I have a 77 CJ5, recently purchased and in need of some TLC. The 232 runs very strong...amazingly actually....but when putting the jeep in 4 hi or 4 low, I can't get the front wheels to pull. Got it stuck in the mud the other day (first real test in the mud)....put the jeep in neutral, put it in 4 low, locked the hubs, got back in...dropped it into 1st and the rear wheels were throwing mud like mad..but the fronts weren't doing a darn thing. Rechecked the hub locks and made sure it was all the way in 4 low...and nothing. Once home...I locked the hubs, put it in 4 low, left the tranny in neutral...pushed the jeep back and forth and made sure the front axles were turning and the drive shaft turned....it all did. Then locked in each hub seperately with that wheel jacked up and turned the wheel and everything turned. So...is this a transfer case issue?? or could it be a front slip joint issue?? Is there anything else I should try?
They would still turn. Everything is still turning because it is being driven when you engage 4WD. If the hub is not functioning there will be nothing at the tire to engage with the axle shafts when they are turning. Take the hubs off, inspect, clean and lightly grease. This is very easy to do and would be the first place to start.
It could be possible that when you jacked it up and turned the tire the axle shaft did turn because of the lack of resistance with the Jeep in the air.
On my 76' sometimes the lever does not go all the way into low the first time. It appears to be in the right spot but seems to fall into a false 2WD low only driving the rear wheels. I'm sure you probably pulled it pretty hard but if not try to really pull it hard into 4WD low.