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Have you had a transfer case leak or failure?

  • Yes

    Votes: 245 60.8%
  • No

    Votes: 158 39.2%
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Thanks for taking the time to reply.

I don't see much about the new ones leaking or failing on this forum. Considering the percentage of comments that are drive-by rants, I take that as a good sign.

One of the things I researched before I bought my 2017.5. I had it fail at 127,000 on my 2003 SL.


I've only read several instances of leakage from the transfer case and only in the 2015 year of this model. 2015 was a tough year for the Murano as far as small issues.


I learned my lesson on buying the first year of production or model changes. Second or third year of a model production seem to have the least amount of issues. Manufacturer has had time to work the bugs out.


Have a good day.
 

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DIY Transfer Case repair

Hi all Mo-fo owners,
it took me 4 months to repair a Z51 TC after deciding against the Nissan quote of $5000 with the 2010 car worth only $8000.It was a long tedious job that had me swearing at the Mo like a sailor:cursin:.It began with a study of Nissan's TC workshop manual.The TC had a busted prop-shaft seal and huge oil leak which was caused by the pinion shaft bearings being shot with play of 3-4mm measured at the flange.It cost $1000 in parts(incl. full service items & oils) and $500 in pro tools.I installed SKF,NTN replacement bearings for the NSK ones.To get the TC out of the car and back in was the biggest tasks(massive PITA with Mo on jackstands:banghead:).The TC is snug behind the engine and too close to the hot rear bank exhaust for my taste and might explain excessive oil loss through the breather.The (2015-)Z52 Mo has a revised TC pinion bearing design.The pinion shaft bearings were replaced as per Nissan manual as well as one of the ring gear shaft bearings.It's really a involved process and requires great patience and strict adherence to the Nissan instructions.Getting the lash and preload correct meant ordering a new pinion shim which took 5 weeks from Japan.I didn't change the ring gear shim and just replaced one of the ring gear shaft bearings.I had to tighten the TC Adapter plate(casing) bolts to less than spec.(15Nm) to avoid bearing pinch.I also cut a gasket on the CVT side for a cooler TC and a heat shield between the TC and rear bank cylinder 5 exhaust). The CVT oil seal leak was also fixed.The car finally finished is better than new and gives consumption of 9.3km/l at 135 km/h(speed control:roadtrip:) or 21.9mpg(US) @ 85mph over a trip of 2000km:30:. And I love it's new dry clean underside that doesn't leak.I had to re-adjust the TC adapter plate bolts torque however because it was starting to "click" when pulling away as the TC slack(lash) is taken up.The Mo hates hard pullaways or it seems that the TC has to be nursed by only doing hard acceleration while already at speed.The Mo has never developed any other problems or rattles or squeaks but it has never been used off-road either.I also recently replaced the front lower brake caliper guide-pin tiny rubber boots that had swollen and froze as a result of the wrong grease and caused the brakes do drag on the discs.
 

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My transfer cases failed 3 times. The front end went one at about 5000 miles, another time at about 35-40000 miles and the rear end went at about 45000. when the rear went the diff cover was cracked in half right down the center. If the resale value wasnt so terrible i would get rid of this heap asap.
 

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My transfer cases failed 3 times. The front end went one at about 5000 miles, another time at about 35-40000 miles and the rear end went at about 45000. when the rear went the diff cover was cracked in half right down the center. If the resale value wasnt so terrible i would get rid of this heap asap.
Differential and transfer case are 2 different things. Transfer case sends power to the front and rear differentials. Sounds like you have only had differential failures.
 

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Differential and transfer case are 2 different things. Transfer case sends power to the front and rear differentials. Sounds like you have only had differential failures.


Sounds like 2 TC, then the rear diff. Depressing, to say the least.
 

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Transfer Case Leak

Mine looked excactly like Jaak's pic after several non-productive trips to two dealers. After having the car for most of Jan. 06 (45k mi approx) the transfer case was ultimately replaced. But not before trying several times to replace the seal between the xfer case and the transmission.

I still get the smell now and then and make sure a request to check it is in the record at every oil change. They continue to say there's no smell or leak.

I'll be taking pictures of it again as it approaches the end of the warranty. If the leak is visible it will be replaced one more time, or traded.
Didn't hear anything for about a month, lept at trading it in on a 2006 Dodge Magnum SRT8. Dealer called me another month later with "Your parts are in, we can get the transmission replaced." I suggested they call the Dodge dealer... They said, they'd just cancel the order. (Good to know they were looking out for the next owner... NOT!)
 

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Didn't hear anything for about a my ip birthday wishes tneb month, lept at trading it in on a 2006 Dodge Magnum SRT8. Dealer called me another month later with "Your parts are in, we can get the transmission replaced." I suggested they call the Dodge dealer... They said, they'd just cancel the order. (Good to know they were looking out for the next owner... NOT!)
Mine looked excactly like Jaak's pic after several non-productive trips to two dealers. After having the car for most of Jan. 06 (45k mi approx) the transfer case was ultimately replaced. But not before trying several times to replace the seal between the xfer case and the transmission.
 

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hey concluded that the contamination to the TC oil was from the unprotected hole where the vent tube should have
By the way, there is not supposed to be any fluid in th
Got MO back from the Dealer last night with transfer case # 3 in 18 months. According to the technician, the reason that they had to replace the entire thing was because the one they put in last year was missing the vent tube. They concluded that the contamination to the TC oil was from the unprotected hole where the vent tube should have been... They were very nice at the Dealer and did go out of their way with customer service. They stated that my experience with the MO has been "very unfortunate"...

So that raises the question of where did the TC vent go? Did it fall off the car in the last 9 months or was it missing to begin with? Did it fall off when the propeller shaft fell down?

I think I will file a complaint with the NHTSA as well as a written complaint to Nissan NA. According to the California lemon law, I guess I have to file a complaint with the manufacturer first before pursuing any legal action.

I'm due for 30K service in a couple of months so I will sit and wait to see if this new TC starts leaking by then and go from there.


This guy spent an untold quantity of money on not one but THREE transfer case's. And the vent/breather tube on his TC wasn't even in place. THERE'S YOUR SIGN!

I am putting money on the breather tube having issues. I am inspecting my own MO tomorrow when I get a chance, specifically the vent tube. I have a hard time believing the biggest problem is with the seals themselves. Murphy's law. Whatever can go wrong will go wrong and those weak ass rubber hoses will deteriorate faster than anything else.

FYI was looking into how to fix my leaking TC (just found it this evening, explains the burning rubber smell). It was really not easy to find. I've been beneath it before but never saw this particular leak.

Wood Organism Bedrock Formation Geological phenomenon
 

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This guy spent an untold quantity of money on not one but THREE transfer case's. And the vent/breather tube on his TC wasn't even in place. THERE'S YOUR SIGN!

I am putting money on the breather tube having issues. I am inspecting my own MO tomorrow when I get a chance, specifically the vent tube. I have a hard time believing the biggest problem is with the seals themselves. Murphy's law. Whatever can go wrong will go wrong and those weak ass rubber hoses will deteriorate faster than anything else.

FYI was looking into how to fix my leaking TC (just found it this evening, explains the burning rubber smell). It was really not easy to find. I've been beneath it before but never saw this particular leak.

View attachment 54002
Yeah, gear fluid dripping onto the exhaust would smell like a burning tire, gear fluid has a very pungent smell to it...

Check your transfer case fluid level ASAP! That looks like it may be a fairly significant leak... The transfer case ONLY holds 5/8 pint of gear fluid, just over a cup. You can top it off as necessary until/if you address the leak, keeping the level up is very important...
 

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This guy spent an untold quantity of money on not one but THREE transfer case's. And the vent/breather tube on his TC wasn't even in place. THERE'S YOUR SIGN!

I am putting money on the breather tube having issues. I am inspecting my own MO tomorrow when I get a chance, specifically the vent tube. I have a hard time believing the biggest problem is with the seals themselves. Murphy's law. Whatever can go wrong will go wrong and those weak ass rubber hoses will deteriorate faster than anything else.

FYI was looking into how to fix my leaking TC (just found it this evening, explains the burning rubber smell). It was really not easy to find. I've been beneath it before but never saw this particular leak.
The most common leak with these transfer cases is actually the output shaft seal on the CVT where the transfer case mates and it's a known issue (at least one TSB for each of the 1st and 2nd generations, I believe).

If you want to inspect the vent tube, it's on the top/rear of the transfer case and it "vents" into the space where the transfer case and CVT mate--you can see this in one of the pics a previous poster uploaded with the transfer case out of the car.
 

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On post #502 above, I think it is very rare for a pinion bearing or seal to go out.
There is supposed to be a clutch or what ever the system is for disengaging the AWD when not needed, that is located at the front of the rear axle. The thing about AWD or 4 wheel drive is when it is locked on there is a solid lock between the front and rear drive system, I am surprised that there is no interaxle differential system which would be similar to what the large truck tandem axles use.
Being locked together the front and rear axles will be in a constant fight on dry pavement, and that is what puts a lot of stress on the components. So it is important not to engage AWD on dry pavement I suppose that is all done by the PCM? Not sure.
One of the main causes of the cases cracking I feel is many parts / components etc now in automobiles, are made of sub standard materials to supposedly save weight and cost less to manufacture (not less to us), the use of die cast aluminum for gear cases in an expensive vehicle is just stupid. The cases have to take a lot of stress and that causes distortion or flexing of that case and that can cause cracking. They should be made like they where in the old days where you never heard of a cracked gear case, just no excuse for it, there are some real good quality cast iron nowadays, and that is what the cases should be made from. If they wish to save weight start by eliminating the plastic cover on the engine, and other such worthless junk.
 

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There is supposed to be a clutch or what ever the system is for disengaging the AWD when not needed, that is located at the front of the rear axle. The thing about AWD or 4 wheel drive is when it is locked on there is a solid lock between the front and rear drive system, I am surprised that there is no interaxle differential system which would be similar to what the large truck tandem axles use.
Being locked together the front and rear axles will be in a constant fight on dry pavement, and that is what puts a lot of stress on the components. So it is important not to engage AWD on dry pavement I suppose that is all done by the PCM? Not sure.
The AWD system has its own control module that's linked to the ECM, TCM, ABS etc. that actuates the clutch solenoid in the rear differential. You can actually observe the commanded front/rear ratios and the current being applied to the rear solenoid in the CVTz50 app while driving--they're all over the place.

It's funny because there was a debate on these forums a while back on whether these cars have a true "full-time" AWD system. I've watched the behavior of the AWD system in my car and this is my own experience and I can't say whether other generations would behave the same way nor whether there is any adaptive learning by the TCM that may play into this.

  • At a complete stop with the gear in D or R, the ratio is 100:0 (FWD/RWD). If I let my foot of the brake pedal to allow the car to creep, the ratio remains 100:0 even if the car is creeping more than 5 mph. It's only upon depressing the accelerator pedal that AWD kicks in to some degree.
  • Light acceleration from a stop: Approx. 85:15 to 95:5
  • Moderate acceleration from a stop: Approx. 75:25 to 85:15
  • Hard acceleration from a stop: Approx. 65:35 to 75:25

As vehicle speed increases, RWD engagement diminishes substantially regardless of the acceleration rate so that once the car is going north of 40 mph it's more or less a FWD vehicle. RWD engagement also decreases substantially during deceleration (i.e. foot off the accelerator pedal). Once the vehicle is at highway speeds, ratios are 98:2 to 99:1. There always seems to be at least 1% engagement while the car is moving and I've wondered why the engineers designed it that way. I mean, is 1% of engine torque to the rear wheels meaningful? I don't think so. My theory is that continued engagement of the clutch to a small degree is to improve its responsiveness during an emergency situation, but perhaps others have more insight into this.
 
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Wow thats not very smart of them, especially with no inter axle differential (as far as I know, I haven't studied it that much), that will cause a binding feeling and tire skipping etc. No wonder there is a rash of broken aluminum transfer and differential cases. The only way full time or dry ground 4 wheel drive can work is to have a system similar to the differential that allows one wheel to go faster in a turn, if you didn't have that there would be a skipping tire and heavy loads on the gears and housing. All the large semi trucks with a tandem rear axle have an inter axle differential that allows each axle to run independent from each other. In snow or muddy ground that inter axle unit can be locked so all the power doesn't just go to the axle that is slipping, there are even some 4 wheeler guys that have locker differentials to do the same for stopping the one tire that has no traction from spinning.
So if for sure Nissan didn't add an inter axle differential, they sure end up paying for it with warranty failures of transfer cases and differentials, then of course we also get to pay for their failure to design something the proper way when it is out of warranty.
Just more over dependence on electronics and computers to try to take care of a problem that has been solved mechanically for the last 70 or so years. They should have added strain gauges to the aluminum cases so the computer would know when to fully disengage that AWD clutch, before the cases were over stressed and about to crack, yeah I'm being sarcastic, but really that is the only logical fix if they desire to keep everything locked up.
 

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A very good explanation of the inter axle and how it works. Nissan should have done this sort of thing, and used the clutch instead of the sliding collars in the example to apply lock on the fly.
In this video think of the differential unit he shows as the front axle of the transmission, and the rear axle he explains is the cars rear axle. This is the proper way to have a full time or even a part time AWD system and not mess up the cases or gears.

 
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