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Old 12-19-2013, 12:35 PM   #1
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Front drive shaft question 1990 YJ

I am not familiar with the newer Jeeps 4WD set-up. I had a 1951 Military Willis back in 1972. It had levers on the hubs to lock-in the 4WD.
On this 1990 YJ; 4 banger; is the front drive shaft supposed to be turning with the transfer case lever in the neutral position? Or, what is the sequence of events to get it from 2WD into 4WD? Or, does it go into 4WD automatically? Speak in 'layman's terms' because I am a not too smart beginner. Thanks ahead of time.

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Old 12-19-2013, 03:04 PM   #2
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If you do not have lockout hubs, then yes the front drive shaft will turn. Your outer axles are still connected to the wheel hubs and the drivers side axle will spin your driveshaft. When you engage it into 4x4 there is a vacuum actuator that slides a sleeve in the front axle to attach both sides together and it engages the transfer case into 4x4.

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Old 12-19-2013, 03:38 PM   #3
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Close Rock, but without the sleeve locked in the front drive shaft does not spin unless transfer case is in 4H or 4Lo, stock they come with an open Dif. in the front.
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Old 12-19-2013, 04:56 PM   #4
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Close Rock, but without the sleeve locked in the front drive shaft does not spin unless transfer case is in 4H or 4Lo, stock they come with an open Dif. in the front.
What is an 'open Dif.'? And what is happening if the front drive shaft is turning when the transfer case lever is in 2H?
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Old 12-19-2013, 05:06 PM   #5
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What is an 'open Dif.'? And what is happening if the front drive shaft is turning when the transfer case lever is in 2H?
Open diff means open differential. As in no locker. If that doesn't make sense to you read up on how differentials work.

Probably could be other things, but the two things that come to mind are...

you are locked on the front diff or the front axle disconnect has been locked over (or deleted and a one piece passenger axle has been swapped in)
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Old 12-19-2013, 05:31 PM   #6
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Open diff means open differential. As in no locker. If that doesn't make sense to you read up on how differentials work.
That's why I'm on here asking questions. I am not familiar with how they work on the newer 4WD's. I'm familiar only with older 4WD's with locking hubs. I've had four of them. Nothing newer than a 1975. I admit, I am little slow. I'm asking for a little help here.
Thanks for all of the replies.
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Old 12-20-2013, 06:54 AM   #7
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I still think with the drivers side axle spinning which can turn the diff the driveshaft will spin even with the pass side unlocked. There is no load on the diff so the carrier can still turn. You could probally hold the drive shaft and would stop spinning. Only way to tell is jack up the drivers side and spin the tire and see what happens. The only other thing is depending on which transfer case you have. If it's the mechanical or vacuum actuated one. If it's a vacuum one it may be stuck.
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Old 12-20-2013, 09:11 AM   #8
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Transfer case in:
2wd/Neutral you should be able to spin the front drive shaft by hand unless you have a locker, one piece axle shaft on the passenger side, or someone did away with your CAD.
4H/L the drive shaft should not spin by hand.
Differentials have worked the same for years, ring and pinion spin the differential. Inside the differential you have spider gears that allow/make the tires to spin depending on how your driving. Normal operation both tires spin forward while driving and when you turn the open differential allows the inner tire on a turn spin faster than the outer. Also the open differential will send power from the drivetrain to a free wheel. Example: if your right tire is stuck the differential will send all the power to the left wheel. If you would like more information on the difference between an open differential and a locked differential go to YouTube and search. There is 100s of videos to help explain the difference. But I hope this helps.
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Old 12-20-2013, 09:17 AM   #9
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Old 12-20-2013, 10:17 AM   #10
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The last few posts have helped a lot. Thanks yall. My brain is starting to un-scramble at last. I will try jacking up the drivers side wheel and see if the driveshaft turns by hand. I'll get back to ya. It does have the 'vacuum gizmo' and hoses on the right side of the diff. but at this point I don't know if it's working.
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Old 12-22-2013, 03:38 PM   #11
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All wheels on the ground and in 2WD the front drive shaft DOES turn by hand. That's all I know at this point in time.
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'74 4x4 3/4 ton Dodge Power Wagon-sold
'75 4x4 1/2 ton Chevy SWB PU-sold
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Old 12-22-2013, 04:50 PM   #12
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Then it is not driven by the front tires or the transfer case and spin at all times when driving down the road in 2 Hi.
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Old 12-22-2013, 06:17 PM   #13
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Then it is not driven by the front tires or the transfer case and spin at all times when driving down the road in 2 Hi.
Got it. We thought it was tho. I've been trying to educate myself on this axle. Little by little, I'm learning. I'm a pretty "thick-headed" German. Thanks.
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Old 12-22-2013, 08:28 PM   #14
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Got it. We thought it was tho. I've been trying to educate myself on this axle. Little by little, I'm learning. I'm a pretty "thick-headed" German. Thanks.
Hell, my Dad is German, and my Mom, Louisiana "Coon Ass" French! I get pissed at my self when I can't learn something. LOL
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Old 12-23-2013, 04:41 AM   #15
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Hell, my Dad is German, and my Mom, Louisiana "Coon Ass" French! I get pissed at my self when I can't learn something. LOL
My dad is from Germany and my mom is Polish and my wife is a cross-eyed, pigeon-toed, red-headed, red-necked, Louisiana slut-puppy. Now you see where my intelligence, or lack there of, comes from. Figuring out a 4WD system should be easy for most folks, but for me it's like trying to figuring out quatum physics. I've always been...just...a...lit..tle...slow.
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Old 12-24-2013, 01:49 AM   #16
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Sounds like you got your self a Good Jeep and a Great Wife!
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Old 12-24-2013, 05:33 AM   #17
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Sounds like you got your self a Good Jeep and a Great Wife!
No doubt about it. Would'nt trade either for the world.

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