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Cracked Transfer Case


Well-Known Member
January 14, 2010
Reaction score
City, State
Smithtown NY
Year, Model & Trim Level
03 Explorer XLT
So today trying to be the most preventative I can I decided to change the fluids in my rear, front end and transfer case.

So lets get to the point. I drained the transfer case put the drain plug back in and put fluid in. As im tightening the fill plug, I see fluid dripping. I wipe it off only to see a crack right under the drain plug. F*** must have over tighten it. Anyone ever have this happen to them. Im currently trying JB Weld. If it doesnt work can it be heli-arched or can I simply swap out the case. Any one have an Idea on a price to have a shop do it.

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Before JB welding, drain the t-case, find the end of the crack and drill a small hole at the end of the crack to stop it from propagating. And I'm pretty sure the material can be TIG welded but you'd probably need to disassemble the transfer case and clean it really good before welding.

Alright, so I tried one coat of JB weld the first time and didnt work. So i decided to give it one more shot. I drained the TC and flushed it really well with break parts cleaner. I put my air hose to it and shot air to help dry up the break cleaner. I then let it sit for an hour. After than I coated it really well with JB weld all around the crack, on the bottom of the threads and as much inside the transfer case as I could reach. Let it dry for 45 minutes than ran the bolt through so I would have some threads. After letting it dry over night I took the drain plug and coated the threads with high temperature sealent. Screwed it back in to the TC and let it dry for 24 hours. I put in the transmission fluid today and ran it on the jack for a little while. Noticed no leaks and drove it around for a little and still no leaks. It has been sitting for almost 5 hours now and its bone dry. Knock on WOOD. My question is can the crack still spread? Is it likley it will leak over night? Should I put on another coat of JB Weld?

The crack probably won't spread because mechanical stress on the casing is usually concentrated near the edges of each case halves and any "ribs" surrounding the case. But, anything is possible so just keep an eye on it for the next week or so

Should I add another coat of JB you think and spreak it the way the crack was going.

Probably wont help to prevent the crack from propagating when it does because whats important is the jbweld that went inside the crack

I just hope that it will hold up, I really dont want to drop a thousand just because of my mistake.

Harbor Freight is selling $10 - $15 torque wrenches. You could even buy a set of 3 (1/4,1/2 and 3/8) for less than $50. That will prevent you from over-tightening nuts and bolts.

JB Weld seems temporary, I'd probably look for a case in junk yards and swap it to prevent it from exploding (going to be costly) when the JB weld breaks down. It's made of magnesium and it could still easily crack.


Hopefully it will hold forever but when/if it goes, the fluid will leak out and the next thing that will happen is the xfr case will grenade on you and destroy the otherwise OK internals. Take your time to find a used one but you may want to also see if you can find just the case. It would be safe to assume most of the internals are OK, but you would probably need seals (you destroy them when you take them out) and bearings (re-usable maybe). I know they sell the transmission cases for $300-400 or so.