Probably a grenaded transfer case

DouglasVB

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Yesterday I was driving on the highway heading to my parents place when I started getting a small vibration. I pulled over and looked underneath. Everything looked okay. The drive line I thought might be a little sloppy at the double U-joint by the t-cases but not as bad as I've had in the past when the driveline had to be rebuilt.

So I tried driving a bit further to get to a place where I could turn around and start heading for home. The small vibration very quickly got much, much worse until I was in the break-down lane going 5mph with the sticks (transmission, both transfer cases) flailing wildly back and forth and the truck bucking like I was driving over railroad ties. Sounded like I was hitting a 4x4 with an impact hammer and no nail. The whole truck was shuttering and shaking, and smelling like burnt plastic. I had to ride it out about a mile from the first place I stopped to get somewhere safe to pull over. When I hopped out of the truck, the front t-case started gushing fluid from somewhere other than the bottom of the case. My guess is a bearing went out or a tooth on a gear broke. I wonder if perhaps there is a hole in the front t-case now.


After work I'll go to my friend's driveway where the wrecker dropped my truck last night to work on dropping out the t-cases and start inspecting for damage. Never a dull moment when you own a 💩📦.
 

DouglasVB

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Well here's what I've found so far...

  • Double u-joint on rear drive shaft is destroyed
  • Drive shaft e-brake will need to be at least partially rebuilt
  • Rear output shaft from t-case assembly has walked its seal at least partially out (may be evidence of a bearing failure on the shaft?)
  • Marlin Crawler dual t-case adapter IS CRACKED IN HALF!!! 😡
Here's a picture of the crack:


And of course Marlin is out of stock and has no indication how many months or years it'll be before they are re-stocked with that plate.

The only company that appears to have an adapter plate in stock is Advanced Adapters which based on the price I'm guessing isn't the highest quality: https://www.advanceadapters.com/products/50-5905d--heavy-duty-dual-bearing-toyota-crawler-kit/ Even Trail Gear appears to be out of stock. I don't know if any other companies make those adapters that are any good.

I've got it to the point where I'll be able to drop the whole t-case assembly out tomorrow after work. Haven't decided yet if I'll take the transmission out at the same time or not. Probably it wouldn't be a terrible idea to inspect the transmission... ugh.

Based on when I have worked on and bought parts before, I figure I'm at the very least $2.5k in parts at a minimum to get this fixed.
 

DouglasVB

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I wouldn’t be afraid of an advance adapters part if they’ve got it. Search used they’re usually out there.
I don't see any of the AA parts on eBay. Anywhere else I should be looking for that?
 

J Kimmel

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I don't see any of the AA parts on eBay. Anywhere else I should be looking for that?
The link you posted to advanced, have you called them? They’ve been refined since but they made the original marlin adapters. I sold mine a couple years back when I went atlas and it was a first gen marlin, made by advanced adapters.
have you searched used also?
Worst case find an adapter and stick a used case in there. They’re usually pretty strong
 

DouglasVB

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No I haven't called them yet. I need to drop the t-cases out and open them up to see the gore inside so I know what I'm up against.

Looks like there is at least one used t-case at the local pick-n-pull for about $200.
 

jps8460

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Any chance of just putting an atlas in there? Haven’t you been in and out of those cases like 3 times?
 

DouglasVB

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Any chance of just putting an atlas in there? Haven’t you been in and out of those cases like 3 times?

I'm in the head space now of thinking if I should patch this up enough to sell the truck and get something else. Maybe an atlas could be part of a new build. Seems that every time I get things running well, some new stupid thing blows up in my face. I'm not even very hard on the truck!

Unfortunately it’ll be down for a long time with this route. Wait times right now are several months. One buddy has been waiting since it was ordered in October to finish his buggy.
Could be months to get a new t-case adapter plate, too. 😬 I need to call up the companies that make the plate to see their statuses. But first I'm going to drop the whole assembly out tonight and dissect it probably tomorrow night to see just how bad this really is. I'm mentally preparing myself for a horror show.
 

jps8460

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I'm in the head space now of thinking if I should patch this up enough to sell the truck and get something else. Maybe an atlas could be part of a new build. Seems that every time I get things running well, some new stupid thing blows up in my face. I'm not even very hard on the truck!


Could be months to get a new t-case adapter plate, too. 😬 I need to call up the companies that make the plate to see their statuses. But first I'm going to drop the whole assembly out tonight and dissect it probably tomorrow night to see just how bad this really is. I'm mentally preparing myself for a horror show.

Or just put a single case back in it. 4.7 if you wanted to keep crawling l guess. I’m with ya man, you have the patience of a chopping block.
 

Notyourmomslx450

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Start searching all the classifieds you can! Pirate, irate4x4, mariln crawler forum, yota tech, t4r.org, etc.... i'd even check mud.
Most forums are dead unfortunately, but some people still use them
 

DouglasVB

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Well... the damage may be even worse than originally anticipated.


The Marlin dual t-case plate is cracked in half all the way around. It looks like the front t-case housing may be partially cracked at one of the bolt holes. I think I see a small crack on the rear t-case as well. And the output shaft part at the back appears to be partially separated from the rear t-case.

I'm also suspicious of where the transmission mounts to the bell housing. The transmission hasn't been dropped out of the vehicle yet but I'm thinking I probably should pull the whole thing.

Could be a case of throwing away everything between the transmission and the drivelines. 😬

I'm starting to poke around to see what might be for sale. Have considered dropping back to a single T-case although I would need to have a different cross-member (currently have a Trail Gear plate-style cross-member and the old stuff is all cut out) and different drivelines. At that point, it might not be that big of a difference to recreate the current setup.
 

Notyourmomslx450

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Sad day sir.
 

DaveInDenver

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Dang, all that from just driving it to church on Sundays?

I'd call Marlin to discuss, they're stand up guys and might be able to help expedite finding what you need to repair it.
 

DouglasVB

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Dang, all that from just driving it to church on Sundays?

I don't wheel that hard because I know I need to drive it home afterward and I don't really have backup out here in Cali. Usually we're alone when we're out so that definitely tones down the stupid things I do.

In the last six months, the worst I've done to it is drive on a rutted ice road to get to my parents house. Otherwise it's been driving around town once a week to keep the battery charged up and

I'd call Marlin to discuss, they're stand up guys and might be able to help expedite finding what you need to repair it.

Once I open this hot mess up and know what I'm dealing with, I'll give them a call. Hopefully they're answering their phones again.

This morning I'm thinking maybe I should patch up the truck and sell it. No idea what I'd get to replace it but now I'm thinking what other problems could be lurking. Could my rear diff be fixing to break? Could the trans be ready to shatter? Could the engine be getting ready to die? Could I have cracked the frame or is the frame bent?

None of the Toyotas after the 1st gen Taco really interest me. And if I got a 1st gen Taco, then I could be back in this same situation having to go through and fix a bunch of 💩. Is it better to stick with the truck full of potential ticking time bomb that I know about or get a mystery truck where I'll discover new potential ticking time bombs?
 

Notyourmomslx450

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Keep it
 

DaveInDenver

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Unless you're buying something new with a warranty it usually better to dance with the devil you know than the one you don't. I bought my 2nd gen Taco with 42k on it and it still took a year or two of tinkering to get where I really trust it. Some of the stuff wasn't insignificant, like clutch work.

I'd personally skip a 1st gen Tacoma as a replacement for you 4Runner. They're old enough to be borderline vintage in many of the bad ways, once of which is really bad rust issues, without the upside of being overbuilt and Japanese-made. Knowing what I know now I'd suggest never buying a Tacoma older than 12 years unless it's already gotten a new frame (which Toyota stops doing at 12 years for free if a perforation develops) or the current owner is acutely aware of the frame rot and has actively been on top of it. Mine was 7 years old when I got it and I went over it in detail before buying it, painted the boxed section with the Eastwood frame saver stuff and once or twice a year clean, paint and coat with Fluid Film. Every spring there's a few rust bubbles to chase.
 

DouglasVB

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I've been thinking of what might go wrong next on the truck or what needs to be done to it and this is what I've come up with:

  • transmission may be suspect after the transfer case incident
  • probably will need a clutch here sooner or later
  • could be a problem with the rear diff
  • I suspect the frame may be bent (prior to me having it) and the rear axle may be bent as well
  • the 22re could be suspect now as well after the t-case incident
  • timing chain surely will self destruct at the worst possible moment
  • whole suspension needs to be re-evaluated and probably a bunch of work needs to be done (the Chevy leaf springs aren't great, there are no bump stops or limit straps,
  • A/C needs to be fixed (have most of the parts and was halfway through that when the Creek Fire made me evacuate and leave the truck for a month in the mountains)
  • Need a new softopper (old one is dead, hard top sucks for getting stuff out of the back)
  • The rear axle half shafts are about 1/8" too long
  • The drive line e-brake needs to go and I need to get an adapter for the full floater kit to put on newer 4runner integrated drum e-brakes behind the disk brake rotors. (seriously the drive line e-brake suuuuuucks)

Other comfort-related stuff:
  • Finish installing sound dampening
  • Replace CB radio and coax
  • Repair 2M antenna
  • Do something different with the center console radio box
  • Replace the stereo because it's dead (have all of the stuff to do it -- also will require making new interior trim panels)
  • Find better seats
  • Replace the headliner (glue it to the ceiling) so I have some more head room
  • Remove the roof rack and do something different so I don't get wind whistling noises on the highway

Other stuff I should do:
  • Do something different for the spare tire carrier and jerry can holder. All that weight way out on back really screws up weight distribution.
  • Do something different on the front bumper for where I have the hi-lift jack located (it blocks the headlights partially)
  • Fix the front end bodywork (it was in an accident long before I got it and stuff is janky) -- the hood is starting to flutter when I drive it on the highway
  • Build something for the back to make it easier to load and unload gear, and keep stuff organized
 
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