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Username Post: 97 Tahoe transfer case        (Topic#134980)
Senior Member
Posts: 335

Loc: Mn, USA
Reg: 03-10-05
06-30-06 06:02 AM - Post#961341    

Another 97 Tahoe entered the family circle the other day with my son buying one.
There seems to be a issue with either the rear end and or transfer case or both.

The 4 x 4 engages like bricks tossed in a metal garbage can.
There is a surge feeling at take off under the front seats and a noise of something moving or dragging.
Can hear outside drivers door every time you take off.

At other times you definately can feel the rear end clunk which I know is common alot (although mine does not do it) so between the two I think this truck has drive train issues.
U-Joints were checked to be o.k. and rear end was discovered to be more the issue.

I have been told that many times the rear end diagnosis is mistaken for a transfer case issue ?

Preliminary research shows a transfer case to be a big $$$ item.
Local parts yard has (8) of them off a 97 Tahoe alone. Is his a good route for $225 or is a rebuild or OEM reman the only way out ?
I noticed one unit only had 77,000 on it but who knows what you get.
This Tahoe my kid bought I found the guy pulled a large boat with it and it appears drive line or operation was not his priority.

Any advise appreciated, I told the kid to drive it kindly and "dont" take it out of 2-HI

Posts: 23

Reg: 01-10-05
Re: 97 Tahoe transfer case
06-30-06 04:05 PM - Post#961342    
    In response to 19hoe97

One thing to check is the snap ring in the tail shaft of the transfer case. These will sometimes break and make strange noises. You can remove the drive shaft and shine a light into the tail shaft to see if the snap ring is broken. It is an easy fix. You just remove the tail shaft and replace the snap ring.

Valued Contributor
Posts: 3004
Loc: Armpit of the Universe
Reg: 10-10-03
Re: 97 Tahoe transfer case
06-30-06 04:45 PM - Post#961343    
    In response to ZR1Trev

When my snapring was broke (twice), it would only grind in reverse. I used two snaprings (had to surface grind one) that only cost me like $2.00. Still holding so far...

My "To Do List" for this weekend:
Nothing but womens names...
and drugs....

92 Bravada
96 Sunfire
00 Impala
05 Stratus
90 Wrangler
77 Cub Lo-boy
87 Intruder VS700
95 Intruder VS1400

Senior Member
Posts: 1094
Loc: North Texas...Denison
Reg: 11-06-04
Re: 97 Tahoe transfer case
06-30-06 05:34 PM - Post#961344    
    In response to 19hoe97

I told the kid to drive it kindly and "dont" take it out of 2-HI ....

If it runs smoothly in 2-hi, then I doubt the rear end is the problem.
Drain the oil from the transfer case, and see if you get a slurry of nasty oil and pieces of metal. You can even stick a magnet in through the drain hole to check for chunks too large to flush out with the oil.

Even if you find absolutely no problem, you will at least know it is full of good clean fluid when you are done.

Don't fix it if it ain't broke,
But if it's broke...I can Fixit.

"Van" (It's actually Richard....but everyone calls me Van.)

Senior Member
Posts: 335

Loc: Mn, USA
Reg: 03-10-05
Re: 97 Tahoe transfer case
06-30-06 05:52 PM - Post#961345    
    In response to Fixitfox33

It does run smoothly for the most part in 2-HI.
You will some times get caught at the shift point if you dont keep acceleration upward and it wil shift a little hard!!
But the noise and shift/movement feeling is there at every take off....
I'll drain the Transfer case Oil (if I can find the drain plug) and refill if I don't see major metal comming out or silver fluid.
Will address the snap ring issue as well and see what we get.

Thanks for the direction and info, I'll update on what the results are.

Senior Member
Posts: 1023
Loc: ATL, GA
Reg: 03-15-04
Re: 97 Tahoe transfer case
07-03-06 03:34 AM - Post#961346    
    In response to 19hoe97

Can't miss the drain plug on the xfer case. Big nut on the bottom side of the unit - actually i think it's an allen head plug. I assume you have the NP243C xfer case, the push button 4wd -- I think all 97 Tahoe's got them except maybe police or diesel variants.

Before you go draining the xfer case oil, make SURE you get the fill plug nut off FIRST! Should be about mid-height on the case. Both plugs face the rear. Don't want to drain it and then round off the fill plug or something.

In order to get new ATF into the xfer case you will need a pump thing to get the fluid up there, so make sure to have one! (cant pour it in from above because of the floor pan and crossmembers)

To check the snapring, remove the driveshaft, then remove the tailhousing from the backside of the xfer case (4 bolts).

Since I tow a lot I replaced my snapring with this upgraded part. A lot more loot than Phazers fix, but heck it's piece of mind and still costs less than a tank of gas. This will show you what you are looking at here too:

'99 Ford F-250 SuperDuty 7.3L diesel
sold '97 Chevy Tahoe Z71
several Subarus
several bikes
not enough time

Senior Member
Posts: 239

Loc: Kinston NC
Reg: 11-17-04
Re: 97 Tahoe transfer case
07-03-06 07:32 AM - Post#961347    
    In response to 19hoe97


At other times you definately can feel the rear end clunk which I know is common alot (although mine does not do it) so between the two I think this truck has drive train issues.

That part of your problem sounds like the "infamous" GM slip yoke clunk to me. Annoying but harmless. As for the T-case grinding I think you have good advice to look at the retaining clip. If that is your problem that is a cheap and easy fix.

99 Z-71 5.3, 3.73,

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