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4WD Doesn't Work: Need Advice Please

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Old 09-06-2013, 08:42 AM
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Question 4WD Doesn't Work: Need Advice Please

Hi Folks,

I have a 1997 Dodge RAM 1500 Laramie SLT. There is a 4WD shifter on the floor, but it has never worked. When I bought the truck the owner said it stopped working at some point and he never got it fixed.

I haven't taken it to a mechanic to have it estimated yet, because I'm leery of mechanics. This is the first truck I've owned and it's been years since I worked on any vehicle, so I thought first I would ask here if anyone would have any advice or suggestions on what to check/look for so I could possibly find out why it's not working myself.

If you need additional info just ask me and I'll try to get it.

Thanks.
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Old 09-06-2013, 09:47 AM
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High probability that the vacuum for the CAD system is not working properly as one place to start.

See this link to see how it all works and to diagnose for starters.

http://dodgeram.org/tech/repair/4X4/4x4_engagment.htm

It's mostly a visual check of the small vac lines that go from the engine bay down to the transfer case and to the front axle.

Does the lever move? If it does, then is it very easy or very hard?
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:02 AM
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Hi Whit. Thanks for the reply. I'll check that link out. The shifter does move, but I'm hesitant to move it again since the last time I did the truck wouldn't start.
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Old 09-06-2013, 02:00 PM
ryan0714 ryan0714 is offline
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just make sure you move it with the truck on and runnin but with it in nuetral, and when you do it, dont stop the xfer case in nuetral i know it says it has one, but you dont wanna do it trust me. just one solid fluid motion forward or back to get you into the 4wd setting you want.

the CAD has 2 vac lines, one should have vacuum when in 2wd, and then when you shift it all into 4wd, it should swap vacuum to the other line. if it doesnt do this then you know its the vacuum. easy place to start, and 90% of the time its that. just unhook the 2 lines at the CAD and put ur finger on them and feel for it. sometimes they break and crack, or get clogged. you can clean them and cut off the bad section and splice in a piece of hose or what not to get it going again.
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Old 09-06-2013, 10:12 PM
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3 separate pieces to troubleshoot and verify operation.
transfer case must shift (floor shifter). it has 4 stops. 4hi, 2 hi, neutral, 4 low. if the shifter doesn't work right, look underneath and find the lever on the t-case and move it manually. front output shaft should turn with the engine when engaged in any gear except neutral. as long as the tcase is not banging and grinding, its probably ok.

next check that you actually have a front drive shaft. sometimes it'll get removed when something major goes wrong.

the last piece is the troublesome CAD (central axle disconnect). 99% of the time the problem with it is either a broke or missing 50 cent vacuum hose, or a sticky/rusty shaft inside the cad. don't pay a lot of money for a new cad. you can almost always fix the old one, or better - buy a posilok from Alloy.
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:04 AM
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Thanks for the great information guys. I'm studying that link that Whit gave me so I can familiarize myself with how this thing works. Today I'm going to climb under the truck and start checking this stuff out that you've all told me about. I'm sure with this 4WD the old boy has a few rusty parts down there. Heck, I know I do

Do you guys know where I can find an actual schematic of the 4WD for my truck? I figure if I have something visual to look at, then it will make it easier for me to find these things.

Thanks again

Last edited by desktop; 09-07-2013 at 09:33 AM..
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wh1t3NuKle View Post
Does the lever move? If it does, then is it very easy or very hard?
I started the truck, put it in Neutral and then pulled the shifter back to 4H. It pulled back into 4H easily enough although I had to do it a few times before it went all the way back. I assume this is because it hasn't been moved in a while. There was no noticeable sounds or changes in the way the truck was running. Once I had moved it a few times it became easier to shift into 4H.
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryan0714 View Post
just make sure you move it with the truck on and runnin but with it in nuetral, and when you do it, dont stop the xfer case in nuetral i know it says it has one, but you dont wanna do it trust me. just one solid fluid motion forward or back to get you into the 4wd setting you want.
Vaughn said to move the shifter through all the settings, but you are saying I shouldn't do that? I assume that's what you meant when you said "dont stop the xfer case in nuetral i know it says it has one, but you dont wanna do it trust me."
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Old 09-07-2013, 10:01 AM
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I bought my truck in 2006 and the 4wd didn't work then 6 months later the tranny quit and i was gonna fix it then and we split the t-case in half and it was in pieces inside so i threw it in the scrap pile and got another one !
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Old 09-07-2013, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desktop View Post
Vaughn said to move the shifter through all the settings, but you are saying I shouldn't do that? I assume that's what you meant when you said "dont stop the xfer case in nuetral i know it says it has one, but you dont wanna do it trust me."

With the engine running, if you put the t-case in neutral, it tends to grind badly when you try and hit any other gear. Even with the trans in neutral. If you want four low, shift quickly from four hi, to low, don't even pause in neutral... otherwise, you will have to shut off the engine to get it back into whatever gear.
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Old 09-07-2013, 10:23 AM
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I took the truck out on our dirt road, put it in N and then shifted into 4H. I put it in Drive and took off. I have no idea if the front wheels were engaged or not, but it all went smoothly (the shifting and the driving) and there wasn't any clunks or grinding noises. I stopped, put it in N and shifted back into 2H then took off again. All went smoothly with this as well.

I stopped again, put it in N and shifted through 2H to 4L and then back again. No issues. When I would shift into 4H the light on an area of the dash would would light up. I never looked at this section of the dashboard before so when I did I noticed there was a black piece of tape over it. I pulled the tape off and saw that the ABS light was on. It seems to stay on so obviously that's why the previous owner put tape on it (see photo below).

Click the image to open in full size.

Is this light suppose to be on all the time? It seems to be shifting into 4WD all right. So how do I truly test it out to make sure it's really working?

Last edited by desktop; 09-07-2013 at 10:26 AM..
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Old 09-07-2013, 10:31 AM
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Put the truck up on four jackstands. Try your various 4wd settings, and see what turns.

With engine running, trans in park, t-case in 4wd, turning one front wheel should cause the other front wheel to turn in the opposite direction. if it doesn't, CAD is not engaging.

ABS light should test when you start the truck, then go off, and stay off. Do you have 4wal? Or just Rwal? (got front wheel speed sensors?)
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Old 09-07-2013, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyYou View Post
Put the truck up on four jackstands. Try your various 4wd settings, and see what turns.

With engine running, trans in park, t-case in 4wd, turning one front wheel should cause the other front wheel to turn in the opposite direction. if it doesn't, CAD is not engaging.

ABS light should test when you start the truck, then go off, and stay off. Do you have 4wal? Or just Rwal? (got front wheel speed sensors?)
I don't have any jack stands. I also don't know what 4wal or Rwal is.
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Old 09-07-2013, 10:47 AM
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I took some photos of what I believe are the vacuum hoses/lines you guys asked about.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 09-07-2013, 11:11 AM
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Rwal = Rear wheel ABS

4wal = 4 wheel abs

Being a 97 I think you only have RWAL. You can verify by looking at your front brakes. For 4WAL there would be 2 lines going to the hub, 1 for brakes and 1 for the abs sensor.

Good pictures. Yes those are the VAC lines to the tcase and CAD on the axle.

It was mentioned previously and should also say in that first link before to test the vacuum. On the axle you can pull that dual grommet off. Start the truck and shift into 4H (this does not require tranny in N, just leave in Park). Go under and feel which side of the grommet is pulling vacuum, it at all. If you can't feel it, then that is one issue.

Put it back on and then check at the tcase for the same thing. If no vacuum there, then you have to work back up to the engine bay as that is where the vacuum is generated. I don't recall on 97, but that line I think is around on the passenger side of the intake manifold. A couple lines come together in a T. One line comes from firewall that's for HVAC.


Do you have any wood blocks or material that is suitable and stable enough for in place of jack stands? Do you have a jack.

Get yourself a Haynes Manual. Find the DIY/FAQ subforum here. There is a thread that contains link to download (free) the Factory Service Manual. There is also a thread for Parts Manual too.
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Old 09-07-2013, 01:47 PM
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I went to O'Reilly's and one of the kinds was nice enough to come out and show me where the ABS lines were. We determined it's 4wal, because there were two lines one going to each wheel. He told me to pull the plugs apart on the lines, clean them up and then put some kind of grease in the connectors (small packet was about a buck). I did this and started it up again, but the light still stays on.

Another guy told me to take the battery terminals off, clamp them together and leave them for about ten minutes. He says this clears all the settings or something in the truck. I clamped them back on and started it again and the light is still on so I'm still not sure what it could be.

I looked for that sub forum, but couldn't find any service manual links for my Dodge. Would you have a link to that?

Last edited by desktop; 09-07-2013 at 01:50 PM..
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Old 09-07-2013, 01:56 PM
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Nevermind I found it. Just used Google and typed it in. Brought up the DIY/FAQ thread in your forum for 2nd Gen. RAMs. I'll start looking through it to try an find this stuff you guys are talking about.
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Old 09-07-2013, 02:09 PM
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Found the following info from the manual....

ABS RELAYS
Two relays are use on the ASB system. An ABS warning lamp relay is used to activate the amber ABS warning lamp. When the lamp is, lit the voltage at the CAB monitoring point will be 0 volts. The voltage at the monitoring point will be 12 volts when the CAB energizes the relay turning the ABS lamp off. The second relay is the ASB main (pump) relay. This relay is used to supply voltage to the ABS pump motor, Front Antilock Valve and Rear Wheel Antilock Valve. Both relays are located in the engine compartment in the Power Distribution Center.

ABS WARNING LAMP
The amber ABS warning lamp in located in the vehicle instrument cluster. The ABS warning lamp relay completes the circuit for the lamp by providing a ground. The CAB checks the warning lamp at the beginning of each ignition cycle by turning on the lamp for 3.4 seconds. The lamp is used to alert the driver if a malfunction in the ABS system has occurred by turning the lamp on steady.

DIAGNOSIS AND TESTING: ANTILOCK BRAKES
The ABS brake system performs several self-tests every time the ignition switch is turned on and the vehicle is driven. The CAB monitors the systems input and output circuits to verify the system is operating correctly. If the on board diagnostic system senses that a circuit is malfunctioning the system will set a trouble code in its memory. NOTE: The MDS or DRB III scan tool is used to diagnose the ABS system. For additional information refer to the Antilock Brake section in Group 8W. For test procedures refer to the Chassis Diagnostic Manual.

So there must be a circuit malfunction somewhere. I'm not sure what to do or how to diagnose this beyond what I've already done. Might have to just wait on that until I can find a mechanic to look at it. I don't see anything about CAD or those vacuum lines you guys are talking about.

Last edited by desktop; 09-07-2013 at 02:14 PM..
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Old 09-07-2013, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wh1t3NuKle View Post
It was mentioned previously and should also say in that first link before to test the vacuum. On the axle you can pull that dual grommet off. Start the truck and shift into 4H (this does not require tranny in N, just leave in Park). Go under and feel which side of the grommet is pulling vacuum, it at all. If you can't feel it, then that is one issue.

Put it back on and then check at the tcase for the same thing. If no vacuum there, then you have to work back up to the engine bay as that is where the vacuum is generated. I don't recall on 97, but that line I think is around on the passenger side of the intake manifold. A couple lines come together in a T. One line comes from firewall that's for HVAC.
Trying to figure out where these are. That's why I thought if I could find a visual schematic or something, then I could locate them.

Quote:
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Do you have any wood blocks or material that is suitable and stable enough for in place of jack stands? Do you have a jack.
No, I don't have anything like that.
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Old 09-07-2013, 07:51 PM
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The guy at O'Rielly's suggested I pull the vacuum hose off the drum behind the brake box and stick the end in a container of Seafoam. He said it would suck up the Seafoam and it would clear out all the vacuum lines. I had about half a can so I did that and the truck blew out a humongous cloud of smoke, belched a few times and kept running. I drove it around and down the highway for a way, letting it work all the stuff out of itself.

Can't really say what it improved, but obviously it cleaned a lot of stuff out. The ABS light is still on so I'm not sure what to do about that. Like I said I'll probably have to take it into the shop and have them check that out, because I've done everything I know how to do.
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Old 09-07-2013, 07:51 PM
 
 
 
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