3 Common Ford F150 Transfer Case Problems + Fixes

You’ve got a Ford F150 truck? You should be aware of these possible Ford F150 transfer case problems. The transfer case is responsible for making your truck stick in 2WD or 4WD, and when it goes bad, your truck would intermittently switch between two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive.

Driving with a bad transfer case can damage many components connected to your truck’s powertrain, which is a more expensive fix to deal with. The common cause of transfer case failure is low fluid levels, probably caused due to incessant leaks around the transmission.

This article explains the causes and symptoms of Ford F150 transfer case issues, as well as highlights how you can navigate the issues to enjoy your ride.

What Is The Function Of The Transfer Case?

The transfer case is part of the Ford F150 drivetrain with a unique function. It is available in all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive models. Well, the transfer case isn’t only used in Ford trucks; you’d find it in other multiple-powered axle vehicles (trucks, SUVs, etc.).

The primary function of the transfer case is to “transfer” power from the transmission system to the wheels of a vehicle. It functions in line with the drive shaft and comprises gears that engage or disengage the front and rear wheels depending on your driving mode (2WD or 4WD).

To a great extent, the transfer case is an essential component of your truck’s drivetrain; its failure can lead to pretty many driving issues, including hard shifting of gears.

Ford F150 Transfer Case Problems

Ford F150 Transfer Case Problems

1. Truck Not Going Into 4WD

The most common problem with the Ford F150 transfer case is the four-wheel drive not engaging. When the transfer case is bad, or the connecting driveshaft is bad, you’d find out that your truck won’t go into 4WD, and even if it does, after some time, it switches back to 2WD without you making the switch.


  • Drive the truck to a mechanic workshop; you may end up paying for a transfer case replacement or have the differential/driveshaft worked on.

2. Fluid Leaks and Grinding/Howling Noise Coming From The Front Wheels

Fluid leaks can damage a lot of components in your truck’s powertrain, and the transmission isn’t exempted. When the transfer case is cracked, the oil will leak through the crack lines and holes.

Transfer case cracks may be caused by a bad timing chain or excessive driveshaft vibration. When either of these scenarios occurs, the rear axle seal gets affected too. Extremely rough paths and excessive vibrations can crack the transfer case too.


  • Get the transfer case replaced by a dealership or a professional Ford truck mechanic.

3. Gear Shifting Problems

Apparently, a bad transfer case can cause gear shifting problems; you’d find it difficult to change from one gear to another.

Delayed shifts will cause acceleration issues, and the transmission may slip due to transfer case problems. These scenarios can lead to scary aftermaths and, as such, should be treated urgently.


  • Have the car checked by a professional mechanic to find out what exactly needs to be fixed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Damages Transfer Case?

Most transfer case problems are caused by the surrounding components – driveshaft, differential, and axle gears. However, improper maintenance, using the wrong fluids, and lack of sufficient lubrication can cause the transfer case to go bad.

How Often Should You Change Transfer Case Fluid In F150?

It is recommended to always check the transfer case fluid after 3,000 and possibly change it at the same time. This ensures that the transfer case stays constantly lubricated and functions seamlessly. Poor lubrication is one of the major causes of transfer case problems.

How Much Is Ford F150 Transfer Case?

Ford F150 transfer case is priced from $300 up to $1,300 depending on your truck’s design and model. If you need to replace the transfer case in your truck, the average repair cost is between $600 and $800, labor and parts cost inclusive. Notwithstanding, some people pay up to $2,000 for transfer case replacement.

What Happens If You Don’t Change Your Transfer Case Fluid?

If you let the transfer case fluid stay for a very long time, it becomes too much contaminated and causes the internal transfer case parts to wear. Old fluid can also cause damage to the transfer case itself, forcing you to pay more to have a new unit installed for you.


If appropriately checked, most Ford F150 transfer case problems aren’t caused by the transfer case itself; instead, they are caused by other surrounding components that went bad and weren’t attended to quickly.

To prevent transfer case problems on your truck, always change the fluids at close intervals and don’t miss your maintenance schedules. Most transfer case problems are solved by replacing the unit entirely.

Depending on various factors, replacement costs can go as high as $2,000. We hope that this article was worth your time, have a great day ahead.

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