Transmission Repair Locations

Simply put, the transfer case in a four-wheel drive (4WD) or all wheel drive (AWD) vehicle is the component which allows the engine power to be directed to all four tires.  Transfer cases are generally mounted just outside or next to the transmission.  A traditional vehicle generally has a drive shaft that delivers power to just two of the wheels.  The transfer case adds and connects a second drive shaft to the second pair of tires.

Transfer Case of Yesterday (Traditional Truck Type)

The transfer case of yesterday is a big, cast iron, crude, heavy gear box that bolted on the back of the transmission that used a set of gears to connect the front drive shaft to the rear drive shaft.  They were generally controlled by a large shifter sticking out of the floor board and you also manually locked the hubs at both front wheels.  You shifted into four wheel drive only on an as need basis.  In older four wheel drives traditionally the rear wheels were the primary drive tires and the front wheel only came on board when you went through this ritual.

Modern Transfer Case of Today (Automatic Engaging Truck Type)

The modern transfer case is much lighter, built of generally aluminum or magnesium.  They use a chain to connect the front and the rear drive shafts in the more common truck type configuration where the rear wheels are the primary source of delivering power to the pavement.  What is significantly different is the methods of control and the addition of an electrically controlled clutch.  No longer do you need to go through the ritual listed above, the vehicles computer monitors for wheel slip and when it registers wheel slip, it signals an electric motor mounted on the transfer case which actuates and connects the front and rear drive shafts through a clutching system.  This is much easier to operate but does present challenges when it malfunctions.  Although it sounds fairly simply, a good portion of our repair industry does not know how to diagnose these issues.  The consumer will purchase a replacement transfer case when all they needed was a transfer case actuator motor, control computer, new tires or …. (See article on tire replacement & tire size challenges with automatic engaging all wheel drive systems)

Modern Transfer Case (Manual Engaging Truck Type)

Much like described above, with the exception of the transfer case not utilizing a clutching mechanism and engagement manually happening through a button or shift lever.  Much like people preferring a “land line” over a cell phone, we find some people prefer the manual type operation where they feel some control.  Maybe this is because it seems more objective or concrete in it operation.  Either way, both have pros and cons and it is simply personal preference.

Modern Transfer Case (Full Time All Wheel Drive, Car or Front Wheel Drive SUV)

Quickly becoming very common since more SUV are moving to front wheel drive and more cars are utilizing all wheel drive.  Different from both of the above, this is where the primary source of placing power to the pavement is through the front wheels and the rear wheels are secondary.  The transfer case is generally much smaller and has no clutching mechanism.  The manufacturer of the vehicle has generally moved the clutching mechanism in most cases to the rear differential.  The transfer case in this application is mounted to either the right or the left side of the transmission between the drive axle and the front wheel.  Sitting by itself, it looks more like a differential than a transfer case but is still described as a transfer case because of its function.  Like the other automatic engaging transfer cases, tire replacement should happen as a complete set of four tires unlike the two at a time people are accustomed to.  We see customers daily that have to buy a new transfer case because they did not follow this rule.  (See article on tire replacement & tire size challenges with automatic engaging all wheel drive systems)

Signs You May Have a Transfer Case Problem (Traditional Type)

  • Difficulty Shifting Into Different Ranges (4-Low, 4-High, 2wd)
  • Noisy In All Gears
  • Jumps Out of 4-Low Range or 4-High Range
  • Fluid Leaking From Vent or Seals
  • “Service four wheel drive light” (usually yellow)
  • Vehicle goes completely into neutral while just driving

Signs You May Have a Transfer Case Problem (Automatic Engaging Type)

  • Binding sensation when turning
  • Popping noises on acceleration either in a turn or in a straight line
  • “Service four wheel drive light” or “all wheel drive light” or “traction control light”
  • Vehicle completely goes into neutral while just driving

A frequent transmission miss-diagnosis worth mention is the transmission is rebuilt or replaced, when simply a purse strap got caught on the transfer case shifter pulling the transfer case into neutral when exiting the vehicle.  We see this one from time to time.  This usually happens to an inexperienced transmission technician and they only figure it out after they have rebuilt or replaced your transmission.  The honest one will tell you, the dishonest will simply shift the transfer case back into gear and you get a transmission you didn’t need.

Maintenance!! - Maintenance!! - Maintenance!! - Maintenance!! - Maintenance!!

The transfer case almost always gets forgotten.  People say, “I never use the four wheel drive, what does it need maintenance for?”  This is a wives' tale.  The transfer case is always rotating and has power or torque going through it. This is regardless or not if you use the four wheel drive. Transfer cases are expensive and you definitely don’t want to buy one because transfer case services are relatively cheap.  They usually hold less than two quarts of oil.

The transfer case fluid level & condition should be checked at every regular oil change to make sure it also has plenty lubricant (this is very important, transfer cases hold so little fluid they will run out, even if you never saw a puddle on the ground.

The modern transfer case, especially the type with clutch mechanisms requires more frequent maintenance than a traditional type transfer case.

Specialty or Exotic transfer case fluid is something you need to be aware of.  In old days transfer cases were simply filled with gear oil or automatic transmission fluid (ATF).  Some mechanics never got the memo from the transfer case manufacturer.  We see the wrong fluid in transfer cases daily.  Sometimes we catch it when it is already too late and someone has to buy a new transfer case.  You need to be aware as a consumer that you are working with a knowledgeable Paradise Valley, AZ repair shop.  We can all look the same and sound the same.  Even doctors have been known to amputate the wrong limb from time to time.

Paradise Valley

Simply put, the transfer case in a four-wheel drive (4WD) or all wheel drive (AWD) vehicle is the component which allows the engine power to be directed to all four tires.  Transfer cases are generally mounted just outside or next to the transmission.  A traditional vehicle generally has a drive shaft that delivers power to just two of the wheels.  The transfer case adds and connects a second drive shaft to the second pair of tires.

Transfer Case of Yesterday (Traditional Truck Type)

The transfer case of yesterday is a big, cast iron, crude, heavy gear box that bolted on the back of the transmission that used a set of gears to connect the front drive shaft to the rear drive shaft.  They were generally controlled by a large shifter sticking out of the floor board and you also manually locked the hubs at both front wheels.  You shifted into four wheel drive only on an as need basis.  In older four wheel drives traditionally the rear wheels were the primary drive tires and the front wheel only came on board when you went through this ritual.

Modern Transfer Case of Today (Automatic Engaging Truck Type)

The modern transfer case is much lighter, built of generally aluminum or magnesium.  They use a chain to connect the front and the rear drive shafts in the more common truck type configuration where the rear wheels are the primary source of delivering power to the pavement.  What is significantly different is the methods of control and the addition of an electrically controlled clutch.  No longer do you need to go through the ritual listed above, the vehicles computer monitors for wheel slip and when it registers wheel slip, it signals an electric motor mounted on the transfer case which actuates and connects the front and rear drive shafts through a clutching system.  This is much easier to operate but does present challenges when it malfunctions.  Although it sounds fairly simply, a good portion of our repair industry does not know how to diagnose these issues.  The consumer will purchase a replacement transfer case when all they needed was a transfer case actuator motor, control computer, new tires or …. (See article on tire replacement & tire size challenges with automatic engaging all wheel drive systems)

Modern Transfer Case (Manual Engaging Truck Type)

Much like described above, with the exception of the transfer case not utilizing a clutching mechanism and engagement manually happening through a button or shift lever.  Much like people preferring a “land line” over a cell phone, we find some people prefer the manual type operation where they feel some control.  Maybe this is because it seems more objective or concrete in it operation.  Either way, both have pros and cons and it is simply personal preference.

Modern Transfer Case (Full Time All Wheel Drive, Car or Front Wheel Drive SUV)

Quickly becoming very common since more SUV are moving to front wheel drive and more cars are utilizing all wheel drive.  Different from both of the above, this is where the primary source of placing power to the pavement is through the front wheels and the rear wheels are secondary.  The transfer case is generally much smaller and has no clutching mechanism.  The manufacturer of the vehicle has generally moved the clutching mechanism in most cases to the rear differential.  The transfer case in this application is mounted to either the right or the left side of the transmission between the drive axle and the front wheel.  Sitting by itself, it looks more like a differential than a transfer case but is still described as a transfer case because of its function.  Like the other automatic engaging transfer cases, tire replacement should happen as a complete set of four tires unlike the two at a time people are accustomed to.  We see customers daily that have to buy a new transfer case because they did not follow this rule.  (See article on tire replacement & tire size challenges with automatic engaging all wheel drive systems)

Signs You May Have a Transfer Case Problem (Traditional Type)

  • Difficulty Shifting Into Different Ranges (4-Low, 4-High, 2wd)
  • Noisy In All Gears
  • Jumps Out of 4-Low Range or 4-High Range
  • Fluid Leaking From Vent or Seals
  • “Service four wheel drive light” (usually yellow)
  • Vehicle goes completely into neutral while just driving

Signs You May Have a Transfer Case Problem (Automatic Engaging Type)

  • Binding sensation when turning
  • Popping noises on acceleration either in a turn or in a straight line
  • “Service four wheel drive light” or “all wheel drive light” or “traction control light”
  • Vehicle completely goes into neutral while just driving

A frequent transmission miss-diagnosis worth mention is the transmission is rebuilt or replaced, when simply a purse strap got caught on the transfer case shifter pulling the transfer case into neutral when exiting the vehicle.  We see this one from time to time.  This usually happens to an inexperienced transmission technician and they only figure it out after they have rebuilt or replaced your transmission.  The honest one will tell you, the dishonest will simply shift the transfer case back into gear and you get a transmission you didn’t need.

Maintenance!! - Maintenance!! - Maintenance!! - Maintenance!! - Maintenance!!

The transfer case almost always gets forgotten.  People say, “I never use the four wheel drive, what does it need maintenance for?”  This is a wives' tale.  The transfer case is always rotating and has power or torque going through it. This is regardless or not if you use the four wheel drive. Transfer cases are expensive and you definitely don’t want to buy one because transfer case services are relatively cheap.  They usually hold less than two quarts of oil.

The transfer case fluid level & condition should be checked at every regular oil change to make sure it also has plenty lubricant (this is very important, transfer cases hold so little fluid they will run out, even if you never saw a puddle on the ground.

The modern transfer case, especially the type with clutch mechanisms requires more frequent maintenance than a traditional type transfer case.

Specialty or Exotic transfer case fluid is something you need to be aware of.  In old days transfer cases were simply filled with gear oil or automatic transmission fluid (ATF).  Some mechanics never got the memo from the transfer case manufacturer.  We see the wrong fluid in transfer cases daily.  Sometimes we catch it when it is already too late and someone has to buy a new transfer case.  You need to be aware as a consumer that you are working with a knowledgeable Ahwatukee, AZ repair shop.  We can all look the same and sound the same.  Even doctors have been known to amputate the wrong limb from time to time.

Ahwatukee

Clutches are normally associated with a manual transmission. However, they are not actually integral to the inner workings of the manual transmission. Clutches are simply the connection point between the engine and the transmission. When you push the clutch in you are breaking this connection between the engine & transmission. When you let the clutch out, you are reconnecting the engine to the transmission. The reconnection from a stop has to happen in a modulated way, as not to stall the engine.

Clutches generally fail in one of two functions: their ability to engage (pedal out, primary position) or their ability to disengage (pedal depressed). Either of these two failure don’t necessitate you need a major or complete clutch replacement but often times a minimally clutch repair and/or maintenance is all that needs to happen.

Signs Your Clutch is Not Fully Engaging or Engaging At All:

  • When accelerating, the speed of the vehicle does not seem to follow engine RPM proportionally.
  • Burning smell
  • Drop in gas mileage
  • Extremely soft clutch pedal
  • Car does not want to move at all when letting out the clutch

Signs That Your Clutch is Not Fully Disengaging or Disengaging At All:

  • Difficulty shifting from gear to gear (usually effects all gear changes)
  • Grinding or scraping noise between gears
  • Although getting into reverse is generally more difficult, when a clutch is not disengaging fully, reverse can become next to impossible

Other Signs a Clutch Issue Might Be Present:

  • Chattering or jerking sensation when releasing the clutch pedal
  • Crunching noises or a “hard” clutch pedal
  • General tip for shifting into reverse: always move the shifter to a forward gear before moving to reverse.

Styles of Clutch Control:

  • Hydraulic Type: Operates much like a brake system. There is a clutch master cylinder (connected to the clutch pedal), clutch slave cylinder (connected to the clutch fork) & hydraulic lines that connect the two. Hydraulic tends to be the most common we see from vehicle manufacturers. It is more common in later model or newer model vehicles.
  • Cable Type: Simply put, a cable connects the clutch pedal to the clutch fork. The next most common type used by automobile manufacturers.
  • Linkage Type: Uses a series of rods and pivot points to connect the clutch pedal to the clutch fork. Less commonly or hardly used any more, it is generally associated with older vehicles. Linkage types tend to wear out, need repair and frequent adjustment.

All three styles generally have some sort of adjustment that can be performed. As simple as they seem to operate, we see a considerable amount of people that get a major transmission replacement or a major clutch repair, when all they needed was a minor clutch adjustment or repair.

What to do When You Need a Major Clutch Replacement:

Most mechanics in Paradise Valley, AZ will tell you they are happy to replace your clutch, but do they do them every day? Their operation of a clutch seems simple to most, but that’s just the problem. Technicians are guilty of overlooking simple small details that make a clutch last long and operate great. Things like the right type of grease used on the clutch splines or replacing a scared bearing retainer on the front of the transmission. Another one that gets missed is a damaged transmission input shaft at the pilot bearing race surface. Why don’t some mechanics address this? It's easier to replace the clutch when you don’t know how to work with the insides of the transmission.

Clutch Buzz Words:

Clutch Fork: Lever or leverage at the clutch that is used to compress the group of extremely strong springs in the pressure plate. They can wear out specifically at the pivot point or get damaged when a clutch release bearing goes bad. They should be inspected for possibilities of needing to be replaced with any major clutch repair were the transmission is removed.

Clutch Fork Pivot Ball: The pivot point for the clutch fork. Replacement of this ball should almost always be considered with any major clutch repair were the transmission is removed. Small detail, but some miss it.

Bearing Retainer: The bearing retainer is the piece or guide track that the release bearing rides on between clutch engagement and clutch disengagement. It is either mounted or integral to the front of the transmission. They often get overlooked or neglected with major clutch replacement were the transmission is removed because it’s an extra detail that slows the technician down. It is imperative that the surface of the bearing retainer is not damaged, scared or worn down for clutch smoothness and clutch longevity.

Release Bearing (a.k.a. throw-Out Bearing): The release bearing is sandwiched between the clutch fork & clutch pressure plate. There are different styles of release bearings. The release bearing is a failure point and should be replaced

Pilot Bearing: Fits in the back of the engine’s crank shaft, supporting the input shaft in the transmission. Hands down, this is another failure point and should be replaced with any major clutch repair were the transmission has to be removed.
Clutch Disc: This is the actual friction material in the clutch assembly. It is an item that does wear out, much like a brake pad. It’s also the reason some people get more mileage out of there clutch than others. It comes down to driver habits and technique.

Pressure Plate: Mounted to the engines flywheel it’s what compresses on the clutch disc to engage or disengage the clutch. These are almost always replaced with any major clutch repair were the transmission is removed.

Flywheel: Mounted to the engine crankshaft this is where the clutch disc rides. Much like a brake rotor, it must be machined with a proper clutch replacement. Again, another area were some like to skip or cut corners. Flywheel machine is imperative.

Dual Mass Flywheel: Becoming more common. This type of flywheel is built in two parts connected by a spring mechanism. Because of its construction they are either un-machine able and/or difficult to machine. Created for creature comfort in the vehicle, they do add considerable expense to a clutch replacement.

Clutch Master Cylinder: Much like a brake master cylinder, it is directly connected to the clutch pedal and sends hydraulic pressure to the clutch slave cylinder down at the clutch. When replacing clutch master cylinders, we often recommend they are replaced in combination with the slave cylinder. Not always necessary, but a best practice for a solid repair.

Clutch Slave Cylinder: Much like a brake wheel cylinder, its directly connected to the clutch fork or throw out bearing. When replacing clutch slave cylinders, we often recommend they are replaced in combination with the clutch master cylinder. This is not always necessary, but a best practice for the ideal repair.

Clutch Pedal Travel: The window of distance between the floor board and where the clutch pedal rests without your foot on the pedal. Typically there should almost be 1” of free travel when just starting to push the clutch in before you feel resistance and there should be 1” to 2” of room before the floorboard when the clutch is disengaged. As a clutch wears, the measurements change if not adjusted. a worn clutch will be right at the top of this window. Some types of clutches are self adjusting for this wear, while others aren’t.

Paradise Valley

Clutches are normally associated with a manual transmission. However, they are not actually integral to the inner workings of the manual transmission. Clutches are simply the connection point between the engine and the transmission. When you push the clutch in you are breaking this connection between the engine & transmission. When you let the clutch out, you are reconnecting the engine to the transmission. The reconnection from a stop has to happen in a modulated way, as not to stall the engine.

Clutches generally fail in one of two functions: their ability to engage (pedal out, primary position) or their ability to disengage (pedal depressed). Either of these two failure don’t necessitate you need a major or complete clutch replacement but often times a minimally clutch repair and/or maintenance is all that needs to happen.

Signs Your Clutch is Not Fully Engaging or Engaging At All:

  • When accelerating, the speed of the vehicle does not seem to follow engine RPM proportionally.
  • Burning smell
  • Drop in gas mileage
  • Extremely soft clutch pedal
  • Car does not want to move at all when letting out the clutch

Signs That Your Clutch is Not Fully Disengaging or Disengaging At All:

  • Difficulty shifting from gear to gear (usually effects all gear changes)
  • Grinding or scraping noise between gears
  • Although getting into reverse is generally more difficult, when a clutch is not disengaging fully, reverse can become next to impossible

Other Signs a Clutch Issue Might Be Present:

  • Chattering or jerking sensation when releasing the clutch pedal
  • Crunching noises or a “hard” clutch pedal
  • General tip for shifting into reverse: always move the shifter to a forward gear before moving to reverse.

Styles of Clutch Control:

  • Hydraulic Type: Operates much like a brake system. There is a clutch master cylinder (connected to the clutch pedal), clutch slave cylinder (connected to the clutch fork) & hydraulic lines that connect the two. Hydraulic tends to be the most common we see from vehicle manufacturers. It is more common in later model or newer model vehicles.
  • Cable Type: Simply put, a cable connects the clutch pedal to the clutch fork. The next most common type used by automobile manufacturers.
  • Linkage Type: Uses a series of rods and pivot points to connect the clutch pedal to the clutch fork. Less commonly or hardly used any more, it is generally associated with older vehicles. Linkage types tend to wear out, need repair and frequent adjustment.

All three styles generally have some sort of adjustment that can be performed. As simple as they seem to operate, we see a considerable amount of people that get a major transmission replacement or a major clutch repair, when all they needed was a minor clutch adjustment or repair.

What to do When You Need a Major Clutch Replacement:

Most mechanics in Paradise Valley, AZ will tell you they are happy to replace your clutch, but do they do them every day? Their operation of a clutch seems simple to most, but that’s just the problem. Technicians are guilty of overlooking simple small details that make a clutch last long and operate great. Things like the right type of grease used on the clutch splines or replacing a scared bearing retainer on the front of the transmission. Another one that gets missed is a damaged transmission input shaft at the pilot bearing race surface. Why don’t some mechanics address this? It's easier to replace the clutch when you don’t know how to work with the insides of the transmission.

Clutch Buzz Words:

Clutch Fork: Lever or leverage at the clutch that is used to compress the group of extremely strong springs in the pressure plate. They can wear out specifically at the pivot point or get damaged when a clutch release bearing goes bad. They should be inspected for possibilities of needing to be replaced with any major clutch repair were the transmission is removed.

Clutch Fork Pivot Ball: The pivot point for the clutch fork. Replacement of this ball should almost always be considered with any major clutch repair were the transmission is removed. Small detail, but some miss it.

Bearing Retainer: The bearing retainer is the piece or guide track that the release bearing rides on between clutch engagement and clutch disengagement. It is either mounted or integral to the front of the transmission. They often get overlooked or neglected with major clutch replacement were the transmission is removed because it’s an extra detail that slows the technician down. It is imperative that the surface of the bearing retainer is not damaged, scared or worn down for clutch smoothness and clutch longevity.

Release Bearing (a.k.a. throw-Out Bearing): The release bearing is sandwiched between the clutch fork & clutch pressure plate. There are different styles of release bearings. The release bearing is a failure point and should be replaced

Pilot Bearing: Fits in the back of the engine’s crank shaft, supporting the input shaft in the transmission. Hands down, this is another failure point and should be replaced with any major clutch repair were the transmission has to be removed.
Clutch Disc: This is the actual friction material in the clutch assembly. It is an item that does wear out, much like a brake pad. It’s also the reason some people get more mileage out of there clutch than others. It comes down to driver habits and technique.

Pressure Plate: Mounted to the engines flywheel it’s what compresses on the clutch disc to engage or disengage the clutch. These are almost always replaced with any major clutch repair were the transmission is removed.

Flywheel: Mounted to the engine crankshaft this is where the clutch disc rides. Much like a brake rotor, it must be machined with a proper clutch replacement. Again, another area were some like to skip or cut corners. Flywheel machine is imperative.

Dual Mass Flywheel: Becoming more common. This type of flywheel is built in two parts connected by a spring mechanism. Because of its construction they are either un-machine able and/or difficult to machine. Created for creature comfort in the vehicle, they do add considerable expense to a clutch replacement.

Clutch Master Cylinder: Much like a brake master cylinder, it is directly connected to the clutch pedal and sends hydraulic pressure to the clutch slave cylinder down at the clutch. When replacing clutch master cylinders, we often recommend they are replaced in combination with the slave cylinder. Not always necessary, but a best practice for a solid repair.

Clutch Slave Cylinder: Much like a brake wheel cylinder, its directly connected to the clutch fork or throw out bearing. When replacing clutch slave cylinders, we often recommend they are replaced in combination with the clutch master cylinder. This is not always necessary, but a best practice for the ideal repair.

Clutch Pedal Travel: The window of distance between the floor board and where the clutch pedal rests without your foot on the pedal. Typically there should almost be 1” of free travel when just starting to push the clutch in before you feel resistance and there should be 1” to 2” of room before the floorboard when the clutch is disengaged. As a clutch wears, the measurements change if not adjusted. a worn clutch will be right at the top of this window. Some types of clutches are self adjusting for this wear, while others aren’t.

Paradise Valley

Rear Wheel Drive Type:

The driveshaft (also referred to as a driveline or propeller shaft) is responsible for delivering the rotational power from the transmission to the differential.  The driveshaft rotates at a constant ratio to the speed of the tires.  Pointing out that it has a high rotational speed maybe as much as 3,000 revolutions per minute (RPM) at 75 miles per hour (MPH). We mention this because a drive shaft has to be extremely precise in its ability to run true.

When they don’t run true, ride quality, passenger safety and vehicle reliability is greatly compromised.  A good number of vibration issues, also known as ride disturbance, stem from worn out drive shaft components such as a worn universal joint (U-Joint), worn cardon joint, worn center support, worn carrier bearing, or worn slip yoke, to name a few.  Another factor that commonly plays in to vibrations is a poorly manufactured driveshaft or driveshaft component.  This is a significant problem in our industry as more and more manufacturers of these components come and go.

We repair or replace a number of transmissions in Paradise Valley, AZ every year, simply because of a bad universal joint or out of balance driveshaft was ignored significantly damaging the transmission.

Front Wheel Drive Type:

In a front wheel drive vehicles there are typically no drive shafts. At least they are not called that. They are referred to as CV shafts or Constant Velocity shafts.  They are also referred to as drive axles and half shafts. There is one CV shaft that runs from the right side of the transmission to the right wheel and one CV shaft that runs from the left side of the transmission to the left wheel. Each shaft has 2 CV Joints, for a total of 4 joints CV joints. CV joints often need maintenance and repair.

You may have also heard of the term CV boot. This is what protects the joint itself by keeping dirt and road grime out of the joint at same time, it also keeps lubricating grease inside the joint.  These boots are what commonly fail and what we are trying to prevent end up happening.  Dirt and grime get in the joint, while all the lubricant gets out.  When not addressed within a reasonable amount of time you have a complete failure of the joint itself.

Signs of a Bad Driveshaft or Bad Drive Axle

The first sign of a bad driveshaft or drive axle are the feelings of unusual vibrations.  The vibrations will generally come from the rear end of the car for rear wheel drives and the front end of the car for front wheel drives.  Sometimes these vibrations get gradually worse and you might not perceive the gradual change.  Once in a while it is always good to have someone else drive your car for this reason.  They might feel something you have gradually adapted to. It should be noted that unusual vibrations can come from lots of sources -- and you can’t just assume it’s the drive shaft or drive axles.

The other way people know they have a CV joint going bad, is when you hear a clicking from the front of the car when turning a corner.  If you hear the clicking, they have been ignored for some time and gotten really bad and you should immediatley get you car in for service. Eventually this symptom will put you on the side of the road.

Paradise Valley



Rear Wheel Drive Type:

The driveshaft (also referred to as a driveline or propeller shaft) is responsible for delivering the rotational power from the transmission to the differential.  The driveshaft rotates at a constant ratio to the speed of the tires.  Pointing out that it has a high rotational speed maybe as much as 3,000 revolutions per minute (RPM) at 75 miles per hour (MPH). We mention this because a drive shaft has to be extremely precise in its ability to run true.

When they don’t run true, ride quality, passenger safety and vehicle reliability is greatly compromised.  A good number of vibration issues, also known as ride disturbance, stem from worn out drive shaft components such as a worn universal joint (U-Joint), worn cardon joint, worn center support, worn carrier bearing, or worn slip yoke, to name a few.  Another factor that commonly plays in to vibrations is a poorly manufactured driveshaft or driveshaft component.  This is a significant problem in our industry as more and more manufacturers of these components come and go.

We repair or replace a number of transmissions in Ahwatukee, AZ every year, simply because of a bad universal joint or out of balance driveshaft was ignored significantly damaging the transmission.

Front Wheel Drive Type:

In a front wheel drive vehicles there are typically no drive shafts. At least they are not called that. They are referred to as CV shafts or Constant Velocity shafts.  They are also referred to as drive axles and half shafts. There is one CV shaft that runs from the right side of the transmission to the right wheel and one CV shaft that runs from the left side of the transmission to the left wheel. Each shaft has 2 CV Joints, for a total of 4 joints CV joints. CV joints often need maintenance and repair.

You may have also heard of the term CV boot. This is what protects the joint itself by keeping dirt and road grime out of the joint at same time, it also keeps lubricating grease inside the joint.  These boots are what commonly fail and what we are trying to prevent end up happening.  Dirt and grime get in the joint, while all the lubricant gets out.  When not addressed within a reasonable amount of time you have a complete failure of the joint itself.

Signs of a Bad Driveshaft or Bad Drive Axle

The first sign of a bad driveshaft or drive axle are the feelings of unusual vibrations.  The vibrations will generally come from the rear end of the car for rear wheel drives and the front end of the car for front wheel drives.  Sometimes these vibrations get gradually worse and you might not perceive the gradual change.  Once in a while it is always good to have someone else drive your car for this reason.  They might feel something you have gradually adapted to. It should be noted that unusual vibrations can come from lots of sources -- and you can’t just assume it’s the drive shaft or drive axles.

The other way people know they have a CV joint going bad, is when you hear a clicking from the front of the car when turning a corner.  If you hear the clicking, they have been ignored for some time and gotten really bad and you should immediatley get you car in for service. Eventually this symptom will put you on the side of the road.

Ahwatukee



Simply and traditionally put, the differential takes rotational input from the transmission and re-directs it out to the two tires.  Although there are different configurations of components, the differential is generally the connection point between a drive shaft, connected to the transmission providing the power & a left and right axle shaft.  The differential provides the same amount of torque to both the left & right tire when driving in a straight line.  However, when the vehicle makes a turn, the differential provides more rotational speed to the outside tire while slowing the inside tire.  This needs to happen because the outside tire in a turn has to travel a further distance than the inside tire.

Traditionally cars were real wheel drive where the power was created at the engine, transitioned through the transmission, connected to a drive shaft and then to the differential.  the differential split the power out to the left and right tires.  In the modern front wheel drive car, the differential is integral to the transmission, so there is no driveshaft in this configuration.  In this case we refer to the transmission as a transaxle.

Signs You May Be Having a Differential Problem:

  • Binding sensation or noise when turning
  • Growling noise that seems to get consistently louder with speed
  • Excessive tire chirp when going around corners
  • Car does not move in either direction
  • Noise that changes with acceleration & deceleration or on & off the gas

One of the most common differential repairs we perform in Paradise Valley, AZ is differential bearing replacement.    Most notable by a growling noise that gets consistently louder with speed.  Most people do not notice the noise because it gradually gets worse over time.  It’s not till someone else who does not normally drive the car gets in the car and says, “wow, your car seams noisy”.

If bad bearings are addressed sooner rather than later, the price of the repair can be significantly lower.  When you drive prolonged with bad differential bearings, the gears are etched and often times the differential housing can be damaged.

Here are some of the common terms or components associated with differentials:

  • Ring Gear: Gear inside the differential that rotates parallel with the tires.  Is is the “Driven Gear”
  • Pinion Gear: Gear inside the differential that drives the ring gear “Driving Gear”.  The pinion gear rotates perpendicular to the tires.
  • Spider Gears: The smallest gears in the differential.  There are typically four inside the differential.  They allow the inner and outer tires to rotate at different speeds within a turn.
  • Carrier: The ring gear mounts to the carrier and the spider gears are housed inside the carrier.
  • Posi-traction: There are many types of posi-traction some more abrupt than others.  It is usually used in vehicles that drive in lower traction situations where optimal traction is required.  Posi-traction is generally less friendly on creature comfort and can negatively affect handling of a vehicle, however some prefer it when traction is there primary concern.
  • Axle Shaft: Connected to the spider gears at the differential and the wheel and tire at the other end.

Differential Maintenance:

Quick type lube shops in Paradise Valley, AZ are fairly consistent in recommending differential service.  However, we all change engine oil, but all don’t want to spend the money on differential service.  If you tow or off road through wet creeks you differentials should be serviced much more frequently, maybe as much as every 10 – 15k miles.  Otherwise, as a rule of thumb, differentials are typically serviced every 30 – 50k miles.

Things to be aware of when servicing your differential:

  • Differentials are now requiring special type fluids based on different vehicle manufacturer.  Be aware of fits all oils, they may not be what you need – your always safe with “factory fill”.
  • Posi-Traction additives: There are several different types of posi-traction configurations.  Not all shops take the time to make sure you get the right posi-traction additive for your differential. “This is Imperative”.
  • Some differentials give you the ability to remove a cover and clean the inside of the differential housing, which we recommend.  some shops simply suck the fluid out through the fill hole then pump fluid back in.  It may be cheaper, but you get what you pay for.
  • Differential work can be expensive; don’t be diligent spending money for differential service when it might not be performed in the right fashion.  Most people don’t realize that “improper maintenance” is “worse than no maintenance” at all.

A differential is a device, usually but not necessarily employing gears, capable of transmitting torque and rotation through three shafts, almost always used in one of two ways: in one way, it receives one input and provides two outputs—this is found in most automobiles—and in the other way, it combines two inputs to create an output that is the sum, difference, or average, of the inputs.
In automobiles and other wheeled vehicles, the differential allows each of the driving roadwheels to rotate at different speeds, while for most vehicles supplying equal torque to each of them.

A vehicle's wheels rotate at different speeds, mainly when turning corners. The differential is designed to drive a pair of wheels with equal torque while allowing them to rotate at different speeds. In vehicles without a differential, such as karts, both driving wheels are forced to rotate at the same speed, usually on a common axle driven by a simple chain-drive mechanism. When cornering, the inner wheel needs to travel a shorter distance than the outer wheel, so with no differential, the result is the inner wheel spinning and/or the outer wheel dragging, and this results in difficult and unpredictable handling, damage to tires and roads, and strain on (or possible failure of) the entire drivetrain.

Paradise Valley

Simply and traditionally put, the differential takes rotational input from the transmission and re-directs it out to the two tires.  Although there are different configurations of components, the differential is generally the connection point between a drive shaft, connected to the transmission providing the power & a left and right axle shaft.  The differential provides the same amount of torque to both the left & right tire when driving in a straight line.  However, when the vehicle makes a turn, the differential provides more rotational speed to the outside tire while slowing the inside tire.  This needs to happen because the outside tire in a turn has to travel a further distance than the inside tire.

Traditionally cars were real wheel drive where the power was created at the engine, transitioned through the transmission, connected to a drive shaft and then to the differential.  the differential split the power out to the left and right tires.  In the modern front wheel drive car, the differential is integral to the transmission, so there is no driveshaft in this configuration.  In this case we refer to the transmission as a transaxle.

Signs You May Be Having a Differential Problem:

  • Binding sensation or noise when turning
  • Growling noise that seems to get consistently louder with speed
  • Excessive tire chirp when going around corners
  • Car does not move in either direction
  • Noise that changes with acceleration & deceleration or on & off the gas

One of the most common differential repairs we perform in Ahwatukee, AZ is differential bearing replacement.    Most notable by a growling noise that gets consistently louder with speed.  Most people do not notice the noise because it gradually gets worse over time.  It’s not till someone else who does not normally drive the car gets in the car and says, “wow, your car seams noisy”.

If bad bearings are addressed sooner rather than later, the price of the repair can be significantly lower.  When you drive prolonged with bad differential bearings, the gears are etched and often times the differential housing can be damaged.

Here are some of the common terms or components associated with differentials:

  • Ring Gear: Gear inside the differential that rotates parallel with the tires.  Is is the “Driven Gear”
  • Pinion Gear: Gear inside the differential that drives the ring gear “Driving Gear”.  The pinion gear rotates perpendicular to the tires.
  • Spider Gears: The smallest gears in the differential.  There are typically four inside the differential.  They allow the inner and outer tires to rotate at different speeds within a turn.
  • Carrier: The ring gear mounts to the carrier and the spider gears are housed inside the carrier.
  • Posi-traction: There are many types of posi-traction some more abrupt than others.  It is usually used in vehicles that drive in lower traction situations where optimal traction is required.  Posi-traction is generally less friendly on creature comfort and can negatively affect handling of a vehicle, however some prefer it when traction is there primary concern.
  • Axle Shaft: Connected to the spider gears at the differential and the wheel and tire at the other end.

Differential Maintenance:

Quick type lube shops in Ahwatukee, AZ are fairly consistent in recommending differential service.  However, we all change engine oil, but all don’t want to spend the money on differential service.  If you tow or off road through wet creeks you differentials should be serviced much more frequently, maybe as much as every 10 – 15k miles.  Otherwise, as a rule of thumb, differentials are typically serviced every 30 – 50k miles.

Things to be aware of when servicing your differential:

  • Differentials are now requiring special type fluids based on different vehicle manufacturer.  Be aware of fits all oils, they may not be what you need – your always safe with “factory fill”.
  • Posi-Traction additives: There are several different types of posi-traction configurations.  Not all shops take the time to make sure you get the right posi-traction additive for your differential. “This is Imperative”.
  • Some differentials give you the ability to remove a cover and clean the inside of the differential housing, which we recommend.  some shops simply suck the fluid out through the fill hole then pump fluid back in.  It may be cheaper, but you get what you pay for.
  • Differential work can be expensive; don’t be diligent spending money for differential service when it might not be performed in the right fashion.  Most people don’t realize that “improper maintenance” is “worse than no maintenance” at all.

A differential is a device, usually but not necessarily employing gears, capable of transmitting torque and rotation through three shafts, almost always used in one of two ways: in one way, it receives one input and provides two outputs—this is found in most automobiles—and in the other way, it combines two inputs to create an output that is the sum, difference, or average, of the inputs.
In automobiles and other wheeled vehicles, the differential allows each of the driving roadwheels to rotate at different speeds, while for most vehicles supplying equal torque to each of them.

A vehicle's wheels rotate at different speeds, mainly when turning corners. The differential is designed to drive a pair of wheels with equal torque while allowing them to rotate at different speeds. In vehicles without a differential, such as karts, both driving wheels are forced to rotate at the same speed, usually on a common axle driven by a simple chain-drive mechanism. When cornering, the inner wheel needs to travel a shorter distance than the outer wheel, so with no differential, the result is the inner wheel spinning and/or the outer wheel dragging, and this results in difficult and unpredictable handling, damage to tires and roads, and strain on (or possible failure of) the entire drivetrain.

Ahwatukee

Clutches are normally associated with a manual transmission. However, they are not actually integral to the inner workings of the manual transmission. Clutches are simply the connection point between the engine and the transmission. When you push the clutch in you are breaking this connection between the engine & transmission. When you let the clutch out, you are reconnecting the engine to the transmission. The reconnection from a stop has to happen in a modulated way, as not to stall the engine.

Clutches generally fail in one of two functions: their ability to engage (pedal out, primary position) or their ability to disengage (pedal depressed). Either of these two failure don’t necessitate you need a major or complete clutch replacement but often times a minimally clutch repair and/or maintenance is all that needs to happen.

Signs Your Clutch is Not Fully Engaging or Engaging At All:

  • When accelerating, the speed of the vehicle does not seem to follow engine RPM proportionally.
  • Burning smell
  • Drop in gas mileage
  • Extremely soft clutch pedal
  • Car does not want to move at all when letting out the clutch

Signs That Your Clutch is Not Fully Disengaging or Disengaging At All:

  • Difficulty shifting from gear to gear (usually effects all gear changes)
  • Grinding or scraping noise between gears
  • Although getting into reverse is generally more difficult, when a clutch is not disengaging fully, reverse can become next to impossible

Other Signs a Clutch Issue Might Be Present:

  • Chattering or jerking sensation when releasing the clutch pedal
  • Crunching noises or a “hard” clutch pedal
  • General tip for shifting into reverse: always move the shifter to a forward gear before moving to reverse.

Styles of Clutch Control:

  • Hydraulic Type: Operates much like a brake system. There is a clutch master cylinder (connected to the clutch pedal), clutch slave cylinder (connected to the clutch fork) & hydraulic lines that connect the two. Hydraulic tends to be the most common we see from vehicle manufacturers. It is more common in later model or newer model vehicles.
  • Cable Type: Simply put, a cable connects the clutch pedal to the clutch fork. The next most common type used by automobile manufacturers.
  • Linkage Type: Uses a series of rods and pivot points to connect the clutch pedal to the clutch fork. Less commonly or hardly used any more, it is generally associated with older vehicles. Linkage types tend to wear out, need repair and frequent adjustment.

All three styles generally have some sort of adjustment that can be performed. As simple as they seem to operate, we see a considerable amount of people that get a major transmission replacement or a major clutch repair, when all they needed was a minor clutch adjustment or repair.

What to do When You Need a Major Clutch Replacement:

Most mechanics in Phoenix, AZ will tell you they are happy to replace your clutch, but do they do them every day? Their operation of a clutch seems simple to most, but that’s just the problem. Technicians are guilty of overlooking simple small details that make a clutch last long and operate great. Things like the right type of grease used on the clutch splines or replacing a scared bearing retainer on the front of the transmission. Another one that gets missed is a damaged transmission input shaft at the pilot bearing race surface. Why don’t some mechanics address this? It's easier to replace the clutch when you don’t know how to work with the insides of the transmission.

Clutch Buzz Words:

Clutch Fork: Lever or leverage at the clutch that is used to compress the group of extremely strong springs in the pressure plate. They can wear out specifically at the pivot point or get damaged when a clutch release bearing goes bad. They should be inspected for possibilities of needing to be replaced with any major clutch repair were the transmission is removed.

Clutch Fork Pivot Ball: The pivot point for the clutch fork. Replacement of this ball should almost always be considered with any major clutch repair were the transmission is removed. Small detail, but some miss it.

Bearing Retainer: The bearing retainer is the piece or guide track that the release bearing rides on between clutch engagement and clutch disengagement. It is either mounted or integral to the front of the transmission. They often get overlooked or neglected with major clutch replacement were the transmission is removed because it’s an extra detail that slows the technician down. It is imperative that the surface of the bearing retainer is not damaged, scared or worn down for clutch smoothness and clutch longevity.

Release Bearing (a.k.a. throw-Out Bearing): The release bearing is sandwiched between the clutch fork & clutch pressure plate. There are different styles of release bearings. The release bearing is a failure point and should be replaced

Pilot Bearing: Fits in the back of the engine’s crank shaft, supporting the input shaft in the transmission. Hands down, this is another failure point and should be replaced with any major clutch repair were the transmission has to be removed.
Clutch Disc: This is the actual friction material in the clutch assembly. It is an item that does wear out, much like a brake pad. It’s also the reason some people get more mileage out of there clutch than others. It comes down to driver habits and technique.

Pressure Plate: Mounted to the engines flywheel it’s what compresses on the clutch disc to engage or disengage the clutch. These are almost always replaced with any major clutch repair were the transmission is removed.

Flywheel: Mounted to the engine crankshaft this is where the clutch disc rides. Much like a brake rotor, it must be machined with a proper clutch replacement. Again, another area were some like to skip or cut corners. Flywheel machine is imperative.

Dual Mass Flywheel: Becoming more common. This type of flywheel is built in two parts connected by a spring mechanism. Because of its construction they are either un-machine able and/or difficult to machine. Created for creature comfort in the vehicle, they do add considerable expense to a clutch replacement.

Clutch Master Cylinder: Much like a brake master cylinder, it is directly connected to the clutch pedal and sends hydraulic pressure to the clutch slave cylinder down at the clutch. When replacing clutch master cylinders, we often recommend they are replaced in combination with the slave cylinder. Not always necessary, but a best practice for a solid repair.

Clutch Slave Cylinder: Much like a brake wheel cylinder, its directly connected to the clutch fork or throw out bearing. When replacing clutch slave cylinders, we often recommend they are replaced in combination with the clutch master cylinder. This is not always necessary, but a best practice for the ideal repair.

Clutch Pedal Travel: The window of distance between the floor board and where the clutch pedal rests without your foot on the pedal. Typically there should almost be 1” of free travel when just starting to push the clutch in before you feel resistance and there should be 1” to 2” of room before the floorboard when the clutch is disengaged. As a clutch wears, the measurements change if not adjusted. a worn clutch will be right at the top of this window. Some types of clutches are self adjusting for this wear, while others aren’t.

Auto Clutch Adjustment and Repair 85312 85318 85320

Clutches are normally associated with a manual transmission. However, they are not actually integral to the inner workings of the manual transmission. Clutches are simply the connection point between the engine and the transmission. When you push the clutch in you are breaking this connection between the engine & transmission. When you let the clutch out, you are reconnecting the engine to the transmission. The reconnection from a stop has to happen in a modulated way, as not to stall the engine.

Clutches generally fail in one of two functions: their ability to engage (pedal out, primary position) or their ability to disengage (pedal depressed). Either of these two failure don’t necessitate you need a major or complete clutch replacement but often times a minimally clutch repair and/or maintenance is all that needs to happen.

Signs Your Clutch is Not Fully Engaging or Engaging At All:

  • When accelerating, the speed of the vehicle does not seem to follow engine RPM proportionally.
  • Burning smell
  • Drop in gas mileage
  • Extremely soft clutch pedal
  • Car does not want to move at all when letting out the clutch

Signs That Your Clutch is Not Fully Disengaging or Disengaging At All:

  • Difficulty shifting from gear to gear (usually effects all gear changes)
  • Grinding or scraping noise between gears
  • Although getting into reverse is generally more difficult, when a clutch is not disengaging fully, reverse can become next to impossible

Other Signs a Clutch Issue Might Be Present:

  • Chattering or jerking sensation when releasing the clutch pedal
  • Crunching noises or a “hard” clutch pedal
  • General tip for shifting into reverse: always move the shifter to a forward gear before moving to reverse.

Styles of Clutch Control:

  • Hydraulic Type: Operates much like a brake system. There is a clutch master cylinder (connected to the clutch pedal), clutch slave cylinder (connected to the clutch fork) & hydraulic lines that connect the two. Hydraulic tends to be the most common we see from vehicle manufacturers. It is more common in later model or newer model vehicles.
  • Cable Type: Simply put, a cable connects the clutch pedal to the clutch fork. The next most common type used by automobile manufacturers.
  • Linkage Type: Uses a series of rods and pivot points to connect the clutch pedal to the clutch fork. Less commonly or hardly used any more, it is generally associated with older vehicles. Linkage types tend to wear out, need repair and frequent adjustment.

All three styles generally have some sort of adjustment that can be performed. As simple as they seem to operate, we see a considerable amount of people that get a major transmission replacement or a major clutch repair, when all they needed was a minor clutch adjustment or repair.

What to do When You Need a Major Clutch Replacement:

Most mechanics in Phoenix, AZ will tell you they are happy to replace your clutch, but do they do them every day? Their operation of a clutch seems simple to most, but that’s just the problem. Technicians are guilty of overlooking simple small details that make a clutch last long and operate great. Things like the right type of grease used on the clutch splines or replacing a scared bearing retainer on the front of the transmission. Another one that gets missed is a damaged transmission input shaft at the pilot bearing race surface. Why don’t some mechanics address this? It's easier to replace the clutch when you don’t know how to work with the insides of the transmission.

Clutch Buzz Words:

Clutch Fork: Lever or leverage at the clutch that is used to compress the group of extremely strong springs in the pressure plate. They can wear out specifically at the pivot point or get damaged when a clutch release bearing goes bad. They should be inspected for possibilities of needing to be replaced with any major clutch repair were the transmission is removed.

Clutch Fork Pivot Ball: The pivot point for the clutch fork. Replacement of this ball should almost always be considered with any major clutch repair were the transmission is removed. Small detail, but some miss it.

Bearing Retainer: The bearing retainer is the piece or guide track that the release bearing rides on between clutch engagement and clutch disengagement. It is either mounted or integral to the front of the transmission. They often get overlooked or neglected with major clutch replacement were the transmission is removed because it’s an extra detail that slows the technician down. It is imperative that the surface of the bearing retainer is not damaged, scared or worn down for clutch smoothness and clutch longevity.

Release Bearing (a.k.a. throw-Out Bearing): The release bearing is sandwiched between the clutch fork & clutch pressure plate. There are different styles of release bearings. The release bearing is a failure point and should be replaced

Pilot Bearing: Fits in the back of the engine’s crank shaft, supporting the input shaft in the transmission. Hands down, this is another failure point and should be replaced with any major clutch repair were the transmission has to be removed.
Clutch Disc: This is the actual friction material in the clutch assembly. It is an item that does wear out, much like a brake pad. It’s also the reason some people get more mileage out of there clutch than others. It comes down to driver habits and technique.

Pressure Plate: Mounted to the engines flywheel it’s what compresses on the clutch disc to engage or disengage the clutch. These are almost always replaced with any major clutch repair were the transmission is removed.

Flywheel: Mounted to the engine crankshaft this is where the clutch disc rides. Much like a brake rotor, it must be machined with a proper clutch replacement. Again, another area were some like to skip or cut corners. Flywheel machine is imperative.

Dual Mass Flywheel: Becoming more common. This type of flywheel is built in two parts connected by a spring mechanism. Because of its construction they are either un-machine able and/or difficult to machine. Created for creature comfort in the vehicle, they do add considerable expense to a clutch replacement.

Clutch Master Cylinder: Much like a brake master cylinder, it is directly connected to the clutch pedal and sends hydraulic pressure to the clutch slave cylinder down at the clutch. When replacing clutch master cylinders, we often recommend they are replaced in combination with the slave cylinder. Not always necessary, but a best practice for a solid repair.

Clutch Slave Cylinder: Much like a brake wheel cylinder, its directly connected to the clutch fork or throw out bearing. When replacing clutch slave cylinders, we often recommend they are replaced in combination with the clutch master cylinder. This is not always necessary, but a best practice for the ideal repair.

Clutch Pedal Travel: The window of distance between the floor board and where the clutch pedal rests without your foot on the pedal. Typically there should almost be 1” of free travel when just starting to push the clutch in before you feel resistance and there should be 1” to 2” of room before the floorboard when the clutch is disengaged. As a clutch wears, the measurements change if not adjusted. a worn clutch will be right at the top of this window. Some types of clutches are self adjusting for this wear, while others aren’t.

Auto Clutch Adjustment and Repair 85309 85310 85311