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Old 12-22-2014, 11:30 AM   #1
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Drivetrain and Transfer Case Carnage

Soooooo, driving along the freeway at about 65mph, a sudden and rapid 'bang bang bang bang....' and shaking. I immediately think it's a tire blowout, and because the steering isn't pulling, figure it's a rear, so I take foot off the accelerator to coast to the side (sometimes braking can cause an oversteer with a rear blow out). Banging gets worse in the next second or so, then a massive whump, and we're off on the side of the road softly braking to a stop.

I haven't done a full inspection but I did go under to tie up the drive shaft so that we could get winched onto the flatbed, and supported the now-completely-ripped-off-and-dangling transfer case with a strap. Other damage looked like a small puncture through the exhaust line, and some denting (but no puncture that I can tell) of the 46 gal fuel tank, which was full. But luckily it's diesel, so it would have only been an environmental disaster instead of a personal safety one. I can imagine since the transfer case is 'removed,' that the front shaft and various things are whacked now too. See the one pic with the transfer case levers on the inside of the van sucked down into the floor....


So one interesting factoid: the drivetrain had been feeling a little 'loose' and making some sounds, so I'd taken it into a repair place. They said both U joints were bad, and the rear yoke so they replaced those. How long ago? 365 miles. Seriously.
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Old 12-22-2014, 11:53 AM   #2
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Re: Drivetrain and Transfer Case Carnage

Yeah, um, that repair shop did something wrong. Really wrong.
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Old 12-22-2014, 02:55 PM   #3
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Re: Drivetrain and Transfer Case Carnage

I'm sure you know this, but you must thoroughly document and photograph this event and have the repair shop cover all fixes under their own insurance. Damn, that's bad.
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:13 PM   #4
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Re: Drivetrain and Transfer Case Carnage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffrey
I'm sure you know this, but you must thoroughly document and photograph this event and have the repair shop cover all fixes under their own insurance. Damn, that's bad.
Yeah, I've got some basic shots of it. Probably should have done the full accident scene (not that there was actually an accident), but at least have the basics. I'm certainly hoping they cover it, or most of it, regardless of what the initiation site was. The thought of what ripping the transfer case off the bottom of the van is going to take to fix gives me the shivers.
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:36 PM   #5
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Re: Drivetrain and Transfer Case Carnage

For the Atlas to fall out, the adapter plate must have failed. I wonder if they forgot to fill the transfer case and it seized, or the rear diff seized or a u-joint... Hope the transmission/torque converter/flexplate are OK.

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Old 12-22-2014, 06:29 PM   #6
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Re: Drivetrain and Transfer Case Carnage

Typical failure is incorrect (incomplete) installation of the U-joint retaining rings.....at least it used to be.....every vehicle I've owned for the last 30+ years had CV joints. Of course my van has lots of U-joints.

Highly likely that the repair job was shoddy........
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Old 12-22-2014, 06:36 PM   #7
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Re: Drivetrain and Transfer Case Carnage

I have a bit more info, none of it good. The transmission is shot. The atlas is shot. The shop said there's no way it was the U joints or the rear yoke based on what happened (remains to be seen) which is, to be fair, all they did. Interestingly (and I need to crawl under it a bit) they say all of those U joints and yoke are still fine; didn't fail there? They did say that I need to get a third party to investigate it to find out what really went wrong. To quote the guy "I've been fixing trucks for 25 years and I've never seen anything like that." So not reassuring on several accounts.

Current theories are either the transfer case or transmission locked up setting off a chain of events leading to complete drivetrain destruction.

The only thing I could find related online was this, which is anything but funny since my vehicle has 50,000 on it.

http://12501.activeboard.com/t5100970/f ... of=1936433


"I have a 2001 Ford E350 van that was converted to a campervan. At about 55,000 miles the transmission basically blew up. This was after new brakes and new vacuum pump the prior year. The tranny guy said it just blew apart internally. The only option was a new $3100 transmission! Of course, I contacted my dealer and he informed me there was nothing Ford could do. Another quality Ford product backed by quailty service. Anyway, the tranny guy told me Ford had been trying this new transmission and it just never worked. Each year Ford would redesign it, until they finally gave up! "
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Old 12-22-2014, 06:57 PM   #8
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Re: Drivetrain and Transfer Case Carnage

Call:

John Wood Automotive
366 Maple Ave
Holtville, CA 92250
ph: 760-356-1734
john@jwtt.com
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Old 12-22-2014, 09:07 PM   #9
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Re: Drivetrain and Transfer Case Carnage

WOW! That's amazing. The photo shows the front Ujoint separated from the transmission. That failure alone should not have caused that kind of damage. Worst case, when the transmission Ujoint fails, the drive shaft falls to the ground and gets caught in a hole or something, causing the van to flip. That's why race vehicles have driveline loops that will hold the shaft up in the event of a failure.
Now, if the front driveshaft failed, and the shaft hooked something that caused it to be driven backwards, the kind of damage you have would be easy to imagine. Otherwise, I have to go with something coming adrift in the transmission or less likely, the transfer case. Just glad your ok, stuff can be replaced. I'm now thinking I'll double check my joints tomorrow"......
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Old 12-22-2014, 09:32 PM   #10
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Re: Drivetrain and Transfer Case Carnage

Quote:
Originally Posted by kzemach
I have a bit more info, none of it good. The transmission is shot. The atlas is shot. The shop said there's no way it was the U joints or the rear yoke based on what happened (remains to be seen) which is, to be fair, all they did. "
How do you know that the transmission and the transfer case are toast? Are you taking the shop's word who did the service?

What do you think the odds are that both the transmission and transfer case both failed simultaneously?......or did the drive shaft failure physically damage the transfer case/trans?
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