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Bobsteriffic

Intermittent 4WD Light

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'92 Pathfinder here, another issue has arisen as of yesterday.

 

I was driving her around doing nothing out of the ordinary, when all of the sudden the 4WD light on my dash started flickering green to indicate it was on. It stays off whenever I'm accelerating, but when I let off the gas or apply the brakes, the light flickers on and off, eventually turning off when idling at a stop light.

 

I know that it's staying in 2WD because I tested it and it shifts in and out of 4WD no problem, no flickering 4WD light either when it's engaged in 4WD, but after putting it back in 2WD the light starts flickering again. I'm assuming it's related to the sensor that connects to the transfer case, but I don't really know where to begin with that. I called the transmission shop that worked on my car but they said they couldn't look at it until late next week, and they would also want to "keep it for a few days." I know I can fix this myself but I don't know where the sensor is located. Does anyone have any info relating to this?

Cheers

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It's probably just the connection. Check the harness. I bet they didn't tie it back up properly.

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It's probably just the connection. Check the harness. I bet they didn't tie it back up properly.

I seem to have misplaced my service manual, do you know where I would find that harness? I thought I remembered reading somewhere on here it was inside the t-case??

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Looks like the switch should be the one towards the back of the transfer on the passenger's side.

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Posted (edited)

Looks like the switch should be the one towards the back of the transfer on the passenger's side.

Are these the connections I'm looking for?

 

Oc6DF9d.jpg

 

If so then I'm not sure what's up... all the connections looked and felt solid. I jiggled all of them and it doesn't seem to have made a difference, doesn't really act up right when you start driving her but the more bumps she goes over the worse it gets...

 

I've attached a link to other angles of the same area.

https://imgur.com/a/O1Aor

Edited by Bobsteriffic

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Are these the connections I'm looking for?

 

Oc6DF9d.jpg

 

If so then I'm not sure what's up... all the connections looked and felt solid. I jiggled all of them and it doesn't seem to have made a difference, doesn't really act up right when you start driving her but the more bumps she goes over the worse it gets...

 

I've attached a link to other angles of the same area.

https://imgur.com/a/O1Aor

Your 4wd switch is the one next to the speedo sensor towards the tailend of the case. One of those plus to pictured is your neutral switch.

 

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N920A using Tapatalk

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Your 4wd switch is the one next to the speedo sensor towards the tailend of the case. One of those plus to pictured is your neutral switch.

 

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N920A using Tapatalk

Ahh good to know, thank you. I was looking around the tailend of the case and I didn't see anything... I'm gonna get under there tomorrow with a proper flashlight and take a closer look.

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Damn, sorry for the confusion! The '94/'95 manual shows a bolt there and the switch mounted farther back, and that's how my '93 is set up. Guess Nissan found another thing to change mid-year for no well-explained reason. (Just checked the '89 manual, and it looks like yours.)

 

If all else fails, you might try unplugging the switch and see if the light still acts up. If it does, you know it's the wiring. If not, test the switch.

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Damn, sorry for the confusion! The '94/'95 manual shows a bolt there and the switch mounted farther back, and that's how my '93 is set up. Guess Nissan found another thing to change mid-year for no well-explained reason. (Just checked the '89 manual, and it looks like yours.)

 

If all else fails, you might try unplugging the switch and see if the light still acts up. If it does, you know it's the wiring. If not, test the switch.

 

No problem, I understand how it is lol.

 

So just to clarify the switch I'm looking for is the cylindrical shaped connection? I pulled it and everything looked fine, but upon re-seating everything it seems like that may have been the issue. Light comes on in 4 and goes off in 2, and no flickering so far. I hope that was it!

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The grey one? Yeah, that should be the 4x light switch. Sounds like it might've just been a loose/dirty connection then. Nice! Hopefully my ABS light turns out to be a similar issue.

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The grey one? Yeah, that should be the 4x light switch. Sounds like it might've just been a loose/dirty connection then. Nice! Hopefully my ABS light turns out to be a similar issue.

 

Yep that's the one I pulled! I've put ~25 miles on her since then and no flickering so I think I'm good!! Thanks for the help guys, I really appreciate it.

 

On a side note, keep me posted on what ends up being the fix to your ABS light. Mine has been on for roughly 6-7 years now, never bothered to actually figure out what was wrong with it. I've had 2 different mechanics attempt to fix it, both ended up just screwing up my aftermarket alarm system further :suicide:

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My 4wd light hasn't worked since I swapped the transmission... Perhaps I should revisit this.

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I ran codes on my ABS system and the computer thinks there's a fault in the circuit for the speed sensor. I'm hoping it's a plug issue like yours because that sensor ain't cheap! It's been a low priority since it's not like the brakes are good enough to lock up the rears anyway.

 

How do two mechanics in a row mix up ABS and alarm system wiring? :lol:

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99% of the time it's that sensor. It is expensive for sure! I fixed the abs light on my 95 by bleeding the brakes and flushing the fluid. I am not sure how that fixed it but the light never came back. It had been intermittent for a year. My 94 I just unplugged the ABS controller which shut the light off.

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Posted (edited)

I ran codes on my ABS system and the computer thinks there's a fault in the circuit for the speed sensor. I'm hoping it's a plug issue like yours because that sensor ain't cheap! It's been a low priority since it's not like the brakes are good enough to lock up the rears anyway.

 

How do two mechanics in a row mix up ABS and alarm system wiring? :lol:

Not necessarily "$hitty" mechanics, but mechanics that have no business working with electrical.

 

First guy did an injector replacement, and the second one did my brake pads and alignment. They both had the same mentality of "hey that lights on, I could probably fix that and charge more." Like mechanics can be a great help when you don't have the time or experience to work on it yourself, but as of recent I've told anyone working on my rig to leave that damn light alone!!

Edited by Bobsteriffic

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99% of the time it's that sensor. It is expensive for sure! I fixed the abs light on my 95 by bleeding the brakes and flushing the fluid. I am not sure how that fixed it but the light never came back. It had been intermittent for a year. My 94 I just unplugged the ABS controller which shut the light off.

 

Looks like I found out what I'm doing this afternoon. Mind pointing me the direction where I can find that controller? I'll do some forum research myself but sometimes it's hit and miss on results.

 

I could care less about the ABS on this machine, not to mention it's only in the rear anyways lol.

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And sorry that I still need clarification on this, I'm still learning about transmissions and t-cases. It's my understanding the connection that I unplugged has a wire running to the physical t-case to a connection with a black rubber grommet over what looks like a bolt; the switch is underneath that?

 

I may have spoken too soon on that connection being the fix, it's started flickering again. Sounds like I'm gonna need to replace the switch? I should mention there's no flickering with the harness unplugged.

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It is under the drivers seat.

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The switch is threaded like a bolt (like how a coolant temp sensor mounts up). There's a little plunger sticking out the end that closes or opens the circuit when some part of the shift linkage pushes on it. Maybe the spring that returns the plunger is buggered and it's letting the plunger flop around as the transfer vibrates?

 

If you want to check it, you could remove the switch (have a drain pan ready in case it's holding back fluid), then shake it and have someone in the truck tell you if the light's going nuts.

 

And yeah, the ABS computer is under the seat. It's the one closer to the door.

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Posted (edited)

The switch is threaded like a bolt (like how a coolant temp sensor mounts up). There's a little plunger sticking out the end that closes or opens the circuit when some part of the shift linkage pushes on it. Maybe the spring that returns the plunger is buggered and it's letting the plunger flop around as the transfer vibrates?

 

If you want to check it, you could remove the switch (have a drain pan ready in case it's holding back fluid), then shake it and have someone in the truck tell you if the light's going nuts.

 

And yeah, the ABS computer is under the seat. It's the one closer to the door.

Thanks for the info Slart and Adam, I really appreciate it. So once upon a time, this Pathy had an aftermarket stereo and alarm system installed. It was done professionally, but there's been way too many uniformed people pawing through the rats nest of wiring underneath my dash to make sense of anything anymore... but that's not the issue. The issue is that the amplifier for the stereo resided underneath the drivers side seat, so there's absolutely nothing under it but carpet now.

 

So I'm assuming the ABS computer was relocated to underneath the dash? I'm guessing it's the little black box with the sticker that says "OK" on it. Let me know what you guys think.

OfHAdlz.jpg

 

And Slart, I removed the switch today from the t-case and shook it around like you mentioned, and the light did flicker very sporadically so I think it's the switch failing. I went down to Autozone, O Reily's, and a local shop and none of them had the switch in their computer systems, let alone in-store. I went to Nissan directly and they were able to source one, but it was $50 and it's gonna take a week to get here... this better be the fix lol.

Edited by Bobsteriffic
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Yeah, that's a mess, all right. Fat red wires with copper showing make me nervous.

The ABS computer looks like this. I'm not sure what your black box is. Is it labelled on the other side?

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Yeah, that's a mess, all right. Fat red wires with copper showing make me nervous.

 

The ABS computer looks like this. I'm not sure what your black box is. Is it labelled on the other side?

 

Yep, and the sad thing is I have a good idea where the wires go/came from, I just don't have the time to crawl under there and figure out where goes where... it's a bit daunting.

 

Flipping the black box over revealed it was not the ABS computer, it must just be some other component to my aftermarket alarm system. I've checked all over her, under the passenger seat (only the ECU is there), the rear quarter panel compartments, under the rear seats, under the dash (driver and passenger side), and I can't find the computer anywhere... maybe that's why the light's on lol.

 

According to my father (he worked alongside the person who installed most of this crap), they must've relocated the computer somewhere because the light wasn't on for many many years after the install, but I have no idea now.

 

I'm at a loss with this damn light, it's honestly a running joke in the family now because of how long we've tried to get it fixed :laugh::laugh:

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Bizarre. I guess you could find the check connector for the ABS and follow that wire to the module. Or look at the harness routing diagram and see where that harness is supposed to tie into the main harness, find where it branches, and then follow it to wherever somebody stuffed the ABS brain. I think the harness comes off the main harness going along the driver's side by the doors, though I'm not sure where they would've found the slack to stuff it somewhere.

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The abs box is under some metal cover you need to unbolt first... at least for me it is. Take the drivers seat out and check again!

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Bizarre. I guess you could find the check connector for the ABS and follow that wire to the module. Or look at the harness routing diagram and see where that harness is supposed to tie into the main harness, find where it branches, and then follow it to wherever somebody stuffed the ABS brain. I think the harness comes off the main harness going along the driver's side by the doors, though I'm not sure where they would've found the slack to stuff it somewhere.

 

Good call on this, if I can find time later this week this is what I'll be attempting. Honestly the light has been on for so long that it doesn't really bother me that much, but after I get the 4WD light taken care of this will be the next thing I'm focusing on.

 

Thanks again for the info, this stuff is priceless considering how hard it is to find info on these rigs sometimes.

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