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Issue engaging 4 low


Breto31

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Took my Jeep out on the trail today, and encountered an issue with my 4L.

4H worked fine, and did great. 4L will engage, but as soon as I press the clutch or give it any gas, it slips out of 4L and into neutral. I can hold the 4WD shifter in 4L position and it will stay somewhat engaged, but not completely. It pops like some like it’s slipping (most likely because it’s not full engaged).

I tried the rolling 1-2 mph shift, sitting still, clutch engaged/not engaged, out of gear/in gear, everything I could think of. Nothing would get it fully engaged.

Any ideas?
 

freedom_in_4low

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Took my Jeep out on the trail today, and encountered an issue with my 4L.

4H worked fine, and did great. 4L will engage, but as soon as I press the clutch or give it any gas, it slips out of 4L and into neutral. I can hold the 4WD shifter in 4L position and it will stay somewhat engaged, but not completely. It pops like some like it’s slipping (most likely because it’s not full engaged).

I tried the rolling 1-2 mph shift, sitting still, clutch engaged/not engaged, out of gear/in gear, everything I could think of. Nothing would get it fully engaged.

Any ideas?

It's pretty common for the shifter to not get it all the way in to 4 low. Usually happens after a body lift or transfer case have been installed. Have you done or had done anything like that since the last time you used 4 low? Or is this the first time you've used it since purchasing?
 
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Jerry Bransford

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Your shift linkage has likely just slipped out a tad just needs to be adjusted back in to get it working correctly again. You only need a 1/2" wrench to do that, the bolt circled in red below is what holds it in adjustment

transfer case linkage.jpg
.
 

JDM

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Mine would not engage 4 wheel low at all when I bought it 6 months ago . My Jeep has a 4” lift and a 1” transfer case drop from the previous owner . I followed the advice I found on here to adjust it . That worked great until the next time I took it off road . It pulled the linkage right out at the pivot after after a several hours of wheeling . I reinstalled it and all was well . When I returned home I ordered the Savvy cable shifter and installed it the next weekend . All has been fine since . Much easier to use too .
 
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Breto31

Breto31

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Mine would not engage 4 wheel low at all when I bought it 6 months ago . My Jeep has a 4” lift and a 1” transfer case drop from the previous owner . I followed the advice I found on here to adjust it . That worked great until the next time I took it off road . It pulled the linkage right out at the pivot after after a several hours of wheeling . I reinstalled it and all was well . When I returned home I ordered the Savvy cable shifter and installed it the next weekend . All has been fine since . Much easier to use too .
Mine has a 4” lift and a 1” TC drop as well. I can’t say that the 4L worked great to begin with - this was my first time wheeling it since I bought it in 2017. I remember engaging 4L and it working, but once I saw that it engaged, I just went in about my day.
 

CherokeeKid

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As others have said, sounds like a linkage issue.

I've heard nothing but good things about the Savvy cable; that said, I've got a Novak linkage setup in mine and it's been great as I've swapped out different body lift pucks and motor mount lifts. Mentioning as something to consider as a fan of hard mechanical linkage with heim joints.

 

WestCoastDan

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Had the same issue in our ‘03 today on Little John Bull until I started holding the lever in 4L; that seemed to make the problem go away after a bit.
 

AndyG

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Thanks, @Jerry Bransford. So just tighten it up some?
Actually loosen the bolt , allow the rod to move the direction it needs to to move the actuator on the transfer case so you get more throw, and snug it up - I saw one guy loosen it, roll the actuator til it firmly engaged in 4 low by hand as someone held the lever up all the way, then tighten the nut.
 
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Breto31

Breto31

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So I messed around today with the piece that @Jerry Bransford siggested. It was already tight, and I was barely able to get it any tighter. Didn’t change anything as far as engaging 4L.

I messed around trying to get it in 4L for about 10-15 mins but never could get it to engage. It would only say it’s engaged, and then grind when I have it gas. Here’s a video…. any other ideas?
 

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Claytone

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Put in a cable shifter and never worry about it again. The stock linkage is mediocre at best when stock and useless once you've moved anything around.
I adjusted mine one time chasing 4LO engagement (1" difference due to a BL). Then the linkage fell apart 100 miles from civilization in Wyoming.
Just do the cable...... Unless you like shifting on your back in the dirt
 
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Frank M

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So I messed around today with the piece that @Jerry Bransford siggested. It was already tight, and I was barely able to get it any tighter. Didn’t change anything as far as engaging 4L.

I messed around trying to get it in 4L for about 10-15 mins but never could get it to engage. It would only say it’s engaged, and then grind when I have it gas. Here’s a video…. any other ideas?
You need to loosen the bolt in the picture, then move the rod for the TC to engage 4L all the way, then tighten the bolt.
 
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Breto31

Breto31

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Put in a cable shifter and never worry about it again. The stock linkage is mediocre at best when stock and useless once you've moved anything around.
I adjusted mine one time chasing 4LO engagement (1" difference due to a BL). Then the linkage fell apart 100 miles from civilization in Wyoming.
Just do the cable...... Unless you like shifting on your back in the dirt
Is there any way to be certain that this is my issue? I’ll order the Savvy shifter today to fix the issue.

On a dumber note, how can I identify my transfer case? Savvy has 2 different ones, 241 and 231. It’s a 2005 6-speed. I pulled the build sheet for it, but it doesn’t say what kind of transfer case it has.
 
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Breto31

Breto31

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You need to loosen the bolt in the picture, then move the rod for the TC to engage 4L all the way, then tighten the bolt.
So if I do this, and then the 4L engages properly, I’ll know it’s my shift linkage that is the issue.

And I assume you mean do that every single time I want to shift into 4L, not just a one time thing, right?
 

Frank M

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So if I do this, and then the 4L engages properly, I’ll know it’s my shift linkage that is the issue.

And I assume you mean do that every single time I want to shift into 4L, not just a one time thing, right?
If you adjust the linkage so it engages into 4L all the way and tighten the bolt it should stay adjusted. You would not have to do it every time you wanted to shift into 4L.
It's the linkage thats the issue
 
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freedom_in_4low

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Is there any way to be certain that this is my issue? I’ll order the Savvy shifter today to fix the issue.

On a dumber note, how can I identify my transfer case? Savvy has 2 different ones, 241 and 231. It’s a 2005 6-speed. I pulled the build sheet for it, but it doesn’t say what kind of transfer case it has.

They're all 231 except Rubicon, which gets the 241.

I suppose anything is possible, but something close to 100% of the occurrences I've heard of or experienced of popping out of 4 low were due to the linkage.

I've been running the savvy cable since 2019, I have zero regrets. My linkage worked ok when the skid was attached to the frame, but with a t-case drop it seemed to like binding up a lot, and now that I have a 2" tuck it probably wouldn't work at all now.
 
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Breto31

Breto31

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This afternoon I put it in 4L, loosened the bolt, and manually forced it as far as I could into the 4L position. It appears that the rod running from the shifter to the plate (idk what it’s called - see pic) is hitting the plate and not letting it go any further to fully engage. I can get where the light will come on, but as soon as any gas is given, it slips right out. I can’t get it to go any further. It’s hard to tell if it would go any further if it wasn’t hitting, but I can’t move it any more.

I see a cable system in my near future, but any recommendations on a temporary fix?

The only thing that has changed in the last year is that I added 1 degree of caster to the front axle.

DC9BAD7E-1FD7-4156-BFFA-75BD5DFF58C7.jpeg
 

Claytone

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It’s the t-case drop causing the problem. That type of linkage can’t have much change to the pivot points. It’s just not designed for it.
Avoid 4LO until you get the cable shifter. If you need LO, reach under there and shift it by hand. Expect it to fall apart. Been there, done that. All those pieces will be hot as hell when you do it. Good times.
 
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