6 weeks, 3 different shops, master techs, and still no one knows what's wrong with my 4WD. Your knowledge is needed!

Should I

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New Member
Jan 5, 2019
So...where do I begin?
2006 Limited 4WD...Phantom Grey Pearl

Symptoms are:
1. Push 4HI button, and 4HI engages but...both diff-lock and 4HI lights FLASH constantly
2. Push the diff-lock button, diff-lock light engages, and I believe that diff-lock engages as well.
- Disengaging the diff-lock reverts back to (1.)
3. Attempting to engage 4LO: While in neutral, push 4LO button, produces loud buzzing/grinding noise coming from actuator/transfer case.
- 4LO will not engage.
- Pushing 4LO again reverts back to (1.)

The first car shop (1st shop) states it's clearly the actuator attached to the T-case. (Common problem which both of these shops have seen before.)
In order to replace this very expensive part, the T-case must be dropped, quoted $2,500 by two shops, bit the bullet and said ok.
1st shop transferred the car immediately to transmission shop (2nd shop) for various reasons which I can explain to anyone that is interested.
2nd shop drops the T-case, inspects forks, replaces actuator, reinstalls, but symptoms persist without change.
2nd shop drops the T-case a second time, inspects forks a second time, replaces T-case with ANOTHER used T-case, attaches actuator, reinstalls, but symptoms persist without change.
2nd shop inspects front actuator, but looks good as well.
2nd shop transfers car to master tech at a 3rd shop.
Tech aims to rule out any possible electrical causes.
- Potential ABS concerns are ruled out, along with speed sensors, and anything else he could think of, all being ruled out.
Tech is stumped, and sends car back to 2nd shop convinced it's T-case internal issue, even though this is the second T-case.
- The possibility of the second T-case producing IDENTICAL symptoms is VERY unlikely.
2nd shop drops T-case for a third time, everything looks fine, actuators front and mid are checked, nothing but the same symptoms.

6 weeks have passed, I pick up the car, but in worse condition...whoever had it on the lift (no one fesses up to which shop it was) lifted it too high and crushed the cargo box we had, but reimbursed us for the damage.
I didn't pay anything to anyone, but my 4WD system remains faulty in the same condition (1.)

The last resort, which never happened but should have happened first, was replacing the 4HI/4LO button/switch on the console.
I am going to replace this if I can find one at a junkyard in town and not hope for too much.

Does ANYONE have any other ideas of what to go through?
I am pretty savvy, although it's not my favorite thing to do, with electronics and getting my hands dirty, but dropping the T-case was not something I was interested in tackling.
If there are relays, sensors, fuses, switches, etc that I should inspect, check, or replace, please bring it to my attention.

Thanks so much for any help or insight you provide, I really don't want to have to find the nearest cliff, stick a brick on the gas pedal, and walk the other way.
JK, but man wtf.


Valley Rat

New Member
Feb 8, 2019
My personal opinion is to drive it in 4 Hi and leave it alone. Orsell it to someone who doesn’t need to go off road.