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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, just purchased a 1990 Fullsize Custom Bronco down here in FL. She runs good but has a pretty rough body and overal is in...questionable condition haha. Guy I bought it from says he drove it every day though and she definitely runs and drives and starts right up. I bought it as a woods/hunting truck.

It has the 302 Engine and an auto trans with the maunal 4x4 shifter. It shifts into 4h and 4low but it seems like the transfer case is makin noise in 2wd and both 4wd modes. It comes and goes, it can only be described at a "turning noise". Like you can hear the mechanicials inside the case turning, almost like a rolling knocking sound. It worries me a little but...I don't think I'll be paying someone to figure it out though.

Any thoughts on that?

How hard/expensive is it to replace a transfer case?

I was thinking of adding some Lucas tranny fixer to the transmission fluid to help smooth out the shifts. Does the transmission and transfer case share the same fluid/reservoir? And where the heck do I add tranny fluid?

Sorry guys, I am a complete noob to the truck/4x4 world. I come from the world of import performance cars.

Thanks :thumbup
 

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penis
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Tranny and t-case are seperate fluid, Both should take ATF, I would start by checking fluid in the t-case. Tip go spend $20 bux at autoblowsmystick and get a haynes and chilton manual read them t=once your done read them again. People here are knowledgable but the more you can grasp the understanding of your own rig the better. To replace in your drive hthough is simple but will require a couple of stroong friends, there are members in your neck of the woods provide a case or 2 of beer invite them over you can get it changed in a few hours. Do you have manual front hubs or auto front hubs?
 

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Are you sure it is the transfer case and not the front lockers or even the front diff?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Funny story, I looked in the center console and found some records/receipts and a haynes manual.

Thaks for the info though guys.

They are the manual locking front hubs. Like I said I am new to the whole 4x4 thing, but the sound is coming right from the tranny tunnel area. And if you put your hand on the manhual 4x4 shift lever you can "feel" the vibration/noise trough the stick. So...tranny or t-case or even front diff? No idea.

I just added some lucas tranny oil through the dipstick, so i'll see how she likes that.

Thanks :thumbup
 

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penis
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On the rear of the t-case are 2 bolts one towards the bottom other towards the center. drain the t-case and refill with app. fluid. look in your haynes manual there should be a pic of said bolts. they maybe refered to as plugs.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Gotcha, I'll check it out.

Now here's a really noobtastic question:

When shifting into 4 high or low, I need to be stopped and in neutral correct?

Also...what's the best area/situation for 4 high, and for 4 low?

And when should I be using the locking front hubs? (manual)
 

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Redneck Romeo
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Definitely check the condition and level of ATF in your T-Case. If you remove the top plug, you should be able to stick your finger in and feel the fluid without having to reach too far down. (I know, that's a sig-worthy statement, but that's the only way to describe it.) If you don't feel the fluid before you get to the first knuckle, you're running low. My recommendation would be to change the fluid -- it's cheap insurance, if nothing else. I'd be willing to bet the noise you're hearing is due to low fluid level in the T-Case.

As for shifting in and out of 4WD: Shifting into 4HI from 2HI and vice-versa can be done on-the-fly, under 35 mph IIRC. Of course, with manual hubs, in order to do any good shifting on the fly you'll have to have your hubs locked already. Running with your hubs locked while in 2HI won't hurt anything.

Shifting into or out of 4LO, on the other hand, should be done with the transmission in Neutral and the truck stopped. If it grinds while shifting into 4LO, try letting off the brake and letting the truck roll forward or back a little and try again. Then, sometimes, they just grind and there's nothing you can do about it. It's really nothing to worry about, as long as it's just grinding while shifting into or out of Low Range, and not while you're driving.

EDIT: Just read the rest of your post...

You should have the hubs locked whenever you're in 4WD or plan on using your 4WD. I generally will lock the hubs before wheeling, that way I can just grab 4HI when I need it. If your hubs aren't locked, you're not putting power to the front wheels.

4HI vs. 4LO is a debatable issue. If you need 4WD and you plan on running faster than about 30 mph (unless you're on the sand dunes or in a mud bog, I don't see any reason for your wheels to need to turn that fast, but that's JMO). That being said, I generally run in 4HI when wheeling. You have the same gear ratio in 4HI as 2HI, so your truck will go the same speeds in each gear.

4LO is where your stump-pulling power comes from, due to a lower gear ratio. This means that you're traveling slower in each gear, though your engine is revving higher. It's best used when crawling (and I do mean crawling) steep inclines and rocks or pulling out a stuck vehicle. Basically anytime low speed and high torque are necessary. Many believe that if a situation really requires 4WD, you should be in Low Range. YMMV, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks Bigugly!

Very useful info, I'm looking foward to learning about my FSB and 4-wheelin on this forum. Hopefully she holds together that long haha.

I'll check the ATF in the case tomorrow using the "finger method" and see what I come up with.
 

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Driving Stuff Henry Built
-90 xlt, 351w, e4od, man 1356, 3.55, sag, warn hubs, 35s. -73, 400, np435, d20j twin, 35s
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Make sure you check the t-case fluid level with the engine OFF. From one of my dad's (The old auto shop teacher) tests:

"If you check the gear oil on a manual trans with the engine running you get;
A. the correct level.
B. the incorrect level.
C. hamburger "

Same goes for a t-case. Keep your fingers out when the gears might be turning. It shouldn't be turning while in park, but have the engine off anyway.
 

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Redneck Romeo
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Make sure you check the t-case fluid level with the engine OFF. From one of my dad's (The old auto shop teacher) tests:

"If you check the gear oil on a manual trans with the engine running you get;
A. the correct level.
B. the incorrect level.
C. hamburger "

Same goes for a t-case. Keep your fingers out when the gears might be turning. It shouldn't be turning while in park, but have the engine off anyway.
:doh0715:...I always forget that part. :rofl:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks guys. I put some Lucas in the trany...and it didnt seem to do much haha. But it's in there.

I tried checking the T-case today but I COULD NOT get that frikin fill bolt off. Mine is a big square peg that sticks out, what the hell kind of tool fits on that? None of my metric or standard sockets would work.

I also couldnt get the skidplate bolts free...

I did take it out to my property today though. She runs good on the highway and offroad AND in the mud. 4 wheel drive works well and that mysterious noise wasn't present today...weird. (I added Lucas AFTER the trip today)


There's a lot wrong with it...but the two big things are the suspension is shot and I definitely need new shocks and my steering has some serious "play" in it. It's fun though :D
 

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Optimus, I know you said you are new to the 4x4 thing, so keep in mind not to turn to sharp. If she starts to grind and rock, turn-out of the turn or disengage 4wheel drive. Here is a good steering option; http://www.superlift.com/accessories/superunner.asp Also i had steering and suspension problems as well, but once I changed the upper and lower ball joints, one tie rod end, lift installed, and alingment I only have a slightly loose steering wheel now. I went with a full suspension lift cause i didn't want to waste money on OEM suspension parts that i would change out later, which fixed my suspension problems as well.
 

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Driving Stuff Henry Built
-90 xlt, 351w, e4od, man 1356, 3.55, sag, warn hubs, 35s. -73, 400, np435, d20j twin, 35s
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Thanks 3M, now I just need to figure out how to get my T-case fill bolt out.
Some of those can be pretty tough to get out. Whether it's an innie or an outie, a few days of repeated soaking with PB Blaster might help.
 

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Redneck Romeo
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Some of those can be pretty tough to get out. Whether it's an innie or an outie, a few days of repeated soaking with PB Blaster might help.
:stupid

PB Blaster twice a day for a couple days oughta get it loose. I had the same problem when I first checked the gear lube in the front end of my Bronco. IIRC, those pipe plugs are 5/8" square. You'll need either an open-end wrench or 8-point socket. The 8-point is a good tool to keep in the truck, since your drain/fill plugs on the T-case and the fill plug on the front diff are the same (again, IIRC). I'd measure the plug across flat-to-flat and pick up that size in an 8-point. Or, better yet, a set of SAE and Metric 8-points. :toothless
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yeah first I need to get a deep 13 to get these stubborn skid plate bolts free.

I guess some PB blastin and some new wrenches are in order.

Thanks again guys.
 

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Hold pressure with your wrench and have a buddy tap the outside of the case near the plug with a hammer you just want to bump it not knock a hole thru the t case. This usually works for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I got it off, a 17" 6 point works. There's plenty of fluid in the T-case...soo..I guess I'll just see what happens and if that noise comes back. I'm sure all the fluids could use a change at this point.

Thanks again for the help guys.
 

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It's a good idea to change the fluid anyways, sometimes it can tell all (i.e. metal shavings...)

I put full synthetic Mercon V in mine and it made 4x4 shifting smoother and the t-case seems quieter now. Got it dirt cheap at NAPA. I believe it was 4-5 quarts to fill it back up, fyi.
 
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