Question about 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 4WD

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2003 Dodge Ram 1500 Front end 4wd Noise and smell

Ok, this is the first time this truck has given me any grief. I would like to say that I believe I have narrowed it down to likely being associated with the 4wd. 
First symptom: occured about 4-days ago. That day was snowy and I put the truck (basically the first time this year) into 4wd. Worked just 'ok' -- noticed that the truck was a bit sluggish in 4wd and pulled occasionaly to a side (would switch to the other side though on occasion which was odd). When I took it out of 4wd, shortly after it got noisy.
I have tried several things, putting back in 4wd (tried both H and L) and driven a bit to see if it would make a difference. I know that the 4wd still works though (have tested in snow and when turning it pulls as usual).
When I accelerate, it will begin making a whining/growl/gear sound and it increases when I hit 60 (when out of 4WD of course!). If I drive in 4WD H and go 50mph, it is somewhat quieter, but still has that noise.. 
There is a foul odor, that almost has a hint of natural gas!! I know it is not gas, but probably a fluid/grease/or other odor that is getting hot. 
Engine: engine is very quiet, strong, sounds/smells fine. Transmission: it still shifts VERY smooth and I baby the transmission.
Any thoughts as to where to start?

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  • relohr Jan 11, 2009

    I have an 03 1500 4wd, it started to make a grinding noise also after using 4wd. the noise is intermitten. any help would be useful.

  • kedwards99 Apr 19, 2009

    I also have an 03 Dodge Ram 4wd and I get the same grinding noise after using 4wd on a snowy day. It is not going away. I know it comes from the front. I checked wheel bearings, cv joints etc and they seems to be fine. I suspect front differential.



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Check the front diff's gear oil level i have an 02 Ram 1500 4x4 Off Road edition and had that exact problem took it to a mechanic and descricbed the issue and they gave me a written quote of how much it would cost and what the problem was, and it ended up being the front diff didnt have enough gear oil and you also have to add a posi track oil into it to or else it voids the warrenty at auto zone its right next to the gear oil and in a small tube.

Posted on Sep 30, 2009

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Check the diferental grease on the front

Posted on Dec 16, 2008


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