Real time diagnosis - transfer case will not engage

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Jun 18, 2018
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1987 60 series

We were just starting down Black Gap Road in Big Bend and had turned to go down towards "the step." I realized the trail was getting gnarly, so I stopped to put the vehicle in 4wd. Now the vehicle is stuck in neutral and I cannot get it into 2H, 4H or 4L. We have tried rolling the vehicle a bit and same luck. It just feels like the arm for the transfer case is not engaging. Any ideas if it is something that can be fixed trailside or if something is FUBAR'd and I'll have to open things up to fix it?

We got a ride from some others on the trail along with a few things we need to eat and sleep, so we are good on that front.
 
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Did you check underneath to see if the linkages were still connected and there and attached?
Does someone have a photo of what that should look like? I glanced under the truck, but didn't have time to diagnose because the group willing to driveus out didn't want to wait around. We grabbed what we needed for the night and got a ride out.
 
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you should crawl under the truck and see what is going on with the shift linkage. There are two shift forks in the transfer case. One for 4wd vs 2wd and the other for Hi-N-Lo. The Hi-N-Lo shift fork is actuated by a set of levers (outer and inner) that rotates through about 90degrees. The levers are located on the top side of the transfer case at the right side (passenger side in US). If the clamp bolt on the outer lever is loose, the inner lever can slip down and disengage from the shift fork.

first check to make sure the linkage is moving the outer lever throughout its range of motion. if the truck is still not shifting you might try pulling up on the inner lever to see if it has disengaged from the shift fork. if it has, you might be able to reattach it, but be careful the inner lever doesn't fall inside the case. Some have had luck making this repair from the outside, but others have had to disassemble the transfer case.
View attachment 714546View attachment 714547
I found this, I assume this is what I should go through if it were a roadside fix.
 

OSS

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Use this picture as a guide

image.jpeg
 

OSS

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Yes maybe. That transfer lever on the case slides into three positions (H, N, L) with a spring loaded ball retainer keeping it in place. It clicks into each position and needs a bit of force to move it. It can be reached when installed on the car
 
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Ok thank you. I have a ride organized back out in the morning and a backup tow organized if that doesn't solve it.
 
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Before I go out, is high gear towards the front or back of the vehicle?

I'm sure with someone on the shifter I can figure it out from underneath.
 
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Thanks for your help all! I got a ride out to the rig around 11:30 and we made it back by 4. It was all of a 2 minute fix. Basically, the transfer linkage had come out somehow. The pin that attaches to the shifter was totally straight, but still through the hole so I honestly still don't know how the linkage came off. It looks like the pin was no thicker than a bobby pins, so not sure it that is right. Anyways, back at camp now. Only delayed getting back to work after the Labor Day weekend and some money for the guy who drove me back out. Expensive way to learn about this part of the truck, but cheaper than the $2500 tow the rangers were talking about.

A4268A99-F455-4098-BF71-56B8A02BFF35.jpeg
 
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Nice photos, looks like a great trip. How do you like that awning and tent set up? Is that the 8' awning?
It is the Ironman 4x4 Instant Awning With LED Lighting/Dimmer 2m (L) x 2.5m (Out) and the 2M Awning Room And Net. I paid right around $380 for the pair, so hard to beat the price. I love the setup - just a roll out awning with an easily clipped on room attachment. The room attachment packs up and fits under the side flap of my LandShark drawers. It's great for getting away from bugs or showering in a crowded campground. It has also been used to sleep 2 other grown men on a previous trip I had.
 
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Thanks for your help all! I got a ride out to the rig around 11:30 and we made it back by 4. It was all of a 2 minute fix. Basically, the transfer linkage had come out somehow. The pin that attaches to the shifter was totally straight, but still through the hole so I honestly still don't know how the linkage came off. It looks like the pin was no thicker than a bobby pins, so not sure it that is right. Anyways, back at camp now. Only delayed getting back to work after the Labor Day weekend and some money for the guy who drove me back out. Expensive way to learn about this part of the truck, but cheaper than the $2500 tow the rangers were talking about.
There's probably supposed to be a washer under the split-pin to stop it from pulling out of the linkage, if I had to guess.
 

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