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4×4 Transfer Cases

If your four-wheel-drive vehicle has been diagnosed with a transfer case issue, you may be wondering what that is. Here we will explain what a transfer case is and what function it serves. Simply put, the transfer case transmits power from the transmission to the front and rear axles. This gives them the power they need to operate. Needless to say, the transfer case is a vital component for your 4×4 vehicle. With the help of a reputable, trustworthy transmission specialist, replacing the transfer case on your four-wheel-drive vehicle doesn’t have to be a painful or overly costly process. This comprehensive guide to transfer cases will help you determine which one is right for you.

High Range vs. Low Range

Most 4×4 transfer cases are two-speed versions with high-range and low-range gear sets.  First, the high-range gear set usually is a 1:1 ratio, which means that for every revolution of the output shaft of the transmission. The transfer case outputs in the front and rear rotate one revolution. This differs from low-range gear sets, whose ratios can vary from around 2:1 to approximately 4:1. Meaning that low-range road speed is reduced by half or by a quarter, which gives the vehicle an increase in torque by the same ratio.

Gear Drive vs. Chain Drive

The two main types of transfer cases versions are gear drive and chain drive. While chain drive transfer cases tend to be quieter, gear drive versions tend to be more powerful, not to mention that they are not susceptible to chain wear or chain replacement.

Gear-to-Gear Reduction vs. Planetary Gear Reduction

Two different types of gear assemblies can be found in the low-range reduction of your T-case. These are gear-to-gear reduction and planetary gear reduction. Planetary, or epicyclic, gears consist of one or more outer gears, called “planet gears,” revolving around a central gear (the “sun gear.”) Nearly every four-wheel-drive vehicle manufactured today uses planetary gear sets instead of the older gear-to-gear reduction method, which works similarly to a manual transmission.

Cast Iron vs. Cast Aluminum Cases

Believe it or not, even the material of the transfer case can be a subject of debate for four-wheeling enthusiasts. While the traditional cast iron cases, unlike their newer aluminum counterparts, are virtually unbreakable and not subject to wear, they are also much heavier than cast aluminum cases. Regardless of their weight difference, cast iron is still the more preferred material for transfer cases given their extreme durability.
Now that you know about transfer cases and what they do, stop by Mike’s Transmissions in San Jose for your transfer case repair or replacement. Our technicians will take care of you by doing the job right the first time! We make it our business to repair your vehicle and have you back on the road! We get your vehicle in and out in as little time as possible, and do the job right.  Contact us today at 408-629-4205 to speak with a friendly representative about getting your 4×4 transfer case replaced.


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