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Suspension 2nd Gen Dodge Ram Suspension Problems and Questions


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  #1  
Old 09-08-2011, 11:30 AM
bhawk bhawk is offline
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Default Any issues with a 98 Ram 4x4 steering?

My first post. My son is looking at buying a 98 Ram 1500 with 4x4. I see from searching the web that it has a solid front axle setup, with a Dana 44 I believe. The solid axle concerns me a bit as each wheel cannot react to bumps, etc. independently. My question is--how do these trucks typically steer? Any usual problems? I heard about the dodge truck death wobble and that scares me, if it applies to this year of 4x4. Should I be concerned about death wobble?
Your experience with the steering and suspension issues on this year of truck would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 09-08-2011, 05:45 PM
erm
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"Death Wobble" usually happens to trucks that have a level or lift kit on them...and only some of them have that problem.

I had a 99 Ram 15004x4 and the steering was just fine. It "crabs" a bit when in 4WD mode. The only weak area I found on mine was the front track bar. You can get an upgraded one through NAPA if the links are worn on the truck you are looking at. The problem is characterized by the truck "wandering" on flat, straight roads. It may also manifest itself at a pull to the right or left.

It does bounce a bit in the front end vs. an independent suspension but I had no problem with the way mine steered or ran down the road at all.
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:10 PM
bhawk bhawk is offline
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Thanks for the reply. We'll take it for a ride and see how she handles.
Forgive my ignorance, but what is the track bar? Is it the same as a stabilizer bar on the Ford trucks, or GM cars that I am familiar with?
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:23 PM
erm
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Yes, it's very much like that and it's just to help with accurate steering. It runs right in front of the differential and really acts like a truss bar from the axle on the passenger side to a bracket off the frame on the driver's side. It's almost like a locating bar to keep the front differential from moving around too much.
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Old 09-11-2011, 11:10 PM
Screamintrashcan Screamintrashcan is offline
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I have two of these gen 2 4x4s, I would very highly recommend buying two lukes links off the web, one for the long tierod, one for the track rod. once you replace those two items, you have easily rebuildable inexpensive repairs, vs each of those two rods are pretty pricey, I used to replace that hated track rod quite frequently, on both trucks, until I saw that neat invention. No more grief. I am not advertizing, its simply a good, permanent fix to a common failure area, now, if I could just stop my trucks from rusting, rockers, and rear wheelwells, and bottoms of doors...Make sure the secondary hood latch springs back when you pull it, too, I have destroyed two hoods in the last 10 years or so, meeting fast moving road tractors, lots of lube on that secondary hood catch pivot... Hood hinges are expensive, (as are hoods)
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Old 09-11-2011, 11:57 PM
Screamintrashcan Screamintrashcan is offline
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Just sitting here thinking... The 98 cup holders are junk, never to be used in cold weather, they explode on bumpy roads. very brittle plastic. the drivers inner door panel is only held on by 3 screws, only one directly, the other two are in the grab cup that you pull the door closed with. very poor design, for if the little push pin things across the bottom and front and rear are worn, (ie shot) the cup for pulling on and the door panel haven't long to live. theres no replaceable fuel filter on that vehicle, it's integral with the fuel pump, which costs $200+ USD. All that being said, They are excellent value for the money, both of mine have well over 150k miles, the only additional items other than ignition coils on my 95, (2 of em) have been common items, shocks, brakes, pipes, etc. That straight axle is a good axle, handles a snowplow well, but it's a bear of a frame to put a snowplow on. Check your axlejoints carefully on the front axle,(we're talking about the half shaft u joints, not the driveshaft joints, tho that fancy joint on the rear of the front driveshaft is kind of a pain to change, too.) they aren't a lot of fun to change, as are the front shocks. I pulled the check valves off the trans cooler lines many years ago, and run aux coolers on them, and they both regularly pull approx 4000 lb trailers, I've never pulled a transmission, and I have a very heavy foot with the small motors I have. With a 5.2, expect 13-15 MPG, unless you drive extremely nicely, and are running 195-85-16 (common to the rear of a dually) tires, not likely with a young man driving. I commonly get 19 MPG, with the narrow tires, on long trips, @75 MPH. Most people like the fat rubber, 265-70-16, that width costs $$ at the pump. I find the narrow tires are terrific in water and snow /snirt / slush as well... This is not written to make these pickups sound bad, I've had worse luck with all sorts of other brands over the years, engines, axles, differentials, trans's, but you're looking at a used unit, so I've written down my trouble areas, pretty good track record, I have every intention of running the wheels right off these two units of mine. Most aggravating? That drivers side end of the dreaded track bar. Fixed, (finally) permanently. Pulling a trailer full of big animals is scary with a bad one. One last thing, my 95 has a body lift on it, used to run 14x37" tires on it, yep... death wobble. Put adult tires on it, no more wobble...
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Old 09-13-2011, 03:28 PM
bhawk bhawk is offline
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Thanks for the input, exactly what I need to know. We haven't bought yet but with these tips I am more at ease, since I can do alot of repairs myself. Just never worked on a dodge before. thanks again
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