Nissan Xterra Transfer Case Problems

by Anthony Faccenda

The Nissan Xterra, a mid-size sport utility vehicle (SUV) available in rear-wheel and four-wheel drive, was introduced in 2000. contends the Xterra is one of the best off-road-capable SUVs on the market. The Xterra though, is sometimes hindered by manual transfer case problems.

Transfer Case

The Xterra's four-wheel drive system works because of its manual transfer case, which provides transmission torque to the front and rear axles. Manual transfer cases differs from independent or chain-carried models in that the manual version has a Lock, Unlock or Free lever to engage or disengage four-wheel drive.


Nissan technical service bulletins (TSBs) indicate that multiple 2000 to 2007 Xterra models suffer from manual transfer case problems. The primary issue is manual transfer case leakage, which may represent seal damage or lack of maintenance. One indicator of possible leakage is transfer case bearing noise.


TSBs state that manual transfer case leakage does not require transfer case or transfer control unit replacement. The main culprit of the leak is faulty manual transfer case bolts located in the rear of the transfer case. Repairing the leak may consist of tightening or replacing one or more bolts.

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