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How To Replace 4WD Actuator 97-04 Ford F150

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Created on: 2017-06-28

If the 4WD actuator is affecting 4WD performance, watch this video and learn how to fix it yourself

  1. step 1 :Removing the 4WD Actuator
    • Remove the three 10mm bolts from the actuator's shield
    • Pry out the horseshoe clamp from the 4WD actuator
    • Pull the boot back and insert a pry bar between the boot and bracket
    • Hammer the end of the pry bar to loosen the actuator
    • Remove the actuator from the bracket
    • Disconnect the 4WD actuator
  2. step 2 :Installing the 4WD Actuator
    • Clean the bracket off with sandpaper
    • Lace the outside of detent with grease
    • Insert the actuator into place
    • Tap the actuator in if needed
    • Install the rubber boot
    • Install the horseshoe clamp

Tools needed

  • Sandpaper


    Flat Blade Screwdriver

    Rubber Mallet

    Rust Penetrant

    Pry Bar

    10mm Wrench

    10mm Socket


    Wire Brush

    Safety Glasses

Hi, I'm Mike from 1A Auto. We've been selling auto parts for over 30 years. We're dedicated to delivering quality auto parts, expert customer service, fast and free shipping, all backed by our 100% satisfaction guarantee. Visit us at 1AAuto.com, your trusted source for quality auto parts.

The front axle actuator is underneath the front, right side on the front of the front axle. Three 10 millimeter bolts hold it: One there. Just use a wire brush to clean off that one there. Then there's one way up in here. Remove it with a 10 millimeter socket ratchet extension. Unfortunately, it won't work for that one. We'll use a wrench for this 10 millimeter bolt.

We have it up on a lift, but there's no reason you can't crawl underneath your vehicle. A great tool is a ratcheting wrench for this one. The actuator's held in place by a C-clamp here. The case is aluminum, and ours is stuck in there, so we're just going to put some rust penetrant around it. Hopefully, we can get in there and free it up. You pull the boot back. You want to avoid damaging that rubber boot. Clamp on there and see if we can drive it out. Use something smaller to be able to drive it the rest of the way through. Pull it out the rest of the way, and then disconnect your vacuum lines. Twist and pull off the orange ones towards the actuator and the blue one's towards the flat part.

Here’s the original actuator from the vehicle and the new one from 1A Auto. You can see that they are exactly the same. They have the same vacuum fittings, same shaft, and new one from 1A Auto is going to have the full range of motion all the way out and all the way back in a little over the three quarters of an inch. You can see what happens with these original ones. It's lost its range of motion and it's not working properly, so it's not engaging the axle. This happens often. This is one of the reasons why they suggest that you shift into four-wheel drive every once in a while even when you don't need it to keep these working correctly. The one from 1A Auto is going to go in just like the original mount and fix up the problem.

Use some abrasive sandpaper or scaling pads to try and clean up inside the mounting hole as well as possible. We've got a small grinding bit, and we're just really going clean out this hole to make it easier to mount the new one. The actuator has a little detent right here. We've put some grease on the outside. That detent has to line up right there, so I just fill it. With the grease and everything cleaned out, it should go right in. Just make sure you got it properly lined from the backside here, and then a tap with a rubber mallet. Should seat it in the rest of the way. Still have the rubber boot. The port in between the actuator and the arm. Push the actuator. Seat the actuator, and install your C-clamp. Clean up our C-clamp so it's as thin as it can be. I'm going to put the boot back on. Then the vacuum lines. The pink or orange one goes to that side. Push on and twist. Then the blue one goes to this side. Put your cover back up in and put the three bolts on that hold it.

Thanks for watching. Visit us at 1AAuto.com for quality auto parts, fast and free shipping, and the best customer service in the industry.

1997 - 2002  Ford  Expedition
1998 - 2002  Lincoln  Navigator
1997 - 2004  Ford  F150 Truck
2004 - 2004  Ford  F150 Heritage Truck
1997 - 1999  Ford  F250 Light Duty Truck
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