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Transfer Case not fixed

Car Problems

New Member
April 14, 2011
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Year, Model & Trim Level
1996 Ford Explorer 4WD
I have a '96 Ford Explorer that first started "doing its thing" when I was decellerating to exit the freeway. It makes a kind of whining, revving noise. The noise stops when I accellerate. It would also make it in reverse and wouldn't drive backwards, unless I would switch it to 4low

I decided, from reading posts, that it was my transfer case. I paid a chunk of change to get one from the junkyard. Put it in and it did great for a couple weeks then just started doing the same thing. Took it out and brought it back to them (since it was still under warrenty). Explained the problems to the junkyard's mechanic. I think the transfer case was rebuilt and the shift forks replaced, but it's doing it worse than ever. Could it be my shift motor? Or is it something else? Any experience with these problems/symptoms?


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I have had a similar noise, a high pitched grinding when easing off the accelerator to coast. Eventually, I lost all engagement, and had to use 4LOW to get off the highway. It was caused by worn shift fork guide bushings ($1.70each). Check your fluid for white plastic bits. Also, check your tires, they should all match, as they are proven instances where differences in tread wear (circumference) can cause some noise in the case.

The mechanic asked me that too....if my tires are the same size. Yea, they're the same size and all were put on new at the same time. There's only a slight difference in wear. I'm also led to believe that the shift fork and guide bushings were replaced at the junkyard. Could it be anything else? The mechanic suggested if the problem persists it could be the shift motor. It shifts between 4 and 2 wheel drive, but I wasn't sure if it could just be weak or worn.

Car Problems, did you get this issue fixed? I have the same exact problem.

If you're having the same issue as me.....I feel your pain and will be glad to help in any way I can.

Currently, my car in at the junkyard and they are "fixing" the problem (I hope.....will let you know when I get it back). It took me being stubborn and taking it to a transmission shop to get a diagnosis, in order for the people at the junkyard to listen to me. I'd been saying it from day one, but who's going to listen to a female who doesn't know s*** about cars, right?

The guy at the transmission shop got in the driver's seat, put it in reverse and whirrrrrrr.....yep, it started doing it. He instantly said, "That's your transfer case." I knew it too. I asked for a more detailed description of what was going on and he said that the case itself is worn out. I'm forgetting all of the correct terms for it, but basically where the shaft rides is all wallered out and the holes become oblong and are no longer tight and round.

Like I said, we'll see if my car really is fixed when I get it back or not. They are only charging me $200 beyond what I paid in the first place for a WORKING transfer case (so $350 + $200 = $550), but it really isn't a bad deal. I've found online that you can order the case halves yourself (you need both.....not cut corners like the junkyard was going to do at first and only replace the front half) and a new shaft. You can find it at out of Sacramento. If you're fairly mechanically inclined, I'm sure you can figure out how to replace the halves.

I am convinced this is the issue with my car, but like I said.......we'll just have to see. I should be getting it back today or tomorrow and will let you know how it's running. Good luck!

Did my previous post help at all.......?

Not surprised I didn't get my car back yesterday, like I was supposed to. They told me Monday for sure.......but we'll see. Will keep you updated if it's fixed or not.