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Old 08-27-2015, 11:45 PM   #1
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Transfer Case Evidence of Fluid Leak, but Level OK

I was crawling around under the van today, and noticed an oil smell. Sure enough, there's fluid splashed around near the transfer case, with obvious wetness at the shift levers, and that red drip on the right side of the photo below.



I checked the sight tube, and the red fluid is at the bottom edge of the zip tie level marker, so the fluid level seems to be good.

I used the low range heavily on my last trip -- towing a heavy trailer for about 15 miles up and down a steep trail. I'm guessing a little fluid was forced out due to heat buildup, and I am inclined to not worry about it. Should I?

-- Geoff
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Old 08-28-2015, 06:49 AM   #2
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Re: Transfer Case Evidence of Fluid Leak, but Level OK

Check your vent and make sure it's not clogged , if they can't vent they will lose oil .

2 quarts capacity The recommended oil is Amsoil’s Synthetic Manual Transmission and Transaxle Gear Lube 75W-90 API GL-4 (MTG). or Torco’s MTF GL-4 also. If unable to find any of these 2 then you can use Castrol Syntec 5W50, Valvoline Synthetic 20W50, or Mobil 1 15W50. Add oil through the upper fitting of the site tube. Mark the oil level in the site tube with a small zip tie so you may see the correct oil level ..... http://www.advanceadapters.com/pdf/atla ... manual.pdf
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Old 01-27-2016, 03:29 PM   #3
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I took a look into the breather hose today. Getting it disconnected from the Atlas II will be interesting, as it's a tight squeeze in there between the top of the t-case and the bottom of my van.

I did follow the breather hose to see where it goes... and found that the end is right above my ARB compressor. Which is, not surprisingly, covered in gear lube caked with dirt. And dead. (It just "clicks".)

I strongly suspect this is why my ARB compressor recently died

Well, next step was to get my dead ARB compressor off (which was a messy and cramped pain in the a$$). This has the added benefit of letting me use that vacated space to insert my head up under the van so I can see above the transfer case and get access to the start of the breather hose.



-- Geoff
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Old 01-27-2016, 03:46 PM   #4
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I read on Altas II Transfer Case that the breather hose "should not have any dips". Well, my breather hose goes up from the Atlas II transfer case to the bottom of the van, and then drops a couple inches before it ends up above my ARB compressor. Hmmm.
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Old 01-27-2016, 06:13 PM   #5
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Not sure if this will help but my Atlas transfer case will barf out oil (a lot of oil) from the vent with any oil except the Amzoil that the manual specifies. My theory is foaming of the oil. Amzoil's web site had a list of performance data that showed low foaming. I couldn't find any data on Mobil 1's (the Atlas alternative to Amzoil) web site. I looked on several other oil brands and the only other company that listed data was RedLine. I'm not an oil professional so I'm really not sure but with the Amzoil I never have an issue no mater the conditions.

Also, the vent tube on my van doesn't have any dips in it but the vent cap isn't much higher then the top of the transfer case. The vent terminates on top of the bell housing of the transmission.

-Eric
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Old 01-28-2016, 11:21 AM   #6
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GEOFFF oil will collect in in the dip (lowest point ) in the vent tube and the gearbox won't be able to breath freely. FOAMING can occur if the gearbox is overfilled . when the the oil foams it is forced out of the gearbox through the path of least resistance usually the vent . To help prevent foaming and oil loss use the recommended oil , take care not to overfill, also you can add a little ATF fluid to your gear oil ( 1/2 cup to a 1 cup ) ATF fluid contains an anti-foaming agent . You may also want install a oil catch can to your vent tube to prevent any future spills. If you choose you can easily fab up a oil catch can using a PCV VALVE. Regarding the ARB compressor , It may not be dead . I could be something as simple as a bad relay , fuse or pressure limit switch. etc. .
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Old 01-28-2016, 12:29 PM   #7
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Thanks for the tips, JackTuppVan!

I'm going to re-route the breather hose so that it doesn't dip down. I ordered a new "installation kit" with breather, hose, and 2 quarts gear lube from Advance Adapters.

A new ARB pump kit is only $160. An ARB replacement solenoid itself is already around $70, and I didn't really feel like taking the time to sleuth out the problem -- so I decided to just start fresh with a new kit.

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Old 01-30-2016, 06:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackTuppVan View Post
Regarding the ARB compressor , It may not be dead . I could be something as simple as a bad relay , fuse or pressure limit switch. etc. .
Well, there I was being all confident, so sure I could just swap the ARB units, but no...

First of all, the replacement ARB unit doesn't come with a solenoid -- these are provided with each locking diff kit (which makes sense to me now), so I had to clean off the old one and use that (it still worked).

Then I wired up my new ARB compressor, and it didn't work. Hours of sleuthing later (studying the wiring diagram and taking apart the existing wet, muddy ARB wiring), I finally found that two wires that should be connected weren't -- the output of the pressure switch should connect to the motor power. The wires disappear into a hole in the van metal where I can't get to them. I don't know if there is some kind of loose connection in there, or a cleverly hidden (blown) fuse but I finally just decided to connect the wires I have access to. And it works! The compressor properly switches off when pressure is achieved, and the solenoid opens and closes.



Gotta love that wet muddy wiring!



I also decided to clean the sludge off my old ARB compressor, and -- of course -- it powers up just fine.

-- Geoff
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Old 02-04-2016, 11:06 PM   #9
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I ended up routing the Atlas t-case breather up high into the fuel filler cutout, and wrapped it with some corrugated conduit to help catch any spray if for some reason it does puke out someday. I also changed the fluid to the Amsoil specified by Atlas, just in case the old fluid wasn't correct.

The ARB compressor is reinstalled and works. Here is my shiny new one installed. It's noticeably smaller than the old.



Old vs. new:



-- Geoff
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Old 02-18-2016, 10:31 PM   #10
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OK, after all that I went out and did some 4x4 playing, and it's still leaking

Now that the transfer case is clean, I can definitely see that it's dripping out from the front driveshaft output of the Atlas II transfter case. I'm seeing about one drip per minute after heavy 4x4 use.



Going to get this fixed by a mechanic.

-- Geoff
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