From my experience it is easier to get it in with it together because it is hard to get the nuts on that transfer case after the transmission is in. Not to metion it will seal better with you tightening it up on the work bench as well. May be easier with a ratchet wrench but it was hell with an open end.
I have done it both ways. I have found that a set of ratchet wrenches are awesome to remove the bolts holding the TC to the trans. Actually I think all you need is a 9/16. Sockets dont work too well because they don't fit. I can separate my TC in under 10 min easily. Same goes for putting it back in. It makes lining everything up with the pilot bushing much easier when you put it back together.
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