Question about 1999 Dodge Ram

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1999 Dodge Ram 1500 Manual transmission

I have a 1999 Dodge Ram 1500 2WD truck with the 318 engine and a 5 speed manual transmission. I have 109K miles on it.

Within the past week, it has started making a strange noise. It sounds like I have installed large mud tires on it, which I have not. The noise is significantly louder while the transmission is in gear and the clutch is not in when I am driving. It will become much quieter if I press the clutch ALL THE WAY IN, but will not completely go away.

My first thought was the throwout bearing, but I have talked to a few people that said if it was that, the sound would go away with only slight pressure on the clutch pedal. I have to press it all the way in and completely disengage it for the sound to be affected.

I am also thinking that it might be low on gear oil in the transmission or the differential, but haven't checked there yet. The tranny requires a huge allen wrench to check the fluid level and I don't have one that big. I'm going to have to buy one.

Any experience with this? Any suggestions what I should be checking or doing about it?

Thanks in advance!


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  • cdixon2580 Jan 30, 2009

    Ok...update. I managed to figure out that the large allen wrench that is required to check the fluid level in the transmission is a 17mm. I bought one. I checked the fluid level. It was a little low, but I serviced it and still have the noise.

    I put the truck up on jack stands and ran it in gear and listened for the problem. There is a roaring sound, almost like a car sounds when the brakes pads are worn out and they are grinding against the rotors, except it ISN'T coming from the brakes. It appears to be coming from the rear of the truck. I took the plug out and checked the oil level in the differential. It is full and clean.

    I can't exactly pinpoint the sound, but it is definitely coming from the rear and not the transmission. If I spin the rear wheels in opposite directions, by hand, so that the drive shaft doesn't turn, it doesn't make the sound. If I spin it by hand and allow the shaft to turn, it does make the sound. The sound doesn't APPEAR to be coming from the universal joints either.

    A friend suggested that it may be something that he called a "pinion bearing". He's not certain of that name, but thinks that is accurate.

    Whadya think?

  • cdixon2580 Feb 03, 2009

    Last update.

    I did some other research on the web about this noise. It seems that pinion bearings are a common problem with Dodge Ram trucks. I decided that it was a little more than I wanted to mess around with, so I took it to a local mechanic that has done some work for me before. He's always been very good and quite reasonable.

    I showed up unannounced this morning, just to inquire about having it done and he said that he wasn't busy and could do the work today. I left it with him and he called around 2:00 and said that it was done. I went and picked it up. It was indeed the front pinion bearing. He said that there are 2 pinion bearings, front and rear. He said that my rear bearing looked fine, but he replaced the front one. He showed it to me. It was in bad shape. Many of the rollers were pitted or chipped.

    Anyway, he did a nice job. It sounds great now. It cost me $196.00. I thought that was extremely reasonable, since I'd read online, reports of it costing $1800.00 at the dealership.


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Check the fluid first and if ok could be a bad bearing in trans or if the noise changes when pressed in it could very well be throught bearing going bad if it is drive it until it starts squealing and then get it fixed might run for years like that

Posted on Feb 17, 2009

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