Is the PTU (transfer case equivalent) serviceable?

jeep364

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This was an issue with the 3g escape and many other ford vehicles where there was no scheduled fluid intervals for the ptu. Luckily on the 3g escape you could get to the fill plug at least and suck out and refill fluid with a transfer pump.

Any word on serviceability of the 4g escape/BS PTU? Youtube shows a horrible location/design for the new explorer's ptu requiring you to essentially go through the breather tube...

A plus for the BS/4g escape is that the rear diff is easy to service.
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tRex

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Good news! Answering my own question. Presumably this is the same PTU in the escapes which when looking at the parts diagram from the thread below, certainly seems to have a drain and fill plug. 7A10A and 7A10B.

https://www.fordescape.org/threads/4g-escape-ptu-power-transfer-units-vs-3g-escape-2013-2019-ptu.116396/
I've watched a bunch of other vids saying the PTU has no drain plug and is not normally serviceable. They can pull the unit and if they can get the parts, replace many of the several seals that fail if neglected (or are just past their too-short life?). They discuss *adding* a small drain plug as well (not really "service" but would make it uniquely serviceable). HOWEVER one guy also said Ford finally added a drain plug to some? Does the Bronco Sport have that? The Badlands, maybe the other trims too (?) is water-cooled, that has to be different in a number of ways (the older Escape unit is not water-cooled and has no drain plug). They all said Ford described the older unit as "lifetime lubricated" and not serviceable. But, even with such a unit and with some difficulty, the PTU (gear oil) can be pumped out through the fill hole and refilled. That plug is magnetic so some of the ground metal an be removed -- and solving the real issue which is going to be completely fried (due to extreme heat right there between the trans and cat) gear oil in the PTU after too short of a time (est. 30K miles or so, these guys recommended changing it out).It doesn't seem like the linked article is saying anything about liquid cooling or a drain plug -- just an added temp sensor?
 
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jeep364

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I've watched a bunch of other vids saying the PTU has no drain plug and is not normally serviceable. They can pull the unit and if they can get the parts, replace many of the several seals that fail if neglected (or are just past their too-short life?). They discuss *adding* a small drain plug as well (not really "service" but would make it uniquely serviceable). HOWEVER one guy also said Ford finally added a drain plug to some? Does the Bronco Sport have that? The Badlands, maybe the other trims too (?) is water-cooled, that has to be different in a number of ways (the older Escape unit is not water-cooled and has no drain plug). They all said Ford described the older unit as "lifetime lubricated" and not serviceable. But, even with such a unit and with some difficulty, the PTU (gear oil) can be pumped out through the fill hole and refilled. That plug is magnetic so some of the ground metal an be removed -- and solving the real issue which is going to be completely fried (due to extreme heat right there between the trans and cat) gear oil in the PTU after too short of a time (est. 30K miles or so, these guys recommended changing it out).It doesn't seem like the linked article is saying anything about liquid cooling or a drain plug -- just an added temp sensor?
We won't know for sure till someone gets it on a a lift and videos it.

I too have no idea about 'liquid cooling'. The temp sensor is total BS band aid. Just tells you if the tcase fluid gets too hot. I mean that's nice, but the fluid needs to be changed. The link on the parts website clearly shows a fill and drain plug but as you mentioned there seem to be some variations. I would hope ford is not stupid enough to not even have an accessible fill plug - I'm ok if you have to suck out the old and pump in replacement fluid...but google the 2020 explorer PTU - terrible location (heat wise) and IMPOSSIBLE to access. The tech on youtube is literally pumping in fluid through the breather tube!!!

That said, the new escape has a very easy to service rear differential, so hoping that the tcase is easy as well based on that parts diagram.
 

tRex

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We won't know for sure till someone gets it on a a lift and videos it.

I too have no idea about 'liquid cooling'. The temp sensor is total BS band aid. Just tells you if the tcase fluid gets too hot. I mean that's nice, but the fluid needs to be changed. The link on the parts website clearly shows a fill and drain plug but as you mentioned there seem to be some variations. I would hope ford is not stupid enough to not even have an accessible fill plug - I'm ok if you have to suck out the old and pump in replacement fluid...but google the 2020 explorer PTU - terrible location (heat wise) and IMPOSSIBLE to access. The tech on youtube is literally pumping in fluid through the breather tube!!!

That said, the new escape has a very easy to service rear differential, so hoping that the tcase is easy as well based on that parts diagram.
Fill is at about the midline, a separate drain would need to be at the bottom, and would be a great addition. Cooling too. And at least the temp -- I believe -- throws a warning and may actually disable 4WD for protection until it cools down.
 

69cuda340s

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Saw this video which shows how to change PTU fluid in a 2020 Escape:

 

RSH

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I've seen videos about changing oil in the PTU as well, supposedly one of the reasons they overheat is because the volume of oil is lacking. If you do overheat the PTU it would be wise to change the oil sooner rather than later to avoid damaging the PTU if it's not already to late.
 

Mark S.

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Presumably this is the same PTU in the escapes which when looking at the parts diagram from the thread below, certainly seems to have a drain and fill plug.
According to this article at Motortrend, the Bronco Sport uses a different PTU than the Escape:

Motortrend said:
Transfer Cases: The Bronco Sport offers two. Both are more accurately described as power-takeoff units, and neither includes a low range or even a creeper transmission gear. Both power takeoff units are actively cooled; 1.5-liter models feature ducted air cooling; Badlands models get water cooling. The Escape's power takeoff unit gets neither, as its AWD system is never expected to get the kind of workout the Bronco Sport's will get.
If your car is still under warranty I would not muck with maintenance tasks that are not discussed in the owner's manual. There is nothing in the owner's manual about PTU oil capacity or specification (the type of oil required). If you think yours is low on oil I would take it to the dealership service center. If it is indeed low then it's leaking or was not properly service before being sold, and you'll want that documented in the vehicle's official maintenance records.
 

Mark S.

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The temp sensor is total BS band aid. Just tells you if the tcase fluid gets too hot. I mean that's nice, but the fluid needs to be changed.
On what data is this claim based? There's nothing in the owner's manual about changing the PTU fluid if the you get an overheat indication; it says stop in a safe spot, then shut the engine down for at least 10 minutes. After that you can drive it normally. Inspecting/changing the PTU fluid is not even on the scheduled maintenance list.

If your 4wd system repeatedly overheats and you're not in challenging conditions you should take the car back to the dealer and have it checked.
 
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