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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone! I usually lurk here and just read, and a lot of your posts have helped me quite a bit. I have a problem I hope you can help me with and I did a lot of searching before asking. If anyone can point me to an answer I would be grateful. My apologies for this being so long.

My truck - I bought my 2004 Titan crew-cab LE new and it now has 120K miles all highway, 4x4, big tow, no off-road package, never off-road and 4x4 rarely engaged. No modifications and always babied. Bone stock. New rear brake pads installed at the dealer about six months ago. New front pads installed at the dealer about two months ago. Being an early 2004 truck known for rear end failures, the rear stamped differential cover was replaced with the 2005 finned cover with about 5K miles on the truck. I never tow anything. The transfer case and front and rear differential had synthetic fluid installed at that time. This truck has never had the issues other early 2004's had. It's been a dream to own.

Tonight I was idling through a parking lot about ten MPH or so and suddenly it felt like I had stepped on the e-brake. I didn't, of course, but the truck stopped moving. I gave it a little gas and it moved a bit but would stop as soon as I lifted off the gas pedal. There was some popping and metal-on-metal grinding sound coming from under the truck every time I moved it. I switched the truck into four-high, four-low and back into 2WD and all worked fine. The transmission went into each gear normally. I pressed and released the e-brake a few times and it felt fine. The e-brake on this truck has felt soft since I bought it new.

Since I was in everyone's way I gave it a little more throttle to move and there was a POP and the truck rolled much more freely, but I heard what sounded like a marble inside a metal coffee can.

I made a few phone calls to friends with Titans and one suggested pushing it. I was able to push the truck on my own with no resistance and no sounds from under the truck. The truck rolled freely as I pushed it.

The rear end and transfer case have some small leaks but I always have the dealership check the fluid levels during my routine oil changes and inspections. Looking under the truck showed no obvious problems.

One strange thing is the battery was almost completely drained within twenty minutes. The battery is only about a year old, and the largest I could find for the truck - Interstate brand about 1000 CCA. I turned the auto-lights off as soon as this happened but twenty minutes later the battery was near dead and the head and tail lights were glowing dim. I removed a battery terminal for a minute and put it back on and the lights went out as normal. The battery is now extremely low.

One thing I found searching on this website is the e-brake assembly can explode causing something similar.

I welcome any thoughts and advice as the truck goes to the dealership in the morning. I know everyone at the dealership so I am not worried about them screwing me; just don’t want to pay for hours of trouble shooting.

Thanks in advance.

Greg
 

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Wow, Greg, sounds like you had a real adventure! For me without hearing the noise it made, and physically being able to check things out I am afraid I am not going to be much help. I wish you the best of luck and will be watching this thread to see if maybe I can chime in later?
 

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This could be a problem with the ABS controller. It may be applying the brakes when it shouldn't be. The grinding sound could be the ABS pump activating, it makes a sound like that. That could also be the reason the battery is draining.
This doesn't sound like a mechanical problem (differential, transfer case case, etc) since the truck rolls freely when you push it by hand.
 

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i was gonna say cat too, but that doesnt explain the grinding. i know nothing about the abs controller.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for all the input. I had the truck delivered to the dealership today and they looked at it. The transfer case is shot.

We could hear ticking coming from the middle of the truck as he drove it in the building. On the lift, you could grab the rear drive shaft where it joins the transfer case and wiggle it up and down and hear clunking.

The tech pulled the drain plug on the transfer case and literally one tablespoon of lube came out with lots of metal. The transfer case was empty. The truck has 120K miles on it and what I would consider normal oily spots on the bottom of the engine, transmission, transfer case and front/rear differential. I have never owned a truck that didn’t and nothing underneath this Titan looks out of the ordinary. There is no sign of a sudden loss of oil anywhere so this happened over time. The front/rear differential and transfer case fluids were changed out with synthetic per Nissan shortly after buying the truck new.

The techs at the dealership also said they have never seen a Titan transfer case fail. No one has ever been inside one or rebuilt one. They were all shocked. If it had to happen to someone it had to be me. :)

A new transfer case is $2K plus R&R. The parts department said 2004-2007 are the same so I am going to look into buying a used one. If anyone has any suggestions on dealing with reliable parts dealers please let me know.

If I can suggest to everyone - check your front/rear differential and transfer case fluid levels now! The fill hole for the transfer case is on the driver's side near the top. The drain plug is near the bottom, almost centered and facing rearward.

Has anyone experienced transfer case failure or know someone who has? As I mentioned above, all the miles are long highway trips and the truck has always been babied and never off road. I only use 4x4 in the snow and ice.

I welcome any and all thoughts and opinions.

Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I am currently working with the dealership on how we will proceed from here. I hope I have something encouraging to report soon. Either way, I will let everyone know how this ends up.

Greg
 

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Now Im affraid to drive mine.. Sat in mu driveway over a year now lol
 
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