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I have a transfer case from an AWD Transit opened up on my bench right now. Got tired of so little information available from Ford so I bought one and disassembled it :). I can say with a high amount of confidence that the issue you had with the AWD system is 100% due to the AWD control module software and how it handles (...or in your case chokes on and errors out because of...) the incoming wheel speed data. The transfer case mechanicals internally are simple. The encoder motor that controls the front drive engagement is simple and provides the module with nothing other than a positional signal (there is no temperature sensing of the t-case or the encoder motor in the system). The "AWD" engagement is all handled by the module and the algorithms (which are different depending on the drive mode selected) and the math behind relative wheel speeds vs. throttle position vs. output shaft speed and any number of variables Ford has chosen to use. It's possible that the module itself has a temp sensing shutdown mechanism, after all it is engaging/disengaging a 20amp motor in real-time based on how the wheel speeds are interpreted. I could see the module heating up quickly if it was having to "work" a lot to manage the response to the drive mode algorithm but I don't see the motor having any issues because it doesn't actually see any significant load.
Great info. Do you think there could be enough room inside that to engineer a Torsen center differential as a retrofit? They have been used to great effect on high output rally cars and are bullet proof even at >800 ftlb.
 

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Well... I don't think this would be the path of fewest Benjamin's but certainly anything is possible. If you really had the desire to have the Torsen center diff, you'd probably also have the desire to strengthen some other components and at that point you're designing and building an entirely new transfer case. Unlikely that a market for something like this exists. I don't think there is anything wrong with the front driveshaft engagement mechanism for the vast majority of the Transit users out there.

Could the AWD system components be improved? Yes. Would it be easy or cheap? No. I've designed and sourced several different custom drivetrain parts recently (internal and external splines, heat treated high strength steel, etc...) and I can tell you with absolute certainty that without dozens of buyers, the cost of custom t-case internals would be prohibitively expensive.



Probably wouldn't hurt.
Understood and for sure last year I installed a very a trick transmission and driveline in my 3000GT and my bank account sure felt it lol. My question was more one of curiosity around could a Torsen be crammed in there to provide a purely mechanical torque shifting center diff.
 
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