Are you shopping for a new vehicle and having trouble finding one, or have you been waiting a long time for a factory order? A reporter would like to speak with you; please reach out to [email protected] by Tues. 5/11 for more details.

Jeep Wrangler Transfer Case

amandaleeamandalee Member Posts: 3
edited April 2014 in Jeep
Someone please help! I was traveling multistate and my jeep began vibrating and before we could pull off the road, parts started flying out from under the car. I was able to retrieve one of the parts from the side of the highway and it is the transfer case. The chain is still in tact, but there is extensive damage on the underside. Does anyone have a clue as to what may have caused this? The noise as I have described it sounded like a coat hanger in a lawn mower. Several parts came off the jeep and the transfer case is not in tact whatsoever. Any advice would be appreciated.


  • lolo83lolo83 Member Posts: 3
    About a month ago, my husband was in an accident in my in-laws 1992 Wrangler with manual transmission. When the vehicle was towed from the scene, it was on two wheels. During the drive, my husband says the wheels locked up, and the towing company had to call for a flat-bed to come get the Jeep.

    After the towing company assessed the damage and costs (they are also FIXING the Jeep), they got ready to repair. They then discovered that the transfer case needs replacement, due to a "crack". This will cost us over a grand more.

    I've been reading up online, and have found that most Jeeps should not be towed on any wheels unless the transfer case is put into neutral, which can be tricky. I haven't, however, been able to find whether this can damage the transfer case on a Jeep with a manual transmission.

    Could the towing of the Jeep have caused the crack? And if the transfer case was not properly put into neutral, could that have caused the wheels to lock-up?
  • erickplerickpl Member Posts: 2,735
    If the Jeep was in neutral position, it should not really be a problem to tow. The problem could be if the Jeep was in 4wd when it was jacked and towed. The lifted end wouldn't spin (depending on how lifted) while the rolling wheels would.

    Are you sure it wasn't cracked as a result of the accident? If the accident impacted the axles, the driveshaft could have relayed the force into the t-case.

  • jeepsnmorejeepsnmore Member Posts: 2
    Depending on the year most wranglers that have been hit and any hard contact to the drivers side front wheel colapse the front drive shaft and break the transfer case, this was the case in many wranglers that I fixed. If it ia a yj wrangler 87-95 it should have also bent the leaf spring on that side and maybe the shock if it's a tj 97-04 it should have bent control arms on that side. But not to say it couldn't pop into 4wd when being towed that could also do the damage but it is kinda unlikely.
  • lolo83lolo83 Member Posts: 3
    Not sure where messages 4 & 5 are, since I can't see them, but the forum says they're here. Firstly, thank you guys for the responses.

    Erickpl: No, I'm not sure if the transfer case was damaged in the wreck or not...that's why I'm looking for more information. I'm afraid this company is not doing the best for us. Besides the fact that they've had possession of the Jeep for over a month, they keep adding to what they say needs fixed before the vehicle is drivable.

    Now, I know a spring broke (either as part of the accident or as the cause of the accident), but I'm not sure if it was the "leaf" spring. I do know that the point of impact was the passenger front side.

    Anyway, I'm wondering now if anyone can tell me possible reasons the back tires would have locked-up while the vehicle was being towed. FYI, the vehicle was not in 4wd when it was hooked up to the tow truck. Also, it wasn't really stated if the lock-up could have caused damage to the transfer case. More help please?
  • erickplerickpl Member Posts: 2,735
    Wheel lockup could occur:

    1. If brakes in applied position.
    2. If e-brake cable was engaged.
    3. If gearing in the transfer case was broken/damaged.
    4. If gearing in the differential was broken damaged. However, this would more than likely cause a free spin. Open the differential and tell - you'll know if they're damaged or not.

    The impact could have damaged the t-case and the gears inside to the point that the rear driveshaft would not turn. If you put the t-case in neutral (if even possible now) and the rear tires will turn, your problem IS the t-case. If in t-case neutral, one or both axles do not turn, your issues are with the axles/gears or possibly a bent axle shaft.

    Leaf springs are the ones like you see on the back of older pickups. Coil springs are like your friendly neighborhood Slinky, but stiffer. :D

    A passenger front side impact could skew the axle to the drivers side and cause the driveshaft to grenade the transfer case, just as Mac said. If that is the case, that could explain why the back wheels may not have turned unless it was in t-case neutral.

    Do you have any pics of the point of impact or underside you could post or email?

    Personally, I would recommend the following (keep in mind I do NOT know what all has been done).
    1. Get it to a shop you TRUST via flatbed.
    2. Have the frame examined and ensure it is straight and okay.
    3. Evaluate the point of impact for body damage.
    4. Evaluate the point of impact for suspension damage (springs, arms, axle tubes, hubs, knuckles, etc.
    5. Evaluate the driveshaft and u-joints.
    6. Evaluate the t-case where the driveshafts come in and then evaluate the t-case itself.
    7. Evaluate the rear driveshaft, u-joints, and rear axle for issues.

    Part of the evaluation should be an inspection of the innerworkings of the axles, differentials, and transfer case. If the t-case is bad, you can put in a remanufactured t-case and it will bolt right up and likely your best/cheapest way to go. This is a good time to put in a slip yoke eliminator kit for the rear driveshaft and a new, stronger shaft in back in case you want to offroad this later and lift the vehicle.

    Your 92 Wrangler will have leaf springs BTW both front and rear and look like this:


  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    Not sure where messages 4 & 5 are …

    Occasionally, people post messages that belong in another topic so we move them.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • erickplerickpl Member Posts: 2,735
    What year Jeep?
    What TYPE of Jeep?
    Have you had any maintenance done recently?
    Have you had any mods done to the suspension, engine, or transfer case lately?

    Either way, it sounds like you'll be replacing the t-case. Question is: Who will end up paying for it. If you haven't done anything to your Jeep and it is still under warranty, they should cover the work. If you've modded anything, the situation gets kinda gray and will depend on what you modded.

  • amandaleeamandalee Member Posts: 3
    The Jeep is a 2003 Wrangler X. I have not modified anything on the Jeep, but a couple of years ago I had the dealership fix a problem with my 4 wheel drive. I believe that it was a linkage problem. I also had to have the transmission replaced when it was 6 months old and replace a head gasket a couple of years ago. This repairs were all covered under the warranty, however, the warranty ran out 4000 miles ago (70,000). Thanks for the reply.
  • erickplerickpl Member Posts: 2,735
    I'd take it to the dealer and show them the maintenance records of the work they did and see what they can do. Be polite and professional, and see if they'll work with you.

    4k is not much of a difference and perhaps they'll split the cost with you. Either way, sounds like you have just cause for a legitimate warranty claim that was never really handled.

  • amandaleeamandalee Member Posts: 3
    That is what I was thinking of doing, thanks. One more question-would this type of dysfunction keep the car from starting? (it won't even turn over). Or could there be something else wrong in excess of the transfer case?
  • erickplerickpl Member Posts: 2,735
    Likely they are separate issues unless you are throwing codes from the transmission that would keep it from doing so. If it won't even turn over, have you checked to see if you even get interior lights, head lights or radio functions? Bad battery perhaps? Bad cables? Bad starter? Lots of things that could be the culprit at this point.

  • tjdriver2000tjdriver2000 Member Posts: 1
    IMO- If they put it on a flatbed. They pulled it up on the bed of the flat bed and that was the only towing that went on with the Jeeps wheels on the ground. If the wheels locked then there is no telling what happened (as far as stress and potential cracks) up stream from the wheels to the transfer case. There are a lot of parts fron the tires to the T-case. My 2000 locked the front pinion bearing to the pinion shaft. Which also fragged the driveshaft Ujoint both front tires and also scared the @#$% out of the wife and I. You are lucky he wasn't hurt. :)
  • lolo83lolo83 Member Posts: 3
This discussion has been closed.