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Q: My Yukon Denali is AWD. With front tires off the ground, should the drive shaft and both tires spin freely of each other?

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I am replacing my transfer case due to it burning up. I noticed when I was taking out the front drive shaft, that I can turn it. I took it out and I can turn the differential without it turning the front wheel. It spins freely with no drag at all. The wheels can turn like this as well. I am wondering if this is a normal thing? Because it seems it's not and could be what's messing up my transfer case.

My car has 180000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Hi there, thanks for writing in. I'd be...

Hi there, thanks for writing in. I'd be happy to help. This is a normal thing. Your front axle carrier has an electronic actuator that locks it in only when the transfer case is locked into 4WD. The fact that your front carrier spins free and wheels spin free is a good sign. If it stayed locked in all the time, that would be a problem and could damage the transfer case. Hope this helps.

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