4x4 Transfer Case Noise - Play in drive shaft?

Kzoo

Original poster
Member
Apr 29, 2012
2
My 03 TB EXT 4x4 is making a speed sensitive whining noise that does not change no matter what position my 4x4 selector switch is in. I don't think it's wheel bearings. My suspicion is the transfer case. When I inspected stuff under the vehicle I was able to wiggle the rear drive shaft at the transfer case very little. However I can wiggle the front drive shaft near the transfer case "quite a bit". My question - should there be any play in the drive shafts where they go into the transfer case? Or does any play indicated a bad TC?
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
There should be no play, and your TC may be dry. How many miles on it, and have you been changing the TC fluid religiously every 50K?
 

Kzoo

Original poster
Member
Apr 29, 2012
2
Roadie - thank you very much for your reply. I just made the switch over to GMT Nation (after being referred over here), and I really like the new website. I was back under my vehicle last night and this time I did notice some signs of leakage of TC fluid. I think its coming from around the bearing where the front drive shaft enters the transfer case. When I drained the fluid, I only collected about 1.5 qts instead of the 2 qts that I put in. The fluid was in very good shape and I didn't see any evidence of metal particles. However, I think your hunch that the TC was dry was right on the money.

The seal/bearings around the front drive shaft must have failed and allowed fluid to leak out. I am really bummed because I have changed the TC fluid very religously at even much shorter intervals than 50K. The truck has 170,500 miles on it now and I bet I've change the TC fluid at least a half-dozen times.

I refilled the TC with 1 qt of the GM AutoTrak II and 1 qt of Lucas Oil Stabilizer that says it's good for transfer cases. I figured what the heck, either it will work or not. Was using the Lucas additive in the TC a BIG MISTAKE?

The whining noise did change pitch, but didn't go away. I guess I'll drive for a few more days and see if anything improves. If not, I guess I'll have to shop around for the best price on a reliable shop to fix the transfer case (I sense big bucks going out the door here...)
 

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