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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is there some sort of electronic lockout on the transfer case shift lever? I can't get ours to budge. We rarely use 4WD but it's always worked when we needed it. Needed it yesterday and the lever won't budget. I pulled REALLY hard on it, probably harder than I should have, and it didn't move an inch.



We did have a quick, deep freeze here. The friggin tailgate on my truck is stuck open because the latch froze, doors won't open, etc.
 

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I've had the door levers freeze quite a few times, usually after the car wash, but never the shift lever. None the less I would find a heated garage and let it sit in there for a few hours and see if that clears up the issue.


Note: the shift lever is cable driven. If you pull too hard you will break the linkage.
 

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Don't force it, because it's just a cable linkage with a plastic bushing. There is no e-lockout. Go under the Jeep and see if you can move the lever manually. Just look on the transfer case for the cable. Spray some lube on the mechanism and wiggle it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So it's been warm out and it hasn't freed up. There is ZERO movement at the lever, which makes me think it's the cable itself. If it were the transfer case, the cable would at least be moving around in its sleeve so there's be at least a little play.


I haven't been able to get under there where the linkage attaches to the transfer case to see if I can move it independently. On the surface it looks easy, but the front driveshaft and skid plate make it almost impossible to see up in there and/or get any sort of tool on it.
 

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Not sure this is your issue; however, these might provide some information that could assist.
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Not sure this is your issue; however, these might provide some information that could assist.

I can see that the bushing is in tact and the cable is on tight, but the second vid helps in that it looks like the cable should just pry off the lever. At which point I will probably break that bushing, but I need to get the cable off of the TC lever to see where it's seized up (transfer case or cable).



I wish mine was that clean underneath! Everything on ours is super corroded under there - most parts look like they're melded together with rust. I think mostly because of the salted roads here in the Northeast, but also because it sits in a gravel parking spot for months at a time while my stepson is away at school.



Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just thought I'd post back with an update. The cable is seized. We can move the transfer case lever with the cable detached. The Crown aftermarket cable is on national backorder until the end of April. I ordered a Mopar part for almost 3x the cost of the Crown part. It will be here this week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So we went to install the new cable and when we removed it, it was fine. Reinstalled it, tried to put it in 4WD and it broke at that ball-socket connection. Installed the new cable (MOPAR part) and it worked for a little while - but it was really tough to pull into 4WD. Last night, in a foot of snow when we really needed 4WD, the new cable snapped in the same place. The Jeep was helpless. We had to leave it on a local side street and rescue my stepson with my GMC pickup (oh the humanity).

So what happens here? The lever on the transfer case is too stiff. It doesn't feel like it's mechanical inside the transfer case. Once you're able to get the lever out of 2WD and into 4 HI, it operates easily and smoothly to N and 4 LO. It's just that initial pull out of 2WD where all the resistance is.
 

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So we went to install the new cable and when we removed it, it was fine. Reinstalled it, tried to put it in 4WD and it broke at that ball-socket connection. Installed the new cable (MOPAR part) and it worked for a little while - but it was really tough to pull into 4WD. Last night, in a foot of snow when we really needed 4WD, the new cable snapped in the same place. The Jeep was helpless. We had to leave it on a local side street and rescue my stepson with my GMC pickup (oh the humanity).

So what happens here? The lever on the transfer case is too stiff. It doesn't feel like it's mechanical inside the transfer case. Once you're able to get the lever out of 2WD and into 4 HI, it operates easily and smoothly to N and 4 LO. It's just that initial pull out of 2WD where all the resistance is.
Just wanted to check here because you never really answered the question above.... are you in motion while shifting from 2 to 4H (it works better while you are driving). If that's not the issue then you have something going on inside the tcase and it will have to be removed and looked at on the bench
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just wanted to check here because you never really answered the question above.... are you in motion while shifting from 2 to 4H (it works better while you are driving). If that's not the issue then you have something going on inside the tcase and it will have to be removed and looked at on the bench
Sorry I never answered that. I've tried both moving and not moving. It's tough to explain, but the issue isn't with the 4WD engaging, it's that first inch or two of travel when you pull the lever back. Once you get past that spot the lever moves freely to 4HI, N and 4LO. We tried to lubricate the shaft with PB Blaster but you can't really get in there. With the cable snapped, the lever and cable move freely so whatever it is, it's the transfer case itself. But, again, mechanically the 4WD works fine. We can put it in 4WD by moving the lever with a crowbar. Nothing appears to be bent or anything.
 

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Sorry I never answered that. I've tried both moving and not moving. It's tough to explain, but the issue isn't with the 4WD engaging, it's that first inch or two of travel when you pull the lever back. Once you get past that spot the lever moves freely to 4HI, N and 4LO. We tried to lubricate the shaft with PB Blaster but you can't really get in there. With the cable snapped, the lever and cable move freely so whatever it is, it's the transfer case itself. But, again, mechanically the 4WD works fine. We can put it in 4WD by moving the lever with a crowbar. Nothing appears to be bent or anything.
If it's happening while at a stand still AND in motion, then I would GUESS the synchronizer clutch is somehow screwed up. Shifting from 2 to 4hi is syncronized which enables you to shift while in motion (and you should be in motion while shifting). When the 2 to 4 gear drops down into place it is dropped down in such a way so that the teeth on the mating gear are dropped into the valley of the 2 to 4 gear. without a synchronizer the teeth would often smash together.

Now I know NOTHING about the jeep's Tcase because I have never been inside one, but I have had sync clutch issues before on a previous vehicle.... although I don't remember it being hard to shift. I just got a bunch of teeth smashing together every time I would shift, but normally it won't let you shift if the gears aren't lined up.
 
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