4wd clunk when going uphill - Dodge Cummins Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-16-2020, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
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4wd clunk when going uphill

1999 dodge 2500, 230k miles. 5 speed manual. This is similar to a post I made a year and a half ago when my 4wd vac shift motor was going out. Turns out I had two problems.

I have a long, steep gravel driveway. Whenever I go up the hill, I throw it in 4wd to save wear on tires and the road. In 4wd only, there is a loud 'clunk' that you can feel through the entire truck. It is momentary, and occurs usually once in the 300' to the house. It does it going straight or it might do it when I'm taking a slight turn. No pattern to it. The 4wd light does not go off, and there is proper pressure at the vac motor.

It does not do this going level or downhill, or turning on either of those. I can drive in 4wd 6 miles to work and it won't happen-- when roads are icy of course, and it is a straight and level drive.

I rebuilt both front and rear driveshafts-- not the problem. FYI-- the Spicer u-joints were original to the truck and still had miles in them. The center bearing was toast.

The axle u joints, bearings and ball joints seem fine. I do all my own work, but I might take it to Schwab and see if they can see anything.

The transfer case has never been serviced-- maybe a stretched chain? It's a 241 DLD, built in 10/98.

My next step is to replace fluids: tranny, tc and diff's.

Anyway, any thoughts would be appreciated.

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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-16-2020, 05:36 PM
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Odd question, but are all 4 tires the same size?

Half of communications is listening, and you can't listen with your mouth.
2001.5 3500, dually FlatBed, 4wd, 5 speed. All stock except fuel delivery. 528,000 miles.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-16-2020, 05:58 PM
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Only once? Never backing up and braking or in 2x4? In the middle of the hill or at the beginning or end of the run? If the TC has never been apart it is likely fine. Is is shifting up or down at the trani when it happens? If it is after moving I would suspect suspension.
Are you sure the CAD has already locked in or is it when it locks in?

99 2500, Quad cab, 4x4 47RE, BD pressure lock on it, small BD 90/140 chip on the VP 44 connection plug, 17" 3rd gen wheels. 3.55 diffs. Ruenell front bumper and warn winch, Rancho adj shocks. 663k miles.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-16-2020, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
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It only does it once, rarely twice in 300'. Never backing up or braking, in 4x4 or 2x4. Random where it does it up the hill-- beginning to end. I'm usually in 2nd gear, 4hi, unless i'm pulling a trailer, then 1st gear, 4hi.

Cad is locked for sure-- won't make it up my driveway in 2wd this time of year.

Here is what I'm hoping-- I just had to adjust the linkage on my JDeere-- it kept popping out of gear. So I just adjusted the linkage a smidge on the Dodge-- I ran the driveway 3 times and it went fine. Fingers crossed this is the issue. The linkage shows no signs of having slipped, but it is only one nut and this problem has been going on for awhile.

Thanks for the reply-- I never even thought about this as a possible solution. Time will tell.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 12:12 AM
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if you are talking about the linkage on the transfer case, adjusting it will make no difference unless the shift lever was hitting something. The adjustment only changes the shift lever angle position in the cab. Shifting and position is controlled inside the TC by the rotating slot plate and indent on the CAD vacuum switch. The lever just moves those parts, they hold it in whatever position/gear you put it in.
You did say the TC has never been apart right? There is some retainers and locks inside the TC that can allow it to jump out of gear for a second if broken or installed incorrectly. Usually this only happens from mechanic error going back together. Do you have a DLD or DHD TC? It is possible but very very rare fo a chain to stretch and slip
Check the bolts on top and bottom of the trani motor mount for loose or missing. Check rubber too. they can cause it to rock and clunk under torque.

99 2500, Quad cab, 4x4 47RE, BD pressure lock on it, small BD 90/140 chip on the VP 44 connection plug, 17" 3rd gen wheels. 3.55 diffs. Ruenell front bumper and warn winch, Rancho adj shocks. 663k miles.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 10:35 AM Thread Starter
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I agree with you-- don't see how adjusting the linkage would work, but what have I got to lose, right?

DLD 241-- never been apart, and it has never been abused. Has fluid-- about a 3/4" low from the bottom of the fill plug-- that's going to get changed this weekend. Was just underneath there rebuilding the front drive shaft-- everything looks fine and dandy.

When I get that 'thunk' the 4wd light stays on.

This sure has me stumped. I think I'll take it to a shop and pay for a diagnosis, if they can find one. That's always dicey-- the shop I used on rear occasions is under new ownership-- they might just want to change my Framistat and headlight oil... lol.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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Tires are all the same size.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 12:32 PM
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Look close a tthat rear trani mount, bolts and rubber. I had one that was loose and when on throttle on a hill it would rock up and drip back down and clunk.
Make sure exhaust pipe is not hitting something, it has happened.
No grinding, just clunk?
Most clunks come from two things, bad control arm bushings and bad track bar busing/ends. But those would usually be under different situations.
Check both pinion bearings for lateral or end play.
What is your location?

99 2500, Quad cab, 4x4 47RE, BD pressure lock on it, small BD 90/140 chip on the VP 44 connection plug, 17" 3rd gen wheels. 3.55 diffs. Ruenell front bumper and warn winch, Rancho adj shocks. 663k miles.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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Trannie mount seems fine-- I was just in there, removing the tranny support cross member (what a ). It was and is fine and solid. Exhaust pipe has no movement. No grinding-- just one big clunk that feels like an axle just broke in half. The truck shudders from it.

I put the truck up on jackstands and put it 4wd... and let her run for awhile. It never did it. Everything inside the vac shift motor housing looks fine.

It is so random-- the only consistent thing is 4wd high on a hill. Hmmm... never thought about trying 4wd low...

I'll look at the control arm bushings. This forum thread sounds alot like what I'm experiencing; https://dodgeforum.com/forum/2nd-gen...ing-noise.html

Thanks. I'm no mechanic-- I just play one after watching youtube.

Pullman, WA.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 02:51 PM
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I know you want to be in 4x4 but try this:
Remove the front drive line.
Put it in 4x4while running.
Shutoff
try turning the front yoke on the TC and see how much slack is in chain. The sole purpose of the chain is to turn the front drivel line.
Now while it is out let you rear tires down to 30-35lbs for traction and try you hill a couple of times that would unload the chain.
Has it come back yet since adjustment?

Why did you have crossmember out if not working on TC? PS is is not that hard if done right. What color is the front vacuum line attachment on the TC tubes on the transfer case?

99 2500, Quad cab, 4x4 47RE, BD pressure lock on it, small BD 90/140 chip on the VP 44 connection plug, 17" 3rd gen wheels. 3.55 diffs. Ruenell front bumper and warn winch, Rancho adj shocks. 663k miles.
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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Crossmember was off to rebuild the front driveshaft u joints. Actually, got it mostly off, following all the advice the internet offered, except using a bottlejack and 4x4 to press the frame apart. I thought it would just drop out... silly me.

Color-- I'll have to check later.

I've ran my hill 4x since the adjustment-- no thunk. If this fixes it, I have no idea how.

When I was manually turning the hub at the transfer case when the driveline was off, I wasn't detecting any play, but not sure if that can be detected by hand. It seems tight though, at the yoke, when muscling down the driveshaft bolts while it was in 4wd.

thx.
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-17-2020, 11:26 PM
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If it was worn enough to cause a problem you would feel the change in resistance slack. But worn chains are not usually a problem.
Now this ain't going to make you feel any better this time bu will save a lot of trouble next time.
Skid plate removal may be necessary but cross member is not required for drive line removal. Though it is easier, it is not even necessary for transfer case or overdrive removal.
Spreading the frame is absolutely the wrong way to remove it.
The correct way is to:
Raise the back of trani to near floor board.
Remove hold down brackets on brake lines and hold fuel lines near crossmember.
Push/tap the crossmember UP about 2 inches. It its in a taper in the frame. Pushing it UP release it and it slides back easily if you have not bent it badly pounding on it previously.
Drive line bolts can be easily removed by doing the front first so you can rotate and putting a bar through the yoke to hold it where you want it and doing the transfer case end bolts on the top side with a socket and wobbly extension 3/8.

You can do almost everything on these trucks yourself, but be sure and hit us up here first for tips and instructions. It will save you a lot of time, pain, heartache and money.


Anyway let me know if it holds or comes back.

99 2500, Quad cab, 4x4 47RE, BD pressure lock on it, small BD 90/140 chip on the VP 44 connection plug, 17" 3rd gen wheels. 3.55 diffs. Ruenell front bumper and warn winch, Rancho adj shocks. 663k miles.

Last edited by bigfish95971; 02-17-2020 at 11:31 PM.
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