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Did my transfer case just fail?

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by Jeramie, July 4, 2011.

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    1. Jeramie

      Jeramie New Member

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      City, State:
      North Platte, NE
      Year, Model & Trim Level:
      1998 Eddie Bauer
      Greetings all. Have a question about my 1998 Eddie Bauer Explorer (automatic) and I'm sure diagnosing by symptoms is not always the best way but here goes.

      1. Since last winter when I would try to use the 4x4 High/Low switch on the dash to go into 4x4 mode, or when the wheels would slip on ice and it would kick in automatically, there was a "clink, clink, clink" from underneath and would go away if I put the switch back into auto mode or ensure the wheels never slipped. Never did this at high speeds.

      2. Finally yesterday, after about 4 hours of driving on the interstate, I noticed there was a grinding noise when I had to ease off the gas in traffic at about 70mph. The RPM's would go down to idle with the grinding noise but if I pressed the gas pedal to bring RPM's back to where they should be for that speed, the sound went away. Other than this problem, the vehicle still drove normally so long as I avoided any sudden deceleration.

      3. After I pulled into the driveway (no leaks), when I went to put it in reverse to back out, there was a constant grinding/rattling noise when the car was in reverse and would not respond to any gas pedal movement. When shifted into Drive it would drive normally. Shifting into Park from R gave a pretty good grinding noise and then a 'clunk' but would shift into D just fine after that.

      Have not driven it since I got back but am wondering if you experienced transmission guys think this sounds like a transfer case or transmission, or both? If it is the transfer case, are replacement parts pretty easily available so I can rebuild it.

      Thanks for all replies.
       
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    3. drdoom

      drdoom Well-Known Member

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      It sounds like the shift fork bushings & range slider are gone. Do you know what case you have? I had the same symptoms, so I drained some fluid from the transfer case into a clear container. What I saw was a lot of white plastic chunks (shift fork bushings), but no metal. So I did some more searching here on explorerforum.com, and then made the repairs. Cost me less than eighty bucks. YMMV
       
      Last edited: July 4, 2011
    4. swetrid

      swetrid Well-Known Member

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      Transfercase concern, common problem that shows up in reverse.
       
    5. jcasey007

      jcasey007 Active Member

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      I had the same last year on holiday, sounded like a turbine speeding up when on overrun.

      I had to drive it like that for nearly 2000 miles home but made it.

      the trick to caring for it during that time was when you use reverse, apply a little footbrake as well as a little gas, this keeps the gears meshed, when you want to move back, keep the gas steady and gently release the foot brake, as soon as you release the gas it will slip (so don't :))

      oh and use the footbrake when slowing down going forward and not engine breaking

      jim
       
    6. Jeramie

      Jeramie New Member

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      Thanks for all the replies guys! This is supremely bad timing (when isn't it?) but I'm encouraged this may not cost me as much as a rebuilt transfer case. One of the reasons I joined to post here after a few years of lurking was because of posts like the one found here with a virtual step by step of a t-case rebuild. Awesome stuff! I will be taking it out this week and cracking it open to see what I need to order. Hope it's simple as what some of you have found.
       
    7. Jeramie

      Jeramie New Member

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      Where did you find your parts to rebuild? My local Napa, Advanced Auto parts, and O'Reilly auto parts stores don't carry anything or say they can't order them. I really would like to get something ordered and get it fixed.
       
    8. drdoom

      drdoom Well-Known Member

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      tbtrans.com
      omegamachine.com
      riversidegear.com
       
      Last edited: July 14, 2011
    9. joecrna

      joecrna Active Member

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      Keep us posted. I am definitly in the minority (of one) here but it sound like a transmission to me.
       
    10. alohamonte

      alohamonte Active Member

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      i'm going to say transmission. i lost reverse in the same manner and had to get the transmission rebuilt.
       
    11. Beargap

      Beargap Active Member

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      I agree that it sounds like the t-case. Mine went in a similar fashion, sounded like it had slipped out of gear when unloaded, but the good thing is that they are readily available in junkyards. I had mine replaced with an identical unit (check the tags on the case, there are several that are not compatible) for something like $125, total. The vehicle it came from had 100K miles, but mine has 280K, so it is like new to me!

      =Vic=
       
    12. badge49

      badge49 Active Member

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      Just had this same issue come up with my rig over the last few days. I literally just got back from the shop, which said the transfer case needs a new fork and may need a new drum. An important note: that whine/grinding noise is a mechanical gear connection that separates when there is not pressure on it. The grinding will wear down the gears until they're gone. To avoid further damage while driving, keep pressure the gears by feathering the gas pedal and braking with your left foot (AT) whenever you need to slow. I hate driving like that, but it got me to the shop.
       

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