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2012 Ram 3500 Limited Dually
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently discovered the greasing requirement for the U joint. I've read through a bunch of threads concerning the ability to rotate the drive shaft by hand with the vehicle in park. My drive shaft will not rotate by hand. Should it on a 2012? It's in 2WD. Seems to drive fine although I get an intermittent "service 4wd" warning on occasion. It comes and goes. I don't use 4wd as I haven't had the need in a long time. Sitting parked, I have shifted it from 2wd to 4wd and it seems to work. Blinking yellow light during the transfer followed by a solid yellow light. I believe that's normal.

Just wondering why my drive shaft doesn't rotate freely when everyone else seems to. Is there something unique with a 2012?

Thanks
Mike
 

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Not unique. 03-13 or 14? I forget, do not have any front axle disconnect (or locking hubs) so the entire assembly from wheels through front driveshaft are hooked toegether. IE front driveshaft spins at same rate as ground speed, even in 2wd. Easist way to spin the front DS is lift a front tire off the ground. Open front diff will allow you to rotate the driveshaft (and that wheel).

Honestly though, I would just pull the front shaft out for greasing. (Which you may want or need to rotate to reach all the bolts anyway.)
2 reasons.
1. It’s a ***** to find that little fitting and awkward to grease it in the vehicle. Especially first time trying to doo it.
2. That thing has been installed for 10 years now and bolts are likely getting rusted in and if it still has the original front torx heads, those are prone to stripping out when seized up. In other words do some preventative maintenance that will make your life easier in the future when the front driveshaft needs to be removed. (And put antiseize on the bolts and next time it will be easy).
Specifically, since the front DS spins all the time, if it starts getting sloppy or worn out, you can’t drive the truck without removing it. Compared to other trucks where the front DS is able to free spin in 2wd.
 
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Free spin hubs, they stop the front drive shaft from turning constantly.
Lotta money and work to fix something that aint broke...
 

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2011 Ram 2500 4x4 6.7 68RFE 4 inch lift
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Until the tat transfer case takes a dump and that front driveshaft destroys fuel lines and wiring harness and possibly the transmission. Is it needed, no, just like wearing a seat belt, don’t really need to use it until your in wreck, but then it’s too late.

It’s expensive, I know! But for my piece of mind, it was worth it.
 

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As stated, 2012 has full-time front axle. Front driveshaft rotates with wheels all the time....unless..
When installing the hubs I found front half shaft joints all but destroyed. No signs of failure, but failure was eminent.
Even when the transfer case is in 2WD, the front drive case section is spinning away.
I found these issues at 122k mileage.
I view the unlocking manual hubs system as, at minimum, more failsafe.
They also allow use of 4-
Lo for easily maneuvering heavy loads in tight spaces. No axle binding. Regularly pull 14k toy hauler.
I used Spyntec. Nice item. Perfect fit and complete.


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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the clarification all. I thought my truck was broken. Glad to read from you and others that it's working as designed. Regarding pulling the shaft out. and replacing bolts etc., I'm not that mechanically inclined so the thought is daunting. Having said that, I can watch a you tube video as well as the next guy so could probably figure it out. Having said that and you mentioned it, the bottom of my truck is rusty as hell from salt and I imagine getting the bolts free will be quite the chore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
As stated, 2012 has full-time front axle. Front driveshaft rotates with wheels all the time....unless..
When installing the hubs I found front half shaft joints all but destroyed. No signs of failure, but failure was eminent.
Even when the transfer case is in 2WD, the front drive case section is spinning away.
I found these issues at 122k mileage.
I view the unlocking manual hubs system as, at minimum, more failsafe.
They also allow use of 4-
Lo for easily maneuvering heavy loads in tight spaces. No axle binding. Regularly pull 14k toy hauler.
I used Spyntec. Nice item. Perfect fit and complete.


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I feel like the rust is out of control and although the truck only has 47k miles, parts are going to start wearing out and need to be replaced.

I went to the Spyntec website. Not sure I'm looking at the right stuff.

Shorty SpynTec Hub Conversion Kit For Dodge Ram 2012+
Solid Axle

Is this what i should be looking at? I like the idea of shafts not spinning if they don't have to. Website also states improved gas milage. Did yours improve?
 

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2011 Ram 2500 4x4 6.7 68RFE 4 inch lift
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I didn’t notice any gain in fuel mileage. What was immediately apparent, lighter steering feel and coasting further.

You have a dually, so you’d need the dually kit.
 

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I feel like the rust is out of control and although the truck only has 47k miles, parts are going to start wearing out and need to be replaced.

I went to the Spyntec website. Not sure I'm looking at the right stuff.

Shorty SpynTec Hub Conversion Kit For Dodge Ram 2012+
Solid Axle

Is this what i should be looking at? I like the idea of shafts not spinning if they don't have to. Website also states improved gas milage. Did yours improve?
Didn't notice any fuel mileage increase. Did notice a lighter steering feel. Not having all that 200 lbs of crap turning gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. I get 20 mpg unloaded at 60-65 mph. About 12 towing 14k--in flatlands. Around 11 in hills.

As 5.7 sez, you'll want the dually kit. It isn't a "shorty"...think that's the 2500?

The below is what the parts look like. The MileMarker hubs are a nice addition. I've had zero issues with the system. Maybe 4k on them.
Need the correct grease and whatever U-joints might be failing. Otherwise, the hubs are complete and races already pressed in. The hubs are easy to change. The axle U-joints not so much if they are failing. My axles were in good shape. A new stub is supplied for each side.
If you grease the front DS, be sure to use the correct grease gun needle and grease. Jacking up either front wheel will allow easy rotation of the front DS for greasing the joints.
The only downside to the hub mods relates to removing the brake rotors. That said, they rarely need removing if pads are kept serviceable.





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Fair e
Until the tat transfer case takes a dump and that front driveshaft destroys fuel lines and wiring harness and possibly the transmission. Is it needed, no, just like wearing a seat belt, don’t really need to use it until your in wreck, but then it’s too late.

It’s expensive, I know! But for my piece of mind, it was worth it.
Fair enough, but I can think of a handful of "1 in a million" scenarios that a person could lose sleep over too, if they wanted to. But the fact is, 3rd and 4th Gen HD Rams are some of the highest mileage daily driven and worked vehicles on the road and this simply isn't a prominent issue, or even a remotely likely problem. It's ok though, I do weird little "bulletproofing" things myself for components I see or perceive as a risk. Just putting the propensity for this theoretical disaster in perspective.
 

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I feel like the rust is out of control and although the truck only has 47k miles, parts are going to start wearing out and need to be replaced.

I went to the Spyntec website. Not sure I'm looking at the right stuff.

Shorty SpynTec Hub Conversion Kit For Dodge Ram 2012+
Solid Axle

Is this what i should be looking at? I like the idea of shafts not spinning if they don't have to. Website also states improved gas milage. Did yours improve?
Well, it's 8 bolts that are fairly easy to get to. And if it's a rust belt vehicle, then my advice is even more relevant. Get 'em now when it's easy and nothing is broken. Because that front DS can/will likely make it another 100k miles or more before it wears out. (Now I sound like 5.7 bulletproofing something on a hunch...credit where due @5.7 Hemi )
Plus you gotta grease it and trust me it will be easier laying on your work bench or floor, than under the truck.

FWIW, there is nothing "wrong" with adding traditional locking hubs. He!!, I wish/think they should have come that way from the factory. It's the stigma that some try to put forth that "weak, expensive, fail all the time, unit bearing are junk and the solution is simple"...Yeah like $2k simple and that's just the kit. And if "you" aren't comfortable removing a driveshaft, it's a $3k proposition for you and your favorite mechanic. FWIW, $2k in parts buys approximately 8 quality SKF unit bearings or 4 complete sets of unit bearings. Considering the typical lifespan of them is 150-200k, calculate your ROI on a 10 year old truck that you haven't even cracked 50k miles on yet, dumping the cost of 600-800k miles of service out of a comparable amount of unit bearings.

PS, it's a good time to do a little work on the rear DS bolts, brake caliper bolts/slides as well. I work on my own vehicles and it is so nice when I go to pop a driveshaft or brakes off years down the road and rather than cussing, using a torch, rounding off or snapping bolts, the parts just come apart like they were just assembled yesterday...
If you plan on selling the truck in the near future, effort isn't worth your time. If you're keeping it, and if it's already turning into a rust bucket, you WILL be doing brakes, calipers, u joints, etc at earlier than average miles.
 
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This is an axle U joint failure at 122k miles. Found it while changing out hubs.
Both front U joints were self-destructing.
The pic shows one of the cracked U-joint caps.
The new replacement Spicer joints can be lubed. Hard to get to, but doable.
The rest of the OEM hubs, bearings and such were still in good condition.
I'm a fan of manual hubs. I would have done this conversion no matter.


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BTW, even with rust present, the big bolts and fasteners on the suspension will likely come apart without issues. They are tight, but a bit of PB blaster will help too. Some items--calipers, brake pads, maybe bearings--have been replaced.
Only question...is the truck worth the cost of the modifications?
I recommend carefully evaluating the front axle and front DS U joints for issues. The front pumpkin DS seal should also be checked for leaking.

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Bottom line the locking hubs are a ROI thing with a small advantage for those that want 2wd low range.
Arguable whether locking hubs increase axle u joint life. I lost the first front axle u joint on our 07 at 150k miles.
would they have lasted longer being totally static unless in 4wd? Maybe.
 

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I don’t think the u-joint longevity thing has anything to do with having or using locking locking hubs just because they get worked anytime you turn.
 

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When the locked U joints spin full time, they create heat and wear. As do boat trailer wheel bearings, they draw in moisture as they cool, thereby shortening the expected life of the joints. And unlike driveshaft U-joints, front axle U-joints suffer far more articulation insults.
Unlocked U joints are there for the ride. No load, no wear and tear. Another benefit to unlocked hubs is that no matter what front axle componenrs--U joint, punkin, ir front driveshaft fails, the vehicle can still be safely operated with unlocked hubs.
The axles and front driveshaft should be exercised occasionally in order to keep the grease mobile. Simple thing.
The transfer case agrees with me too....
The only reason for full-time front axles relates to shift on the fly from inside the cab, they're cheaper to manufacture, and the design garuntees future service profits for the dealer network. I have zero problem with dealer "profits" as long as it ain't me paying for them.
I use the 4lo unlocked a good bit.
Later CAD axles ('13--) have a work-around for unlocking the front axle actuator electrically when in 4hi or 4 lo.



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