Question about 1998 Dodge Ram 2500 2WD

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4 wheel drive kicks in and out

When I put my truck in 4 wd when I start to drive it will kick in and out. I have replaced the vacuum acuator and the vacuum switch on top of the transfer case. I also cannot find a vacuum leak.

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I am thinking it is one of three things or a combination of three. 

First would be not getting enough vacuum but you tried pulling the cable by hand and it would not engage so that's probably not it.

Second would be that the cable is corroded and third would be that the gear/sleeve in the picture I posted is worn.

Pull the battery out and remove the battery tray. disconnect the cable from the actuator and look at the way the clip is made and how it attaches because the clip on the other end is made the same way. 

Crawl underneath the truck and where the other end of the cable attaches to the axle you will see a switch screwed into the side. Unplug the wiring connector and remove this switch. Now remove the three bolts holding the cable housing to the axle. There are no seals on this so if it's not the problem, you can put it back together without having to wait for parts.

Slide the cable housing back until you can release the clip and remove the cable. This is the reason for disconnecting at the actuator first, you wouldn't have enough slack to be able to slide the housing back. After you disconnect the cable, it should look like this:
4 wheel drive kicks in and out - d84a82e.jpg
Jack up the right front wheel. Pull on the stem shown in the picture while slowly turning the the wheel. If it engages the driveshaft will start turning. If you had the truck in 4wd before you removed the battery then the axle will lock and you won't be able to turn the wheel. This is good.

I am guessing that you will find the problem in the cable. If the axle does not lock when you pull the stem (the wheel spins but the driveshaft does not) then the problem may be the clutch fork or the sleeve that the fork rides on (see the picture in a previous post). That is not good but still possible to fix yourself, it will take a lot longer though.

If you find the problem and start putting things back together, put some sealant on the surface of the plate where the cable housing mounts with the three bolts. This will help keep dirt and water out of the cable. When you screw the switch back in keep in mind that the housing is plastic and don't over-tighten or you will be buying a new cable housing.

Let me know what you find.,,,,thank u for using fixya

Posted on Jan 26, 2009

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If you replaced the vacuum motor/acuator then it can only be 2 things.
1. A bad transfer case switch
2. low vacuum due to a leak. Try looking at the steel lines on the cross memeber of the transmission support. There is a good place to have rust cause a leak.

Posted on Jan 26, 2009

  • Rylee Smith
    Rylee Smith Jan 26, 2009

    This is where the leak could be.
    Ask for any clarifications.



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