Transfer case with metallic tinted oil

Joined
Jan 1, 2016
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Location
Minnesota
Hey everyone.. looking for a few opinions here. My 94 80 series has a gear whine that is most audible in the 58-65 MPH range (I have driven with both F+R drive shafts disconnected seperately to try to narrow down the noise - no change either way). While not horrible, it is noticeable. I put new valvoline synthetic 75-90 in the tcase when I base lined it. I drained that out a thousand miles ago to inspect the fluid and magnet. I had a few tiny specks on the magnet - not enough to worry me. But the fluid itself had a metallic sheen to it (like a metallic paint). I put in some Royal Purple 75-140 after that and ran it about 1000 miles and drained it this afternoon. Magnet looks pretty good, a few small shiny pieces in my drain pan, and again a metallic sheen to the fluid. Nothing in the drain pan was magnetic however. Which makes me wonder if the metallic particles are aluminum, and if so, why are they there? Seems like only the case would be made of aluminum. Apparently the PO did the front and rear output bearings but I cannot confirm that. Maybe a race is spinning inside?

Normally I would just keeping driving it and keep an eye on it but I am about to drive 3500 miles to Alaska. The conservative side of me says to try and find a used tcase in the next two weeks to bring with.

Anyone seen anything like this before?

Thanks
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2021
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115
Location
Richmond, VA

Seems like a pretty easy job. I am having a similar issue and picked up a used t case for $200. Might as well just bite the bullet before hitting the Yukon trail for peace of mind.
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2007
Messages
8,994
Do you have any close up photos of the metallic ? particles?

You could drain the oil again (or better if you saved the used oil with the metallic appearance) and send a sample to Blackstone Laboratories for an OIL ANALYSIS. Be sure to label it as gear oil from a transfer case.

If you saved the used oil shake up the container before pouring out a sample
for the analysis, they like to get 3-4 ounces. You can call Blackstone and they will mail you sample collection bottles.

The analysis will tell you if there are unusually high levels of wear metals and which they are (Al, Fe, Cu, etc), water contamination, ---

Easiest/quickest is to call them to get the bottles:
260 - 744 - 2380

 
Joined
Jan 1, 2016
Messages
42
Location
Minnesota
Do you have any close up photos of the metallic ? particles?

You could drain the oil again (or better if you saved the used oil with the metallic appearance) and send a sample to Blackstone Laboratories for an OIL ANALYSIS. Be sure to label it as gear oil from a transfer case.

If you saved the used oil shake up the container before pouring out a sample
for the analysis, they like to get 3-4 ounces. You can call Blackstone and they will mail you sample collection bottles.

The analysis will tell you if there are unusually high levels of wear metals and which they are (Al, Fe, Cu, etc), water contamination, ---

Easiest/quickest is to call them to get the bottles:
260 - 744 - 2380


I wasn't able to get any good photos. I thought about sending a sample off, but the report likely won't get to me in time to matter for the trip.

I think I will try to find a used tcase to bring along.. cheap insurance once in the great north country.
 

Broski

I love Wheelin my 80
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Dec 3, 2015
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Just run it, it will be fine.
Carrying a spare tcase seems counterproductive.
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2007
Messages
8,994
Still could be informative IMHO to send off a sample of used gear oil, should be able to tell you if something inside the case is coming apart.
 

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