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Discussion Starter #1
2008 X with 91k. Since we had the Thanksgiving blizzard, I had it in 4WD. Roads were starting to clear, so shifted back to 2WD. Dash display blinked and eventually indicated 2WD. But it sure felt like it was still in 4WD. Steering felt heavy/tight like it was in 4WD and just didn’t seem right. Tried multiple times to shift back to 4WD and back to 2WD—pulled into a parking lot and did combinations found online for changing gears and changing the 4WD selector. Every time the indicator said it changed to 2WD. but felt like it was stuck in 4WD (I confirmed on a snowy/icy road and punched it expecting the rear to break loose and the X took off like a rocket instead--clearly was in 4WD).

Was about to try the diagnostic process I found but first tried a reset by disconnecting the battery. Drove it down to the school nearby with a wide open parking lot and tried the following that I found posted:

“Start with the truck in 4wd, drive forward until it becomes tense or about 10 feet, then reverse the same amount. Brake to a full stop, then engage the parking brake, then switch to neutral and switch the 4wd to 2wd.”

That in combo with the reset seemed to finally do the trick and get back to 2WD. I did have the Slip and VDC lights come on after that process. Seemed to clear that by turning the X off, re-starting and driving straight ahead. So it seems fine now.

But . . . has anyone else experienced this with the switch back to 2WD not actually happening but the indicator says it has? Is that an isolated glitch or a possible sign of something else wrong? I’ve found posts where the indicator keeps blinking or never changes so you’re “stuck” in 4WD but didn’t seem to find the “false positive” where the X says it’s changed to 2WD but it really hasn’t. Should I run the diagnostic or is that probably a moot point now unless it happens again?
 

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I've had the one where it blinks a long time before going back into 2wd. Long like 15 minutes of blinking.

The control fork that does 2-4mode slides on a spring loaded bushing. My guess is if your atf oil is very low, broken down and sticky, full of metal flakes or chunks, etc... then it's not going to slide very well.

(That rectangular blob to the left of the bushing is what one of the switches rides on for its position sensing job.)

You might also be having a problem with 1 or more of the 3 position switches, the shift motor, or any of the wiring.

The first test I'd do is a simple oil check for quantity and condition.

I'd guess that if the sensors and wiring are all fine then the problem is likely broken ears on the control fork. That would be the only way it could sense and report a correct condition while the ring gear thing isn't actually in the correct place. I don't think it's likely since that would probably make a grinding noise at random too. More likely sticky bushing and bad switch/ wiring.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the response. It's due for a service anyway (and getting the fluids changed), so I'll get that set up ASAP and see what they say about the issue. I work from home, so I don't have to drive it much or far before then.

There was definitely no noise or anything unusual I noticed when this was going on--other than that false indicator.
 

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I've experienced the same several times, but was able to resolve this by simply stopping and backing up 10 to 15 feet, all while keeping the switch in 2WD. 29erClan's answer is probably correct, I just likened it to the olden days with manual hubs where they wouldn't disengage until you backed up a bit.
 

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Now that I remember you mentioning the blizzard, it was about -20F last year when I was having that trouble. I think it was not long after that I discovered my front output seal leaking. Maybe some water got in and froze up some of the moving parts. If you drain the oil and get significantly less than 2L maybe you need to check into replacing with the front output seal and flange update parts.
 

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Keep us updated
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Now that I remember you mentioning the blizzard, it was about -20F last year when I was having that trouble. I think it was not long after that I discovered my front output seal leaking. Maybe some water got in and froze up some of the moving parts. If you drain the oil and get significantly less than 2L maybe you need to check into replacing with the front output seal and flange update parts.
Yeah, we got close to 2 feet and it's been cold (for here) . . . so I've been driving in deep snow, slush and ice. So maybe there's something with that and the mechanisms? This was the first snow that deep in awhile.

Although we've had some snow and I've had it in and out of 4WD a few times. Worked fine up until this happened.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Keep us updated
Will do . . . got an appt at the stealership on Thursday to do the 90k and I gave them all the details on this issue to check out. These guys have been pretty good, so far. Same shop that caught the SMOD and replaced the tranny and radiator under the extended warranty.
 

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When was the last time you changed your transfer case oil?

I always have to reverse to get mine out of 4WD, but I've noticed it's easier on 'er with fresh oil down there so I try to change it out every 20k-30k or so.

Edit: I thought 29erClan was talking about the transmission, but looking closer they are indeed referring to the transfer case
 

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I have a 14' and this has happened 3 times to me when I was using the 4wd and did not drive it after taking it out of 4wd. Indicator showed not in 4wd but definitely was. I cannot hear anything outside the vehicle when driving but I hear inside a rotational sound almost like an old speedo not liking the cold. Doesn't sound good...I have an extended warranty and considered going to the stealership.

Thoughts? I live in Santa Fe NM
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
When was the last time you changed your transfer case oil?

I always have to reverse to get mine out of 4WD, but I've noticed it's easier on 'er with fresh oil down there so I try to change it out every 20k-30k or so.

Edit: I thought 29erClan was talking about the transmission, but looking closer they are indeed referring to the transfer case
Last change was at about 61k when they replaced the tranny . . . so it's right at being due. Will have it changed on Thurs when I take it in and will see what they.

I almost never have to reverse to get it out of 4WD. Have only had to do that a handful of times. But normally, it diengages while driving when I change the setting. Sometimes it won't disengage until I hit the brakes the first time. This was really odd. No different sounds or anything . . . just fipped the dial to 2WD, dash indicator flashed a few times and then changed to 2WD, but it was definitely still in 4.
 

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My 2013 xterra did that and my 2015 with on 11000 kms on it does that. They just seem slow to shift and cold makes it worse. They always eventually shifted but it usually would take a coast or direction change.
 

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Last change was at about 61k when they replaced the tranny . . . so it's right at being due. Will have it changed on Thurs when I take it in and will see what they.

I almost never have to reverse to get it out of 4WD. Have only had to do that a handful of times. But normally, it diengages while driving when I change the setting. Sometimes it won't disengage until I hit the brakes the first time. This was really odd. No different sounds or anything . . . just fipped the dial to 2WD, dash indicator flashed a few times and then changed to 2WD, but it was definitely still in 4.
Weird I've never had it indicate that it was in 2, but it was still in 4 - it will just continue flashing until I reverse and it flips. The fact it indicated it was in 2, but it wasn't sounds like an additional (but still related) issue.

To be fair, my x is pushing 150k miles so I don't blame it too much for needing a moment ha
 

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My 2013 xterra did that and my 2015 with on 11000 kms on it does that. They just seem slow to shift and cold makes it worse. They always eventually shifted but it usually would take a coast or direction change.
To be clear...my xterra never indicated that it was in two wheel drive while it was in fact in four....it just sometimes seems very slow to shift and seems to do it on its own time.
 

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My X has no problem switching from 4WD to 2WD. Not instantaneous still but simply switching to neutral and back to drive, then it stops flashing within seconds.
My only problem is to unlock rear locker. Last time I had to pop open the diff cover to release the steel ring (cautiously) by prying with a thin 1 inch wide scraper.
I tried every maneuver possible. Backing up, circling around both sides nothing could get il loose... I had to drive home with with a solid rear axle...
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Something a lot of people forget to do is like once a month even if you’re not using four-wheel-drive find somewhere to engage it and disengage it to make sure everything stays well lubed.
I don't do that nearly enough. I need to start doing that more regularly going forward.

Although in this case, I had been in and out of 4WD several times due to this storm and another we had a couple weeks earlier. Worked fine all those previous times. But then suddenly had this pop up. Hopefully will get some answers after they look into it. If it's mechanical . . . hopefully it's not expensive!
 

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I don't do that nearly enough. I need to start doing that more regularly going forward.

Although in this case, I had been in and out of 4WD several times due to this storm and another we had a couple weeks earlier. Worked fine all those previous times. But then suddenly had this pop up. Hopefully will get some answers after they look into it. If it's mechanical . . . hopefully it's not expensive!
I wonder if the extreme cold had something todo with it
 

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Mine used to have a delay going from 4WD back to 2WD. After changing the U joints, the response was immediate. Every time I had a rusty U joint, the drivetrain would rumble at about 45 mph and be very rough at 75 to 80 mph. If your's rumbles at these speeds, might be time to change your U Joints.
 
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