Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Front Output Shaft Bearing

A front output shaft bearing is a component that is commonly found on vehicles equipped with transfer cases, such as all wheel and four-wheel drive vehicles. The front output shaft bearing is the heavy duty bearing installed in the vehicle’s transfer case that supports and secures the front output shaft into place. The bearing keeps the shaft from wobbling as it rotates, and thus allows it to spin smoothly so that power can be transferred efficiently. While most output shaft bearings will usually last the life of the vehicle, they can sometimes be prone to issues that can cause issues with the operation of the vehicle. Usually a bad or failing front output shaft bearing will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential issue.

1. Noisy drivetrain

One of the first symptoms of an issue with the vehicle’s front output shaft bearing is a noisy drivetrain. If the bearing becomes excessively worn or dries up, it can cause the drivetrain to make abnormal sounds when the four-wheel drive system is engaged. A worn or dried out bearing may produce howling or whining noises, and in more serious cases, even grinding noises. The sounds may change in volume or pitch according to the speed of the vehicle.

2. Excessive vibration from the drivetrain

Another common symptom of a possible problem with the vehicle’s output shaft bearing is excessive vibration from the drivetrain. A worn output shaft bearing can cause the output shaft to rotate unevenly and cause the drivetrain to produce excessive vibrations. The vehicle may experience excessive vibration when accelerating or cruising at a constant speed. The vibrations are also usually accompanied or preceded by noises as well.

3. Oil leaking from transfer case

Another symptom of a potential issue with the front output shaft bearing is oil leaking from the transfer case. Aside from supporting and securing the transfer cases front output shaft, the output shaft bearing also seals gear oil within the transfer case. If the output shaft bearing becomes damaged, it can cause gear oil to leak from the transmission. An oil leak from the transfer case will put the unit at risk of running low and suffering damage due to lack of lubrication.

While servicing the front output shaft bearing is not considered routine maintenance, it is a very important component to the proper operation of the transfer case. When it fails, this can cause issues with the vehicle’s drivetrain. If you suspect that your vehicle may be having an issue with the front transfer case bearing, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if the the car will need a front output shaft bearing replacement.


Next Step

Schedule Vehicle Drivetrain Inspection

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Vehicle Drivetrain Inspection. Once the problem has been diagnosed, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.00 off as a credit towards the repair. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Recent Vehicle Drivetrain Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating

(5)

Rating Summary
5
0
0
0
0
5
0
0
0
0

Kevin

24 years of experience
532 reviews
Kevin
24 years of experience
Honda CR-V L4-2.4L - Vehicle Drivetrain Inspection - Lilburn, Georgia
I'm glad we got the 50 point inspection because the actual issue was different than what I thought.

Richard

35 years of experience
96 reviews
Richard
35 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz CLS550 V8-5.5L - Vehicle Drivetrain Inspection - New Port Richey, Florida
Came out on time took 40 min test drive found problem and ran scan to show the problem and I would recommend him highly knows his job well ! Thanks you Richard !

Darnell

19 years of experience
21 reviews
Darnell
19 years of experience
Pontiac Fiero V6-2.8L - Vehicle Drivetrain Inspection - Inglewood, California
VERY PLEASANT AND INFORMATIVE!

Kevin

6 years of experience
92 reviews
Kevin
6 years of experience
Subaru Forester H4-2.5L - Vehicle Drivetrain Inspection - Windermere, Florida
Quick and easy.

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

How Long Does a Front Output Shaft Bearing Last?
For For those people who own a vehicle that is equipped with all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, the vehicle uses a transfer case in order to split up the motion so you get the rear and front motion. Within this...
How Long Does a Timing Cover Last?
A A timing cover protects parts such as the timing belt, timing chain, and gears inside of your vehicle. They are made from either plastic, metal, or a combination of synthetic materials. In modern vehicles, the covers are designed to...
How to Replace the Rear Hub Bearing on a Ford Explorer
Wheel bearings allow the car's wheels to give you a smooth ride. A howling or grinding noise is a sign that your hub bearing should be replaced.

Related questions

Grinding noise, ABS light comes on
Without being able to hear the noise, it will be difficult to make an accurate determination. But based on the conditions that the noise develops, it seems to occur where a rotating component is contacting a stationary component when the...
bearing shaft and balance shaft
Hi there. The recommendations to replace these parts may be a sales ploy to make some money from you since the dealer has to do this piston work under warranty for you. If you have an engine issue after they...
Grinding noise when in Park and Neutral.
The noise is either coming from the clutches slipping inside the transmission or a loose exhaust shield that is rattling. Lift up the vehicle and put it on jack stands. Then go under the vehicle and feel around for anything...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com