How To: Replace transfer case drive chain
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Thread: How To: Replace transfer case drive chain

  1. #1
    FRESHMAN ROVER HankRearden's Avatar
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    How To: Replace transfer case drive chain

    Does you p38 make a bang-bang-bang-bang noise when accelerating? It sounds like a machine gun. This may be the transfer case drive chain. It stretches out causing the chain to skip over the gears it runs on.

    I recently replaced the drive chain on my 2000 p38. Most shops wont touch these and the dealer will charge you big dollars. I got an estimate of 2500 to remove and replace the transfer case with a used one. This was out of my budget. I found an aftermarket drive chain for sale in England for 120 usd +60 shipping to USA http://www.rimmerbros.co.uk/Item--i-STC3238P.

    After reading the RAVE and the old post on the same subject as this one I decided to take this on myself. Including taking pictures of what helped me the most and documenting some of the things I wish I would have known beforehand. The only tool I purchased was a transmission jack from harbor freight for 140 dollars. Basic hand tools and a large socket was all that was needed to complete the job. It took me 3 or so hours to remove the T-case and an hour to replace the chain, another 3 to install, so allow about 8 hours to complete the job.

    Note: Exhaust and the cross member holding the tranny can stay inplace for the whole job.

    First step is removing the rear and front drive shafts, preferably in that order. The front inner joint is tricky. My advice is to remove the front joint at the axle first.

    Next is to remove all the wiring and clips from the T-case. There is a banjo bolt on the top of the T-case in the front, don't miss it.

    How To: Replace transfer case drive chain-2012-11-10-12.52.33.jpg

    Next remove the drum from the parking brake. Then remove the assembly from the T-case via the 4 bolts. I let it dangle from the cable until re-installation, so I didn't have to remove and readjust the cable.

    There are six bolts that hold the T-case on to the transmission. The bottom 4 are easy enough. The top two require some creativity with extensions and u-joints. Position the jack before removing the top two bolts.
    How To: Replace transfer case drive chain-2012-11-10-14.07.34.jpg

    Once the bolts are out the T-case will be difficult to remove if their is pressure on the dowels and shaft. It slid right out with little effort when I had it aligned correctly.

    Here is a picture of the tools needed to remove the transfer case. Pretty basic stuff. The long extension contraption is what I used to reach the two upper bolts on the transfer case for removal.

    How To: Replace transfer case drive chain-2012-11-10-14.25.49.jpg

    Most transmission jacks come with chain to support the load. This is not ideal. Try ratchet straps instead.


    How To: Replace transfer case drive chain-2012-11-10-14.22.58.jpg

    The replacement of the chain comes next.

    The case has a ton of bolts holding the front and back together. Air tool came in handy here. I used a sharp chisel and big hammer to break them apart.

    Take note of the slack in the chain for comparison to the new one.

    There is a snap ring on the driven gear. Remove the selector thing and then remove the snap ring and pull both the gears off at once. Easy.

    How To: Replace transfer case drive chain-2012-11-10-15.11.22.jpg

    Sliding the chain and gears out.

    How To: Replace transfer case drive chain-2012-11-10-15.20.47.jpg

    Put the new chain on, it will be a bit tight when sliding on the splines. I used a rubber mallet to convince it where to go.

    How To: Replace transfer case drive chain-2012-11-10-15.31.42.jpg

    New chain shows much less deflection.

    Clean and apply RVT to the mating surfaces. Add 2.4 qts of Dexron III ATF.

    I hope this convinces some of you to save some money by fixing this yourself. I have more pictures if anyone is interested.

    Lessons learned: Power wash the hell out of the undercarriage before beginning so you don't get crud in you eyes every time you rub into something.

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  3. #2
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    Re: How To: Replace transfer case drive chain

    Well done! And big thank you for procedure!!!

    How it drives now?
    Last edited by qwert; November 12th, 2012 at 07:02 AM. Reason: .
    2002 RR 4.6 Vogue

  4. #3
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    Re: How To: Replace transfer case drive chain

    Great writeup! Thanks for that. My understanding is that some of the aftermarket replacement chains have a very short life due to premature stretching, let us know how yours holds up.

  5. #4
    FOUNDING MEMBER Stevemfr's Avatar
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    Re: How To: Replace transfer case drive chain

    Nice write up. Been written up before too.

    Transfer Box rebuild w/pics

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevemfr View Post
    Just a quick note to show the innards of a transfer box. My chain was "popping" under hard acceleration - towards the end even under soft acceleration - so it was time to look at the transfer box chain.

    Pulling the transfer box out is not much of a prob - other than the weight. I was on a lift and had a tranny jack - made the job easy. But for everyone with the 'short' auto gearbox, 2.5DSE's and 4.0's, the job sould be doable with a good, big, garage-sized floor jack and 4 heavy duty jack-stands. After removing everything hooked-up to the transfer case and tranny shifter cable, the crossmember can be lowered and the upper front bolt on each side of the crossmeber mount reinserted in the lower front hole of the frame mount.

    This allows for enough room to slide the transfer box off the tranny output shaft while still creating a stable work area (compared to balancing the tranny on something...). The 4.6's have a different crossmember setup - no tips for that, at least from me. Can't afford the gas for a 4.6 at euro prices.
    The transfer box unbolts easily and slides out w/no fuss, but it is heavy. If I were to do it with a floor jack, I'd prob weld up a cradle for the box, although with the parking brake assy removed and a few skinned knuckles, its doable.


    Once th box is out, disassembly is straightforward (RAVE!). Here is the cause of all evil.

    The chain is hopelessly stretched. Bearings and seals replace easily enough and the chain gears are, as was told to me, bomb proof. I got all my parts from LEGS who I can really recommend for everyone in Europe and poss further. Allan at LEGS was a great help and service/prices are terrific.
    Reassembly is without probs as well. All in all, I'd rate the job as easily doable for a mildly versed home mechanic. The biggest issue is the weight of the box. Time-wise, I'd say roughly 4 hours to r&r the box and another 4-5 for the rebuild, all parts on hand.

    As they say, Just do it!

  6. #5
    FRESHMAN ROVER HankRearden's Avatar
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    Re: How To: Replace transfer case drive chain

    Quote Originally Posted by Jinx View Post
    Great writeup! Thanks for that. My understanding is that some of the aftermarket replacement chains have a very short life due to premature stretching, let us know how yours holds up.
    Will do. I do some offroading and trailering so it will be tested.

  7. #6
    FRESHMAN ROVER HankRearden's Avatar
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    Re: How To: Replace transfer case drive chain

    Quote Originally Posted by qwert View Post
    Well done! And big thank you for procedure!!!

    How it drives now?
    It seems tighter. Like less roll when I put it in park or take off from a stop.

  8. #7
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    Re: How To: Replace transfer case drive chain

    Great Thread here. I need to tackle this job as well and the sooner the better. Can anyone help list the required parts. I know the Chain but isn't there a gasket with thirty or so holes for the case itself. Any other parts that are a must or could be damaged when fixing?

  9. #8
    FRESHMAN ROVER
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    Re: How To: Replace transfer case drive chain

    Awesome. Looks like I may be doing this job on the 2002 I am looking at purchasing.

  10. #9
    FRESHMAN ROVER Ecco's Avatar
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    Re: How To: Replace transfer case drive chain

    @HankRearden

    Very very nice...I am very interested in all pictures you mentioned, and Ill appreciate a lot if i can have it all, in chronological order, how you did whole thing..

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