New developments show that transfer case fluid may be unnecessary. So many owners, oil change locations and other responsible automotive service centers neglect to inspect the level of fluid in this integral drivetrain component.
The fluid in the transfer case in question was undoubtedly empty for some time. Fluid not only helps lubricate wearing components, but more importantly cools the steel and aluminum components that generate gobs of heat. The chain in particular experiences most of the heat, and stretches. If stretched too long the chain will jump teeth on the front output gear generally ending with a shattered case. Heavy 4×4 action can also cause this to occur.
You are not stranded!
Don’t fret yet. If this happens to you *simply cut the chain off (or don’t) and drive it (gently) back home, to a shop, or *off a cliff. The vehicle will still motivate its self with only the rear output shaft functioning.
*Don’t sue me if you die.