(Yet another) 95 Center diff lock stuck (1 Viewer)

Mar 29, 2021
Seattle, WA
Hey folks,

I just picked up a JDM 95 80 Series last Friday. It's been amazing so far. I was able to take it out on the trails Saturday and Sunday.

I was swapping out the Japanese Pioneer radio on Sunday for a US one, and that went fine. But to access the center dash, I put the hi/lo selector in 4LO and the shifter in L. When I put everything back together, the center diff was stuck in the locked position. I don't think the radio itself has anything to do with it, it just broke the camel's back after presumably being essentially never used after 26 years. I've confirmed the diff is in fact stuck and it's not just the sensor by jacking up the front right (driver side) wheel and confirming it doesn't turn. This particular car does have a center diff lock button. When I press it I hear the relay click and it does sound like the motor is running underneath the car. Same thing when pressing the button to unlock it, relay click and some whirring from under the car.

My question is: what's the probability the diff is just stuck and I should try the reversing method (I live in the middle of Seattle, so finding a gravel/dirt lot with enough space is a bit of a drive), vs something in the motor just snapped and the output shaft isn't actually turning even though the motor is running? I'm trying to avoid having to take the motor off (which sounds like a right pain in the rear end), doing more diagnosis, putting it back on (the car is parked outside, so I don't want to leave the diff exposed), then ordering a new motor and having to do the whole thing again. Are there more tests I can do to try to figure out if it's one thing vs the other?



Dec 8, 2006
Sudbury, Ont. CA
Sometimes you need to move a bit.
Otherwise jack up front and rear and while there inspect and lube.
I picked a 95 in October and had to drive 15hrs with a stuck cdl.
Cdl motor was siezed but she's now mint.

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