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Old 07-30-2013, 05:04 PM   #1
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Help with hairline crack in transfer case?

Ahhh! In trouble. Just got my YJ out of the shop with a $1,400 repair and now...

Specifics: '93 YJ, 4.0, auto tranny, 231J transfer case

Hairline crack in the transfer case, can't see all of it in the pic, but it's about 7 inches. Fluid is leaking. I'm starting a new job which I'm commuting for, and need my Jeep ready to go!

Question is..do you think I could clean it off, drill dimples in the ends of the cracks, and apply ThermoSteel over night?

If not, and it needs to be replaced, what are my other options, until I at least have more money...keep filling it with ATF? If I need to replace it..do you believe I need to do it immediately? Do I just need part of the housing?

I'd greatly appreciate any help! Thank you


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Old 07-30-2013, 07:19 PM   #2
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No experience in your problem, but I would definitely stop drill and Thermosteel it for the time being. It can't hurt and might end up saving some cash while you save up to replace it.

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Old 07-30-2013, 07:44 PM   #3
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Considering the case is 2 parts you will need one or the other, if you are really broke, ghetto weld it up. It's already toast so you can't make it worse. A used tcase should be no more then $150. Check CL and car-part.com
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:55 PM   #4
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My guess is Thermosteel or JB Weld would work. JB weld worked well on my oil pan so far. If it still leaks, you could remove it and have it welded. I never tried but seems like a great oportunity since the only other options seems to be buying a replacement.
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:41 PM   #5
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I have seen people use Epoxy on almost everything, do whatever you need to do, and regardless of what you do, continue to check the fluid levels.

Once you can repair/replace it, do it ASAP! and while you are at it, that is the BEST time for upgrades too!
SYE is dirt cheap right now in the vendor section, and you can get a matching driveshaft too!
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:26 PM   #6
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So do you have any ideas on why it cracked in the first place....these things don't just crack for no reason...

Not sure about your neck of the woods but around here you can pull a 231 yourself for around $100 at Ecology and even less at they're 50% off sales...
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:35 AM   #7
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Thank you for the input! I'll get it replaced when I get paid. At pretty much an all time low for cash since I've been home from deployment. Sucks, but thankful to have two new jobs that I start next week. Anyways, I sincerely appreciate the input.

There could have been a few times that caused this. One- a few weeks after I bought the Jeep someone cut a corner on a staggered, residential 4 way and hit me head on, although he was ruled 100% at fault he didn't have insurance. Bent my front right leaf spring, bent the bumper, front quarter panel and similar area cosmetic damage, but lucky (I hope?) for me my winch went through his caddy's grill and saved me.

The other potential causes- a few weeks ago the U joint in the rear snapped and the rear drive shafted dragged on the ground for a sec (this happened at about 10 mph.) I replaced the U joint myself and then took it to a shop to have them ensure I didn't screw it up, since I'm not mechanical at all. They said it was fine, the front U joint was good, etc. A few days later getting on the freeway in Seattle (I live 40ish miles from there) the little curved assembly that holds the U Joint to the diff snapped, essentially causing the same problem to happen. I was going faster this time, maybe 40MPH accelerating as I merged onto the freeway. I was literally in the middle of the freeway, so I hopped under the Jeep and bungee'd the drive shaft to the undercarriage, put it in 4WD and drove onto the shoulder less than a mile away. The rear drive shaft puked out as soon as I got on the shoulder. Rear drive shaft, pinion, yoke, needed replaced. $1,400.


Anyways, starting a new job on Monday and have other job obligations that require me to commute as soon as tomorrow. Didn't want to put Thermosteel on it before I'd had input..so after class I put some tranny fluid in the transfer case. I'll monitor the leak and when the leak slows I'll drain it, clean it, and get the patch applied. Then in a few weeks I'll be able to afford buying a new transfer case and get it in the shop to have it replaced.

Think I'll be good with that plan or should I act more urgently? Sorry for the long post, just trying to be detailed.

Thank you very much for the help!
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Old 07-31-2013, 09:15 AM   #8
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Alright the TC casing is Aluminum, so if you know someone with a spool gun and setup for aluminum you can get a crack welded, it is tricky though and they better know how to weld good because cast aluminum is difficult.

One thing though is that I have seen people think they had a crack when they didnt. When the cases for the TC and transmission are made they end up with casting marks on the cases. Sometimes these marks can be pretty big and do look exactly like cracks.

If you did crack it you can replace half of it for next to nothing usually. The rear half of it is easy to swap. The front half has a planetary gear. If you do not get a pretty much identical version of the NP231 you will not be able to use the front half off of another one for a replacement.

As for sealing it without replacing or welding, it can be done if the crack is not in a horrible location. You would want to take the case off and open it up. I would take a heavy wire wheel to the inside of the case where the crack is to create a coarse surface for some JB Weld or Epoxy to bite to. I would probably use Epoxy myself, but you would have to check the temp rating on whatever you find because the TC does get hot. Before applying anything and after it is coarse you use some brake cleaner to make a perfectly clean surface with no residue before putting anything on. And let it cure for quite a while before reassembling. If you sealed it like this I would not worry about it again. I would check here and there, but have a feeling it would last a long time.
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Old 08-01-2013, 08:04 PM   #9
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Thank you for the tip. Not sure I'm confident enough to take the case off and work on it myself, but I might look into it.

If I replace it, do you know which I need? Looks like there are two different kinds..21 and 23 spline? But I'd just need the housing right?
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Old 08-02-2013, 12:15 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sicx View Post
Thank you for the tip. Not sure I'm confident enough to take the case off and work on it myself, but I might look into it.

If I replace it, do you know which I need? Looks like there are two different kinds..21 and 23 spline? But I'd just need the housing right?
It might not make a difference depending on where the crack is. It is 23 spline for 6cyl and 21 spline for 4cyl.

Take a picture that is not so close up so you can see the whole case.

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Complete rebuild axle/engine/everything swap in progress:
Parts already gathered for assembly: 2001 Ford 302, 1990 Mustang GT 5.0 ECU and wiring, NP435, NP205, Pair of axles from 04' F350 SuperDuty (Sterling 10.5 Posi rear, Dana 60HP Front-Both Disk Brakes 3.73 Gears), 37" H1 Tires, 9" lift TJ Coils for 2 link conversion in front, Stage 2 Clutch Kit, 3 Row Aluminum Radiator, Chevy Astro Steering box (4" front Stretch), XJ Rear Leaf Springs (6" Rear Stretch), and lots more.
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