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04 Transfer case issues

1spd

New Member
Joined
February 8, 2012
Messages
1
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City, State
Montgomery Village, MD
Year, Model & Trim Level
04 Ford Explorer XLT
Ok here's the background. The truck has about 106k on it and honestly, aside from stupid sensor lights popping off here and there, it has served us quite well. We bought it used back in 06 I think, with about 30k on it.

Last week my wife was dropping one of my daughters friends off at her house about 7 houses up the street. When she pulled out of their driveway she thought something felt odd. She had limped the truck up the street about 3 houses if you will before calling me. I then walked up the street and saw that the passenger front tire was completely flat. Not knowing any better, I limped it the rest of the way home, jacked it up and swapped out the flat for the spare. I then took it for a spin up the street and began to hear/feel some horrible rubbing. The next morning (Saturday)we limped it up to the mechanics shop (1.5 miles away).

They called us later in the day (Monday since they weren't open on the weekend) and told us that it would need two new tires (not that they were bald mind you but if you replace one you want to do two) and that the transfer case was shot. I went and picked up two new tires and had them order the remanufactured trans case. When I dropped off the tires I told them that I thought the drivers rear looked a little low and to simply check out all the tires. They told me that it most likely blew the trans case due to the flat front tire and that they have heard reports of the trans case blowing with as little as a 1/4" difference in wheel height from side to side (one tire being lower than the other-ie low on air pressure). In the end, the bill was about $2550 (including the tires/install). We picked the truck up and took it home. My wife said things felt fine with it. She then did not drive it much at all over the next 2-3 days simply due to the weather and being a stay at home mom that opperates a day care.

On Saturday we drove about 50 miles round trip to one of my daughters soccer games. On the way home we began hearing a thumping noise that can best be describbed as riding a bicycle down a sidewalk and hitting the bumps between the cement, thump-thump, thump-thump... My wife was sick over the weekend and drove the truck no where until we took it back to the shop yesterday (Tue).

They told me that I wasn't going to like what they had to say but that they found a nail stuck in the drivers rear tire and that it was low on air. The sound/feeling we were getting was coming thru the trans case again. They said they plugged the tire and did not hear the sound any longer. We picked it up and my wife said that it felt/sounded fine on her trip back to the house (1.5 miles). Later in the evening she had to attend a PTA meeting at my daughters school (about 6 miles away) and that she heard the sound again.

We called the mechanic back again this morning and she will be taking the truck back to them shortly and having them do a ride along with her.

So, my concern here is that the mechanics try to pin a second blown trans case on yet another flat tire. This would basically clear them of eating a labor bill if you will and stick me with it instead.

My question is whether or not this holds any weight. I mean, I did not notice that the tire was again low on air prior to our taking it to the shop the second time. Then again, I don't normally drive the Explorer (its her truck). But seriously, can the trans case blow with that little of a difference in tire pressure/height? Don't get me wrong, car companies do some shady stuff but I find it hard to believe that they would spec a vehicle with a part that would blow out the minute you get a flat tire. I mean if you are rolling down the highway and get a flat, it's not like you come to an immediate stop. So they are basically telling me that by the time I get the car to the side of the road, my $350 tire replacment just cost me some $2500! I would think that Ford would then have to eat the cost of those replacements for all the folks that got flats while their car was under warranty at that point. To me that just sounds ridiculous.

In any case, we will see what they come up with later today after they get a chance to look at it again. But at the moment, I am waiting for them to give me some crap about how my hitting a nail has caused yet another blown transfer case.

I like most people work for a living and need two cars for our family. Unfortunately, there simply isn't enough money in the budget to run out and buy another car. We currently have one car payment (my car, which is still under warranty) and just can't afford another payment right now. So ideally, the truck needs to last or I will need to do some creative trading here somehow so that we end up with two reliable cars but combined payments that are only slightly higher than where I am now. Man, I just love this crap!!!
 




skysthelymyt

Well-Known Member
Joined
September 29, 2011
Messages
124
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0
City, State
Florence, SC
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Explorer
Typically on a four wheel drive vehicle you would need to have the exact same tires on all four corners when dealing with the t-case. Having one go flat and barely driving it from point A to B, will not ruin the t-case. Over a period of time it could damage it but not what your mechanic said. That said, if you have a set of tires on a vehicle and never rotate the tires, the front tires will be significantly worn out more than the back. If that was the case then all t-cases would break due to slightly uneven weight and size from the tires.
My mom's 02 4x4 explorer had a tire that had a leak and it was at about 15psi(very low) and was like this for a week or more and she drove it every day and had no problems at all. That tire was obviously lower than all the others but it caused no damage to the t-case.
I'm not saying you didn't have a problem with your t-case, but I think your mechanic knows something else and wanted to make some money out of you. If he replaced the t-case, then you should not have any problem with it. I think you should find another mechanic.
 




esclamada

Well-Known Member
Joined
October 25, 2010
Messages
502
Reaction score
1
City, State
KCMO
Year, Model & Trim Level
'02 Mountaineer AWD V8
I don;t think a flat would cause that much damage to the transfer case. My wife drove my mounty with a flat tire for 20 miles (on a highway), she only stop when the sidewalls were gone. She also blew up the tires when a metal fell of the scrap truck she was following.

Sometimes you need second-opinion on car troubles and not completely trust the mechanic or shop (worst the dealership)






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