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Guide to Replace Transfer Case Front Output Shaft Seal

You might have found some unusual noises from the output shaft of your car or might have seen some leaking from the transfer cases. These symptoms indicate that you have a transfer case front output shaft seal problem. 

However, if you find these problems, your front output Shaft seal needs to be repaired or replaced. Go through this article if you need to know how to replace the output shaft seal. 

Here, we have provided a comprehensive idea of the transfer case front output shaft replacement.

What Is A Transfer Case Front Output Shaft Seal?

The front output shaft seal is placed on the front side of the transfer case. The shaft seal blocks the liquids coming from the transfer cases. If it fails to do so, then the liquid level may fall. The liquid can cause serious damage to the car engine parts, which need oil, liquid, or lubricant to work properly. 

How Do You Know Transfer Case Front Output Shaft Seal Replacement Required?

Every mechanical error of your car will show some symptoms. Transfer case output shaft error is also like that. Although there are only a few ways to understand the real condition of the shaft, you can observe the following ones. 

1. Liquid Leakage

One of the key symptoms of the output shaft transfer case problem is liquid leakage. While driving or standing still, you may see the liquids coming out from the output shaft seal.   

2. The vehicle might jump in and out

One of the symptoms of the output shaft problem is that your vehicle will start to jump. If your output shaft is problematic, the liquids inside the transfer case will gradually reduce. 

The parts which require lubrication will not get sufficient materials. The lubricants will result in broken parts inside the transfer case. And finally, your vehicle will jump in and out due to this.  

3. Difficulty in shifting the gears

Another way to identify transfer case problems is having difficulty in gear shifting. The liquids inside the transfer case are necessary to shift your vehicle’s manual or automatic gear. The lack of these types of lubricants will cause this problem. 

4. Unusual grinding noise

You may hear an unusual grinding noise from your vehicle if an output shaft error occurs. As there will be a lack of lubricants, the metals of your vehicles that work properly with fluids will have much friction between them. This friction will cause the grinding sound. 

How Do You Replace A Front Output Shaft Seal?

Initially, you should know that output shaft seal replacement is completely practical work and needs expert intervention. However, if you are confident enough to do the task, you can use the following steps for replacement.

Step 1: Placing your vehicle

Placing your vehicle is the first step of your transfer case front output shaft seal replacement. In this step, you must place your vehicle correctly so you can easily access the front of the transfer case. At the same time, the vehicle should be kept in a fixed position for unwanted movements. 

Firstly, jack up the front part of your vehicle with a jack stand. Then provide both rear wheels with chocks on the front and back. The chocks will give firmness to the vehicle and will not move forward or backward while you are working.  

Step 2: Identifying the connector position

Several connectors are used to connect the drivelines of transmission and transfer cases. These connectors include flange, yoke, driveshaft, etc. 

As you have to reinstall these connectors, it is necessary to identify their primary positions. Otherwise, you may forget the real position and reinstall it incorrectly. Hence, mark the placements of these connectors.  

Step 3: Removing the output drive shaft and yoke

Now you have to remove the front drive shaft. First, remove the bolts which connect it and gently take out the shaft. Be careful to keep the bearing caps while separating from the u-joint. 

If it becomes dislodged and falls out, then it might get damaged. Hence, tap on the drive shaft flange. It will become loose and easily removable.  

Subsequently, remove the nuts of the yoke with a pipe wrench, drive bearer, and socket which holds the shaft yoke. After that, remove the yoke with a puller.

Step 4: Removing the front output shaft seal

You must remove the output oil seal with an oil seal puller. Pull the Seal gently and softly, little by little. Otherwise, you may break the place around the shaft seal.

Step 5: Cleaning the Surface of the Seal

After removing the shaft seal, you have to clean the sealing surface. You can use different solvents to clean the sealing surface. Commonly used solvents are alcohol, acetone, brake clean, etc. You may use any other solvent also with servicing expert opinion. 

However, ensure you do not keep any solvent inside the transfer case after cleaning. The solvent will mix with the transfer case lubricants later on. Subsequently, it can damage vehicle parts.    

Step 6: Installing the new Seal

At this point, you can install a new shaft seal. But give some grease or oil on the position of the oil seal. Then place the Seal carefully in its actual place and wait until the Seal holds itself in the place. 

After that, tap the Seal gently with a hammer. It’s better to use the hammer in a criss-cross pattern.

Step 7: Reinstalling output shaft yoke

Now, give some grease on the yoke areas where the Seal will ride. You can put some grease inside the yoke also. Then put the output shaft yoke in its place, which you marked earlier while removing. 

Similarly, put the yoke nuts just like you did with a pipe wrench while opening it. Make the nuts tight enough as per the specification.  

Step 8: Reinstalling the driveshaft

Remember the areas which you specified while removing the driveshaft? Install the drive shaft based on those marked areas and tighten the bolts as needed and specified.   

Step 9: Checking the lubricant condition

Now, check the liquid level inside the transfer case. If the amount is below the standard level, then fill it.   

Step 10: Removing jack stands and wheel chocks

You are already done with your transfer case front output shaft seal replacement. But you have to remove the jack stands and the wheel chocks you placed to fix the vehicle position. 

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Transfer Case Output Shaft Seal?

The replacement cost of a transfer case output shaft seal varies based on car category. Moreover, the price may vary based on the place and shop from where you are buying your shaft seal.

However, the estimated cost for a 2007 Jeep Liberty is approximately $192. For the 2011 Ford Expedition, the cost is approximately $455. 

2006 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 will cost approximately $373. 2008 Lexus GX470 will cost approximately $883, and the 2009 BMW X3 will cost approximately $199.

Is It Safe To Drive With Bad Transfer Case Front Output Shaft Seal?

No, it’s not safe as well as cost-effective to drive with a bad transfer case front output shaft seal. 

Your vehicle parts might get low lubricants due to a bad shaft seal. But if you continue to drive in this condition, your vehicle parts might damage badly due to corrosion and metal friction. Ultimately, this will cost you more.

Furthermore, your vehicle may even stop while you are traveling. These situations will be more difficult to manage because you might not get the proper facilities to resolve your problem. 


Although most of the issues and queries related to the output shaft have been already discussed, a few more questions related to shaft seals are asked frequently. These questions are answered below.  

How long does a transmission seal last?

A genuine criterion for a long-lasting transmission seal is proper maintenance. If you do regular servicing, then the lasting time will increase. 

The transmission output shaft will generally last about 30,000 – 40,000 miles. Moreover, with proper maintenance, the average running of the transmission seal is 1,50,00 – 2,00,000 miles. 

Is there a seal between transmission and transfer case?

An adapter called a gasket is in between the transmission and transfer case. It is also called a transfer case adapter gasket.

Do transmission leak sealers work?

Yes, transmission leak sealers work. They can seal the leaking areas and save the leakage of transmission liquids, oils, and lubricants. 

Some common transmission leak sealers are Blue Devil Transmission Sealer, Lucas Transmission Fix, Miller’s Oils stop leak, Gold Eagle’s No leak, and Transmission Stop leak. 

However, it would be best if you did not use the sellers for an extended period.


If you have a car, then you have to do regular servicing. That’s the genuine rule. Otherwise, mechanical, engine, or transfer case errors will occur. Ultimately, you have to suffer. However, It’s not surprising that even after regular maintenance and service, the problem may also arise.

Furthermore, complicated errors like transfer case output shaft seal also might occur suddenly. Don’t panic in any situation. Try to find the problem first and follow the solution steps described in this article. 

However, if you feel you are unable to take the load, then without any delay, bring a servicing expert and solve the problem. In addition, if you can guess the problem early, then do not wait for the problem to increase. Solve the issue as early as possible.  

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