transfer case? Transmission? (Solved) | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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transfer case? Transmission? (Solved)


January 23, 2013
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Year, Model & Trim Level
98 ford explorer xlt
I have a 98 explorer xlt 4 WD. A week ago I noticed a howling sound from the front end. I drove it for work about 250 miles. On the way back today it started thumping. It felt like something hitting the floor board. On a whim I kicked it in 4wd it thumped bad then stopped. On the highway it started grinding and hasnt stopped. I have checked the bearings, tie rod ends etc. The noise seems to be coming from the area of the transfer case. I am about to pull the front drive shaft to stop the problem seeing I do not need 4 wd often. Will that stop the problem? What would happen if I was driving and the transfer case fails completely, as of now it will still lock into 4wd. The grinding also gets bad then better, sometimes goes away completely. Speed does not change how it acts or sounds. I have no play in the steering, no shimmie and things like that.

Update: took it to a parking lot today. Cut the wheel sharp left all the way and had someone move slow. A big scary racket came from behind the tire. I also seen the wheel wobbly. So it was the wheel bearing. To bad I have to buy the whole assembly. Will be putting on tommorow. Just strange the sound seemed to come from my transfer case. But once I knew where it was coming from I could tell while driving it that it came from the tire.

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Sounds like your going to have to do some investigating for a proper diagnose.

You have a live front axle set up. Taking the shaft off will only remove any power going to it. The internals will still turn when driving.

The 4405 T-case is a electric magnetic clutch driven system. Plenty can (and has) gone wrong with these units.

Chances are it is the T-case giving you issues. I would place the rear on jackstands, remove the front drive shaft, and carefully run it in gear with the rear tires free to spin. Go thru the 2wd/4wd operations, and listen for the noise.

If you hear nothing, you know the issue is in the front end.

Driving it & the T-case breaking will leave you stranded and in need of a tow.

ok but can i drive it and no mess anything else up with the front drive shaft removed?

Turning the shaft a little is normal.

You can run it with either shaft removed as the T-case is a sealed unit. You wont harm anything. I suggested to remove the front shaft for helping you diagnose only, not suggesting that you remove it and continue to drive it. ;)

i get what ur saying, i wont come back and scream "HE TOLD ME TO DO IT!!!" lol i dont need 4wd much so i dont mind removing it. Just dont want to mess up my tranny, if I mess something else up then I can afford that. The truck has 222,x.. miles on it, but the tranny only has about 130,x..

The thumping you hear, if it is during coasting/decel, is the range hub popping out. The grinding is the range hub chewing itself up against the input gear. Once it wears further, you lose high range, no movement no park engagement. You may have worn fork pads and or ovalling in the case halves. Ask me how I know.

no it is just when im driving, either accelerating or just driving

Update. Took it for a drive not it clonks sometimes but now it sounds like rubbing after at high speeds and slower at slow