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2001 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 Drivetrain and Wheel Bearing

Discussion in 'Dodge 4x4' started by summit1685, Aug 28, 2010.

  1. summit1685

    summit1685
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    I have a 2001 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4, with the cummins HO 6 speed manual. Truck has the Edge w/ Attitude box, along with after market intake and exhaust.

    After having the transfer case rebuilt, along with a new clutch installed (truck has 300,000 =/- miles), I was driving in 2WD, and at a shift point, felt a jerk and something break free. Pulled over and had broken a U-joint in my rear driveshaft. Rear driveshaft actually fell out. Being a 1/2 mile from home, and at 4am, I shifted the transfer case into 4x4, and rolled on. As I pulled into my drive I heard a terrible grinding noise that almost stopped the truck dead in it's tracks. Towed it back to the place that did the transfer case and clutch (within a month of each other, separate breakdowns), and they informed me that I had bearings out in my front differential which was causing my front drive shaft to jam the pinion up inside my diff. Not wanting to pay the $1200 expected rebuild costs, at least not to this particular vendor, I loaded it up and hauled it home. Had a mechanic tell me I could remove the axle shafts (?) from both front wheels, put it back together and drive it as 2WD and everything should be fine. I removed wheel, brakes, rotors, axle nut, wheel bearings on both sides, (destroyed a wheel bearing assembly in the process) and both axle shafts (I don't know whether it's called an axle shaft, half shaft, or what. Each individual unit with splines on both end, and 2 u-joints at wheel side). Purchased a GMB wheel bearing assembly (with speed sensor attached) from HubandBearingWarehouse. I then re-installed both wheel bearing assemblies (with no axle shafts/nut) rotors, brakes and wheel. Pulled out onto the road to test drive vehicle, and traveled literally a 1/4 mile, and as I slowed down to turn I felt it locking up. Stopped, put vehicle in 1st and slowly released clutch, but it was totally locked up and didn't want to move. Defintely something jammed somewhere. Put it in reverse, let out clutch slowly and it seemed to free up, and I was able to drive it back home in reverse. Still seems to be jammed when attempting to move forward. Shifter lever is in 2wd in shifter case, and 4x4 light is not lit. I get out of truck, walk around to the other side and notice that the new wheel bearing assembly has split and wheel is canted at an angle.

    Item #1-Anyone have any thoughts on my drive train jam issue?

    Item #2-What's thoughts on removing the front axle shafts and driving it as 2wd? (I know it defeats the purpose, but this particular truck is used as a backup utility truck when we're short a vehicle and rarely has to be off road)

    Item #3-In order for this to work, do I need to put an axle stub or something in behind the wheel bearing assembly to help hold it together?
     

  2. Ramination

    Ramination
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    Just to clarify, the wheel bearing that split is the new one that you bought? If so I'd be on the horn with those guys first.

    Also, did you remove the intermediate shaft too?

    Pics always help, by the way :bigthumb:
     

  3. summit1685

    summit1685
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    Already contacted the place I bought it from, response was "it's under warranty, we'll ship you a new one as soon as we receive the old one". That's not so much the issue. As for intermediate shaft, are we talking the front drive shaft coupling the differential and the transfer case, or the shaft coming off the passenger side of the diff to where it mates with the spline coming in from the wheel side?
     
  4. Ramination

    Ramination
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    Intermediate shaft would be the one shown in the picture below, it connects the differential to the shaft on the passenger side:

    [​IMG]

    EDIT: What kind of condition was the other wheel bearing in? How free did it spin? Are you sure you aren't having some kind of brake lock-up issue causing the "drivetrain jam"?
     
  5. summit1685

    summit1685
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    No, did not remove that. If the wheels aren't turning anything (because I removed the axles from both sides), and the transfer case is in 2wd, then that shouldn't be an issue, right?

    No wheel forcing it to turn. And it shouldn't be turning any anything anyway if it's in 2wd.

    Again, I don't know. I'm playing connect the dots and just thinking about what I've removed.
     
  6. Ramination

    Ramination
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    You are correct, I was just wondering. You wouldn't want that shaft to makes it way to the end of the axle tube though, at least I wouldn't.

    I edited my previous post to ask a few questions about the bearing, probably while you were typing your response. Wondering the condition of the bearing you reused, and I threw the idea of your brakes being the culprit behind the jam?
     
  7. Ramination

    Ramination
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    I just took the trash out and it hit me, I think your pinion bearing is toast, and by using the 4wd the pinion didn't mesh right with the ring and caused the grinding noise, and did who knows what kind of damage. Now that you have pulled the shafts, the ring and pinion will no longer turn, and you will not have that problem. I now think that the drivetrain jam is due to the split bearing assembly. Replace that and I think you will be set, as long as it doesn't split again. Not having shafts in the axle should not cause the assembly to split, you probably received a defective part.
     
  8. summit1685

    summit1685
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    Wasn't aware that it could shift in the axle tube. That'd be detrimental. Thanks!

    The hub and bearing I re-used were in decent condition. A bit rusty, but that's not entirely surprising. I've had both assembly's replaced at least 2x before, as this truck has a 2" leveler kit on the front and oversize mud tires, they tended to go out quite regularly. I've since been informed by the company I bought it from, that the only time they've ever seen one separate was if it was installed without the axle nut. Now, what I want to know is, can it be installed without the axles, or do I need to split the u-joints and install the hub to hold it all together?
     
  9. summit1685

    summit1685
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    As for the pinion thought, that's probably true. However, when I rolled out the street it was fine and then I felt the same thing. I've had wheel bearings go out before and it's not the same feeling. There's a pulling to one side coupled with a slowing down, much the same as having a flat. The feeling I experienced seemed to be more a centrally located problem (not pulling to one side or only one area of drag), and seemed to be a total jam type situation, not just increased load.

    Compare the feelings to a wheel bearing going bad as what it feels like to hook up heavy weight and pull it, versus the jam feeling I'm experiencing as if your parking brake is totally locked on or you're trying to start from a dead stop in 3rd gear.
     
  10. Ramination

    Ramination
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    I see, I am out of ideas for now then! :dodgy:

    If I understand what you are saying though, yes, I think you are gonig to want to split the shaft at the u-joint and use that splined end that goes into the hub.
     
  11. jokers

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    Hey, I'm not trying to be a smart alec, infact I'm TRYING not to be, but what do you think the axle nut is for? If the axle nut on the stub shaft wasn't carrying a big load the shaft would be circlipped or something instead of a big 'ol nut but in fact the axle nut(which btw gets torqued to ~170ft/lbs) does hold the bearing assembly together.

    Summit1685, you seem like an intelligent guy who has a good feel for how the front end of his truck is put together, next time someone gives you advice, consider that the advice might be worth exactly what you paid for it, NOTHING!....or flesh it out with the giver to understand EXACTLY what is being recommended. Had you disassembled the axles at the u-joints and pulled the inner halves only, you wouldn't have ruined the new bearing, but you would still need to find a way to keep dirt and whatnot out of your front differential.
     
  12. jokers

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    In fairness summit1685 I know what it's like to be under the gun and having the world crashing down around me, just as you probably were when you did this to your truck. It's easy to get caught up in looking for a quick temporary fix to a problem and inadvertantly causing one's self even more trouble. You're not alone......I'm often right there with Ya!
     

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