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'97 1500 4X4 transfer case?

07-17-2008, 12:45 PM
I have a 97 Dodge Ram 1500 4X4 5.9L. I was pulling a small trailer with a couple of motorcycles down the highway and I heard a grinding noise for a second (:banghead:). I shut off the air and the radio, and then it started again. I put it in neutral and pulled it over, with it grinding all the way (even in park) until I killed the motor. in park the truck will roll away. I tried putting it in 4WD, and even with the transfer case in neutral it will still grind, but it will still pull forward. I noticed that the front drive shaft is free spinning. I unplugged the wire going into the transfer case, started up the truck and put it into drive, and it did not grind, but it did shift into gear hard. I'd like to fix this myself, as I don't have much money. How do I find out what model transfer case I have. I was told to find the "transfer case build tag". There's a tag on there that said "model: 231 D Ratio 272" but that doesn't match what I'm finding online. What do you think could be the problem specifically? Any tips, ideas, or pointers?

07-17-2008, 12:52 PM
P.S. the previous owner had the transmission rebuilt, which was probably around 2 years ago. In February a bolt worked its way out of the torque converter, and snapped off on the engine block, causing all my transmission fluid to drain out. I had the transmission inspected and they said it'd be fine, I just needed a new torque converter. I had them go ahead and install it. A couple weeks later I started having problems with the torque converter engaging when it shouldn't, like at a stop light. I took it back to them, but it wouldn't act up for them. They suggested that it was the oil pressure sensor, and to bring it back in when it started acting up some more. But it quit acting up. That's all the history of the drive train that I know of. Any and all help is appreciated!

07-17-2008, 05:09 PM
Are you sure it's not the rear end?

07-17-2008, 05:35 PM
Like the rear differential? I don't know. I'm a motorcycle mechanic, and I've never worked on stuff like this before. How could I test it? disconnect the rear drive shaft, throw it in 4WD and see if it still grinds?

07-18-2008, 11:25 AM
Alright I disconnected the rear drive shaft, started up my truck and put it in reverse, and I heard a slight grinding noise, neutral, still a slight grinding noise, then drive, and it started grinding hard. Note, the truck is sitting still, not moving forward or reverse.

I've had two people suggest that it wasn't my transmission, but rather my transfer case. But it's grinding when I'm sitting still, and the transmission is before the transfer case, so would that mean that it's actually in the transmission? or is the clutch in the automatic transmission engaging since there is no resistance from the transfer case? Come on, some one talk to me here.

07-25-2008, 03:34 AM
Pull the trans pan and see how the fluid looks and see if there is any metal in the pan . Have you pulled the inspection plate to see if the convertor lost another bolt. With the T Case in neutral it shouldn't pull at all like you describe in your first post. I guess I would lean towards the T Case also.

07-25-2008, 11:17 PM
you say the truck will roll when you have it in park. then the park detent is not engaging inside the transmission. and it could be pieces of it grinding on the shaft. but you say it grinds in park sitting still. sounds like tourque convertor loose .pull the dust cover and see how the torque covertor looks check and see if any bolts are loose. then pull the pan on the transmission and see if anything is broke and loose in the transmission. with the transfer case in "n" it shouldn't move any ecxept roll like you have trans in "n". it should only move if you have the transfer case in 4-low, 4-high or 2 wheel gear.

12-31-2008, 12:10 PM
I say it is the flex plate (flywheel) that the torque converter is bolted to. Either the bolts on the converter are loose, or the flex plate (flywheel) is cracked. Cracked flex plates are common and they make a different sound each time you put it in gear. One time it will be real bad, the next time it will be sort of quiet.

Another thing to look at.......check all the heat shields on the exhaust system. This is often overlooked and is usually very noisy. sometimes the heat shield cracks and comes loose. Then, when a load is applied to the engine, they vibrate and cause a loud cracking sound.


01-08-2009, 02:48 PM
Wow this is old but it does sound like the transfer case is grinding...Since the grinding stopped when you pulled the plug but shifted into gear hard I'd say it's stuck in 4 low and trying to complete a shift when you hear the grinding. I'd assume by now the problem has been fixed and an update would be welcomed.

P.S. for everyone that's assuming since it grinds in park that it can't or isn't in the transfer case--with the transfer case input shaft free spinning you can't get the trans in park without grinding until you shut the truck off. Even in neutral, on these dodges the transmission output shaft will free spin if the transfer case is in neutral or the drive shaft is disconnected.

01-11-2009, 09:48 PM
Sorry I never posted the conclusion. I ended up finding other transportation until I fixed it in October. I removed the transfer case and dissasembled it. I found that the shifting fork (for unknown reasons) ground down to almost nothing, so it was not holding the transfer case in gear. I talked to some people and got some guidence, and found out how expencive the parts cost. In the end I was lucky and found a heavy duty transfer case from a 99 Dodge Durango that fit my truck. Thank you all for your help!

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