1997 Mountaineer transfer case problems | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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1997 Mountaineer transfer case problems


New Member
June 11, 2016
Reaction score
City, State
Leander, TX
Year, Model & Trim Level
1997 Mercury Mountaineer
There are a few threads addressing transfer case problems and viscous coupling problems, but ran into a problem after replacing the VC that has me stumped. A couple of years a ago, I had the knocking problem from the transfer case when accelerating from a complete stop or when really romping on it. I first checked the front drive shaft and CV joint and rebuilt the VC and replaced the U-joints. While the shaft was off, I test drove the vehicle and it ran fine without the front shaft off. After replacing the rebuilt front shaft, I was still getting the clunking from the transfer case.

So, after 2 years of driving without the front shaft I finally got around to rebuilding the transfer case. When I drained the fluid, it was a deep murky blackish color (assumed that the VC had leaked all the fluid). The fluid also ran out of the top refill plug before I opened the bottom drain plug. I took the transfer case apart and cleaned it up. The bearings looked good and I replaced the seals and the VC, but kept the same chain.

On the first test drive, I left the access plate off (under the center console), and heard some rattling or clinging noise coming from the transfer case. I am assuming the chain is stretched. I noticed some slack in the chain when I reassembled the case, but had no way of gauging what was too loose. If I accelerate really hard, I still hear a clunk (not as bad ad before, but it is still there).

Here is what is confusing me: I decided to take the front shaft off again to see if it drove like before. With the front shaft off, the rear will barely engage, like it is slipping. Barely got it back to the driveway.

I would like to get some feedback before I take the transfer case back off to replace the chain. Is there anything else I am overlooking?