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Jeep Cherokee transfer case output bearing & seal

My mechanic has advised me that the output bearing (rear) in my XJ is the cause of some mild vibration and noise. The rear suspension had been altered by the previous owner, but I’ve replaced the leaf springs and shackles to restore the suspension to where it should be, and the noise is hardly ever present. I’ve inspected the transfer case rear output and no leaks are visible. The thing drives really well. The trouble is that it can’t be repaired without opening up the transfer case, which means I may well be better off with a rebuild, and that ain’t cheap. So how long can I procrastinate on getting this repaired? How will I know it’s time to definitely get it done?

many thanks

When it starts leaking again, my guess is you will have to crack the case and replace the bearing in addition to cleaning up metal debris from the broken down bearing. My thought is you are going to have to do it sooner or later so might as well do it now, and not risk metal fragments causing further damage to other parts. A rebuild should be ok.

I am assuming you just put in a new pinion seal.

Based on a general understanding that may not be vehicle specific.

Thanks, that’s helpful.

Actually I’ve done nothing to it, and I’ve seen no signs of any leaking at all.

Time to get up close and personal. Crawl under there with a ruler and push the output yoke up and down. How much motion can you get?

have you checked the many universal joints? that would be my first suspect for wearing out due to suspension changes. there is a site called bleepinjeep that has many you tube videos that show just about any repair a Cherokee needs. the guy is very good and explains clearly.

there is also a foul mouthed fellow from Canada who does jeep repairs. I d avoid him, he makes mistakes and hides them with editing

Thanks for the leads, everyone. I’m going to hold off on any repairs until I pursue these.

I’d like to drain & fill the fluid in this transfer case in part to see if there’s any metal bits in there. The manual told me to find two 30mm bolts; the lower one’s the drain, the upper, the fill. Instead, I found these guys. Can I assume these are the drain/fill bolts? And what kind of tool will I need to remove these? (assuming something that will work with my regular ratchet set?)

many thanks for helping out a rookie

Those look exacting like the fill and drain plugs. You need a tool that is basically a large Allen wrench on a socket. The alternative tool is to find a bolt with a head that fits the plug, double nut the bolt, then put the bolt in the plug and a socket on the nut to loosen them up.

Looks like you’ll need a special socket for that. Like the male end you could say - if a socket was female.

If it was me and I didnt have a measuring caliper, Id compare my sockets to find the right size. If you cant eyeball it jam a piece of dough, clay, or play dough haha in there to make a mold you can try fitting sockets over.

Once you know the size head down to sears or an auto parts store and see if you can find the correct socket.

Or if youre feeling really lazy, see if you have any bolts you can stick the head in, clamp a vice grip on the other side and see if that cracks them loose. (I doubt it)

Ok, that’s helpful. Thank you. I’m hoping this will buy me some time

Haha I just saw bustedknuckles comment. WAY better. The double nutted bolt why didnt I think of that!

You can probably get a set of those allen head sockets from harbor freight for cheap if you have one close by. I bought a set like that that has star ends on it.

Spray with Liquid Wrench repeatedly over a few days before trying to remove. Autozone, etc., might be able to lend you the socket. Tapping (gently!) on those plugs with a hammer might also help.

Here’s a Harbor Freight set:

@Fendr1325, I got that idea from a forum to remove the oil galley plugs on a Toyota 7M engine. The hex plug is like 13mm, but a double-nutted bolt with a 13mm hex head works as a cheap solution, since there is probably an extremely rare chance to use that size hex socket for anything else.

yeah, I stashed that one in the old memory bank too…