Jim Grant's Tech Tips
'97 Dodge Ram 1500, 4-Wheel Grind
putting my 97 Dodge Ram in 4-wheel drive something makes a nasty
noise. It used to be when it was cold out, now it's all the time. Is this
the transmission or some thing to do with the front axle?
the grinding noise seems to be coming from the front of the vehicle when
you engage the 4-wheel drive then I would suggest checking the axle shift
motor that is located on the passenger side of the front differential.
The axle shift motor is vacuum operated. When you select 4-wheel drive
a control switch on the transfer case directs a vacuum signal to the axle
shift motor. The right side axle is a 2 part component. The vacuum causes
the axle shift motor to slide a collar (with gear type teeth) that engages
and locks the 2 parts together for 4-wheel drive. If the vacuum supply
is weak, the control switch on the transfer case is failing, or the axle
shift motor is not working correctly the collar that locks the 2 parts
together will not fully engage. This partial engagement causes the gear/teeth
of the sliding collar to grind against the shaft it is trying to engage.
Dont let this problem go! Grinding parts together for too long will
mean youll need more $$$ for more parts $$$.