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97 Ford Explorer AWD Transfer Case

NJexplorer313

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Hi all, I own a 1997 Ford Explorer w/ AWD and 5.0. I have had it for about 8 months now, and it currently has a little over 170k on it.
I have recently experienced thumping/clunking noises in the drive train that starts out slow, and gets louder and faster with engine speed, and upon turning. I had originally thought it was comming from the front drivers side, which led me to believe it was a axle shaft/cv joint. I replaced the axle, and the noise still continues.
I finally decided to get it up all all four wheels and do a check with it in drive. It now appears the noise is coming from the driveshaft that connects the front diffy to the transfer case. The driveshaft seems to vibrate, and cause the noise. Also, with it in neutral, as I rotate the driveshaft by hand, I am hearing a tapping/clunking noise in the back of the transfer case. It doesnt seem like the Differential to driveshaft U joint is bad, as it has no play in it. So the only thing I can think is the transfer case.
BTW, I checked the oil level in the transfer case, and it is good. I figure it is about time the transfer case went bad anyway, since it does have over 170k on the clock.
Anyone with experience with these transfer cases, and think this is the cause of the noise? Please get back to me! Thank You!
 


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410Fortune

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the AWD t case is problematic with high miles, from what you describe I would say it has worn out

There are MANY threads on this forum regarding your AWD t case
the junk yards sell alot of these suckers so they try to get a fortune for them. I wouldnt pay more then $200 for a good used unit.

If you use this truck alot and want to keep it you may consider the 4406 manual transfer case conversion

I have a 96 AWD t case for sale, but it will not fit your 97 truck, the front output yokes are different. If the d shaft is vibrating you need to check the play on your front differential input yoke (where the front d shaft connects)

EDIT: Im a retard, as JT stated below before you go throwing away your AWD t case check out the front driveshaft CV yoke, on the 97+ trucks they SUCK (a stupid style CV assembly, not the easily rebuildable traditional style CV assembly)
 




Turdle

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I highly recommend replacing the front drive shaft. Take it off and look up into the cv joint-you'll see a small rubber boot. If it is torn up at all the joint is bad.
It may or may not be as bad as this one-but this shaft made the T/case sound like someone was playing yahtzee. It ratttled real bad.

It's kind of a bad design, as it faces forward and does nothing but catch debris.

Now-the trick part-
measure from the weld points on the shaft itself for the proper length. There are 3 possibilities depending on build date. You need to measure it.

They sell the replacement at O'reilly auto parts.
 

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410Fortune

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oh yeah good advice JT I often forget my 96 shaft is "normal" and the later models went to that stupid stupid stupid CV assembly
 




NJexplorer313

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Wow..thank you guys for the fast replies! I will def have to check the driveshaft out to see if the boot is worn like you describe before I blame the case as the problem. That would be great if thats all the problem is! I'll keep you updated!
 




NJexplorer313

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OK guys. after inspection of the CV Boot, it doesnt appear to be damaged at all.I have found the link for the BW4406 swap, and I am going to go that route. It looks to be very detailed, and even gives part numbers! I like the idea of being able to be in 2 wheel, and also having a 4L. Plus, the case is much beefier. This truck is my daily driver, and I plan on keeping it until it dies. Thanks again for your advice and opinions. Again, I will let you know how I am making out with the swap!
 




410Fortune

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Just because the boot is okay does not mean the CV joint underneath it is!
The 4406 conversion is awesome, but gathering all the parts you need can be tricky. Make sure you do your research!
My 4406 conversion is in my signature
 




crtmut

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NJ can you post a link to that swap. My AWD is drinking gas tike its beer!!!!
 




410Fortune

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NJexplorer313

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Turdle

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NJexplorer313

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well guys,, I lucked out and just purchased a manual BW4406 from a local used auto parts dealer. It is from a 98 F150, and has the speed sensor where I need it in the T Case. The place I got it from also the front and rear expedition driveshafts from a 5.4. I dont have the funds to buy these just yet, but my tax return should be coming in any day now. I am going to still need the linkage (which I may try and fabricate), the conversion U-Joint that I'll probably buy today, a stick lever and boot.
I still need to drop both driveshafts, and finish pulling the original case out. I will also need to modify the gas tank end that I'm seeing needs clearance. I'd like to try and get this all complete in the next couple of weeks. I'm guessing its gonna cost between 500 and 600 dollars total. The case was 300.00. They want 75.00 a piece for the driveshafts. I will keep you posted on my progress!
 




NJexplorer313

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That was a quick decision:thumbsup:

JP, I figured what the hell. 410 gave me the suggestion, and these guys have done great writeups on the swap. Plus the gas mileage, 4L and power increase are too much to pass up!
 








NJexplorer313

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I wonder if all these 4406 sales will drive up the national price of them?

I am glad to see another conversion, your the second one this month. :thumbsup:

LOL, I guess its a good possibility. As long as the conversion doesnt go too far beyond this forum....

Well, got the upper 2 bolts out of the case to trans, got the front DS out, and am working on the rear shaft to rear dif bolts. These suckers are welded on, so I am off to Autozone for some good penetrating oil, and a 12mm open end wrench (broke my only one). While I am there, I am picking up the conversion U joint. Its priced at 8.00 which is cheaper than I thought it would be. I have also called ford parts, and just for the upper and lower bracket, and linkage is almost 150.00. they want 108.00 for the upper bracket alone:eek: I am on a tight budget,so Ive decided to just get the thing in, and worry about the shifter stuff in the future. I'll get her in 4 wheel by hand for now! Maybe even an access panel in the floor, so I dont have to even get out LOL
 




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Keep calling salvage yards, sometimes they are left on the transmissions, ask them to check the transmission the 4406 came out of. That's where I found mine. Or, take the part numbers, email or call Torrie at FastPartsNetwork, see what his prices are for the linkages.
 




NJexplorer313

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Keep calling salvage yards, sometimes they are left on the transmissions, ask them to check the transmission the 4406 came out of. That's where I found mine. Or, take the part numbers, email or call Torrie at FastPartsNetwork, see what his prices are for the linkages.

Thank you for the info! I am waiting on my tax return, and may try some more yard hunting. Good weather is coming this way soon!

I decided to put the rear driveshaft to TC bolts back in and go for a spin with just the rear shaft connected. So I threw my seat back in, took off and... no noise.
JT was 100% correct with it only being the front CV style driveshaft. I didnt even think to try this method of taking it for a spin without the front hooked. For some reason, I thought the CV style joint slid into the TC like a driveshaft slips into a transmission with its yoke, making fluid spill and undriveable. Once I unhooked it, I discovered it just bolts to the case, with no yoke.
All in all leason learned. JT, I smacked myself in the face a few times for you LOL!
Welp, the DS from O'Reilly Auto would be a good 260.00 plus shipping to New Jersey, and I would still have been stuck with the original 170k case, so all is not lost. With your permission JT, maybe we could make a sticky on the board about the crap front driveshaft unit, and replacement.
Still going to continue with the swap. Gonna try and pick the rear expedition driveshaft up sometime this week.
 




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