How to Troubleshoot the 4-Wheel Drive on a Ford F-350 4X4by Patrick Nelson
Ford has replaced its manually locking front-hub and four-wheel drive truck transfer case system with a push-button system that it calls "Touch Drive." The Touch Drive system is operated using an electric shift selector switch located on the instrument panel. Two buttons are used marked "4x4" and "Low Range." Indicator lights are to the lower right of the instrument cluster. Problems with the 4x4 can be related to the indicator lights, speeds when shifting, and unlocking the hubs. These kinds of problems can be corrected by following some troubleshooting steps.
Look for two small amber lights next to the two buttons if you have difficulty identifying which mode of 4x4 the transfer case is in. They are in addition to the instrument cluster lights. No lights will be illuminated when the transfer case is in two-wheel drive. The light next to the "4x4" button will be lighted when any four-wheel drive mode is on. The light next to the "Low Range" button will illuminate when the four-wheel drive is in low range mode.
Press the buttons at the correct speed if the 4x4 won't come on. The "4x4" button can be pressed to change from two-wheel drive to four-wheel drive at speeds of up to 55 MPH. If it's very cold, you may have to slow down or even stop to make the shift. Press the button while the light is on to go back into two-wheel drive at any speed.
Reverse the F350 to free the front hubs if they won't free. Unlike a manual transfer case, the 4x4 selector switch automatically locks the hubs when engaging four-wheel drive. It does not, however, disengage them automatically. You need to reverse the truck for about 6-feet to free the hubs after pressing the "4x4" button again to engage two-wheel drive.
Patrick Nelson has been a professional writer since 1992. He was editor and publisher of the music industry trade publication "Producer Report" and has written for a number of technology blogs. Nelson studied design at Hornsey Art School.