Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Front Output Shaft Oil Seal

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The front output shaft seal is an oil seal that is installed on the front of transfer cases. As its name implies, the front output shaft seal is responsible for sealing the front output shaft of the transfer case, keeping the gear oil or transmission fluid inside of the unit. The seal is usually round in shape, and made of rubber and sometimes metal, not unlike many other automotive engine and transmission seals. Over time the rubber can dry up and the seal can wear out, which can lead to leaks and other issues. Usually a bad or failing front output shaft seal will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential issue.

Fluid leaking from the transfer case

The most absolute most common symptom of a problem with a front output shaft seal is fluid leaking from the front of the transfer case. If the rubber transfer case seals dry out or crack they can leak gear oil or transmission fluid. A fluid leak can put the transfer case at risk of suffering internal damage due to low lubrication. Any sort of puddles, or drips of fluid found underneath the vehicle should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent the possibility of damage occurring.

Hum, whine, or growling noise coming from the transfer case

Another symptom of a problem with a front output shaft seal is a noisy transfer case. This problem usually occurs after the seal has been leaking for a while and the fluid has run low. If the fluid runs low the vehicle may produce a hum, whine, or growling sound from the transfer case, that may be especially pronounced when the four wheel drive or all wheel drive modes are engaged. A noisy transfer case can also be caused by a number of other issues, so a proper diagnosis is highly recommended.

Like most rubber automotive seals, the front output shaft seals will eventually dry or wear out as time goes on. If you find that your front transfer case seal is leaking, or perhaps having another issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if the seal should be replaced.


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David

23 years of experience
172 reviews
David
23 years of experience
Audi TT - Oil/Fluid Leak - Lady Lake, Florida
David showed up on time he quickly assess the situation and did the appropriate actions. Unfortunately he was given the wrong light bulb so he had to go get different parts but he was very gracious about that
Dodge Dakota - Oil/Fluid Leak - Ocala, Florida
David was great, right on time, found the problems in a timely manner, and Gave me a a great deal of confidence, thanks much!!

Robert

5 years of experience
19 reviews
Robert
5 years of experience
Chrysler 300M - Oil/Fluid Leak - Torrance, California
Robert was here on time, checked out the car. Located the problem. Gave his recommendations. And we will be requesting Robert to do the repairs. Good job Dude. Thanks again.
Saturn Ion - Oil/Fluid Leak - Pasadena, California
Robert was awesome and helpful. Pointed out what the issues were and explained how the suggested repairs would fix it.

Corey

21 years of experience
5 reviews
Corey
21 years of experience
GMC Yukon - Oil/Fluid Leak - Phoenix, Arizona
Corey is the best! Super knowledgeable and very friendly. He explains the problem in-depth and make sure it is resolved. Would highly recommend Corey to anyone and everyone!
GMC Yukon - Oil/Fluid Leak - Phoenix, Arizona
Corey was fantastic! Fixed the problem and was very helpful in explaining what was going on and giving advice for the future. I would highly recommend him!

Michael

46 years of experience
124 reviews
Michael
46 years of experience
Honda CR-V - Oil/Fluid Leak - Millington, Tennessee
Michael is an excellent mechanic. He is knowledgeable, professional and was very detailed in his inspection and diagnosis of my car issue. He went above and beyond - Friendly and honest. I have confidence in his work and will have him work on future car repairs as needed. Thanks!

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