Is My Transfer Case Toast?? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Is My Transfer Case Toast??


November 12, 2009
Reaction score
City, State
Central, NY
Year, Model & Trim Level
1996 Ford Explorer Sport
1996 Ford Explorer Sport Control Trac 4.0 5 Speed Manual with 210,000 Miles

Hello Everyone,

Got looking into my ongoing 4X4 issue I have had for the past month or so yesterday. Here are the symptoms and this is what I found:


Getting an intermittent "Thumping" noise in 2WD. When I put it in 4WD it goes away and the 4X4 works fine.


Jacked up the vehicle with all four tires off the ground, put it in 2nd gear / let out the clutch and with the rear tires spinning in 2WD the front driveshaft intemittently engages, (making the thump sound I hear) like it's trying to engage the 4WD.

Put it in AUTO 4WD and repeat the above and the front axle shaft actuates fine / no problems.

Upon doing the above, I removed the Transfer Case Motor and manually engaged / disengaged the Transfer Case by turning the shaft and got the same results, ruling out a faulty TC Motor.

I have been getting an intermittent thump....thump and am pretty sure this is what's causing it as everything else underneath including the CAD Actuator on top of the front Diff. is working like it should.

Bad sensor??? Bad transfer case?? I am stumped.

Any help with this one would be greatly appreciated.

I searched through the Threads and couldn't find this exact problem.

I am grasping at straws for a solution.



I had a similar problem, and it did end up being the transfer case. I would suggest replacing it sooner rather than later, because if you wait like I did, it gets to the point of it being undriveable. My local junkyard had Tc's for $100 and pulling it only takes a couple of hours. Putting a TC back in is another monster and doing it while your vehicle is on the ground is a PITA! I think a shop quoted me $150 to swap TC's if I got a replacement myself.

If you dont like junkyards, Transfer cases usually run about $700 -$800 for a rebuilt one.

Hi YountExplr,

Thanks for the reply but I am hoping my problem is not the same as yours.

From what I understand the 96 & 97 t-cases are different in that I have the CAD system.

Hopefully someone will respond with what is going on with my t-case.



Hi YountExplr,
Could you elaborate a little more on the TC swap while it's on the ground? I'm pretty much convinced I have a dead TC also. I'm by no means a 4x4 expert (or even novice) but I get nothing but gear grinding going from 2hi to 4 hi and the truck won't move, but will back up and move forward in 4lo, with a little more grinding before it gets into lo gear.

it sounds like Yount is correct, and a transfer case swap is in your future.