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Everything You Need to Know About Transfer Case Shift Motors

March 13th, 2015 · 2 Comments

Transfer Case Shift MotorIf you’re like most people who drive a 4-wheel-drive vehicle, you probably don’t think about the transfer case shift motor. At Zumbrota Bearing and Gear though, we are aware of your transfer case shift motor and how it fits in to a 4-wheel-drive system. Particularly, what happens when a transfer case shift motor malfunctions?

Imagine this: You’re heading down the road in a raging snowstorm. Visibility is getting worse, but the biggest problem is what the heavy snow is doing to your traction on the roadway. No reason to worry. You’ve been here before. Just shift to 4-wheel-drive and everything will be fine. But, when you push the 4WD button, nothing happens. There may have been a bit of a grinding sound, but no 4WD. What’s wrong? You need your 4WD and you need it now! “Great,” you mutter. “There goes a few thousand dollars in 4WD repairs!” Maybe not. It may be as simple as the transfer case shift motor.

The transfer case shift motor is not exactly the superstar of the 4WD world, but it is sort of the unsung hero of 4-wheel-drive. A transfer case shift motor my not get any notice in 4-wheel-drive vehicle advertising or sales information, but without it, all that torque and power people talk about in 4WD ads won’t happen.

Just what does the transfer case shift motor do? Whether your 4WD is activated by pressing a button on the dashboard, or you drive a vehicle that automatically shifts to 4-wheel-drive only when sensors indicate it’s needed for better traction, it’s the transfer case shift motor that makes it happen.

When 4-wheel-drive is engaged, the transfer case transfers, or splits, power from the primary drive differential to both the front and rear differentials. This is done by means of a spline engaging a chain drive to activate the driveshaft to the secondary differential, sending power to all four wheels. But something has to be responsible for moving the internal shift levers that make that happen. That is the role of the transfer case shift motor. It powers the mechanism that causes the inner workings of the transfer case to engage your 4-wheel-drive. No transfer case shift motor, no 4-wheel-drive action.

This all-important part you your 4-wheel-drive system is one of the first parts activated in the sequence of events that takes place when shifting to 4-wheel-drive. But the good news is, a transfer case shift motor isn’t terribly expensive and is fairly easy to replace. Total cost is only a few hundred dollars as opposed to the thousands of dollars it costs to crack open a 4WD system to do heavy duty internal repairs. The transfer case shift motor is mounted on the outside of the transfer case and may even be a DIY job for someone with decent mechanic skills.

If your 4-wheel-drive suddenly quits or only operates intermittently, there’s no need to imagine thousands of dollars sailing out of your wallet. It may just be the transfer case shift motor.

No matter what parts you need for the drive-train of your 4-wheel-drive vehicle, you can always depend on Zumbrota Bearing and Gear to supply the best in new or rebuilt parts. Our staff of technicians are the best in the business and never send anything out until it has been fully bench tested to guarantee its durability and your satisfaction.

Tags: Transfer Cases · Zumbrota Bearing and Gear ·


2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 wayne // Feb 20, 2017 at 10:38 am

    is the shift motor suppose to be magnetized on the outside of the motor

  • 2 admin // Feb 22, 2017 at 8:55 am

    The motor does have Permanent magnets in it so yes it will be magnetized on the outside.

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