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new seals by dealer -full of holes?


joatmon's Avatar
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03-06-05, 02:57 PM   #1  
new seals by dealer -full of holes?

I have a 2000 dakota slt 4x4 v8 with 81k miles on it. The dealer failed my inspection due to some leaky seals - frontpinion seal, transer case shifter seal and front transfer case output seals. reluctantly, I let them make the repairs for just under 300.00. A month has gone by now, and I noticed last week, that when I'm in 4-wheel drive, there is a whining noise coming from the front end. I checked the transfer case for fluid, and it's bone dry. I've added fluid, but the whining noise is still there.
I plan to bring the vehicle back to the dealership, and make them inspect the case for damage, and I want to see the case with my own eyes. If there is damage, what should I expect to see? Also, any advise on how I should handle this situation in general would be appreciated. . . I'm doing my best just to hold my temper at this point.

 
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03-07-05, 02:42 PM   #2  
What knid of inspection did it fail that they said you had to replace the seals?

If the fluid was all gone in 1 month you either have a big leak or if not they forgot to fill it. You have serious bearing and or gear damage from the noise you have described. It sounds like it needs a complete overhaul and a THOUROUGH inspection, or replace it with another unit.

 
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03-07-05, 05:06 PM   #3  
Believe it or not it was my annual safety inspection. Over the past year, I've heard of people's cars failing inspection for the most ridiculous reasons - rust on a brake line - or cracks on the rubber. - passenger window doesn't work, transfer case seals leaking. Personally, I think these places are just fishing for extra work. Anyway, Thanks for the input. If I can get them to let me in the garage, what should I be looking for that would indicate the seriuos damage you mentioned? Broken teeth? discoloration? worn splines? all of the above?

I talked to the garage today, and they immediately took the stance of "oh, you must still have a leak.". . .I have a feeling I have a battle ahead of me to get them to eat the cost. .

 
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03-07-05, 06:08 PM   #4  
I have no idea how a leaking transfer case could be cause for a failure to pass a safety inspection. I would be checking with the state or whoever requires the inspection. When the dust settles over this you may wish to consider reporting this. Yes if it was leaking they should have told you about it and suggesting you get it fixed would be fine. But failing to pass the safety inspection seems way out of line to me.

You did not say if it is still leaking. The leak would have to be fairly bad to be empty in a month. They may try to argue that they did not do anything wrong and it will be your word against theirs that you put the fluid in.

I would be looking for discolored bearings or gears. Also rough bearings. If it is just whining I doubt there are any broken teeth. Any splines, bushings or anyother parts that need lubrication should all be looked at carefully for wear or gaulding. I would also be concerned that bearings might look ok and feel ok could go bad pre maturely due to being ran without lubrication.

Did the noise get better after you put fluid in? If you can't get them to do anything and don't want to pay to get it fixed you could drive it a while and see if it gets worse. I had a customer years ago who ran a 65 chevy differential out of fluid. She brought it to me and it was growling pretty bad. I put fluid in it and the noise was much better but was still there. She did not want to spend any money so she kept driving it and it was still going when she sold it a few years later. I'm sure it didn't last forever but she got by without fixing it.

Good luck and let us know how you come out.

 
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03-08-05, 03:53 AM   #5  
Is the front diff full?I hope they didn't change the pinion bearing preload when they changed the seal.If they did it could be the source of the whining noise.How are the u-joints on the front driveshaft?Maybe they are bad and caused the seals to fail.How much fluid did you add to the transfer case and what kind?

 
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03-08-05, 04:02 AM   #6  
Can't resist asking; what state are you in that requires that depth of a "safety" inspection. I'm with car nut; I would be doing some serious inquiries of whichever state agency is involved as to the EXACT criteria for these so-called "inspections". Sounds like revenue enhancement to me.


Measure it with a micrometer; cut it with an ax.

 
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03-08-05, 06:15 PM   #7  
I was wondering who would ask first. I live in Maine. So I talked to the shop yesterday, and they fit me in first thing this morning. I had to work, so I couldn't stick around to see things for myself. They said they re-checked the work they did before. Pulled the drain plug, and the fill plug and said they looked inside, and could see and feel the chain, and it was tight. They said the bearings were okay too. I asked about the gears, and he told me that when a transfer case goes, the chain is the first thing to go, it will get overheated, stretch, and become loose. Since the chain was still tight, they don't suspect any damage. I'm a little skeptical, and tempted to get a second opinion elsewhere. They re-filled the case, with ATF+4 (my ATF+3 wasn't good enough). oh Yea, I probably put close to a quart of oil back into the case when I discovered it was empty. The whining noise does appear to have gone away. I did check the transfer case when I got home, and it is indead full of oil.
As for the mysterious leak, they have no idea where it went. The only thing they could see was some minor seapage from the input shaft, but admitted it would not account for nearly a quart missing in only a month.
All said and done, no charge, and no haggling on my part. I'm somewhat satisfied with the way they handled it. I still have some lingering conern about the method they used to inspect the case for damage - - not very thorough.
I also tried to contact the state police regarding inspection criteria, but the e-mail came back undeliverable. I'll try calling, or sending another one tomorrow.

 
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03-08-05, 07:50 PM   #8  
Keep a close watch and see if it leaks. If not where the fluid went is------they did not fill it!!!! It did not just evaporate.

As for their inspection---there is no way they can properly evaluate internal damage by looking through the drain & fill plug holes.

They may be able to check the chain tension but thay have no way of knowing what condition the bearings or gears are in. You might go to another shop that specializes in transfer cases and tell them what happened. Unfortunatly they can only give you an opinion. I will bet they say they cannot determine the extent of any damage unless they disasemble the unit.

It sounds like they are not willing to take it apart to inspect it. Since the noise is gone that is a good sign, but having a noise in the first place is not a good sign.

Take it back in a couple of weeks. If it is leaking have them fix it if the repairs they did are leaking. If it is not tell them the only explanation for it being out of fluid is they forgot to fill it. Then ask them to give you a warranty in case something goes wrong in the future. If they had it apart they know what the inside looked like when you brought it in and I think they should stand behind it if they are reputable.

Any transmission, transfer case, or differential will be damaged to some degree if ran with out fluid to the point where it starts making noise.

 
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03-09-05, 05:26 AM   #9  
I forgot to mention this. Check your owners manual and see what the capacity is and compare that to how much fluid you put in. For example if it holds 2 qt and you added 1 qt to fill it you may be ok as it was probably getting some lubrication. I don't know how low it would have to be to cause damage however. If it really was empty I would find it very hard to believe that it was not damaged.

 
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03-09-05, 01:34 PM   #10  
I have the 4.7 L engine, and according to chilton's the capacity is 2.5pts. I also called the state police, and they said front pinion seals are required for state inspection - no room for judgement. If they leak, they have to be replaced. How long of a warranty should I ask the dealer for? 6 months, 1 year? And what if I'm not near this dealership if/when the TC goes? Can and should I expect another dealership to honor the warranty? Should I ask that they re-imburse me if I have to go to a non-dealer garage?

 
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03-09-05, 02:51 PM   #11  
You did not say how much you put in so I don't know how low it was.

The pinion seal is on the differential so that has nothing to do with the transfer case. I don't know what they mean by required since I have never seen an operating vehicle without one.

I don't know how they can say there is no room for judgement. Many many pinion seals seep enough to stain and collect dirt, and they can do this for years before they even start to drip. This is a leak but it is crazy to say this is a safety issuse and to require replacement. It sounds like you got a wrong interpretation or the persons who wrote the rule have no practical knowledge of autombile repair.

As far as a warranty I don't think it is unreasonable to think a transfer case should last 200,000 miles on an average vehicle. I think it would be fair to ask for 2 years or 50,000 miles on the warranty. You need it in writing or you will probably never get them to pay later. Make sure the terms are clear. I think it is fair for them to require you to bring it to them if it goes bad while you are with in 50 miles. If you are farther than that from them I think it is reasonable that they reimburse you for taking it somewhere else. They may want to approve where you take it.

Good luck and let us know how you come out.

 
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03-09-05, 03:54 PM   #12  
Sorry if I wasn't clear in my last post. They told me the 3 seals that were leaking, but didn't say all three of them were on the transfer case. I probably put in close to a quart of oil. I finished off about 1/2 a bottle,and had to go buy another bottle to finish topping it off.
Thanks for the advise on the warranty. One more question. Should I check it over the next month and see if I lose any oil, and then ask for the warranty, or just call them this week - tell them I've gotten 2nd and 3rd opinions about their inspection - and ask for the warranty now?

 
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03-09-05, 05:46 PM   #13  
2.5 pints is 40 oz. If you put 1 qt. (32 oz.) in then ther was only about 8 oz. (20%) in there. That is low enough to cause damage I would think.

I suggest you keep an eye on it and if it is leaking check the level and keep a record of the date & miles & how much you put in it. Write down the miles it has now for reference. Take it back in 2-4 weeks & ask them to look at it if it is leaking ask them to fix it. If it is not it proves they did not fill it.Then ask them to give you a warranty since with only 8 oz. it seems very likely there is internal damage and they cannot properly inspect it without taking it apart.

If it starts making noise again be sure to tell them. I think that would be a valid reason to ask them to take it apart and replace any damaged or questionable parts.

My daughter had an accident a few years ago. She damaged the front differential and the body shop had it replaced with one from a salvage yard. A few weeks after she got it back it locked up in the middle of an intersection as she was making a turn. They forgot to put fluid in it. I am thankful she was not going down the highway and had a bad accident.

 
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