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My Defender has been running really well recently and as such should have suspected something was going to go wrong soon!

I have recently done a few long trips in it which is much easier now with the legs of a 1.22 transfer box. There have been no noises maifestering either. Anyway to cut a long story short, we were loaded up and on the way to get the Plymouth ferry to France and the transfer box starts howling like the gears are slightly out of alignment. It gets no worse and we get to our destination. Due to limited tools, I borrow a 1/2" drive ratchet and check the oil - fine with only a very slight dribble coming out and not discoloured or burnt. I let off the handbrake and feel the very slightest movement on the outer part of the brake drum on the rear prop, but felt ok to me. I grab the front prop and it is quite stiff to turn - normally slack for a slight bit until the play is taken up. Quick look at the prop joints which I greased before leaving and all else seems ok. The noise starts at 35 mph, does it only when putting the power on and in 3rd, 4th and 5th. Noise also there in low ratio.

we are driving home on Thursday - probably at a slower rate than we are used to. If we make it home I will take the props off one at a time and have a look through the bottom cover, but does anyone have any other ideas? 

Toby

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A long shot guess is that it is the input gear bearings; did you check the preload when fitting the 1.2 box, or omit the gasket? (It is important, don't ask how I know!)

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Well, made it home with it still howling!

I removed each shaft propshaft this morning and still the same. So drained the oil which came out clean with no more than normal filings on the drain plug magnet and then removed the bottom cover to find the intermediate gear loose on the shaft. It looks like the rear bearing outer race has collapsed and canted over which explains the racket.

Not sure weather to remove and fit new bearings spacer etc or to get an exchange Tbox as while the box was overhauled last year (by me and not my first one either!), the rear output bearing failed shortly after fitting and now this one begs the question of what quality bearings I fitted. If I was to repair, what would go next? The box was quiet and leak free but I am also concerned if I get it to bits again, what other damage there is that I cannot see.  Repair or recon (probably Ashcroft) than - opinions please?

Toby

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Out of interest, is it a middle pitched whine it makes? 

Mine's started doing something similar recently - you can hear it over about 35mph, getting progressively louder the faster you get (wheel speed), and only when under power. The box was refurbed a couple of years back with bits from Ashcroft. It's always had a slight high pitched gear whine, but this is much lower pitched.

One of the jobs for the weekend is to drain the oil and check it... 

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Yes, with  a tad of bearing rumble mixed in! Starts about 35mph and continues to 60mph, after that it goes quiet again.

I have just put it back together and filled with oil so I can move it under its own steam while I think what to do now.

Toby

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Hmm - sounds familiar... Guess I'll be pulling the cover off the bottom of mine this weekend then... :(

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Check for any front to back float in the intermediate gear, if it moves then the intermediate bearings have failed, quite a common failure 

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Loads of end float and you can lift the intermediate gear slightly on the rear end. I will be in touch for a recon box next week!

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