How To Disengage 4 Wheel Drive Ford F150? Ultimate Guide!

How to disengage 4 wheel drive Ford F150?

A photo showing drive modes - How to disengage 4 wheel drive Ford F150?
How to disengage 4 wheel drive Ford F150? Image source: Reddit


The Ford F150 maintains its title as North America’s best-selling full-size pickup truck, and it has consistently embodied ruggedness since its inception.

The 3rd generation of America’s favourite truck introduced 4-wheel drive as a factory option, significantly improving traction and handling on slippery surfaces.

However, operating the 4WD system in the Ford F150 can be challenging, leaving many owners struggling to shift back from 4X4 to RWD.

If you’ve encountered snow, sand, or rough terrain, your Ford F-150’s 4WD can be a lifesaver.

This article will guide you through the user’s manual instructions for shifting 4WD and address common issues that may arise.

To start troubleshooting when things go wrong, it’s essential to grasp how a 4×4 system functions.

By the end of this article, you’ll have the knowledge to disengage 4×4 on your truck without requiring professional assistance or advanced equipment.


How To Disengage 4 Wheel Drive Ford F150?


Most of the time, shifting between RWD and 4×4 in your Ford F-150 should be a straightforward process thanks to the toggle switch provided by Ford.

To switch from 4×4 Hi, follow these steps: bring the vehicle to a stop, hold the brake, put it in neutral (or press the clutch for manual transmission), and move the 4WD control from 4H or 4L to 2H. It sounds easy, and it should be.

However, the real world doesn’t always align with ideal scenarios.

Like many F-150 owners, you might encounter difficulties when trying to disengage the 4-wheel drive.

Overcoming these issues related to disengaging the 4×4 system on your truck is relatively simple.

All you need is a basic understanding of how a 4×4 system operates and where to troubleshoot if problems arise.



How Does The Vacuum System Work?


In brief, the F-150’s front 4×4 system is vacuum-activated.

It employs a vacuum actuator to engage and disengage the front hubs when switching between 4×4 and 2WD.

When troubleshooting, start by checking for potential vacuum leaks.

To diagnose your vacuum system without a gauge:


  1. Locate the solenoid next to the battery on the passenger side.
  2. Remove the vacuum hoses from the solenoid.
  3. One hose should have a continuous vacuum when the engine runs, while the other develops vacuum pressure only when 4WD is engaged.
  4. Insert the hose from the check-valve connection into the second hose leading to the IWE’s.
  5. Activate vacuum pressure while raising the front wheels. If vacuum pressure increases with RPM, you are leak-free. Otherwise, there’s a leak to be addressed.


Small cracks can lead to a noisy driving experience as the metal hub grinds against the spline.

For temporary fixes, use repair agents or DIY vacuum delete kits.

For a more lasting solution, replace the tubing with approximately 7 feet of 1/4″ copper tubing, a 3/16″ silicone vacuum hose, and poly tubing for around $30.

Copper tubing serves as the vacuum line, with poly tubing as a protective sleeve.

Severe cases may require vacuum hub replacement, but most issues can be fixed with ease.


Frequently Asked Questions


How To Change F150 From 4H To 2H?


When examining the F-150’s dashboard, you’ll observe multiple buttons to select from: 2H (two-wheel drive high), 4H (four-wheel drive high), 4A (automatic all-wheel drive), and 4L (four-wheel drive low).

You can effortlessly switch between these drive modes by pressing your preferred button.



What Is The Difference Between 4H And 4L Ford F150?


To power through deep mud, scale boulders, cross water, or tackle snowy roads, 4L is your ideal choice.

On the other hand, 4H is a frequently used mode that permits torque distribution to all four wheels, allowing speeds of up to 55 mph.

This setting proves valuable when added traction is required.




Shifting from 4×4 to RWD in your Ford F150 is usually a simple task using the provided toggle switch.

However, if you encounter difficulties, understanding how the 4×4 system operates can help you resolve issues.

The system’s vacuum-activated front 4×4 components may develop vacuum leaks, leading to problems disengaging 4×4.

Diagnosing this issue without specialized equipment is feasible, and fixes range from temporary solutions with repair agents or DIY kits to more permanent fixes using replacement tubing.

With these insights, you can confidently manage your 4×4 system and disengage 4-wheel drive on your Ford F150 as needed.

Leave a Comment