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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
1997 ram 1500 front differential is going out. This is my backup beater, so not worth putting the money in to fix it. Problem is I need this vehicle to drive for a few months or so as my main vehicle is waiting on a replacement motor.

So my idea is to pull both front axles, remove the u joints so each axle is in two pieces, reinstall just the one end of each axle that has the nut that goes through the hub and rotor, leaving the end that connects into the differential out. Once I break down the axles and reinstall them then remove the front drive shaft coming from the transfer case. Basically deleting the front differential, so the front tires can just roll freely and the differential does not spin at all.

I should add this year has straight axles with just the u joint (no cv joint).

When done, I will be doing in town driving only (40mph and under) to get to dialysis and doctors appointments until my main vehicle is back on the road.

In my head this sound completely doable and should be safe, and then again I am not a mechanic, so curious if anyone would have any input on the idea. Any thoughts would be appreciated....
 

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An ex mechanic buddy of mine mentioned could be ring and pinion. Looking at forums carrier bearings could sound like a possibility as well? At speeds say 20mph and under, not really any noise, you will here a little clunk or click here and there but no whirring or vibration. The main noise starts around 20-30mph and just gets worse the faster you go. Pretty heavy whirring and vibration which stays about the same weather you are on or off the gas.

I have pulled apart the front drivers side, checked the wheel hub and put a new u joint in the axle. I lifted the truck to check the passenger side. Wheel has no movement up and down, has minimal movement side to side and I do think I feel just a slight bit of binding when rolling the wheel.

The u joint on the passenger side was done about 5 years ago there is no type of clicking or other sound coming out of it while rolling the wheel and I dont see any type of play in the joint. I do have an extra hub, so I do plan on taking passenger side apart and checking the hub and axle u joint closer just in case. Just in all my life I have never experienced a bad hub bearing cause that much vibration and noise. I guess I feel that if it was the hub or the u joint with how bad the noise and vibration are that one or both of those parts would be in pretty bad condition and show more than obvious signs of wear.

Another thing worth mentioning, when doing the driver side axle u joint, I topped off the front differential with gear oil and it was about 3/4 of quart low. After filling the differential it did not make the noise go away, but it did lessen a little bit for a short amount of time.

My main vehicle should have the new motor and be back on the road within a month, month and a half. Once that happens the dodge will be parked until I can find a donor truck that needs a motor. So with how far the truck is gone (mn & wi road salt) and the fact that eventually the engine will be pulled and the rest of the truck scrapped, I dont want to put money into it, just want to make it usable for the short amount of time that it is needed.

Any thoughts are much appreciated.......
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
yep, drivers side I completely took apart checked it out when I was doing the u joint in the axle. That side was just done a year ago and seems fine. The passenger side I did jack up tested for play by pulling up and down on the tire, pulling left and right on the tire and spinning it back and forth feeling for tight spots. I did feel just the slightest bit of binding, so I am going to throw the extra hub i have on just to see if it clears anything up. Unfortunately work is getting in the way, so it will be a few days.

I did think of a noise to better explain the sound that is coming out of the truck. You know those sleeper lines they put on the side of the road that rumble when you hit them. It sounds a lot like that noise nowhere near as intense, but does sound like that.
 
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