Question about 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 4WD

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Replaced shift motor on the 4x4 axel but it will not lock front tires in 4x4 lock. vacuum lines are clear, but no vacuum. what could the problem be and what are the 4 lines coming out of the top of the transfer case?

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I myself have a 1999 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4. I feel your pain because i had the exact same problem when trying to replace the vacuum controlled shift mechanism. I myself am a mechanic and had a tough time finding why there was no vacuum so what did was replace the entire system with a Posi-Lock positive engagement system. I am not affiliated with Posi-Lock, i just know it works. Go to the link below and you will see the #400 system for about $200. This is great because it is mechanical and you will never worry about the failure prone vacuum system. If you put this on your truck you WILL NEVER have this problem again. I hope this helps you out!

www.4x4posi-lok.com/

Thank you!

Posted on Mar 30, 2011

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Might be inside the case. The 4x4 clutch plates or pads? How about your hub? have you pulled it apart?

Posted on Mar 30, 2011

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Got. A 2003 f150 4x4 got problems with 4 wheel drive locking in and stay in drive shaft turning front wheels not


Operationally vacuum shifts the front axle between 2WD and 4WD mode. The GEM ( Generic Electronics Module ) applies ground to the solenoid needed for the mode selected on the switch ( for ESOF ) or when the transfer case shift lever is moved ( MSOF ).The contact plates in the transfer case signal the GEM that the transfer case is engaged, and the Vacuum solenoids need to be activated ( either 2WD to 4WD or 4WD to 2WD ).

Lift and support the front of the truck so the front wheels are off the ground ( take safety precautions, chock wheels, jack stands, etc )
Key on, engage 4x4 and try to turn the front drive shaft.
- If it turns it is a problem with the transfer case.
- If it doesn't it is a front axle engagement problem ( this is what you seem to have, the transfer case is engaged and will drive the front shaft mine was a key on engine off test ).

- If the front drive shaft does not turn :
•With the truck running ( with front wheel back on the ground ), switch from 2WD to 4WD and back again, the vacuum shift motor should move the lever on the front axle.
sscullys_185.jpg
-- If the vacuum shift motor does not move:
1.Check for vacuum on the lines while shifting between modes. Pink vacuum line is 2WD mode, Light Blue vacuum line is 4WD.
2.Check the fuses for the 4WD system and the solenoids.
3.Check the vacuum lines from the vacuum shift motor to the solenoids on the firewall.
sscullys_187.jpg
4.Check the vacuum lines from the solenoids to the vacuum reservoir box behind the battery.
5.Check the vacuum reservoir box for cracks.
6.Typical solution is the vacuum lines ( to the solenoids or to the vacuum shift motor ) are cracked or the vacuum shift motor has a cracked diaphragm and has water in it.
7.Could be the shift plate contacts in the transfer case are corroded / not making good contact, and not activating the solenoids.
sscullys_186.jpg

Usually the case is cracked vacuum lines from the solenoids, the next common is a cracked vacuum reservoir box, and 1 time I have seen the mount for the vacuum disconnect motor broken ( motor floating free so it could not push against the axle )
sscullys_188.jpg

Aug 28, 2011 | 2003 Ford F150 Regular Cab

1 Answer

I can not get power to the motor to engage my front axle on my 4x4.


Power as in 12 V DC ? if yes, you are not in the correct area, the front axle is locked in and out of 4x4 mode with vacuum.

Operationally vacuum shifts the front axle between 2WD and 4WD mode. The GEM ( Generic Electronics Module ) applies ground to the solenoid needed for the mode selected on the switch ( for ESOF ) or when the transfer case shift lever is moved ( MSOF ).The contact plates in the transfer case signal the GEM that the transfer case is engaged, and the Vacuum solenoids need to be activated ( either 2WD to 4WD or 4WD to 2WD ).


Lift and support the front of the truck so the front wheels are off the ground ( take safety precautions, chock wheels, jack stands, etc )
Key on, engage 4x4 and try to turn the front drive shaft.
- If it turns it is a problem with the transfer case.
- If it doesn't it is a front axle engagement problem.

- If the front drive shaft does not turn :
•With the truck running ( with front wheel back on the ground ), switch from 2WD to 4WD and back again, the vacuum shift motor should move the lever on the front axle.
sscullys_200.jpg
Item #10 in this diagram
sscullys_10.gif
-- If the vacuum shift motor does not move:
1.Check for vacuum on the lines while shifting between modes. Pink vacuum line is 2WD mode, Light Blue vacuum line is 4WD.
2.Check the fuses for the 4WD system and the solenoids.
3.Check the vacuum lines from the vacuum shift motor to the solenoids on the firewall.
4.Check the vacuum lines from the solenoids to the vacuum reservoir box behind the battery.
5.Check the vacuum reservoir box for cracks.
6.Typical solution is the vacuum lines ( to the solenoids or to the vacuum shift motor ) are cracked or the vacuum shift motor has a cracked diaphragm and has water in it.
7.Could be the shift plate contacts in the transfer case are corroded / not making good contact, and not activating the solenoids.
sscullys_199.jpg

- If the front drive shaft turns:
For ESOF system
-- Check the fuses for the transfer case, engine compartment fuse panel, 17 & Cab fuse panel fuses 13 and 23 ( verify with owners manual, 97-97 & 99-03 MY can be slightly different on some items ).
-- Try hitting the transfer case with a dead blow hammer ( do not use a metal hammer, it can damage the transfer case ) to see if the transfer case shift motor is hung up .
-- Check the transfer case connector, to make sure the connector pins are clean and making good contact.
For MSOF systems
-- Check that the shift linkage on the transfer case is moving when the lever is moved from 2W to 4H and 4L.

Jul 30, 2011 | 2000 Ford F150 Flareside SuperCab

1 Answer

4x4 not working


Not too sure if you have a New Body Style 2004 or a 2004 heritage ( same as the 99-03 body style ) :
Here is both sets of checks for either option

**** 2004-2008 ****

Operationally vacuum holds the IWE ( Integrated Wheel Ends ) out, and once vacuum is removed the spring engages the IWE.

Lift and support the front of the truck so the front wheels are off the ground ( take safety precautions, chock wheels, jack stands, etc )
Key on, engage 4x4 and try to turn the front drive shaft.
- If it turns it is a problem with the transfer case.
- If it doesn't it is a front axle engagement problem.

- If the front drive shaft does not turn :
1.Shut of the truck ( still jacked up, and supported ) remove the vacuum lines from the IWE. The spring should push the gears in, without the vacuum line on.
2.Check the vent line ( tube that is routed into the engine compartment with nothing attached to it ), for blockages.
3.If the vent line is clear, and with the vacuum lines off the IWE should be engaged ( both front wheels locked ).
4.If they lock, the problem is with the IWE solenoid not shutting off vacuum to the IWEs. There is a TSB on the 2004-2006 IWE solenoids, a newer revision has been made, and used from 2007 and newer MYs.

- If the front drive shaft turns:
1.Check the fuses for the 4WD system ( If ESOF system ) . These are #11, #29, #30 and #111. Use a meter to check the fuses while plugged in, there are pins on the back of the fuse for this. Use a known good ground and check each side of the fuse with the other meter probe, with the meter set to V-DC ( check the scale if a setting that it will read at least 13 V DC ).
2.With the key on, if the ESOF system have someone turn the mode selector from 2WD to 4WD while hitting the transfer case with a dead blow hammer ( do not use a metal hammer, it can damage the transfer case ). Some times the shift motor will get stuck ( lack of use ? ) and the dead blown hammer will free it up.
3.There are 2 relays ( in the small engine compartment fuse / relay panel - ESOF only ) for the 4WD system, one is the CW ( **** Wise ) one is the CCW ( Counter Clock Wise ). These are full size relays, that can be bench tested, or a quick remove and replace test with the high beam relay in the cab fuse panel ( Relays R03 ). 1 at a time, remove the CW & CCW relays and install them in the position for the high beam relay, and test the high beams by pulling back on the MFS ( MultiFunction Switch ). If the high beams work with both relays, the CW & CCW relays are not the issue ).
4.Check the connector on the transfer case for the shift motor, to make sure it is not corroded.


**** 1997 - 2003 ****

Operationally vacuum shifts the front axle between 2WD and 4WD mode. The GEM ( Generic Electronics Module ) applies ground to the solenoid needed for the mode selected on the switch ( for ESOF ) or when the transfer case shift lever is moved ( MSOF ).The contact plates in the transfer case signal the GEM that the transfer case is engaged, and the Vacuum solenoids need to be activated ( either 2WD to 4WD or 4WD to 2WD ).


Lift and support the front of the truck so the front wheels are off the ground ( take safety precautions, chock wheels, jack stands, etc )
Key on, engage 4x4 and try to turn the front drive shaft.
- If it turns it is a problem with the transfer case.
- If it doesn't it is a front axle engagement problem.

- If the front drive shaft does not turn :
•With the truck running ( with front wheel back on the ground ), switch from 2WD to 4WD and back again, the vacuum shift motor should move the lever on the front axle.
{ picture of shift motor }
-- If the vacuum shift motor does not move:
1.Check for vacuum on the lines while shifting between modes. Pink vacuum line is 2WD mode, Light Blue vacuum line is 4WD.
2.Check the fuses for the 4WD system and the solenoids.
3.Check the vacuum lines from the vacuum shift motor to the solenoids on the firewall.
4.Check the vacuum lines from the solenoids to the vacuum reservoir box behind the battery.
5.Check the vacuum reservoir box for cracks.
6.Typical solution is the vacuum lines ( to the solenoids or to the vacuum shift motor ) are cracked or the vacuum shift motor has a cracked diaphragm and has water in it.
7.Could be the shift plate contacts in the transfer case are corroded / not making good contact, and not activating the solenoids.
{ Picture of Vacuum diagram )

- If the front drive shaft turns:
For ESOF system
-- Check the fuses for the transfer case, engine compartment fuse panel, 17 & Cab fuse panel fuses 13 and 23 ( verify with owners manual, 97-97 & 99-03 MY can be slightly different on some items ).
-- Try hitting the transfer case with a dead blow hammer ( do not use a metal hammer, it can damage the transfer case ) to see if the transfer case shift motor is hung up .
-- Check the transfer case connector, to make sure the connector pins are clean and making good contact.
For MSOF systems
-- Check that the shift linkage on the transfer case is moving when the lever is moved from 2W to 4H and 4L.

May 22, 2011 | 2004 Ford F150

1 Answer

I have an 1994 GMC sierra 1500 4x4 and it has a lever to shift it into 4x4 hi or lo or 2 hi. I can shift it into any position but my front tires do not turn only the back ones! what could be the problem??...


the front axel control solinoid is not working, it's on the right front side of the front axel, it most likely the cause [ commom problem]. it's easy enough to replace, it just unscrews from houseing. good luck.

Jan 03, 2011 | 1994 GMC Sierra

1 Answer

4x4 front end not locking in. front drive shaft is turning but the axels are not turning.


1.are the vacuum lines rusted?

2. there are two nipple like metal tubes that have vacuum lines that go to them(front of cross member) see if one had popped off,

3. there is a controller that controls this,, maybe the problem.

4.) i have plow trucks, they get stuffed with snow, and pop off. or rust out.
5. you have a busted hub.. and $$$ to replace.

front axle turns, floats, till you engage the air operated gears, to 4x4.

Dec 18, 2010 | 1999 Dodge Ram 2500 4WD

1 Answer

My 2003 F-150 will not engage the 4-wheel drive when the switch is turned on? Two days ago it worked fine and the light does come on?


Lift and support the front of the truck so the front wheels are off the ground ( take safety precautions, chock wheels, jack stands, etc )
Key on, engage 4x4 and try to turn the front drive shaft.
If it turns it is a problem with the transfer case.
If it doesn't it is a front axle engagement problem.

I am going to guess the drive shaft will not turn, and the problem is the shift disconnect motor on the front axle, or the shift solenoids.
The shift motor looks like this
37bcd6a.jpg

The shift solenoids look like this :
1a11fc1.jpg

You can check the shift solenoids with a vacuum gauge. The blue vacuum line is the 4WD operation, the pink is the 2WD operation. Pull the vacuum line at the shift disconnect motor, and install the vacuum gauge. Shift into 4WD and the vacuum should be on the line, and hold. If not could be the disconnect motor or the vacuum line to the motor.

Could also be the shift motor in the transfer case, but with the 4x4 light on the cluster lighting up, the transfer case should have shifted, the confirm comes from the transfer case to illuminate the 4x4 indicator on the cluster.

Feb 20, 2010 | 2003 Ford F150 Regular Cab

2 Answers

1998 Ford f150 4x4 intermittant clapping sound front axle area


The vacuum shift motor ( actually a diaphragm ) is a vacuum to move the lever one direction ( i.e. 4WD ) and then vacuum to move the other direction ( i.e. back into 2WD ).

You can shift into 2WD and remove the vacuum lines and plug them to remove this, if you think the vacuum shift solenoids are getting ground from another source and shifting the front axle, or just unplug the connector on the shift solenoids. The GEM activates the Shift solenoids by applying ground to them.
1b857e9.jpg

I would have to agree with papa_11069 that the problem is in the front u-joints.

Dec 30, 2009 | 1998 Ford F150 Regular Cab

2 Answers

4 wheel drive not engaging


The neutral/foot on brake or park is only if you are shifting into 4L. If you are shifting into 4H, applying light throttle up to 55 mph shift on the fly is fine ( per owners manual ).

Operationally vacuum holds the IWE ( Integrated Wheel Ends ) out, and once vac is removed the spring engages the IWE.

Lift and support the front of the truck so the front wheels are off the ground ( take safety precautions, chock wheels, jack stands, etc )
Key on, engage 4x4 and try to turn the front drive shaft.
If it turns it is a problem with the transfer case.
If it doesn't it is a front axle engagement problem.

- If the front drive shaft does not turn :
Shut of the truck ( still jacked up, and supported ) remove the vac lines from the IWE. The spring should push the gears in, without the vac line on.
Check the vent line ( tube that is routed into the engine compartment with nothing attached to it ), for blockages.
If the vent line is clear, and with the vac lines off the IWE should be engaged ( both front wheels locked ).
If they lock, the problem is with the IWE solenoid not shutting off vacuum to the IWEs. There is a TSB on the 2004-2006 IWE solenoids, a newer revision has been made, and used from 2007 and newer MYs.

Here is a block diagram of the IWE system
0fa4f4b.jpg
If the front drive shaft turns, I have seen some lightly hit the back of the transfer case, to free up the shift motor, with mixed results.
If you had a vacuum leak, the front wheels would be locked in, or poping in and out of locked in, causing a grinding noise ( IWE gears not engaging fully, grinding the teeth off ).

If you find a problem with the vacuum lines or the IWE solenoids, you can pull the vacuum lines and plug them, this would leave the front wheels locked in all the time. Fine for short use, don't try racing like this ( pushing a dead axle is a lot of HP requirements )

Dec 19, 2009 | 2004 Ford F150

1 Answer

In 2WD but 4x4 light on also front axels and hubs stay engaged


youve probably have got a bad hub. with an open front differintial it will spin the tires in the air but not when torgue is applied.

Nov 20, 2009 | 2005 Ford F-150

2 Answers

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
attempt to hand spin the front driveshft if the driveshaft will spin the transfer case is not engaged check the transfer case shift linkage, problem is in linkage or transfer case internals
if the driveshaft will not spin the transfer case is engaged properly
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
if one line has 20" +- VAC
move transfer case lever to 2wd measure vac again lines should have swapped vac signals
if no vac switch bad or 4wd shift likage needs adjusting
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

Jan 27, 2009 | 1999 Dodge Ram

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