with expert supervision. Sorry, but that is the truth. [ohwell]


[Edit: CommanderShroom has explained the two simple, inexpensive ones. If you're going to have a look at the brakes yourself, get the vehicle on level ground and put safety blocks in before sticking your hands in there anywhere. It can be very difficult to keyboard with only 7 or 8 digits once you've been accustomed to 10. Then make sure to examine the parts very carefully for breakage and wear.]

I don't know what I was thinking... it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Posts: 3753 | From: Pluto, no matter what you call it, is still my home. | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
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Icon 1 posted December 01, 2005 14:24      Profile for drunkennewfiemidget     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Another possibility is that your rear right wheel bearing is shot. When the car is in 4 wheel drive, it is actively trying to turn the wheel, hence, more force to make it move, and less likely to lock up. Driving it around in 4wd until it loosens up would just be thanks to momentum, and then putting it back into 2wd would continue to move until the vehicle sits for a bit, and it has time to settle and stick again.

The problem if this is the case, is that if you drive it around too much, then you'll end up melting the actual bearing onto the hub or stub (dependent on what kind of brakes you have in the back), and then you'll have to replace a lot mroe than necessary.

Even if I'm completely wrong, get it into a shop and find out wtf is wrong, so, above all else, it doesn't break anything else in the meantime, and cost you more money than it really needs to.

Posts: 4897 | From: Cambridge, ON, Canada | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
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Icon 1 posted December 01, 2005 16:27      Profile for alfrin     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I highly recommend not getting car advice from -ct- [Wink]

Art is Resistance / Resistance is Art

Posts: 813 | From: Nevada, USA | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
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Icon 1 posted December 01, 2005 16:37      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
nerdwithnofriends____________________CommanderShroom has it right, Back in the seventies I was a wrench (mechanic) Your vehicle is old enough to have rear drum brakes. Inside the brake drum are two brake shoes one is the leading and one is the trailing. The leading shoe's job is to apply the trailing shoe, its job is to stop the car. Therefore cars stop better forward than backward. Now when you use 4wd to over come the right rear the drum heats up and the shoes start to lose their contact with the drum. On your vechile I would first look for a stuck parking brake cable, WD40 on the cable does wonders, if the cable frees up, you probably made out. if not off to a brake shop.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Benjamin Franklin,

Posts: 5855 | From: Just South of the Huron National Forest, in the water shed of the Rifle River | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged

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