4 Signs That Your Need a New Transfer Case

The transmission is an integral and most complex part of your car’s engine. The complexity will be higher if you own an all-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive vehicle. This is because these vehicles have an additional component referred to as the transfer case.

The transfer case transfers power from the transmission to the rear and front axles via the driveshafts. Unfortunately, the transfer case wears out with time, and when this happens, you’ll need to replace it. Be on the lookout for the following symptoms to know when to replace your transfer case.

1.      The Gears Become Hard to Shift

The gear will move smoothly and easily when your car is new, but it may start developing issues with time. For example, if the gears become hard to shift, the 261 transfer case could be suspect. You’ll notice this the moment you try to engage with some gears, but you experience some difficulty.

However, not all cases like this result from damaged transfer cases. The problem could also result from inadequate lubrication. So, if you notice this problem, check your lubrication first. If your engine is well lubricated, your transfer case could be leaking or damaged.

2.      You Hear Strange Grinding Sounds

The transfer case has an output shaft seal that performs two functions: keeping fluid in the transfer case and sealing off the sound the moving gears produce inside it. When you hear some grinding sound coming from beneath your car, it’s highly likely the 261 transfer case is damaged, allowing the sound to escape. If you don’t attend to this noise urgently, it will worsen.

Remember, the fluid inside the transfer case not only transmits force but also keeps the moving parts inside it lubricated. So, when the transfer case is damaged, the fluid will escape, leading to increased metal-to-metal contact that causes the unique grinding sound.

3.      Erratic Performance of the 4-Wheel Drive

A 4-wheel drive can be active, full-time, or part-time. Active and part-time 4-wheel drive allows the car’s transmission to operate as a 4-wheel or 2-wheel drive. In the part-time system, you have to choose between the two manually.

In the active system, the computer will shift the car automatically to a 4-wheel drive when appropriate. In the full-time system, the car operates in 4-wheel drive at all times. Meaning both the rear and front wheel will be powered simultaneously. If your 261 transfer case is faulty, your car will not remain in the 4-wheel drive but will keep shifting in and out of the 4-wheel drive.

4.      You Notice Some Fluid Leak Under the Car

When you notice a fluid leak under your car, especially in the transfer case area, the fluid could be coming from the transfer case. However, you’ll need to inspect your car before concluding. The fluid should be coming from other parts of the engine. If it’s from the transfer case, it can be accompanied by one or more of the symptoms discussed above.


The transfer case is a vital component of your car. In fact, it’s the part that keeps the car moving. Call an experienced mechanic when you notice any of the above symptoms. The mechanic will determine whether your 261 transfer case needs repair or replacement.

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