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I have an '02 Ford Ranger with the 4x4 Off-Road package with a 5-speed manual transmission. I can also shift with a physical stick between 2wd, 4hi, neutral, and 4lo.

I had put it into 4lo while going up an off-road hill, and like an idiot, I'm pretty sure I was still moving when I shifted back through neutral and into 4hi. I can drive and change gears fine, and I can even move the stick that changes between the three driving modes, but the light stays on for 4wd and I can feel that it is still engaged. How can I fix this?

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Two things you can try:

  1. shift back to low, drive 10 feet (3m) then shift back to high and drive 10 feet,

  2. jack up one front wheel (assuming 2wd is rear) and rotate, well the amount of free play, in both directions while someone goes from hi to low and back to high,

Either may be sufficient to "free" the mechanism.

If not, then you have to check other things like stuck switches etc.

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You've got transmission wind-up. Try reversing, in a straight line if possible, for around 10-20m.

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