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96 Transfer Case Question


March 18, 2006
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City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
1996 2Dr Sport 4X4
I have a 96 with the 2HI, 4Hi Auto and 4Lo switch. My question is that the front drive shaft is always under power (does not disconnect) is this normal operation or should the transfer case disconnect the front drive shaft. The front diff. is disconnecting but the drive shaft is always under power.

How can you tell that the front driveshaft is always being powered?

Check this: Jack the front wheels up off the ground.

With the vehicle in park, grab ahold of the front driveshaft. You should be able to turn it. If you can, the transfer case is not locked.


RE 96 Transfer Case Question

That is exactly how I know the front drive shaft is always connected to the drivetrain. I have jacked up and blocked both front and rear axles. I have then placed it in drive and have watched the front drive shaft move. I have also placed the transmission in Neutral and rotated the front drive shaft by hand and watched the rear drive shaft turn, with the selector switch in the 2HI position.
Question is: Is this the normal operation for the transfer case or should the front drive shaft be disconnected and move freely form the rear drive shaft when in the 2 wheel drive mode?

Try the test I mentioned above. With the transmission in PARK, try turning the front driveshaft. There may be some resistance there, but it should turn.

Because of the design of the transfer case, the front shaft is not completely de-coupled. It's like releasing a wet-clutch on a motorcycle. The shaft may still turn, even though it's not connected and no power is being put through it. My theory is that the clutches, even when released, still rub slightly, so even though it appears that the front driveshaft is engaged, it could be simply turning (i.e. not mechanically locked to the rear driveshaft). It's the nature of the transfer case design.