Question about 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 4WD

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98 dodge ram 1500 wont shift into 4 wheel drive

A couple of months ago I got stuck in a low spot that had a seasonal creek running through it. When I shifted it into four wheel drive it shifted really hard, but I thought it worked. Everything has been fine since then.

Yesterday I drove out onto a sandy beach and the sand was softer than it looked. Much to my surprise, the 4-wheel drive would not engage.

Would I be right to think that it is in the vacum switch? any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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  • 39 Answers

Might be the vacuum switching valve on the front differential

Posted on Jul 24, 2009

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Transfer case wont engage


shift into 4wd and move truck a couple of feet.
if light is still off, park truck block the wheels set the park brake jack right front wheel and try to hand spin the wheel if wheel doesn't turn 4x4 is functioning properly but there is a wiring problem use an ohmmeter to check the 4x4 switch wiring fuse and bulb
if wheel turns freely the front axle or transfer case is not engaged
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with trnsmission in neutral or park start engine measure vacuum on the two vac lines at front axle shift motor . one line should have approx 20" vacuum. other line should have none
if no vacuum measured look for vac leak or bad vac switch
if both lines have vac look for a bad vac swithc or ruptured cad actuator diaphragm
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move transfer case lever to 2wd measure vac again lines should have swapped vac signals
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if yes vac motor bad or stuck or shift fork stuck
remove vac shift motor from the axle attach vac lines to shift motor engage disengage 4wd
does shift motor plunger move at least 1/2 inch
no shift motor bad
yes check axle shift fork and vac motor for binging

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