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On four-wheel drive vehicles and some all-wheel drive vehicles, a transfer case is used to split the rear motion of the transmission to both front and rear motion. Two shafts go into the transfer case, and one of the shafts that comes through the case is mounted firmly in place in a bearing. The bearing keeps the shaft from wobbling and causing oil loss, and also provides smooth rotation. If the front output shaft bearing is worn or lacks lubrication, the bearing will be noisy and need to be replaced.
The front output shaft bearing is lubricated by the internal transfer case oil, and it should not require regular maintenance. Changing the transfer case oil at the manufacturer’s recommended interval will help prevent failure. This is a job that requires a fair bit of tear-down, and is best left to our expert mechanics.
You should never neglect any suspected drive train problems in your vehicle. This is a safety issue, as if the transfer case binds up due to the bearing seizing, the front wheels can lock up while you are driving. Replace the front output shaft bearing as soon as it is deemed faulty.