'Super Beefy' Transfer Case Mounting KitInstalling the 'SuperBeef' Transfer Case Mounting Kit From Rocky Road Outfitters
by Bill Johnston

rrtcasearm2.jpg (29769 bytes)The transfer case on a Suzuki Samurai is secured to the vehicle frame by two mounting arms. The drivers side uses a short arm, mounted at an angle and running from side to side (drivers side to passenger side). The long arm is mounted on the passenger side and runs from front to rear.

rrtcasearm3.jpg (31648 bytes)With a stock engine/transmission and gears these arms take quite a bit of abuse. But when you add bigger (more aggressive) tires, lower gears and maybe some 'oomph' to your engine these arms tend to twist and knock your drive train geometry out of whack. Have you ever found that your t-case shifter wouldn't go into (or come out of) gear? Maybe it looks like it's leaning over a little more than normal... check underneath and see if one of the arms have bent. Take a good look at that long arm, it is probably the culprit.

First Problem

The arm that is most susceptible to bending is the long (or passenger) arm. It will do more of a 'twist' than a bend, and it may not be evident until you get right up under the rig for a closer look. The original arm in the photo below has about a 25 degree twist in it that was caused by aggressive tires and a penchant for rock crawling. I felt some driveline shake and couldn't figure out the cause. Then I removed the arm and saw the twist. Ouch! I replaced it with a first generation beefed up unit from Rocky Road Outfitters (RRO). This heavy duty unit has served the Zook well for the last year. But upon removal for this installation, we noticed a 15 degree twist that wasn't visible while on the vehicle.

Second Problem

When doing aggressive trails and difficult obstacles another problem creeps up. Have you felt the shifter to be a little loose, maybe it moved around more than usual. Check to see if you are moving the whole transfer case around. Have a friend look underneath while you are running the shifter through its pattern while stopped. Or even better, shut off the motor and crawl underneath the vehicle (use the emergency brake - remember safety first!) and push the unit around with your hand to see if the entire unit is loose. The rubber mounts that hold the arms to the frame may be tight, but the bolts that hold the long arm to the transfer case may be loose.

Remember this is an aluminum case, so you have to be careful how tight you torque the bolts down. But (again) after aggressive terrain the stress and vibration can get the best of the aluminum mounting point and work the bolts loose. This is when you need something else that can secure the transfer case from a second angle (a second plane, if you will).


rrtcasearm4.jpg (21396 bytes)We installed the new 'Super Beefy' Mounting Kit from Rocky Road Outfitters to cure both problems at once. In the photo to the right, we have a stock unit on the left, a first generation beefed RRO unit in the center, and the SuperBeef Mounting Kit on the right. As you can see in the picture, the SuperBeef unit looks a little different as it holds the case from two sides instead of just one. You should also note the entire unit is made from .25" wall steel to fight the twisting forces that the transfer case will hit it with.

rrtcasearm5.jpg (28241 bytes)Installation was very straight forward once you got the tools out and the iced tea poured. First jack up the transfer case enough to take the weight off of the mounts, and then remove the nuts that hold the rubber mounts to the frame. The case itself is light enough to move around freely, but a jack stand and a piece of wood help take the stress out of your arms.

Then remove the four bolts that hold the arm to the case and remove the arm. Take a look at the arm you have just removed. If you are lucky and it is still straight then you have a spare for your 'emergency box'. Installing the SuperBeef arm will probably make using the spare unnecessary, but other friends on the trail may be very grateful to you for having it when they tear up their stock unit. This is what will happen to the unit we just replaced.

rrtcasearm6.jpg (27957 bytes)The fit of the new long arm is very tight to the case. We had to tighten down the three bolts that fit into the holes around the rear drive shaft output flange before the four side bolts would line up. It was an exact fit. When you first see the empty holes around the flange, you might think that maybe you lost a part... (Why are these holes here?) but they were actually a hold-over from an earlier model that used a transfer case mounted emergency brake.

rrtcasearm7.jpg (22844 bytes)We had to loosen both transfer case arms at the frame to allow enough 'wiggle room' to get to the four bolts on the middle of the long arm to tighten them down during the re-install. We tried it with the short arm still attached to the frame the first time and you can see how little space it left us on the right. 

rrtcasearm8.jpg (26199 bytes)When you use the poly mounts to secure the unit to the frame, pay close attention to the shape of the mounts. One of the poly bushings has been trimmed for the close fit on the rear of the long arm. The picture to the left shows where this 'clipped' bushing is used. The kit has a full set of directions to lead you through the assembly of the kit, but as you can see here it is a fairly simple task. Just make sure you tighten the mounts as per the directions and you should have no problems.

Our Review

Time to shake it up in the rock garden! As with all my reviews, I took a trip out to the trails to see if the product will stand up to the abuse I am known for. Rock crawling and hill climbing can be tough on a drive train if you really 'go for it', so we headed for the 'Proving Grounds'. I don't think we could have harmed the arm if we took a sledgehammer to it, but we tried...

Putting the hammer down! As in all of the equipment I have seen from Rocky Road, straight out of the box this bracket looks like is made to handle the stress. The arm is built for strength and it showed. Remember when we said the transfer case is made of aluminum? Take this to heart folks. Although the arm can take the punishment, the case can't. So get a good skid plate to protect the case and let the SuperBeef Transfer Case Mounting Arm keep everything from twisting up and coming loose.

I originally wrote this article for www.off-road.com as a product review. I have received email telling me it could not be found. The article is no longer available there, so I published my copy here.