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Old 03-10-2006, 11:42 AM   #1
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I tow a 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Ltd and have recently run into a severe problem that I'd like to share with others. As background, I have towed this vehicle over 8000 miles with no problem until two weeks ago. We were on our way to southern California from our home in Winnipeg and on day four of our trip we had just past through Albuquerque, NM and we turning off of I-25 into Los Lunas to stop for lunch. After stopping at a red light, I proceeded to turn left and saw the toad in my rear view mirror and noticed that the wheels were not turning and the tires were skidding and smoking. I pulled over as quickly as I could, in less than 10 feet, and got out to check what was happening. The first thing that I did was to check that the transfer case was still in neutral by pulling on the shift lever, which moved all too easily. I got out and looked underneath the vehicle and noticed that it was dripping fluid from the transfer case, which has literally exploded. A wrecker took me to a Dodge dealership and they put in on their hoist to examine the damage. To make a long story short, I needed a completely new transfer case, a new transmission and a new front drive shaft plus other assorted minor parts. Ten days and $7600.00 later we were back on the road. To this day no one can explain to me what might have happened to cause the problem. Does anyone have any suggestions so that I, and others, might avoid this problem in the future?
Please see pix that follow.
Thanks for your feedback.
Canuck
Transfer Case Pictures
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Old 03-10-2006, 11:42 AM   #2
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I tow a 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Ltd and have recently run into a severe problem that I'd like to share with others. As background, I have towed this vehicle over 8000 miles with no problem until two weeks ago. We were on our way to southern California from our home in Winnipeg and on day four of our trip we had just past through Albuquerque, NM and we turning off of I-25 into Los Lunas to stop for lunch. After stopping at a red light, I proceeded to turn left and saw the toad in my rear view mirror and noticed that the wheels were not turning and the tires were skidding and smoking. I pulled over as quickly as I could, in less than 10 feet, and got out to check what was happening. The first thing that I did was to check that the transfer case was still in neutral by pulling on the shift lever, which moved all too easily. I got out and looked underneath the vehicle and noticed that it was dripping fluid from the transfer case, which has literally exploded. A wrecker took me to a Dodge dealership and they put in on their hoist to examine the damage. To make a long story short, I needed a completely new transfer case, a new transmission and a new front drive shaft plus other assorted minor parts. Ten days and $7600.00 later we were back on the road. To this day no one can explain to me what might have happened to cause the problem. Does anyone have any suggestions so that I, and others, might avoid this problem in the future?
Please see pix that follow.
Thanks for your feedback.
Canuck
Transfer Case Pictures
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Old 03-10-2006, 03:20 PM   #3
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I have a 1993 GC. We haven't towed it very far yet, but we're leaving on Sunday morn for Temecular and Arizona. So, we took the Jeep in to have a tune-up, liquid check, and they checked the transmission. They discovered a leak in the Transfer case.

Now, I don't know if this happens a lot or not, but it would seem to me that if it went dry then it would heat up and could explode as you stated. According to my mechanics, the gears in the transfer case are always moving, even in neutral. I discovered this because I was trying to shift while the car was running and it made a grinding sound.

Hope this might give you a glimmer. I'm having my leak fixed...$565.
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Old 03-10-2006, 03:30 PM   #4
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I have towed my 2001 Jeep GC 4x4 approx. 35,000 miles behind 2 motorhomes. I haven't had any problems yet. I did read that once you put the transfer case in neutral you should put the transmission into drive to make sure it is disengaged. I don't do that, but in the last few months I hook the Jeep close enough to the MH so when I am done I can push the Jeep back until the locks engage on the tow bar. I figure if I can push it back the transfer case should be in neutral and the parking brake is off.
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Old 03-13-2006, 09:25 AM   #5
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tmitchell: After putting the transfer case into Neutral, put the transmission back into park!! When you do you will hear it disengage. This is per Jeep's instructions. You are turning the transmission if you don't and will damage it.

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Old 03-13-2006, 10:47 AM   #6
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Thanks to everyone for their suggestions/comments. I follow the procedure as outlined in the Jeep manual, transfer case in neutral and transmission in Park, and like each of you I have not had any problems until this major one. My suspicion is that the linkage underneath the car was jarred off during our passage over some rough roads and this allowed the transfer case to slip back into gear and then go "boom."
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Old 03-13-2006, 11:10 AM   #7
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Canuck, you asked for suggestions/comments, so here's my 2 cents...
Not sure if this had happened in your case, but I always make a point of rechecking the tow bar hitch, safety cables, and pins when we had a brief stop like a Cracker Barrel restaurant or something. In particular, I'll do a full "audit" on the towing components the next morning if my toad has been hooked up all night. I've heard more than one rver tell stories of finding the hidden hitch pins missing, or the safety cable unlatched... There's something to be said for the manufacturers' kits that have locks on all their pins. My impression is that it seems this is a game to local pranksters and kids, usually in the dark of night. Is it possible that a similar "prank" may have been played on you if you let your rig and toad unattended? Could someone have opened the toad door and slid the transfer case into gear...
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Old 03-15-2006, 03:24 PM   #8
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Hi Troth,
Thanks for the suggestions. Like you I too do a check on the status of the toad whenever we stop. I doubt that anyone placed the transfer case in gear as I keep the doors locked. If the doors had been opened the security alarm would have gone off. I'm still leaning towards the theory that the linkage assembly came off due to rough roads/age and allowed the transer case to drop into gear. When I actually stopped to address the problem the transfer case shift lever was still sitting in the neutral position.
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