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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > All-Wheel-Drive (Xi / xDrive) Talk > Need 2nd Opinion(s) - *BAD* Transfer Case Diagnosis / Actuator Motor Photos



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      05-21-2018, 12:16 PM   #1
cascad1an
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Need 2nd Opinion(s) - *BAD* Transfer Case Diagnosis / Actuator Motor Photos

Hey all! E90 335xi N54 here.

I've recently had some symptoms diagnosed by the BMW dealership; symptoms are weird click/stutter sound when approaching a stop and especially when slowing down while turning with the clutch in; also when putting the car into reverse it now hits this point where it doesn't want to move backwards. Diagnosis from the dealership is a bad transfer case. Replacement cost ~$4,000 parts and labor.

It wasn't throwing codes when I got the diagnosis, but now it is, and the problem is becoming much worse. After reading around on here a lot and searching YouTube I decided to pull the actuator motor and open it up to see what's inside. So far as I can tell, there's no little plastic gear as is commonly mentioned and seen for replacement, everything appears to be metal inside. And much to my dismay, aside from some normal lubricant (waxy?) buildup in certain parts of the gears everything looks like it's in pretty good shape.

Please tell me if you see anything out of the norm, or whether I probably have a real issue with the transfer case itself:











To reiterate, my questions are:



Thanks for any input
Cheers!

Last edited by cascad1an; 05-21-2018 at 05:48 PM. Reason: formatting
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      05-22-2018, 10:49 AM   #2
nsjames
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      05-22-2018, 11:07 AM   #3
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Good video, so I guess the plastic gear is non-existent in my actuator motor which should make this a whole lot more interesting ;(
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      06-04-2018, 01:57 PM   #4
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That's the X3/X5 version with the plastic gear and part that you linked. Didn't know that was available from BMW actually.

There is no plastic gear in the e90/e60 transfer case actuator. The worm gear in the next to last picture is usually the one that wears down in our cars, is made of metal, and is available to be replaced by aftermarket parts (vanos-bmw.com, ebay). There is no OE/OEM part sold separately though.

Yours looks to be in decent shape, so I don't think that's your problem.
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      06-04-2018, 07:53 PM   #5
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T-Case Diagnosis and Motor

The xDrive motor appears to be in very serviceable to me. The main Worm gear set is in good order as is the planetary set. The lubrication looks a bit dry so it would be worthwhile to wash all parts well and renew the grease. Use a good quality, high temp gear grease.

Just to clarify, this is an ATC300 Hetzel transfer case ... http://www.fzth.de/en/catalog/parts-catalog.html. Take a look at the "TO THE TRANSFERCASES PARTS" link on that page.

I don't know if you or the shop drained and checked the oil but that would certainly assist in a proper troubleshooting. If the oil is clean, doesn't smell burnt and is filings free, then I would highly doubt that the T-Case is the problem. At that point you may wish to move up the powertrain.

Keep us posted with what you find.
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      06-04-2018, 10:06 PM   #6
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Excuse me jumping in on this but curious if anyone knows if when you have the transfer case actuator removed from the transfer case that you can move the gear you can see through the hole for the actuator. Also when you have the motor housing removed from the actuator should the motor shaft spin freely or in my case it has a pulsing type movement.
Thanks,
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      06-06-2018, 03:18 PM   #7
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I didn't realize the actuator motor had a separate gearbox before it went into the TC. Those little planetary gears look a lot like ones I've seen in a cordless drill. Has anyone ever cleaned and repacked the grease in there? Heat could cook the grease over time. Seems like good preventative maintenance on my 10 year old, 125kmi car. Any suggestions on grease type?
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      07-30-2018, 10:47 AM   #8
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I had this weird problem with the TC about 6 months ago (car was jerking under some circonstances). Everything was fixed after a fluid change ... I was SOOOO happy :-)

But now, I have all the codes and the grinding noise... And no 4WD... I took out the actuator, pulled the electric motor and the worm gear is fadding away... The rest on the planatary gears looks like yours... Do I have un real TC problem or a new actuator will fix that ???
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      08-03-2018, 07:50 PM   #9
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if the worm gear is hashed that may very well be the issue.

there's someone on ebay selling metal replacements for the plastic worm gear.
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