Transfer Case Rebuild/Replacement Advice

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate
links, including eBay, Amazon, Skimlinks, and others.

Jan 4, 2009
Northern CA
Hello all, I could use some advice with regards to whether or not I should rebuild or replace the transfer case on my 85 FJ60.

Short version: I am pretty inexperienced with working on my Land Cruiser but would love to learn and do more. My transfer case probably needs replacement or rebuilding. Is rebuilding the t case something I, being inexperienced, could do? What about replacing it?

Loooooong version
Some background on the problem. I started to notice a grinding/growling sound from my cruiser when driving around that was different from normal driving sounds (best description I can manage). Cruiser didn't make the sound while idling, only while moving. I took it to a cruiser mechanic in my area. He believes the issue is the transfer case. He drove it around, found the fluid level to be very low in the t case, and found metal shavings on the magnet of the drain plug. He recommended the t case be replaced but stated that without opening it up there would be no way to be sure that it is the issue. So while I am no sure that the transfer case is at fault, I concede to the mechanic's much more educated and probably correct opinion.

I want to replace or rebuild the transfer case myself, however my main concern is that I am very inexperienced with working on cars. However I really would like to learn how to work on my Land Cruiser and do most of the maintenance on it myself (after all that's one of the reasons I bought it). Is rebuilding or replacing a transfer case something I could do with a friend or is it better left to someone who knows what they are doing (which seems to be what the Haynes manual is telling me)? I would be able to work on the cruiser over weekends at an auto hobby shop on base but will be too busy during the week to work on it. I bought a second car recently so the cruiser is no longer my daily driver but I wouldn't want it to be out of commission for a long period of time.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading! Any input would be greatly appreciated.

A new transfer case assembly for your cruiser is no longer available new from Toyota.
A rebuilt used unit could probably be found if you wanted to go that route ($). Take a look at Call them if you are interested.
Some of the parts inside the transfer case are still available new, other parts are not.

Probably the most difficult part of rebuilding the transfer case is dropping the transmission in able to do so.
Removing the TSM with TFR (and re-installing it) is not recommended for first off beginners unless you have the Can Do Attitude.

Personally, I had no wrenching experience prior to purchasing my cruiser 27 years ago. It had a burnt exhaust valve when I bought it. I talked the a guy at Toyota, & he said I could do it. He told me I could repair it... "Land Cruisers are easy". That's what he said.

So I did it.... being super extra careful to keep track of everything and going slow and one step at a time. Carefully following the manual instructions.

Really, in the end, it is just one bolt at a time.
being you would have the transfer case half disassembled to remove it from the transmission, get a rebuild kit and just rebuild it, get a manual and follow the steps.
True....Just make sure that the entire case and underbody is super duper extra super squeeky clean before taking the transfer apart under the car while it's still mounted to the tranny.. otherwise all that crud will rain down into the gears.
If you are even marginally mechanically inclined, and have a decent set of metric tools, I would say go for it! It is not rocket science or brain surgery. Get the FSM and a high quality rebuild kit with Koyo bearings. You may have to have a machine shop split and reassemble the gear stack for you if you don't have a puller set or a press. Where in Nor.Cal are you. I am sure you can find a local cruiser head to give you a hand (for a beer or two).

More info. How many miles on the truck. How low was the fluid level.. Always replace the u-joints first. U-joints almost always wear out before the t-case and can sometimes be elusive in diagnosing. A growl from the rear end can resonate up the drive shaft and sound like it's
in the trans so check fluids in the rear end also. pull the driveshaft and start with that. While it's pulled make a couple laps around in front drive with the rear shaft out
Unfortunately I'm no longer located in Nor Cal, but am currently living in Charleston, SC. Little more info on the truck. 245,000 miles, mechanic said he drained half a quart from it when I think its supposed to have 1.8 quarts.

Icwizard, when you say check fluids in the rear end does that mean I should check the rear differential fluid level?

As far as getting all the parts necessary to rebuild the transfer case, the only place I have ever dealt with is SOR. Are there any other places anyone would recommend for parts? Dyno, you mentioned Koyo bearings. Where would I be able to find those?

Thanks for all the responses. Sounds like the first step is getting under the cruiser and going to town with a pressure washer.

Contact Georg at Valley Hybrids in Stockton, CA or Kurt at Cruiser Outfitters in Sandy, UT and either of them will take care of you fine.
First. You can do it yourself with help. Just need someone who can use a press. And a funny tool on the last step, can be bought for $20.

Second. Lose the Haynes manual. Get your self a genuine toyota FSM,(do a search here , there are pdf's available to download)

Third. Sounds like you have space and maybe a lift. Drop the whole tranny, makes rebuild soooo much easier. You can drain all the old worn out trans fluid and replace main seal and some other seals around torque converter(ask a pro) while its out. Also shifter linkage bushings.

Fourth. Search function. There are amazing write ups on xfer case rebuilds and tranny service.
here are a few : (this one is to tighten up shifter) (you'll probably need something like this, I used only one Trimed down PTO gear welded it to spacer while it was clamped onto spline from xfer and then slipped it onto output shaft)

p.s. Parts are not cheap. even with 20% discount it was about 750, and make sure you get a FULL kit with all the little stupid gaskets like the speedo, 4wd sensor gaskets etc... shop around.

Have fun, its totally worth it!!!:flipoff2:
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom