1979 T-Case on borrowed time?

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195,000 mostly paved road miles, well maintained FJ 55. Transfer case has been getting more growly sounding. Mostly on level ground, not really on or off the gas pedal. How does a transfer case die? Grenades and locks up? Just gets so noisey that you gotta fix it? Hoping it doesn't eventually just blow up. I have searched this tropic a lot here lately, but not finding what I want. I have another trans and transfer from a good running '78 I parted out years ago. I don't recall it was noisey. So, if I keep running it as is what is the prognosis? Thanks in advance.
 

RWBeringer4x4

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I'll second Pighead that you should check the oil - the seal between the transmission and transfer case tends to fail and pump oil one direction or the other. If your transfer case is low, and your transmission is overfilled, this is what's happening.

My first transfer case failed by shearing the teeth off the high-low clutch on the output shaft. In an effort to diagnose I shifted it into "low" and it got stuck there permanently. Before than, while it was still in high, it sounded like someone shaking a can of marbles when you drove it.

It seems like another common failure point are the little caged bearings in the idler gears. Those tend to wear out first and start whining/grinding when they start chewing up the idler shaft.

I don't think in either case they tend to "grenade" unless you really ignore the warning signs for too long. If you let anything go on screaming/grinding/whining for too long, something will eventually fail and leave yous stranded. That said, the input bearing in my transmission has "chugged" for damn near a decade now when in neutral and hasn't gotten any worse - maybe I should take my own advise :meh:
 
Joined
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Messages
853
Location
Orcas Island in NW Washington State
Website
www.mtpickettwoodworking.com
I will check again, but I checked transmission and transfer about a thousand miles ago. For 20 years before that this poor 55 was used only in winter with chains on all four corners. I recall I topped of both when I brought it back to daily use last spring. Years ago I had a 45 that would drain into the transfer case so I hooked up a hand pump through the fill plugs to send the gear lube back uphill. Landpimp ended up with that one and he posted a photo of it in a later thread.
 

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