Nicholas Fluhart

September 17, 2009

UPDATE: Warn 424 Select on the 475 Foreman

Filed under: Project: 475 Foreman — Nicholas Fluhart @ 7:15 pm
Tags: , , , ,

After having used the Warn 424 Select 4WD selector on my 475 Foreman for over a year, I now have the benefit of offering my experience with the equipment for your consideration.

Pros:

The functionality of this part is actually very good. It is ultra heavy-duty and I have had no problems with the drive mechanism. It disengages and reengages with ease.

Cons:

The control mechanism. Specifically, the control mechanism is susceptible to corrosion. Some of the parts are brass, which is helpful, but the other parts are galvanized steel and corrode rather quickly making it impossible to operate the unit.

Concerning the control mechanism, the first sign of corrosion is that the knob begins to be hard to push and pull, but the worst part is the spring-loaded push button in the center of the knob. When you pull the knob out, the push-button is supposed to pop out and ‘catch’ holding the knob in the extended position giving you 2WD. It does this by utilizing a spring-loaded steel ball bearing that rolls on the inside of the control unit housing until it encounters a notch where it nestles nicely into place holding the knob in the extended position until the button is pushed releasing the ball from the notch allowing it to roll back down the length of the housing as the knob is pushed in and the 4WD is engaged. When the internal parts, such as the spring and notch, corrode the notch becomes full of junk and the spring is not powerful enough to hold the ball bearing in the notch. This results in the inability to hold the unit in the 2WD position, leaving it in full-time 4WD.

Maintenance:

I started to entitle this section “Solution” but as of now, I haven’t yet established an effective solution, however I plan to readdress the issue in the future and perhaps modify the spring and/or other components to achieve a permanent fix. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve done in the way of maintenance:

First, I soaked the unit in penetrating oil and began disassembly. This was harder than it sounds. The corrosion made it difficult to disassemble. Also, as you can see, I was working in tight quarters. My shop was full of operations with the purpose of making me money, so I had to settle for working on my hobby project out back.

Removing the Unit

Below I’ve laid out the individual components of the mechanism. The brass center section and the housing seen setting just above it were the components most hampering operation of the unit. This was due to the unit becoming dry and developing corrosion and junk between the components.

Components Laid Out Before Cleaning

Components Laid Out Before Cleaning

There really wasn’t much I could do other than to clean each component. I started by polishing the parts with a wire wheel on my 6″ bench grinder.

Cleaning the parts with a wire wheel

Cleaning the parts with a wire wheel

I then washed each part clean in my wash vat which uses clean solvent (mineral spirits) as seen below. Once I washed the parts I used compressed air to dry them before applying a coating of grease and anti-seize compound to prevent the corrosion issue from occurring again.

Washing the parts

Washing the parts in solvent

Applying Compound

Applying Grease and Anti-Seize Compound Accordingly

Now I was ready to go back together with the unit. You can see the cleaned parts laid out below. Note the mounting bracket bolted on the fender. I had to readjust it to keep the headlight guard from catching on it during tight turns. To the right you see the finished, mounted mechanism.

Ready for Reassembly

Ready for Reassembly

Finished

Finished, Mounted Mechanism

Conclusion:

The unit worked perfectly after the maintenance I performed. However, after a few weeks I began having an issue with the push button. Although the mechanism still operates smoothly due to the enhanced lubrication compound, it appears that the main push-button spring isn’t quite strong enough to pop the button out when the knob is pulled out to the 2WD position. As of now, and until I have the time to reevaluate the parts, I carry a small pair of pliers and simply grab the end of the button and assist it by gently pulling out until it catches. This sound silly, and it is, but it’s actually easy to do on the fly.

Until next time…

UPDATE:

I removed the pull knob and found that corrosion from the steel push button had built up in the aluminum knob. I cleaned and oiled the parts, and now the entire mechanism works as it should. This is great because I was getting tired of the carrying around the dumb pliers.

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