Just got done today putting the transfer case back in, replaced the shift mode fork and put new seals in. All seems to be working well with the tc now. So now, I turn my attention to the front axle, which is not engaging. My suspicion has been that the vacuum actuator was the problem, since the lines were all loose. My thought has been that in the short term, I will do the cheap fix, using a spring in the actuator to keep the front axle engaged all the time.
I haven't yet opened anything up in front, but I did take a few minutes and raise both front wheels off the ground. My expectation was that if I spin one of the wheels, the other one would spin in the opposite direction. But spinning either wheel has no effect on the other one. Either wheel will spin freely without causing the other one to move in the slightest. I can see the hubs turning as they should, but no other movement. Does this probably indicate a problem with the differential or a broken axle or something like that?