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skrantdurant 09-12-2013 03:26 PM

Transfer Case or Transmission??
My '97 Ram 1500 Sport 4x4 failed me! Driving at slightly above the posted limit downhill on I-40 from the mountains into Albuquerque, I heard a low gggzzzzzzzzz kinda sound barely audible above my exhaust and my tires and my drive just slipped away from me. Neutral in every position on my shifter. I coasted over a mile, again downhill from about 80 mph, before i stopped the truck. When i tried to put it in park with it running there was a grinding noise and I had to turn it off to select park. Seems like that indicates the output of the trans was still turning, but the transfer case wasn't fulfilling it's obligation (broken chain?). Any opinions or ideas? Thanks.

hydrex 09-13-2013 11:15 AM

If you were in 2WD, it's probably the transmission. Check the fluid level, first.

Screamintrashcan 09-13-2013 09:43 PM

So you placed the trans case in a different position and still have the grinding? I once had a chev with a plow and if I hit a root, stump, whatever, the transfer case would go between positions, because the shifter boot was hardened up and lever didn't like 4 low. had to shut off engine to place back into 4 low. Ahh, the ist time I reached over and tried to pull it back into a driveable position, or place the transmission into park, sheesh, the grinding!!

skrantdurant 09-16-2013 11:42 PM

Tranfer Case or Transmission Update
Well, I went back and checked my truck a little closer and it's the transfer case. I can click through the trans detents and feel them all. I put it in park and took a step back to the rear tire and was able to roll the truck forward and back freely. I've heard of "dropping the web chain", but this is my first experience with it. Makes me dream of the days of my old cast iron gear-to-gear case my old Suburban had - true bulletproof other than the adapter seal issue where the 90W would transfer between the trans and t-case depending on which end was uphill at the time. Those were the days. Guess I'm showing my age there. Thanks for your input. I'm sure I'll be back with more questions once I get the truck home and the transfer case out for the check-and-condemn process. I've been dragging my feet with going to get it - 1) it's too wide for my friends' flatbed trailers cuzza the rims/tires it has on it, 2) I'm hesitant to do a 40 mile chain tow, mostly downhill, through the City of Albuquerque and south to my small town, and c) that kinda tow bill would set my already limited transfer case rebuild fund back into negative dollars. So, I'm waiting for the one friend I have with AAA coverage to get back from their vacation! Wish me luck...

Screamintrashcan 09-28-2013 10:32 AM

Get some 2x8s and build them up to a little taller& longer (or just use 8 footers from the fenderwells forward) than the fenderwells on your carhauler, (screw em one by one starting at the deck & building up, (probably only need one at each end of each board) so you don't have to touch the fenderwells, hopefully you have a winch, or a good come-along. Surely your tires don't exceed 102", you'll be fine!

skrantdurant 10-02-2013 12:38 AM

Thanks for the advise. I was unable to get the free triple-AAA tow and was leaning back towards the long-distance almost-sure-to-get-a-ticket chain tow when I experienced a moment of clarity. So I hit craigslist and invested in a universal tow bar rig. Then came the fun part. My truck has a push bar that I think is really for a 2500 or 3500 but I like how it looks on my little short-bed 1500. It has a leveling kit and 315/70R-16s on it too. Not too tall unless you're trying to bumper pull it 40 miles with an 88 Chevy half ton 4x2. I rigged the tow bar to the bottom cross bar on my push bar and hooked up to the Chevy and on level ground had about a 20-30 degree incline on the bar between the trucks. I should mention this is an old school 'T' kinda tow bar, not the fancy 'V' type I'd have gotten if I coulda afforded one. So, a couple hours and six or seven chain readjustments later I got the Dodge home. Whew!!

skrantdurant 10-02-2013 01:33 AM

It's Alive-uh!! It was the transfer case...
I was getting ready to pull the transfer case cuzza being able to roll the truck in park even though I could feel the transmission doing it's thing as far as I could tell in all positions. The only way I could move the shifter into park without experiencing a sharp un-nerving gzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz was to turn off the engine which made me feel like the trans output shaft was still spinning free without the rest of the drive train holding it. Again, the symptom here was a sudden total loss of drive - forward or reverse. For the tow I had unbolted the rear driveshaft from the rear differential and had it hanging on a wire but still in the transfer case. I could spin it freely by hand regardless of shifter position, engine running or not. I drained the transfer case and smelled the culprit - friggin 90W gear oil, not ATF! Through the drain hole I could see the web chain not all wadded up like I had expected, so I worked the rear drive shaft back and forth and saw the chain following along just like it's supposed to. Hmmmm... What the...? Being a rocket scientist and all (OK, lawnmower mechanic technically) I started the truck just to do another check. Reverse - nothing. Neutral - nothing (duh!). Drive, 2, 1 - nothing. Stuck it in 4-High Range, same result. Low Range - BAM! the truck jumped back and in Drive it pulled back up. I heard the loose drive shaft flopping around in back, so it seems to have lost all high range operation 2 or 4 wheel drive but still has low range. Odd, but still, with over 230 thousand miles on it not too surprising. I opted to install a quality pre-owned and field-tested unit complete with a 90 day warranty I procured from Steve at South Coors Truck Salvage in Albuquerque. Today I threw the Torture Test at it. My work needed me to do a scrap metal run. We piled on lawnmower decks, engine cores and dead chain saws and topped it off with a couple of riding mower carcasses. It all squatted the half-ton shortbed down a little, but no problem hauling it 20-plus miles to the scrap yard. I was shocked to say the least when they handed me the receipt - 2260 pounds! :SHOCKED: A ton and an eighth! The 88 Chevy woulda just died. I am very proud of my Dodge tonight...

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