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ravenoddstad 08-01-2013 01:54 PM

2001 Dodge ram rear end in serious trouble
Our 2001 dodge ram 4X4 made a loud clunk in traffic yesterday and since then there is a loud rattle coming from the rear (possible drivers side wheel) and intermittent (but very frequent) clunks and shudders, it is undriveable now as it feels that it will most certainly strand me at any minute. It is almost as if the wheel or axle is sticking and not turning properly. Any ideas of where I should start looking for the problem?

GTyankee 08-01-2013 02:33 PM

I am not a mechanic
I would be jacking up the rear end & putting jack stands under the axle housing, one on each side
then rotate the wheel & tire by hand

you should be able to feel & hear the problem

if it has been quite awhile since the rear differential fluid has been changed
it is time to get some, & then remove the cover plate on the rear end
it is going to make a mess, so get a large pan or something to catch the old oil in
i have used a plastic cement mixing tub before, when nothing else was handy

you can find videos on youtube about dodge rear end fluid changes
once the cover is off, spray some brake parts cleaner all over inside where the gears are

inspect everything, look for chipped teeth, etc.
again rotate the wheel & watch for the place where it catches

parts are not expensive

look at the Randys Ring & Pinion website

Good Luck

ravenoddstad 08-02-2013 12:16 PM

Thanks for your response! It ended up being the rear brakes. One of the brake shoes was completely gone and the other very worn. We had the brakes checked a couple months ago and mechanic said they were fine...obviously he never checked.

Warlock III 08-02-2013 12:32 PM

Did you happen to check for up-and-down play in the axle while the drum was off?

If the axle bearing is worn it will cause premature brake failure, usually on the front shoe at the top.

If that's the one that let go, I'd check it ASAP.

P.S. Thanks for getting back with the results. :rep:

I know it can get awful we and messy in there after a failure, but check for gear oil on the inside of the tire and the drum. If it's just a bearing and seal it can be replaced before the axle shaft gets scored too badly.

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