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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all, New member here.

I just purchased a 2002 Durango RT with 144,000 miles and only two previous owners. It had only been driven by a mom most recently and was serviced regularly by a shop. I test drove it and everything worked great and seemed fine.

So I thought I was set

However, only 5 hours after purchasing it, the transfer case exploded on the highway.

After about an hour of driving, I started hearing what sounded like something banging around in the location of the front left wheel. I inspected it and did not find anything obvious. The noise continued off and on throughout the trip and did not appear to get worse so I assumed I was fine.

After it exploded, I looked under and saw that the teeth on the front driveshaft entering the Tcase were either completely chewed off or melted away. The case poured a good amount of oil out on to the ground. And the output end of the case was about 200 feet behind where I stopped in a few hefty chunks that were incredibly hot. The input end of the case and the rest of the driveline heading towards the rear wheels appears fine however the rear wheels will not move under power on their own and when in park you can push the car as if in neutral with no key or anything at all. Upon visual inspection the transmission seems fine.

My questions are:
What transfer case do I have?
Is my transmission FUBAR as well?
As a DIYer, about how much will this cost me?

Thank you for any help

I will add more information soon, am currently on the way home post Tcase explosion.
 

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Wheeler:
Welcome to DDN.
That's a sad way to begin Durango ownership. What does your shift knob on the dash say? If it has an AWD position and 4 LO, you have the 2 speed AWD NV 244 T case. If the first slot is 2WD, and has 4LO, you have the part time NV 233 case. If there is no 4LO either way, you have a single speed NV 144 or 133.

If you have the tools, and can get it up in the air a bit, you can DIY this. Search www.car-part.com for the proper case. There should be plenty of them out there. Since you are gonna change it, you can also elect to go from AWD to part time, or visa versa.

You will notice that the T case end of the front shaft is unusual. They do go bad at some point over 100K, so look that over carefully while you have it out.

Don
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Wheeler:
Welcome to DDN.
That's a sad way to begin Durango ownership. What does your shift knob on the dash say? If it has an AWD position and 4 LO, you have the 2 speed AWD NV 244 T case. If the first slot is 2WD, and has 4LO, you have the part time NV 233 case. If there is no 4LO either way, you have a single speed NV 144 or 133.

If you have the tools, and can get it up in the air a bit, you can DIY this. Search www.car-part.com for the proper case. There should be plenty of them out there. Since you are gonna change it, you can also elect to go from AWD to part time, or visa versa.

You will notice that the T case end of the front shaft is unusual. They do go bad at some point over 100K, so look that over carefully while you have it out.

Don
Thanks for the response Don

I have AWD, 4HI, and 4LO.

All my tools are way up in Michigan and I'm stuck down in Florida due to the recent events but I've got my jack, ramps, and torque wrench down here so with just some harbor freight tools (not jack stands lol) and help from my buds I should be good.

I'm gonna be taking this back up to Michigan so I think I'm going to stick with the AWD, although breaking the rear end loose in 2wheel would be fun.

I think the front shaft is exactly what the issue was. The bulbous bit with some sort of swivel ball bearing (not sure what to call it) in it that bolts to the Tcase completely pulled out of the shaft and got annihilated. I'll post up some photos for you to see on a separate reply.

I've got a 84 Camaro I've done a lot of work to and dropped a 350 in so I like to think I know how to throw a wrench lol.
 

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It's hard to say if the transmission is good, as with the complete failure of the t case (holy s*** btw!) , the power can't get though to any wheels. Really the only way to tell is to fix the t case and try it. If it's not cracked or leaking, I'd try it.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I am still working on doing my research but wasn't sure which would be the better route:
  • Gambling on a junkyard Tcase and possibly rebuilding it
  • Buying a 'good' used Tcase offline or locally
  • Just investing in a new/reman case
Also, I was wondering what all vehicles (years and models and such) could I find a compatible case in? I know of similar year Durangos and Dakotas. Is there anything else besides these? Would a earlier Gen2 NV244 work with my Gen1?

This is my first time tackling a 4wheel vehicle and also a Dodge so I'm not familiar with all the nitty gritty details regarding such
 

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It's hard to say if the transmission is good, as with the complete failure of the t case (holy s*** btw!) , the power can't get though to any wheels. Really the only way to tell is to fix the t case and try it. If it's not cracked or leaking, I'd try it.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
That's what my thought was as well.

But yeah it was full on catastrophic BOOM BANG. My buddy saw sparks shoot out from behind me and that was where the fun ended.

I started it up and put it in neutral so we could trailer it. I passed through reverse and drive a couple times and the output shaft of the trans is definitely spinning with the motor. Since the chain is still attached to the case and hanging free, you could hear it banging around depending on what gear you were in. So I think the trans is going to be fine.

Fingers crossed
 

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Hopefully you weren't driving around in 4HI mode.. :(
 

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The electronic T cases for Gen 1 were 01-03. My memory is fuzzy as to whether the Gen 2 cases will work, or not. A good sized salvage yard should have software that can advise. Living in Michigan, I would also stick with AWD.
Search by zip code or similar via car-part. Hopefully you can locate one in your area.

Don
 

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The electronic T cases for Gen 1 were 01-03. My memory is fuzzy as to whether the Gen 2 cases will work, or not. A good sized salvage yard should have software that can advise. Living in Michigan, I would also stick with AWD.
Search by zip code or similar via car-part. Hopefully you can locate one in your area.

Don
Yeah I'm going to go to my local yard here soon and do some research. There's a few Gen 1s that match what I need and a lot of Gen 2s. I'll probably unbolt some stuff and compare.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I can't seem to find a rebuild kit that comes with a new chain included. Guess you have to buy them separately
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Here's an update,

Got the transfer case out. Here's some pictures of it, you can really see how cracked the housing is.

The rear transmission seal seems to be leaking.

I went to my local junkyards and couldn't find a nv244. However I found someone on Facebook parting out an 01 RT that says he'll sell me the front drive shaft and transfer case for 150. Just gotta go pull it, rebuild it, and I'll be good to go.
 

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Hopefully it's just the rear seal, check for cracks in the transmission tail shaft housing before you throw it back together.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
 

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$150 is a great price for the T case and shaft. Try to find out how many miles are on it?
The AWD T case on the Gen 1's was kind of a rare thing. Most of the ones I found along the way were the part time 133 or 233. As we know, the R/T ('00-03) came standard w AWD, so those are a good source for them. Note that the '00 had the manual T case

Don
 
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