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This schematic illustration shows the basics of transfer case operation. Power from the transmission runs into the case and is split to output shafts that are connected to front and rear driveshafts. This particular example is a chain-driven case, which is commonly found on most 4x4s made since the 1980s. It has a planetary gearset that reduces the transmission’s gear ratios when the case is shifted into 4-Lo.

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