Transfer Case Troubleshooting: A Few Basics

Posted by , on Oct, 2014

If you have a four-wheel drive (4WD) system, you have a transfer case. The transfer case is a device that functions somewhat like a secondary transmission system, one designed to switch between two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. If you’re having any trouble shifting between these two, it’s your transfer case that you’ll want to check. This article has a few convenient tips you can follow to troubleshoot your transfer case. Remember, if you get stuck or if something is beyond your skill level or interest, it’s always a good idea to go to a mechanic. Issue 1: Leaks Transfer case fluid is very important for keeping the whole thing lubricated and working correctly. Much like your transmission system’s fluid, transfer case fluid keeps the mechanical parts operating under conditions of considerable pressure, so it’s important to have plenty of it on hand. If you think your transfer case may have a leak or you simply aren’t sure one way or the other, it is not too difficult to check. First, you’ll need to jack up the vehicle so you can get a good look at the floor pan. If there are any fluids or dampness there, you have a leak in the transfer case. Another possibility is too much fluid in the transfer case. If you are getting leaks from either the vent or the output shaft seals, the transfer case has too much fluid and you should drain it a bit. Issue 2: Noise If your transfer case is noisy, the issue is quite likely to be your lubricant. Just as a transmission system needs the right kind of lubricant and enough of it, so does your transfer case. If you don’t have enough or it’s the wrong kind, you will run into problems, often noisy ones. Check with your manufacturer and with your mechanic to make sure you have the right kind of transfer case fluid. Issue 3: Trouble Shifting If you’re having trouble shifting with your transfer case, you may simply be trying to shift at speeds too high to permit proper engagement. Try stopping the vehicle and seeing if you can shift it. Should that not solve the issue, the linkage is the next thing you’ll want to look at. The key thing here is to look for damage or wear to the equipment. Sometimes more lubricant will solve the problem, but other times repairs will be needed. Speaking of lubricant, the wrong kind of lubricant or not enough lubricant can also cause this problem. If you have the wrong type of lubricant, you’ll need...