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Advice Needed: Transfer case — New or Rebuilt?

outlier

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Year, Model & Trim Level
2002 XLT
OK guys, quickly here. :) Our 2002 XLT is down at the garage and needs a new transfer case. The warranty is up on Monday. The warranty company will cover a rebuilt transfer case, but we will have to pay about $400.00 over and above our deductible for a new Ford transfer case.

The person at the garage we just spoke to said that the guy he'd bought rebuilt transfer cases from before won't rebuild them for 4WD Explorers anymore as while they work just fine with 2WD, there are "problems" with 4WD Explorers. I do not know what these "problems" are.

So we're left with this quandary: Do we get the rebuilt transfer case from a new as yet unknown rebuilder to the garage ... OR should we get the Ford transfer case?

I'd like to say that money is not an issue, but fact is, money IS an issue here and if I can avoid spending the extra $400.00, I would definitely like to be able to do that.

Thank you very much in advance for your advice.
 



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Does your Explorer have Auto 4WD (selector switches on dash) or AWD? Makes a difference as far as the complexity of the transfer case is concerned. My understanding is that the AWD transfer cases (BorgWarner 4410 I think?) are more complex and include a "non-serviceable" viscous coupler.

If you've got the AWD version with the viscous coupler, I can see where it might not make sense to go with a refurb/reman unit.

Hopefully someone with more experience will chime in here.

To be sure which one you have, check the metal tag that's bolted to the transfer case.

To be honest, I have very little experience with transfer cases, but I've done a fair amount of research as mine is slowly failing. I've decided that if (when?) it bombs I'm gonna go with a salvaged one. For me (Auto 4WD with BorgWarner 4411 transfer case), a decent salvage unit can be found for ~$300 and it's maybe another $250-300 to have it installed.

How long are you planning to keep your Ex? Might make a difference.
 






Thanks for getting back to me so quickly! I want to call them back today, obviously.

It has the selector switches on the dash for 4WD.

The guy at the garage was insisting AWD, which I know it's not, as it slips in the rear very occasionally on washed out silt and dirt when wet at one intersection/turn near our home. It's the rear that's slipping and I know we don't have AWD.

Our 2002 has about 75K miles on it and I am planning on keeping it a while. A new vehicle is not in the cards right now, I don't think...
 






I would make sure the shop is asking the rebuilder about the correct transfer case (Auto 4WD or "A4WD" as Ford calls it) and see if that changes the story as to the availability of a refurbished unit. Have them use the info of the t-case tag (aluminum tag bolted to the case) and not a verbal description of the truck (e.g. 2002 Explorer XLT).

I once had a shop tell me that my viscous coupler was shot and that I needed a new t-case. I just grinned, nodded, and took my truck home since I knew I didn't HAVE a viscous coupler. :rolleyes:

I have seen a number of reman BW 4411 transfer cases for sale on-line from various remanufacturers. Who knows about quality of the re-builds, but many indicate a 12-month warranty. Search google for BW4411, or even ebay -- there are some reman units out there around $1000...

What part of the country are you in? If you have to pay your warranty deductible, how much is it?
 






Note that "Auto 4WD" or "A4WD" is VERY different than "AWD" Unfortunate that they sound kind of similar...
 






He did say, and more than once, "All Wheel Drive" and I knew we didn't have that.

Think I might be OK with the rebuilt transfer case with the Auto 4WD? [crossing fingers] :D
 






OK, decided to drive down to the garage and the guy slid under the truck. I asked for the number, not telling him the numbers that should appear or which number I wanted to hear. He said, "forty-four eleven."

I replied with something like, "Good. The 4410s have a viscous coupler which does make for something more complex, so in that case, you'd probably have to go with a new transfer case."

To that, he said, "This has a viscous coupler too."

I didn't say anything.

So this looks like this could be good to go with the rebuilt transfer case? I need to save money and if this is good to go, I'm going with it.

BTW, to answer your other questions, we're in Tennessee and the deductible on the warranty is $100.00. Which, as I said, is up on Monday.
 






Hmmm. I am pretty much positive that the 4411 does NOT have a viscous coupler. Perhaps you should consider using a different shop? :(

The 4411 transfer case has an electronic shift motor that is activated by the 4WD module which is behind the glove box. The switches on the dash connect to the module, which connects to the electronic shift motor.

This is the setup for Auto 4WD vehicles only (4411).

Here are a few snapshots from the 2002 Explorer shop manual (I happen to have a copy handy). These pages describe the AWD versus A4WD transfer case configuration and function. Only mention of viscous coupler is for the AWD version (see 5th photo in the gallery).

https://picasaweb.google.com/JVeeGee/Ford_TcaseInfo?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Also, here's a great description of how the 4411 case works. Again, no mention of viscous coupler.

http://www.rsgear.com/articles/2008_05.pdf

I would wait to hear from someone on the forum who has a bit more direct experience before taking the plunge with a rebuilt BW 4411 case... Hopefully someone will chime in here...
 






BTW: Why are you having the tcase replaced? Is it binding or something, or is your 4WD not working?
 






OK, as I'd mentioned, our extended warranty is up on Monday. There is a howling sound, not extremely bad, but noticeable from 40 to 70 MPH. The sound changes pitch as one changes speed. I'd mentioned it in another thread and thought that it might be something else.

We wanted to get this fixed before the warranty was up. One local Ford dealer are absolute crooks and have numerous BBB complaints, countless negative online reviews, etc. I have my own story with them. It's a doozy. I would push my Ford off a cliff if they were the last Ford mechanic on Earth. I will not go there. Another Ford dealer which seems better won't work with this warranty company. So as far as the warranty is concerned, now I'm stuck with who and what I can get.

Had one of the garage's service managers (same guy who looked under the truck for me) drive the truck with me in it and he originally had the same assessment as me. They took a look, said it needs a new transfer case. The warranty company sent out an adjuster, and he agreed. Then it breaks down to that the warranty company will pay for a rebuild, but not over the cost of a rebuild. A new transfer case's price difference would be borne by us. And right now, we don't have it.

This has been all in a hurry, but there has been so much on my plate lately, two deaths, tons of work, the tremendous fallout of one family death, you name it, etc, that I just haven't been able to devote a lot of time to many things that otherwise would get more of my attention.

So this has all been done in a real hurry. I would like to give this guy — he seems to be a service manager — the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he just doesn't know the difference between the 4410 and 4411? I hope that's the case rather than him trying to sell me something I don't need.

They did recently fix a window for me (covered mostly by the warranty) and it was done right, quickly and the price was decent. So I thought I'd take a chance on them again.

So now, I've already rollied the dice. I told him to get a rebuilt case. We'll see what happens... :popcorn:
 






Hope everything works out with the rebuilt t-case. My guess is that it will be fine. At the end of the day, the shop will simply drop yours out and bolt up the new one. The internals won't really matter, so their knowledge of the inner workings (viscous coupler or not) is kind of irrelevant in this instance.

I was more concerned that your shop was giving you a bogus diagnosis based on bad information about the type of t-case. For instance, when I was told I needed a new transfer case due to bad viscous coupler (that I didn't have), it turned out that what I really needed was new clutches in my rear differential. So I thought maybe their misunderstanding of your t-case might be leading you down the wrong path. Sounds like that's probably not the case.

Sounds like you've had quite a ride (no pun intended) recently. Hopefully this fix will go easy. :thumbsup:

For what it's worth, the last page of the .pdf file I posted earlier has some interesting anecdotes about installation and grounding of the replacement t-case.

Good luck and let us know how things work out!
 






Thanks. :chug: I will be sure to let you all know how if it works out. The rebuilt transfer case, by the way, has a six-month warranty. A new transfer case would have had a twelve-month warranty. As mentioned, anywhere I can save money right now, I have to, so the rebuilt transfer case is going to have to be it.

We did have the rear differential rebuilt several years ago. I'd thought that that was what was causing the sound.

I'd definitely like to keep this Explorer as it's definitely a comfortable ride and has the extra cargo room our other vehicle does not. Now with an infant and three year old, going anywhere, one needs that extra room for all of the junk that has to be hauled.

Next thing I suppose I have to do is get some touch-up paint from the dealer or an auto parts store. Someone keyed the driver's side door when I was in the post office. There was some old Woodstock acid casualty-looking hippie woman at the post office ahead of me, and I think she was the person who did it as A.) She was the only other customer at this small post office B.) She had some of those hippie treehugger political bumper stickers on her POS little car and C.) The door wasn't keyed when I got into the Explorer to go to the post office. I would definitely have seen that. She must have been one of those "SUVs are like totally destroying Mother Earth which would be a total bummer and I must be part of the solution and key this SUV which is part of the problem..."

I asked the postmaster at this post office if they had surveillance cameras to which she cryptically answered "I can't answer that" like it's Area 51 there or something... :rolleyes:

So what I believe I will do is take a 000 or similar white sable brush and carefully paint in the keyed lines (it's down to the metal) and then buff it with some Meguiar's after a few days. Won't be perfect, but it's cheaper than paying to get the door repainted.
 






That stinks on the paint, If the post office does have a camera, i wonder if a police report will help? I'm sure if the police ask for it they will get it. They usually store them for 3-7 days. Might be more effort than its worth. imo i'd just call them 'free' racing stripes if you can bear it?

On the rebuilt xfr case, i've been through 2 on different trucks (not the Ex). But the guy that does them gave a lifetime on his work. Both trucks have over 80K+ on them, no issues. In researching it, there is not much to do, you just need a bunch of special tools. New Seal's, Bearings, (maybe a chain) which should fix the vibs. Only thing left would be the motor, chances they won't touch that, but its easily fixable if that fails.
 






It's been several weeks since it's been keyed, so I'm sure whatever Area 51 Above Top Secret Q Level Clearance surveillance tapes that post office would have would be long taped over.

The keying is not too bad, only several inches long. It's easy to see where the person who keyed the door bumped her hand on the side view mirror as there's a bit of a skip and irregular pattern, which then continues back toward a straighter line. The keyed lines are doubled/side by side and evenly spaced where you can see that a pair of key teeth definitely did the damage, and say, not a stick that accidentally hit the door. I knew it'd just happened too as it was easy to see the paint dust generated by the action of keying down to the metal. A day or two later, that wouldn't be there.

Man, what I think of the person who did this, I'd like to say, but of course, this here's a family show, so I'll just let you all use your imagination instead. :fire:

Here's to hoping that the Explorer comes out A-OK with the rebuilt transfer case. :chug:
 






>>>>>>>>>>>>
Thanks. :chug: Next thing I suppose I have to do is get some touch-up paint from the dealer or an auto parts store. Someone keyed the driver's side door when I was in the post office. There was some old Woodstock acid casualty-looking hippie woman at the post office ahead of me, and I think she was the person who did it as A.) She was the only other customer at this small post office B.) She had some of those hippie treehugger political bumper stickers on her POS little car and C.) The door wasn't keyed when I got into the Explorer to go to the post office. I would definitely have seen that. She must have been one of those "SUVs are like totally destroying Mother Earth which would be a total bummer and I must be part of the solution and key this SUV which is part of the problem..."

I asked the postmaster at this post office if they had surveillance cameras to which she cryptically answered "I can't answer that" like it's Area 51 there or something... :rolleyes:>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Outlier,

did you tell the postal clerk that you suspected your vehicle was vandalized in their post office lot by another postal customer right then and there? If you told them that, then they should have checked the video if they have one(Cameras). If you didn't mention that to the clerk that day then maybe go back to the post office and ask to speak to the Supervisor on duty and explain it to him or her and see what they'll do for you then. I would expect all post offices to have some kind of video surveillance due to the value of some of the things that pass through a post office everyday. My brother works in the Buffalo, NY distribution center(main warehouse) and they have tons of video cameras in there and one way glass so Supervisors can spy on employees at work from cat walks high above the warehouse floor. Also, you can find your vehicles "paint code" on the inside door panel label of your drivers side door. The paint code might say something like "Ext PT" followed by a few numbers and letters or a combination of both. That is your paint code for touch up paint.
 






It was a few days later. I spoke to the postmaster of the entire post office herself. It's a small post office and has a small staff. As I wrote, she would not affirm or deny that she had surveillance cameras and instead started talking about how her own vehicle was keyed in some mall lot for no apparent reason. Obviously, I thought nothing was going to come of it, so I just let the matter drop.
 






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