Common Ford F350 Transfer Case Problems (easy solutions)

The importance of the invention of the 4-wheel drive cannot be overstated. This system has changed driving forever. Obviously, this amazing technology needs all your components in good shape, especially the transfer case.

Ford F350 transfer case problems are rare but not unseen. They include grinding sounds, burning scents, fluid leaks, and stuck gears. They are caused by damaged bearings, overheating, low fluid pressure, or wear and tear. The only solution is to take the car to a qualified mechanic. 

There is a lot more to it than just knowing the name of these issues and their causes. For example, what sort of fluid leaks out due to transfer case issues? Don’t worry, I’ll explain them in detail in this article. 

Ford F350 Transfer Case Problems And Causes Chart

Ford F350 Transfer Case Problems And Causes Chart

In order to help you pinpoint the root of your problem, I made this Ford F350 super duty Transfer Case Problems And Causes Chart. Keep in mind that this is not a rigid correlation, the causes are interchangeable. These are just the most likely cases.

Again, if you are confused by any of this, I will take a deep dive into each of these issues and their causes further down the line. For now, this table should give you a rough idea of the concepts.

Common ProblemCause
Grinding SoundsDamaged Bearings
Burning SmellOverheating
Fluid LeakLow Fluid Pressure
Gears Won’t ShiftWear And Tear

4 Possible Issues With The Ford 350 Transfer Case

If your transfer case is busted, there are many symptoms that you may come across. I’ve found these 4 to be the most common ones that specifically indicate a damaged transfer. 

1. Grinding Sounds 

If you hear weird sounds coming from your car’s wheels, there is likely an issue with your transfer case. This is the most common sign, however make sure that you don’t jump to conclusions. The transfer case is one of many components that may be causing the sounds. 

2. Burning Smell 

Another likely symptom of a damaged transfer case is a faint burning scent. Again, this scent isn’t exclusively caused by this problem. However, if the source of the smell is near the transfer case, it is likely that it is the transfer case that has overheated.

3. Fluid Leak

If you see puddles of fluid under your transfer case, this may be a transfer case leak. The fluid that is stored in the transfer case can be easily mistaken for transmission fluid. So again, don’t misdiagnose here. This is a pretty serious issue as a lack of lubrication can damage internal parts. 

4. Gears Won’t Shift 

Last but not the least, if you are finding it extremely difficult to shift between gears, there might be something wrong with your transfer case. This is arguably the hardest issue to diagnose and the gears are reliant on so many components. 

Reasons For Ford 350 Transfer Case Issues

Your transfer case can stop functioning for a variety of reasons. However, the problems I mentioned above are usually caused by these 4 factors. 

  • Damaged Bearings

The transfer case is made of many mechanical components and if it faces any direct impact, these components may break apart. In most cases, the grinding sounds are bearing moving around in the transfer case.  

  • Overheating 

Overheating is one of the worst issues for any component. It is almost always caused by a lack of lubrication. The constant friction will cause the transfer case to heat up and this will emit a burning scent. 

  • Low Fluid Pressure

Speaking of lubrication, the storage unit of the transfer case fluid should be well pressurized. If this is not maintained, it will leak out. Again, without this lubricant, the internal components are at risk.

  • Wear And Tear

This is an issue that haunts any vehicle over the long run. All of your car components are bound to break down at one point over the years of usage. However, this timeframe is very long for a transfer case so I like to rule out this cause usually. 

Why You Should Acquire Professional Help?

You may be tempted to open the hood and try to fix the problem yourself. I highly recommend that you don’t do it for the following 4 benefits of going to a mechanic.  

1. Saves You Time 

I’m not saying that a mechanic is superhuman and he or she can finish a task in a matter of seconds. In fact, a repair can take up to 8 hours. Add the waiting time for other vehicles in line into the equation and you may need to wait days.

So how is it saving you time? Imagine having to work on the car yourself for 8 hours. It would probably take you even longer as you don’t have their experience.

2. Saves You Money 

There are a lot of ways going to a mechanic can actually help you keep your wallet nice and fat. You save money in the short term as you don’t need to buy expensive safety gear and tools.

In the long run, any damage you cause to the car while trying to fix your transfer case will break the bank. Auto-repair is a complicated process so mistakes are not out of the realm of possibility. 

3. Keeps You Safe 

Auto mechanics encountered over 9000 injuries in the U.S. alone in 2016. 108 of them were fatal. Taking into account that these were all professionals, your odds of picking up an injury are even higher. 

4. No Future Issues.

Unfortunately, your ability to diagnose is not nearly as reliable as that of a seasoned veteran. You may feel as though you’ve solved a problem when in reality you have only temporarily stopped the symptoms. 

This will lead to future problems that are even more complicated. To avoid this, the best course of action is to go to your nearest body shop without trying DIY fixes.

How Do You Find The Right Mechanic For Your Car?

I hope I’ve convinced you to go for professional services. Unfortunately, there is one difficulty to overcome in this process as well. It is really difficult to find a mechanic you can trust. That’s why I made this step-by-step guide to finding a good mechanic.

  • Step 1: Self-diagnose the issue so you minimize the chances of getting scammed.
  • Step 2: Ask your friends for recommendations 
  • Step 2 (Alternative): Scour the net for mechanics at a reasonable price
  • Step 3: Look for reviews of your selected mechanic online 
  • Step 4: Inspect the auto shop yourself before making a decision 
  • Step 5: Thoroughly assess the mechanic’s work through a test–drive
  • Step 6: Wait to see if you encounter any future issues
  • Step 7: If there are no hiccups in any of the previous steps, you’ve found your mechanic.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Is A Transfer Case?

A transfer case is the part of the 4-wheel or all-wheel drivetrain that transfers power from the transmission to the axles. Without this component, you can’t shift between 2-wheel and 4-wheel. 

How Long Do Transfer Cases Last?

Transfer cases should last as long as the vehicle itself. That said, a lot of factors come into play in case of longevity. If you encounter any of the issues discussed above, your transfer case will stop working.

How Expensive Is It To Fix A Transfer Case? 

The cost to fix a transfer case should be no higher than $3500. You can get it for cheaper though at around $2000. It depends on the cost of the parts and the labor charge your mechanic is demanding.

Are Transfer Case Issues Common With Ford Vehicles? 

No. Ford is a premium brand and so most of the components are quite sturdy. As I said, transfer cases tend to be a robust part of the car and high-quality ones seldom have any problems.

2002 Ford F350 Super Duty Transfer-Case NP273 F Tear Down and Install >> Check out the video below:

Final Words 

With that, you have completed the crash course on ford f350 transfer case problems. You should not delay fixing these issues as they can turn into bigger problems down the road.

I strongly believe in the power of preemptive measures and the only one you have here is regular maintenance. Make sure you keep an eye on your vehicle’s components and go to the mechanic as often as you can. 

Who Worked on This?



I'm the guy responsible for ensuring that every blog post we publish is helpful for our reader.

Mahir Ahmed


I'm the guy responsible for ensuring honest, informative, accurate and helpful guide to the reader.

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