Strangely enough, most people do not buy a four-wheel-drive vehicle for its four-wheel-drive capability. In the wonderful world of marketing, this type of vehicle is seen as trendy by the people who live in suburbia and never venture far off the beaten path. However, you may stand out from the crowd and use your all-wheel drive vehicle for its intended purpose, as you head out into the wilderness on weekends for some R&R. Your level of use has created a couple of problems, though, and all is not as it should be. What are some of the symptoms, and how can you return everything to normal?
As you know, a vehicle like this can be driven in standard or all-wheel drive mode, where power is supplied to either the back or both axles at the same time. If you've noticed a problem when you select one or the other capabilities, this may well be something to do with the transfer case.
How Does a Transfer Case Work?
This part of the system is typically located near to the front transmission and is linked by two separate shafts that connect it to the front and rear. It is either chain driven or activated by gears and has a relatively simple task to perform. It either isolates or engages the front axle when you need additional traction.
You may have encountered a problem when you left a gravel track and turned onto a paved highway. At this point, you may have tried to disengage the front axle but found some resistance. This could be due to a loose or bent shift linkage, which may also have lost some of its lubrication. As it is somewhat vulnerable underneath the vehicle, this linkage may have been hit by some boulders in the roadway, pushing it out of alignment.
On the other hand, you may have noticed that the transfer case is particularly noisy or may jump out of the selected gear when you transfer it to 'low' range. This is a facility that you really need if you have to climb up a steep, gravel track but the shift fork or inserts may be worn, preventing the unit from positioning as it should.
If you notice an oil leak underneath the transfer case, then check to see whether the vents are clogged or jammed in the closed position. Sometimes, the vehicle will be fitted with tubes that are meant to evacuate the case when it is under pressure, and these may have become dislodged. It's also possible that the output shaft seal has been damaged by road debris, which is a common problem, and this will need to be replaced before you proceed.
What to Do Next
These issues may be difficult to fix, especially if you don't have the right type of equipment. Consequently, you should take the vehicle in for a professional service instead. Contact a provider of products like Jeep auto parts to learn more.