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Discussion Starter #1
I was looking at some of the details on the FJ Cruiser Bulletin over at the Toyota website. One thing it calls out is a "stout chain-driven transfer case".

If it was so stout, wouldn't it be gear-driven? Isn't a chain driven device much more prone to failure or, in general, require more maintenance than gear driven?

In my 4x4'ing ignorance, I thought a geared transfer case was the norm, so this chain thing was a surprise.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It's not exactly a bike chain in there, it is very common even the jeeps have them!
Well of course it isn't. But comparing the strength of a chain to a gear is probably on the ratio of comparing the strength of a chain to a belt....and it's easy to understand the difference and peace of mind you get with an engine that uses a timing chain over a timing belt.

And comparing a Toyota to a Jeep isn't exactly what I would call a positive thing ;)
 

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Well of course it isn't. But comparing the strength of a chain to a gear is probably on the ratio of comparing the strength of a chain to a belt....and it's easy to understand the difference and peace of mind you get with an engine that uses a timing chain over a timing belt.

And comparing a Toyota to a Jeep isn't exactly what I would call a positive thing ;)
Chain-driven transfer cases use a chain to drive most often only the front axle, but can drive both axles. Chain-driven transfer cases are quieter and lighter than gear-driven ones. Gear-driven transfer cases gain extra strength, but are less forgiving with inexperienced users.

I have never seen a broken transfer case chain, but I have seen a broken case, chain still intact. If strength is your worry, you will lose an axle or driveshaft before the chain goes!
 

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I agree, my '76 IHC Scout II had a chain and that truck went through Hell and back and the chain never failed...everything else did though...
 

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I don't have a problem with the chain-driven t-case either. Wheel in confidence and when and if it ever breaks, put in a built Dana 300 or NP 205.

I agree, my '76 IHC Scout II had a chain and that truck went through Hell and back and the chain never failed...everything else did though...
Ha! I can totally relate to this Scout comment have owned several in the past. Actually, I still own one - it's in pieces (big surprise!) - have a 800 B frame for a V-8, a working low-mileage 345 engine, Dana 20 t-case, t-18 tranny, and Dana 44 axles (from a Traveler) - no body. Might make a rock buggy out of it someday - might not. :)
 

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I have never broken a chain in my TCase. I had a supercharged bronco that I ran pretty hard.

The NP205 was the classic venerable gear tcase.

You also must remember that the powerstroke ford f450 4x4 capable of towing 24,000 lbs has a chain driven transfer case.

The only reason you will break a chain is if there is too much slack in the chain and you snap it.
 

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IIRC all Land Cruisers used gear driven transfer cases till the 100 series. The 200 series is the first LC with a chain.

That said, I have only see one TC chain broken on an old beater Toyota pickup. As said above the chain only drives the front axle drive shaft.
 

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My stock tcase was obviously chain, and my lefty tcase is now gear driven. My lefty is noisier. I wheeled both and they were just fine. I think the tcases in toyota trucks shifter to chain driven in like 85.
 

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Well of course it isn't. But comparing the strength of a chain to a gear is probably on the ratio of comparing the strength of a chain to a belt....and it's easy to understand the difference and peace of mind you get with an engine that uses a timing chain over a timing belt.

And comparing a Toyota to a Jeep isn't exactly what I would call a positive thing ;)
a np231 t case in most jeeps is a pretty strong unit. unless you are on 40"s with a 500hp v8
 

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I used a 86 bronco to plow snow with. 10 years, with a western pro plow. Chain driven transfer case and AOD transmission were fine. 2 motors and 3 rear difs later the transfer case and AOD transmission were still the only thing not repaced. I traded it with another broken rear dif and 285, 000 miles on it and never broke the trans or transfer case.
I was told the AOD was the weak link due to the small output shaft. I guess my AOD didnt get that bulletin.
 

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And comparing a Toyota to a Jeep isn't exactly what I would call a positive thing ;)

Clearly you have never owned a Jeep. I'd trade the strength of my FJ's drive train (axles, t-case, tranny) for that of a Jeep - Dana 44s, Dana 300 t-case (or a 20, or an NP231...), etc. Now don't get me wrong - beyond that (and motors) Jeeps are largely crap. But not the drive trains.
 

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Clearly you have never owned a Jeep. I'd trade the strength of my FJ's drive train (axles, t-case, tranny) for that of a Jeep - Dana 44s, Dana 300 t-case (or a 20, or an NP231...), etc. Now don't get me wrong - beyond that (and motors) Jeeps are largely crap. But not the drive trains.
I think it also depends ALOT on what the particular jeep is outfitted with. Some of the parts are junk at the bottom end / non-upgraded. I've seen a jeep break a really flimsy weak u-joint on it's rear drive shaft going up something my FJC went up without any difficulty, just a few minutes later. On the other hand, with just a bit of up grading, we know how awesomely rock solid jeeps can be as rock buggies, doing stuff that only Sol and Amanda can contemplate in an FJC. There are so many variants and built levels of "jeep" that they are really hard to compare against.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Clearly you have never owned a Jeep. I'd trade the strength of my FJ's drive train (axles, t-case, tranny) for that of a Jeep - Dana 44s, Dana 300 t-case (or a 20, or an NP231...), etc. Now don't get me wrong - beyond that (and motors) Jeeps are largely crap. But not the drive trains.
Actually I have owned a Grand Cherokee, but that's beside the point. When I made that statement, I was speaking more in terms of the overall vehicle. Having a bullet proof drive train doesn't do you much good if you have engine problems :)
 

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Actually I have owned a Grand Cherokee, but that's beside the point. When I made that statement, I was speaking more in terms of the overall vehicle. Having a bullet proof drive train doesn't do you much good if you have engine problems :)
Wheel with confidence with your chain driven tranfer case. I've have seen more gear driven case's break than I have chain driven. I have both a gear driven reduction unit and the chain driven case in my Taco and you can hear the gear case whine when you drive but not the chain case. It's harder to get the gear case in gear than it is the chain case.

You shouldn't have any problems with your case if you follow the owners manual for maint. and your not running 37" or larger tires. Hell, you'll break CV's and axles before you break that transfer case unless you bounce it off a rock really hard.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for all the replies about this, I won't give it another thought (well for a few thousand miles anyway, when I swap the lube over to synthetic).

Happy New year :)
 

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Actually I have owned a Grand Cherokee, but that's beside the point. When I made that statement, I was speaking more in terms of the overall vehicle. Having a bullet proof drive train doesn't do you much good if you have engine problems :)
What engine problems are you talking about? The 4.0 has to be one of the most reliable engines out there. Might not have the high end power of others, but the low end torque is where it's at off-road. Now the Magnum 5.2 and 5.9's had multiple problems with the intake belly pan, and cracked heads. Though with a little work and TLC they could put out some decent power, and be dependable. My Ram had close to 200,000 on it's 5.9, and was still pulling decent numbers on the dyno when I got rid of it.
 

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Actually I have owned a Grand Cherokee, but that's beside the point. When I made that statement, I was speaking more in terms of the overall vehicle. Having a bullet proof drive train doesn't do you much good if you have engine problems :)
There are so many variants and built levels of "jeep" that they are really hard to compare against.
So true. My TJ has some of the stock drive train left. Though It has a SYE, One ton high angle DS, Dana 44 rear, Dana 30 front, both with Warn 5.5 full floater/hub conversion, alloy shafts, 4.56's, and ARB's. 4" Rubicon Express long arm lift, and 35" MTR's. Along with a bunch of other goodies.

I love my Jeep for certain reasons, just as I love my FJ for certain reasons. The only bad part about owning both, is having to split my mod money between the two.
 
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