96 series 80 center diff actuator and related issues

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Apr 16, 2012
San Diego

Have a 96 80 that is new to me. I put in a DCL switch, and am having issues. I dont think it is related to the switch, just the CD Locker itself. Here goes.....

I have a noise that sounds like a spedo cable issue, but is more in tune with RPMs. after much troubleshooting, i figured out that the sound is coming from the driverside kick panel. I am pretty sure it a relay that is switching on and off, but does it at wierd rpm levels. for example, stopped at a light, in D, with foot on brake. When i put in N, it disappears. When I accelerate, it is intermittent. Pretty sure it is mechanical, not a rattle. (I know this is where the CDL relay is).... hold this thought please.

DCL does not turn on, with switch, or by putting in low, unless i tap it. Then it actuates. Also, it is VERY hot, like frying pan hot---litterally, hotter than the block after running for an hour.

So back to the rattle. When I turn the CDL switch "on," WHETHER OR NOT it actually works (light on, and hear it actuate), the wierd sound goes away. Totally away. To avoid the sound, i am even tempted to drive it with the switch on, even though i know it is not locked.

I can guess away at this, but i know with all the talent on the forum, someone has some ideas to get me in the right direction.

I do know that I have a main seal leak, and stalling on fixing it, but this might be a good opportunity to change out the actuator as well.

Any thoughts from anyone? 111,000 miles, just put on OME lift, 863 / 850J's. The vehicle did make this sound before, but not as bad. I thought it was the speedo cable for a while.

Any ideas on troubleshooting?

Thanks guys, anyone with experience and ideas will earn my never ending respect.

thanks !
i had a similar sound, it seemed to be a turn signal relay, wiggling my indicator stalk it would go away. i sprayed contact cleaner into the steering column at the turn switch and it has cleared up....for now!

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