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Old 04-29-2015, 05:28 PM   #1
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Neutral Tow on a Ford Explorer Sport Trac

I am having trouble getting the neutral tow switch to work on my 2005 Sport Trac.
I installed the LED light from the wires under the dash then took it to a Ford dealer to flash the computer to turn the neutral tow on. He hooked it up to the computer and I saw that the the neutral was turned on.
He printed the directions to set it up but when I go thru the set up the led light will not turn on. The led light is good.
Any ideas what I can do or the tech can do to make it work?

Thanks

JimJ
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Old 04-29-2015, 06:11 PM   #2
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Not sure what to tell you but my light blinks on every time I put my tranny in park and turn the key off.

My procedure is start engine, hold brake, put shifter in neutral, turn off ignition and press 4X4 button until light blinks 5 times then stays on steady.
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Old 04-29-2015, 06:25 PM   #3
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This is from the Ford installation instructions for the 2003-2005 Sport Trac:
"1. Prepare the vehicle for towing.
2. Start the engine to make sure the battery is sufficiently charged.
3. Make sure vehicle is at a complete stop and the vehicle is shifted into
two wheel drive
4.Place the automatic transmission shifter into NEUTRAL.
5.Turn the ignition switch to the OFF position (i.e. steering not locked). 6.Depress the brake pedal for 5 seconds.
7. The neutral light will initially go through a bulb check; then stay on to
indicate the transfer case is in neutral.
8. Leave ignition switch in the OFF position and the transmission shifter
in NEUTRAL while the vehicle is in tow."
Are these the instructions that you were given? Is the wiring polarity correct for the led? You should be able to hear the shift motor in the transfer case operate when you follow the procedure.
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Old 04-29-2015, 06:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrd48 View Post
6.Depress the brake pedal for 5 seconds.
7. The neutral light will initially go through a bulb check; then stay on to
indicate the transfer case is in neutral.

8. Leave ignition switch in the OFF position and the transmission shifter
in NEUTRAL while the vehicle is in tow."
I'm pretty sure you have to press the 4X4 Auto button or at least the 4X4 while pressing on the brake. The light will flash 5 times and then stay on indicating that the transfer case is in neutral.
The light may go off (like the dome light) if the key position is at the back part of the off position. To keep it on all the time make sure the key position is as far as possible forward in the off position (there will be a little bit of play in the key positioning).
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Old 04-30-2015, 08:19 AM   #5
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I'm pretty sure you have to press the 4X4 Auto button or at least the 4X4 while pressing on the brake. The light will flash 5 times and then stay on indicating that the transfer case is in neutral.
The light may go off (like the dome light) if the key position is at the back part of the off position. To keep it on all the time make sure the key position is as far as possible forward in the off position (there will be a little bit of play in the key positioning).
As I said the instructions were quoted directly from Ford for that specific model. My Ranger, also included in those instructions, uses exactly the same procedure. The instructions you mention pertain to Explorers and 2007 and later Sport Tracs.
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Old 04-30-2015, 09:28 AM   #6
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Sport Trac neutral tow

Thanks for the replies. I do not have the 4X4 button but the instructions from ford tell how to set it up for towing.
I will reverse the polarity and try but I have read that it doesn't matter. I will play with the key to make sure it is in the right position but the tech and the manager tried also but no luck.
I just wonder if the LED bulb doesn't produce enough resistance for the computer to recognize that it is connected, which is one of the requirements for the computer check for set up.
Does your LED have any kind of a controller connected to it?
If this doesn't work I will take it back to the dealer to check his programming.
If anyone has any further ideas let me know.

Thanks

JimJ
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Old 04-30-2015, 09:45 AM   #7
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I installed my own LED light because Ford had discontinued the 'neutral tow kit'. The polarity of the light shouldn't matter because it doesn't care which way the electricity flows through the light. Did you try reading the voltage right off of the wires to make sure they are live when the transfer case is in neutral? You say you don't have a 4X4 button - how do you switch from 2 wheel drive to 4 wheel drive? Is it an electronic 4 wheel drive?
Your instructions for the transfer case are weird in that there's no other requirement other than pressing on the brake while in neutral to disengage the transfer case - it seem that would border on a safety issue but manufacturers had done plenty of other silly things so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
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Old 04-30-2015, 06:13 PM   #8
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Neutral tow

The instructions from the ford dealer is

turn ignition sw to the on position
place mode selection sw in 2wd
step on brakes
place the transmission in Neutral
turn the ignition sw to the off position
hold brake pedal down until the neutral indicator illuminates (4 seconds)
release the brake pedal

I have reversed the wires to make sure.
I am going back to the dealer to flash it again to see if that will work.
Thanks
JimJ
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Old 05-01-2015, 02:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimj View Post
The instructions from the ford dealer is

turn ignition sw to the on position
place mode selection sw in 2wd
step on brakes
place the transmission in Neutral
turn the ignition sw to the off position
hold brake pedal down until the neutral indicator illuminates (4 seconds)
release the brake pedal

I have reversed the wires to make sure.
I am going back to the dealer to flash it again to see if that will work.
Thanks
JimJ
That is the correct procedure. You never said if you could hear the shift motor in the transfer case operating when you did the procedure. If you don't hear the motor operating then the ECM is not updated. It took the dealer several atempts to update the ECM on my Ranger before the update finally "took". A lot depends on how experienced the Ford tech is. Sometimes it is difficult to find a dealer who is familiar with the neutral tow procedure.
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Old 05-01-2015, 08:57 PM   #10
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Don't know where you got your LED but I just did this on a explorer and I got my LED from radio shack and it had a diode built in it. Mine did nothing and my son reversed the wires going to it and it worked. Might be worth checking.
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Old 05-03-2015, 08:24 AM   #11
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PROBLEM SOLVED
I worked on the neutral tow and found that after reversing the wires, putting on new wires, checking the LED bulb, I had a blown fuse. After discovering the blown fuse I tried it with no luck then reversed the wires and the LED came on and everything worked.
Thanks for all the help.

JimJ
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Old 05-03-2015, 08:40 AM   #12
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Good news. Thanks for letting us know the outcome.
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