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Worst Case Scenario

Worst Case Scenario

Imagine driving along down the road. You hear a loud noise under your car and think, “Maybe I should stop.” Then your brake pedal sinks to the floor.

It is, more or less, a worst case scenario. Something bad has happened to your vehicle, and now you’re not even capable of stopping on the side of the road to figure out the issue. Anything could happen at this point. Thankfully, the owners of the vehicle we’re about to discuss ended up just fine. The vehicle, however, not so much. Let’s start out with a pretty simple picture. On a Jeep Grand Cherokee of this year, this is what the transfer case looks like. It provides the connection between the transmission and the drive wheels in an AWD vehicle.

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After the noise that caused the owners’ brakes to fail, they had the truck towed in to us. Their transfer case did not look like the one above. Instead, it looked like this:

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Truly a worst ‘case’ scenario. Zing! But seriously, this is how the Jeep came in. An entire side of the transfer case had blown apart, as if the last service shop had chosen to replace their transfer case oil with nitroglycerin or C4. The portion of the transfer case that’s supposed to connect to the front axle and driveshaft was completely missing, the case was empty of oil, and the chain was just slapping around after falling off its gear. Even parts of the case that were still connected had been torn up by the shrapnel:

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It was during this inspection that we noticed the reason for the brake failure. The shrapnel from the transfer case had cut clean through the hard metal brake line, causing a complete loss of pressure in the system. No hydraulic pressure, no brakes. Plain and simple.

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It also managed to heavily crimp even the thickest of hard metal lines running past the transfer case. This damage is anything but minimal.

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Extensive is probably a better word to describe the kind of marring the shrapnel did. Underbody panels have egregious amounts of scrapes, scratches, and some holes. It’s nothing that’s going to cause the car to fall apart, but it is a series of marks that will bear explanation should this car ever end up being sold.

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Maximum carnage. It’s like a velociraptor tried to escape its cage down there. Which, judging by the transfer case, it most certainly did. We should have never taught those raptors how to use plastic explosives. Thankfully, even though the front driveshaft still needed replacement, its carnage was significantly less than the other parts down there, with just a bit of the end blown off.

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Did we say less carnage? Oops. We meant “as much as” the other parts down there. Let’s zoom out from that last picture and you’ll see why.

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At this point, you might be thinking, “What the hell is that?” Remember that severed hard metal brake line we talked about earlier? That’s the rest of it, wrapped around the driveshaft. The vehicle was moving fast enough when the transfer case blew, that the driveshaft picked up the now-separated end of the brake line and proceeded to forcefully wrap it around itself. This is like nothing we’ve ever seen before.

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When the Jeep was towed to us and taken off the flatbed, whenever it was pushed around the shop, the loose front driveshaft would just slap and clank around in its mount. We took it right to the lift, where we proceeded to remove the offending broken parts. With the transfer case out, we snapped a couple more shots of it.

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After that, we slapped the new transfer case (the same one in the first picture of this post) in place and went to work fixing the rest of the parts. We’ve got the driveshaft back in place, as well, giving you a better idea of what it *should* look like.

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With that over, now it’s time for *my* worst case scenario. You know how I like to put up candid pictures of my coworkers in less than attractive positions? Well, now it’s time to turn the tables on the ol’ blog boy here. After hours last week, while I was changing my motor and transmission oils, Jay decided to sneak up to me and take some less than desirable pictures. Since it’s only fair, I figured I would show one of them to you all. So here it is.

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Horrid. Just….absolutely terrible.

2 Comments
  • Nick
    Posted at 15:16h, 13 June

    Civic maintenance Lol

  • fluidmotorunion
    Posted at 08:00h, 14 June

    Hey now. I like my car. 6.3s to 60 and 28 mpg when I beat on it. Fits 5, has a limited slip diff, and is small/light enough to toss around on the track every so often. It’s a blast.

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