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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Gentlemen and ladies....

Help me out here. Point me to something that confirms this or is mine just weird.

Back when I first bought this 97 SE (many years ago) I first tried to put it into 4 low by the procedure over the visor and the procedure in the Owner Manual. It would grind so I quit trying that pretty dam quck. I called up the Nissan place and told them what was going on. They said, almost immediately, don't follow the procedure in the book or on the visor. They knew what I was going to ask before I asked it. Even asked why a salesman had not gone over that... they said... Do it this way...

Put the main transmission selector in Park (not Neutral) and depress the spring and it will go right in with no trouble. Darned if it didn't. And has done so every time since. Never a problem but I rarely use 4 wheel low. But it does not work in Neutral as the manual says nor the stuff over the visor. Both are saying Neutral and they said Park. And Park works.

I got the impression this was a change from normal Pathfinder and probably a recent change. I could be wrong and it is the two different neutrals that are confused. Something the technical writers had not caught up with. At least in this year or this partial year or something like that. They seemed to know immediately what I was doing wrong. And immediately said do not follow the normal (Owners Manual) procedure. But the manual talks also about the Neutral position of the 4 wheel drive selector. It has a neutral too. And says not to put it in that Neutral. To pass through it quickly and never leave it there... even if the main tranny shift lever is in Park.

So today I had a guy looking at it because I am thinking of selling it. He gets in there and tries to put it in from Neutral. I tell him not to do it. He tries again and I get a bit angry and tell him to quit doing that. I tell him to put it in Park and try. It, of course, goes in smoothly. Of course the spring is fairly stiff to depress but it goes in and the 4 lo lamp lights up. He gets all worried about the thing. I tell him my story about when I first got it and that its done so every since new and always has worked fine.

Now I can tell he doesn't believe me so I go looking for something on line that states this. And I found the SAME wrong information....or maybe its right and I got the only one that does this?

Anyway, can anyone clear this up for me. It is a 97 SE with the ORP. Has always gone into and out of Low this way. Always worked too.

Why can't I find some documentation that some are this way? The dealer back in that day surely knew it. He said the manual was wrong on that car and it does indeed work as he said

Help!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
well its always been very smooth when in Park. Never had any problem with it going through the Neutral push down and then into 4 low that way. Just never in Neutral as far as the Main tranny shifter goes. And was told to do it that way. And it works. So I have had the vehicle for over 10 years and done it that way with no problem. I can't figure out why some would and some wouldn't for sure...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I will add that it take a good bit of downward pressure in the Neutral transfer case position to get into 4 low. Takes a real heavy hand. But... it has also rarely used. I can probably count on my two hands how many times it has been in 4 low. I always attributed that to it being very seldom used and not loosened up

When presented to the dealer that many years back when I first bought it they investigated and found it to be normal functioning. They did replace a shaft seal at one point.

The fluid level of both transfer cases has been routinely checked and found to be full. No signs of leaks but could be due a change out of the fluids.

It also does take a back up of at least a full tire revolution to get it to go out of 4 low. Which I think is normal, is it not?

However will only do it correctly in Park. Not Neutral with the main transmission selector.
 

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just for sake of arguement, the reason it grinds in neutral is, picture this, with the engine running, tranny in neutral, the torque conv. is turning (obviously) causing the the tranny to free spin (somewhat), the t/case is at a standstill, thus having gears trying to meet up that are moving and not moving which causes grinding. you can force it into gear if you want, wouldnt recommend it though.

to get out of 4WD if you have auto hubs you need to back up usually 2 vehicle lengths to unlock the front hubs.

anyway, I would do what works best for you. having a 5 sp. with veh. stopped I just push the clutch in and shift into 4LO. 4HI I do on the fly if the hubs are locked.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Yea. To me it would actually make more sense if they ALL didn't go in through Neutral. But yet... most of them do and Park is not listed as an option. I did talk to the parts guy at Nissan yesterday and he said he remembered driving one that this same thing occurred. He recalls it grinding trying to get in from Neutral but he was then able to get it in from Park. But he doesn't know of a TSB or any specific written documentation of this issue.

It does take a backing up to get it out of 4 Low. It does not always take that much room to do so. Mine can be just one revolution of the tires. Most times that does it. You can sort of watch the stick and see it shift backwards and know its ready. Now, that said, it does not take any such action to get out of 4 High. In that case it simply will come out driving down the road. It might take a minute. But it will unlock at lower speeds without any special action taken except to slow down. You can feel it drop out. 4 High is about the only thing I have ever needed to use. And only then on slippery Grass or something like that.

Talking to a couple of the salesmen about this 4 Low situation, they seemed confused. These couple of them had never heard of it before. They knew nothing about it. They finally concluded that if it works in Park then do it from Park. But they could not recall any sort of Model year change or change from the common neutral position. However they may or may not have been around in 1997 either.

I did decide to change the Transfer case oil though and when I checked it, it was full, then I dumped it and did not find any metal in the fluid. Fluid looked good but not particularly fresh. So I changed it. And it still functions as it did after the change. I didn't expect that to change but I was worried this guy had put metal in it. Seems not. So no damage was done by him trying to get it in from Neutral it seems.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
That is quite possible. In fact it was mentioned by the Salesmen I was talking to yesterday that it might even soften up the spring detent coming from the Neutral to 4 low that takes so much pressure to overcome going from 4 high to 4 low. The thing has hardly ever been used and had not exactly worn in. Could be a simple linkage would be all it would take to soften it. It does come out without any real trouble as long as you back it up a few feet or so. I just never pursued it because I could get it in and out once I knew it and it worked. And still does. Take a bit of effort but, when you can do it, and rarely need it, seems a low priority to bother doing anything with it past that.

Only weird thing is you must go back to Park to do it all.
 

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the direction on the visor maybe be for manual transmission, I would have to check my visor, but the vehicle has to be at a complete stop to put it in 4 low anyways. In an auto it would make the most sense to do this in park. In a manual transmission this would be done in neutral, with the clutch pedal depressed.
 

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My 97 Pathfinder will shift from 4H to 4L easily. Here's the routine:
1. Drive in 4H for a revolution or 2 on a slippery surface forward or reverse
2. Complete stop
3. Foot off brake (E-brake if you have to), push on the lever and slide through neutral rather quickly

If you do it this way:
1. All 4 wheels to be in a similar position relative to the internal gears
2. Keeps excessive pressure off the transfer case
3. Doesn't allow the transmission to spin the drive side gears of the transfer case while in neutal

If your tires have different diameters (fronts worn more that backs) or one wheel suddenly dips into a rut or something, the internal grears of the transfer case will have excessive pressure on them. Trying to release them with that tiny lever is very difficult as the gears are pretty beefy.

This whole situation is exactly why when you switch from 4H to 2H the 4WD light doesn't shut off immediately, especially while on dry pavement. The 4WD gears in the transfer case stay connected until there is enough play to loosen them and the spring in the transfer case pulls the gear back and disconnects. Going backwards or turning usually does it.

If all else fails and you are grinding gears everytime you go into 4L, shut the truck off, shift into 4L and start back up again. Annoying, but it works.

NEVER RUN ENGINE WHILE IN NEUTRAL FOR ANY MORE THAN A SECOND AND THEN SHIFT INTO 4H OR 4L!
 
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