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Old 10-16-2008, 04:04 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, TX
Vehicle: 1997 Ford F150
Posts: 116
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97 Transfer Case not engaging!

My 4wd has not been engaging. Took my truck into the local auto shop. Put it on the jacks and they said the transfer case was simply not engaging. They quoted me $1500 for rebuilt transfer case and labor.

Is this worth it? Or should I be able to buy a rebuilt transfer case and install it myself? How difficult is it? I have some experience with automotive and I think I can do the job.

also, Where could I purchase a good/affordable rebuilt case and what brand?

Thanks -Ben-
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Old 10-16-2008, 05:11 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: ND
Vehicle: 97 F150 4x4
Posts: 229
Electric shift or manual shift?
Do a search through the posts in here and down in the Other Drivetrain forum. Quite a few other threads with xfercase trouble that might help ya do more troubleshooting before dropping the money on a whole transfer case.
If it's electric-shift, it might just be a bad shift motor, bad switch, or GEM module...you should be able to pull the shift motor off the back of the case and shift it manually by turning the shifter cam shaft that the motor turns.

I did a rebuilt electric-shift transfer case in my 97 this summer. $350 from the junkyard and not quite $400 worth of new parts...so I basically have a complete rebuilt transfer case for about $750. The shop that swapped my transmission (and forgot to refill the transfer case with fluid!) did the labor on it. I was there helping him out (and making sure it got filled!!!) since we did it after hours because I needed my truck ASAP.

The hardest part about changing it yourself is that you'll need to split the exhaust system to get the transfer case out of the truck. The FSM says you need to pull the torsion bar crossmember, but you can finagle the transfer case out without dropping that crossmember by doing some creative twisting.

good luck!
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Old 10-16-2008, 10:27 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, TX
Vehicle: 1997 Ford F150
Posts: 116
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It is manual. Thanks for the advice. I had searched for transfercase talk but didnt find anything on how difficult the process would be.
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Old 10-16-2008, 10:27 PM


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