1999 Dodge Ram 3500 Van rear end noise


bignoisey
04-18-2011, 11:32 AM
There is a low growling noise coming from the rear end. It changes in pitch with vehicle speed. It does not change in loudness when accelerating, decelerating, coasting, or turning. So it seems to me like a rear axle bearing gone rough. I also thought of a pinion shaft bearing, but that would seem to change with acceleration or deceleration (change in driveshaft load). Since this is a 1-ton chassis, I think the rear axle would slide out like it did on my old chevy pickup and then I just remove the bearings from the hub. Or is it more complicated than that?

alloro
04-18-2011, 10:26 PM
It changes in pitch with vehicle speed. It does not change in loudness when accelerating, decelerating, coasting, or turning.

I just fixed this very issue in my van today. You would swear up and down that the noise was coming from the rear axle but it wasn't. The clue is that the pitch doesn't change when accelerating, decelerating, or coasting. If it did, then the problem would definitely be in the rear axle.

If the same thing happened to you that happened to me, one of the front wheel bearing seals failed and allowed water to get into the wheel bearing. This will cause a bit of rusting and pitting. The resulting bearing roughness is what's causing the noise you're hearing. In my case I replace the passenger side inner wheel bearing, race, and seal. I went for a test drive and the noise is gone.

Mopar_Stev
04-24-2011, 07:33 PM
In my case I replace the passenger side inner wheel bearing, race, and seal. I went for a test drive and the noise is gone.

Why is it that the #1 bearing problem for any of these Ram Van generations is the front passenger inner bearings in the disc? Since owning my Ram Van, twice I had to replace that bearing there. The others looks and run great.

As for the main question, check each rear brake hardware. Not too long ago, a retaining spring to a rear shoe snapped and the noise was there like you had mentioned.

Also, in other forums, rear noise can be from the rear universal.

Have the rear axle oil ever been changed? Chrysler has a TSB03-08-00 to now use 75W90 synthetic in the rear. Read the TSB for RTV warnings too .... http://dodgeram.info/tsb/2000/03-08-00.htm I was just visiting Summit Racing on I-75 at exit 216 this past weekend and picked up Red Line's synthetic 75W90 with the needed limited slip friction modifier. http://www.redlineoil.com/product.aspx?pid=133&pcid=4

alloro
04-24-2011, 10:22 PM
Why is it that the #1 bearing problem for any of these Ram Van generations is the front passenger inner bearings in the disc?

More rain puddles on the passenger side I suppose. My noise was definitely due to water getting into the bearing.

bignoisey
04-26-2011, 09:23 PM
It sure sounds like a rear bearing to me. Actually this is a RV conversion van with lots of weight on the rear. Plus I frequently tow a 6000 pound boat trailer. This rear bearing trouble has happened before so I'm suspicious of that. That time I took it to the friendly Dodge dealer for repair since I didn't have time to fix it myself. They replaced the bearings and must have over torqued them or something because it worked fine at first but soon failed again, in fact one hub got so hot it actually caught fire. So the dealer replaced the whole rear end assembly since the bearing had actually welded itself in place and damaged the housing. But now the same problem is back. And after that experience I'm inclined to do it myself since I,ve worked on many wheel bearings - front and rear and never had a problem. I will check the front ones first though.

Question? do Dodge full floating axles just pull out like GM ones do without having to open the differential cover? I think its a Dana rear end according to that other thread on rear axles although the sticker in the engine compartment says Spicer.

Mopar_Stev
04-26-2011, 11:35 PM
I think its a Dana rear end according to that other thread on rear axles although the sticker in the engine compartment says Spicer.

Dana is the company, Spicer is a Dana brand name now. I can't remember if the 60 was for the Ram Van SWB and the 70 was for the LWB or vise-versa.

bignoisey
07-02-2011, 09:05 PM
I finally got around to fixing it. Yep it was the rear axle bearings, both inner and outer races were pitted. It took only about an hour per side but after three trips to the auto parts store to finally get the right bearings it ended up taking all day. There are many axle options, After I finally bought the 2-9/16" axle nut hex socket wrench, I was able to dissemble it and take the bearings and seals along with me. Mine are the same bearing inside and outside but none of the listings for my model showed the bearing types that were actually installed, so we just went by the bearing part numbers. Also due to a small burr on one axle tube position where the inner bearing sits, the new one was very tight. I didn't want it stuck when or if I ever had to disassemble it again so I ussed a little 320 grit sandpaper on it until the bearing slid in and off smoothly. Thanks to Alloro's post of the free online Chilton's guide, I was able to determine the proper axle nut torque procedure. But I had to use the procedure for pickups rather than vans since the van section does not contain the procedure for full floating axles.

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