Complete Guide To Understanding Married VS. Divorced Transfer Cases

A transfer case is an imperative mechanism in a variety of different vehicles, such as vehicles that feature all-wheel drive, trucks, other vehicles that give you the option of four-wheel-drive, and other vehicles that need more than one axle to function properly. The transfer case’s job is to move the power that is produced in the transmission to other parts of the vehicle so it can move forward or backward.

This process is accomplished with either a chain drive, gears, or hydraulics. For some vehicles, it is actually controlled by the driver. An example of this would be four-wheel-drive vehicles or vehicles that are intended for off-road use only. This allows the driver of the vehicle to choose whether to put the transfer case into two-wheel or four-wheel drive mode. It can be done through the use of a shifter which is located inside the vehicle to make it easy and convenient for the driver to switch from four-wheel to two-wheel and back again. In some vehicles, the transfer case is permanently set on all-wheel-drive mode.

While most people know what a transfer case is and the different drive types, which include chain-driven or gear-driven drives, some get confused when it comes to the housing type that encases the transfer case.

Housing Types

While both married and divorced or independent transfer cases are similar in many ways, they are also different.

A married transfer case is bolted securely to the transmission of a vehicle and is normally located between the output shaft of the transmission and the rear or main drive shaft. Sometimes a married transfer case is integrated as a part of the transmission and both components are able to share the same housing or casing as found in many all-wheel-drive vehicles.

A transfer case that stands alone and is not bolted to the transmission and is actually a completely separate part is referred to as a divorced transfer case. A divorced or independent transfer case is used when a vehicle has a very long wheelbase. Examples of this type of vehicle would be a military truck or a commercial semi-truck. This particular setup is great for modifying a 4×4 since it allows a mechanic easier access to change the transmission and the engine and will then be able to preserve the original four-wheel-drive system.

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Married VS Divorced Transfer Cases

First of all, when it comes to married transfer cases, there are two driveshafts involved instead of one, hence the name married as the housing type. Many trucks and off-road vehicle enthusiasts and mechanics tout this one as being better than the divorced version. They credit this to the fact that since there are fewer driveshafts, there are fewer things that can break and need to be repaired. This saves them time and money. Also, most divorced housing types operate to the point of being hotter since this type uses its own fluid to operate instead of receiving it from the transmission.

A married transfer case type housing is secured directly onto the back area of a vehicle’s transmission through the use of an adaptor, while the divorced type of transfer case housing is always separate from the vehicle’s transmission and rather connected by the use of a short driveshaft. Some people who have modified their own four-wheel-drive vehicles have cited the short driveshaft as being more difficult to work with, but sometimes it is still necessary to utilize a divorced-type of transfer case housing than the married type. Also, an independent-style transfer case housing type is completely separate from the vehicle’s transmission and is situated down further in the vehicle’s driveline than a married transfer case is. Again, it is connected to the vehicle’s transmission’s output shaft through the use of a much shorter driveshaft.

Some vehicle enthusiasts favor the married type of transfer case housing while about an equal number of them find it easier to work with the divorced type since it is not directly secured to the transmission of a vehicle. It comes down to which one is going to work best in your particular vehicle and will give you the results you are aiming for when making modifications.

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