Troubleshooting a Transfer Case

Simple Transfer Case Diagram

The transfer case is the true heart and soul of any 4WD (four wheel drive) system. It is attached to the transmission, and acts like it in many ways, but has the additional responsibility of dividing the power between the two output shafts.

If at any time you suspect your transfer case isn’t functioning properly or you just don’t think the 4WD is kicking in then further inspection and troubleshooting may be necessary.

Once you’ve identified the transfer case in your vehicle (it is attached to the transmission as well as the front and rear axles) you should see how it is driven: either by gears or a chain.

Note: Most makes and models use chain driven transfers cases. Gear driven transfer cases are usually reserved for trucks towing and supporting heavy loads.

If your vehicle has 4WD capabilities you may have also noted a switch or shifter that allows you to engage and disengage the 4WD. Some transfer cases give you different gear ratios for you to choose from as opposed to the 2WD and 4WD options. This allows the car to support heavier loads better and handle better in inclement weather. Some transfer cases don’t give you an option and constantly stay in 4WD.

Most problems that occur in transfer cases are caused by:

  • Leaks from the seal or case halves
  • Overloading and overheating
  • Natural wear and deterioration of parts and components over time
  • Lack of routine service and regular maintenance

Leaks are common but should be addressed as soon as possible. If you let it leak for too long it can seriously the damage the transfer case, and eventually the transmission. To verify the leak is coming from the transfer case, jack the vehicle up and check below to find the catalytic converter. Check the floor pan, if you see fluids or it is visibly damp then you know there is a leak.

If you’re experiencing problems with your transfer case or would like a professional eye to look it over then bring it in to 2J’s Automotive. After a free diagnostic test (valued at $80) they will give you the services and repairs to amend the problem and to ensure you drive safely and securely on the road.

Call us at 817-232-9866 to have your transfer case looked at or call us with any questions you have about your automobile.

4 responses to “Troubleshooting a Transfer Case”

  1. stevan says:

    i have problem with transfer case

    • stevan says:

      on isuzu rodeo,automatic transmision gm4l30,noice came from midle of transfer case end drive shaft when im going slouly end bracking til stop,plese help me,i dont now where is the problem;are transmision,t-case or diferential

      • admin says:

        The noise could be in any of the three. Someone will need to listen with a stethoscope to determine where the noise is coming from. Due to the design the sound can transfer through the entire driveline which can be deceptive.

    • admin says:

      What is your problem?

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