Dry Transfer Case

About 3 months ago, I bought a 2005 Ram 1500 truck. It’s got 117,000 miles. The guy who sold it to me had the whole thing detailed and all the fluids changed. Recently, I’ve been hearing a whirring sound that didn’t quite seem right. I started poking around and I discover the drain plug on the transfer case is finger loose and there’s barely any ATF left in there. I drained and refilled it, but as you might expect, that didn’t make the noise go away. Where do I go from here?

Can I continue to drive it with that whirring sound or are my front wheels going to lock up one day and flip the truck upside down? Should I fix it? Should I sell it to the next sucker before it explodes?

“Should I sell it to the next sucker before it explodes?”

You should only do that if you want to incur a lifetime of bad karma.
Trust me…that will happen if you sell your truck w/o disclosing the imminent failure of the transfer case.

What should you do?
If you still like the truck, I would recommend that you have it fixed a.s.a.p.
If you no longer like it, then sell it–with the disclosure that the next owner is going to have a hefty repair bill.

3 months. Too bad seller has no easy way to help you out. He might feel bad that plug came loose. But that’s life

Should I sell it to the next sucker before it explodes?

How on Earth does that do anybody anywhere any good. You would be out of a truck you like and someone else would have to replace a transfer case on a truck they just bought.

Should I fix it?

Yes. Fix it before it breaks. Have a used transfer case installed. Won’t be that expensive.

First, make sure it’s the transfer case that’s making the noise…

Yeah, good point. That definitely crossed my mind, Caddyman. I’m open to suggestions to confirm my diagnosis.

The sound is worst at about 45 MPH. I rotated the wheels around and that made no difference. Turning or straight makes no difference. Applying the brakes makes no difference. Engine speed is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if I’m in a gear or in neutral.

How do I pinpoint the noise? The only thing I can think of is to tie a piece of hose next to it and run it all the way through the window to my ear. But I’d feel pretty dorky driving around like that.

I could try 4wd and see if that makes a difference, but I’m kind of scared to shift gears in the transfer case.