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Old 01-07-2013, 05:50 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 72
A whole NEW transfer case? or...?

Hey all. I haven't posted for at least a year but I'm glad to be back here... Had a question, as I usually do...

I have a 2000 4.0L TJ Sport. Last year, I had the engine completely replaced after the head gasket blew. Since then, and maybe I only noticed it then, I've been hearing a chunking, grinding sound when I turned a sharp right, in 2 or 4 wheel drive.

My mechanic, a friend of mine, never really had the time to take a really good look, but on a couple occasions, he fixed a few things that needed to be done anyway, that he was "sure" would fix the issue: fixed the exhaust hangers, replaced the passenger side front wheel hub, but none of them got rid of the issue.

So yesterday we finally got it up in the hoist, and I stuck it in first and we got the wheels moving. I turned the wheels all the way to the right, and there it was - "cha-chunk-cha-chunk-cha-chunk".

So he says my transfer case is pooched, but that I should be able to get a good new one from rockauto.com for relatively cheap. I checked, and for my model, the "assembly" for a transfer case is $900-$1200, but an overhault kit is only $100. Has anyone had to replace or rebuild this thing? Any tips on what I should look into first?

Many thanks!

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Old 01-07-2013, 11:44 PM   #2
Border Dave's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Bellingham, WA
Posts: 650
I wouldn't take anybody else's word that my transfer case is damaged, especially if they didn't open the case.

If the sound is coming from the transfer case:

First, are you sure your transfer case is fully in 2wd(or 4wd)?
If so, I would disconnect the front driveshaft and drive around in 2 wheel drive for a while and see if anything changes. You'll need to drop the transfer case skidplate in order to get to the bolts on the driveshaft. Make sure you support the transmission and take the 4 nuts off the transmission mount before you drop the skid.

If the sound is coming from the front axle:

Could the tires be rubbing on something? If that's the case, you could check your steering stops and add a washer or two if there aren't any already there. If it happens anytime you turn, could your Universal Joints be bad? Or, maybe your ring and pinion gears have some damaged teeth? That's easy to check if you just pull the cover and inspect the gears. Do you have either a locker or limited slip differential? If it's damaged, it would make noises like you described.

If the sound is coming from the rear axle:

Check your differential and ring and pinion gears.


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Old 01-07-2013, 11:48 PM   #3
HarryJeepGuy's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 3,133
Check your front right u-joint. May as well check both sides. Doubt the transfer case cares if you're turning.
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