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 > 2016 Ram 3500 not disengaging 4 wheel drive low gear

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SidecarFlip

SE Michigan

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Posted: 01/12/18 09:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm glad I don't have a knob and solenoid. I have a shift lever and linkage. Fine with me.

Same deal with my front wheel assist farm tractors, you must be in neutral to shift out of 4wd and no load on the drive wheels.

Never been a fan of knobs for engaging front hubs or transfer case, never will be.


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wnjj

Cornelius, Oregon

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Posted: 01/12/18 10:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

SidecarFlip wrote:

I'm glad I don't have a knob and solenoid. I have a shift lever and linkage. Fine with me.

Same deal with my front wheel assist farm tractors, you must be in neutral to shift out of 4wd and no load on the drive wheels.

Never been a fan of knobs for engaging front hubs or transfer case, never will be.

Refer to my previous post. My floor shifted Jeep (and a Dakota also) were just as difficult to get out of 4wd. The lever is a spring-loaded “suggestion”.

AnEv942

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Posted: 01/12/18 10:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just adding to the consensus, your 'issue' isn't and normal. Some trucks worse than others but they all do or can bind up to a degree. Your method to relieve the tension SOP.
Mine is manual Xfer case and hubs, usually just driving off the blocks enough to release the tension, if not rolling a few feet or pulling back forward.
Using 4WD to climb blocks a lot more effective- climbs instead of front tires pushing, Low range just slower more control. Just easier on the truck.
Im of the opinion 4WD should be exercised.

Curious about the lubing of front drive shaft with every oil change, are the Dodges front axles engaged full time?


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Bedlam

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Posted: 01/12/18 11:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Both my Ford and Ram use a floor mounted transfer case shifter but his should be the same if you use a knob. Switching between 4wd high and 2wd can be done while in drive under motion if the drive train is not under load and you are traveling in a straight line. Switching in and out 4wd low is always done in neutral or park at full stop. Driving slightly forward or back to rock the truck in place and sawing the steering left and right may be needed if the drive train is bound up, but it's best to avoid binding up the gears rather than trying to correct for it after the fact.


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rider997

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Posted: 01/12/18 12:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

bobbolotune wrote:

Someone in this forum mentioned using the 4 wheel drive low gear for climbing up blocks to level the camper. So I started doing this, which is a great improvement over that I used to have to gun the engine then slam the brakes to get onto the blocks. In 4 wheel drive low gear the truck just drifts onto the blocks. It became so easy that I started using blocks more frequently.

So one morning I am in 4 wheel drive low gear in the middle of nowhere. I drive off the blocks, turn the knob in the cab to 2 wheel drive. But the truck seems to still be in 4 wheel drive low gear. Which I am not going to get very far at the max speed of 4 wheel drive low gear.

After a lot of switching the knob between 2WD and 4WD and driving back and forth, finally it went back to 2 wheel drive.

Have others had this problem?

It had been raining for 2 days so everything was wet if that is a factor. I was talking to someone in a campground who had the same truck and he said this happened to him once, and when I asked he said that yes it had been wet conditions. He said that since it happened to him that one time he drives backwards then forward a little after turning the knob and hasn't had trouble since. He had no idea if this is actually a fix or if he just randomly hasn't hit the problem since.

Myself, I used to stay in Drive when I turned the knob back to 2WD, then it would say to shift to Neutral to complete the switch. Since this happened to me this one time I now shift to Neutral before turning the knob back to 2WD. Then I do what the guy in the campground said of back up a little then forward a little. But I can't know if these changes fix the problem or it is random chance I have not hit the problem since I started doing these things.

I am taking the truck in for service. My question is whether this is something I should ask them to look at. The problem is that I have switched into 4 wheel drive since and it did disengage no problem. So it isn't currently a problem, which is hard to ask a mechanic to fix it when it isn't broken.

The truck is still under warranty so if there is a problem I would like to get it fixed. But I am clueless if this is something that a mechanic can look at and fix when it currently isn't happening.

Anyone here know more about this than me? Have others had this problem?

There is that front drive shaft fitting on the 4x4 that you are supposed to lube with each oil change. If it is possible they are not doing that. Whether that could have something to do with switching between 2WD and 4WD.

Since this happened, I am now hesitant to drive onto blocks. Hesitant that I could get really stuck somewhere not able to switch to 2WD.

Also, whether using 4 wheel drive low gear every time I move the truck is going to wear something out like it isn't designed to be used that much.


Do you leave the truck in 4WD low overnight? I know some GM and Ram trucks tend to get "stuck" in 4WD low if they've been sitting parked and cold for some time in that mode. Fluids are cold, etc. Warming up the truck (and trying to switch modes occasionally) might do it, or you might have to gun the truck a little, while in gear, to loosen things up. Transfer case switching failures seem to occur less often as the truck ages, parts wear, and tolerances increase. Most people don't run the transfer case in low range often, meaning that wear takes a long time to occur.

old guy

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Posted: 01/12/18 12:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

most say to back up at least 6 ft to make it easier to get out of 4 low and into 2h

Bedlam

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Posted: 01/12/18 12:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Backing up that distance has more to do with disengaging automatic locking hubs. Manual hubs is something I miss coming from a Ford and I'm too cheap to pay for the aftermarket conversion kit on the Ram.

bobbolotune

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Posted: 01/12/18 01:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm the original poster. This helps greatly. I will do as recommended in the responses. Thanks.

To answer some questions:

towpro wrote:

I see you have a dually so its kind of hard to do a real rotation because the rear inner wheels use a different TPMS frequency than the other 4 tires.... I will swap LF and RR outer, and RF and LR outer. inner stay where they are. This keeps tires rotating the same directions.

Yes, the RAM manual says you can't switch inner and outer because of the tire pressure monitoring system. Then, for whatever it is worth, the picture in the manual shows only swapping front tires left to right and the same for back tires. No swapping of front tires to the back. It doesn't specifically say not to rotate front to back, but side to side only is what the picture shows.

Reality Check wrote:

Just a thought, but what does the manual say?

Nothing. I read the manual and couldn't find any hint about this problems.

AnEv942 wrote:

Using 4WD to climb blocks a lot more effective- climbs instead of front tires pushing, Low range just slower more control. Just easier on the truck.

This brings up a point that I could try 4WD high gear. It might be good enough since I am hearing it could be the low gear that is causing problems not necessarily the 4WD. I never tried that since the original post that got me started on this said 4WD low gear. I can say that in low gear the truck glides up the blocks, very nice and with easy control, especially after my first year I was gunning the engine in 2WD to get onto the blocks.

AnEv942 wrote:

Im of the opinion 4WD should be exercised.

Yea, that is one of my questions. Other than climbing onto blocks I have never used 4WD (but I don't regret getting it because that one time you need it to get unstuck you will be very glad to have it). So I am at least exercising the gears to use 4WD to drive onto blocks (although I could instead try to remember to switch to 4WD once in a while only to exercise it).

However, it could be 4WD drive low gear isn't designed for this to be doing this every day. That it is supposed to be only for extreme conditions. There are periods I was using blocks and was switching ever time I drove the truck.

AnEv942 wrote:

Curious about the lubing of front drive shaft with every oil change, are the Dodges front axles engaged full time?

I assume that the front axle is not engaged unless you turn the knob inside the cap to 4WD. I don't know much about the lube, only that the manuals says to lube the front drive shaft fitting at each oil change, and there is also a sticker under the hood warning that is necessary. Then on my first (and so far only) oil change I had to argue with the Dodge dealer about this. The mechanic said there is no fitting. I did some google searches and told them the results, then they said yea they found the fitting. The google searches said something about it needs a needle attachment rather than the usual lube attachment, and the fitting is on the inside of the wheel in a known to be hard to find place.

rider997 wrote:

Do you leave the truck in 4WD low overnight? I know some GM and Ram trucks tend to get "stuck" in 4WD low if they've been sitting parked and cold for some time in that mode. Fluids are cold, etc.

Yes, I do leave it in 4WD overnight. I drive onto the blocks then leave it in 4WD. You have a point that I could do the switch back to 2WD after driving onto the blocks rather than leaving it in 4WD. However, what others are saying about driving back and forth I couldn't do that when sitting on the blocks. So I don't know. Yes, the one time this happened to me driving around a little (which actually I now read that I am not suppose to be doing on pavement) did get it to switch, so it could be as you say the gears being cold could be part of it.


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FireGuard

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Posted: 01/12/18 01:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

AidenJ wrote:

I very seldom use 4low and have not experienced what you described. What really irks me is this big Cummins won't climb a couple of 2x6's in 2 WD. Won't spin a tire, just sits there.


That is the torque management preventing you from destroying your drive train.
I believe in 4 low TM isn’t activated.


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Grit dog

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Posted: 01/12/18 02:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you can get it in and out of 4 low, there is no problem other than a combination of not following directions, possible pressure on the drivetrain components and/or your lack of knowledge of 4wd components/operation.
So good news, nothing wrong.
Cold, wet, left in 4 low for 6 months, doesn't matter.
You don't need to rotate tires to make it work and driving it down the street for a little bit in 4 low isn't going to hurt anything (unless maybe you have 2 totally different sizes front and back).
Other good news, you're not hurting anything by using 4 low frequently, or by leaving it in 4 low overnight. There is also no need to use it to get up on a couple boards to level out the camper. So do whatever works for you.

FWIW, in my absence and my wifes apprehension during an emergency, she shifted one of our trucks into 4 low to climb up and out of our snow covered driveway (like 3' deep) and didn't shift it out of 4 lo until she got 200 miles away, half of it on dry pavement. "Honey I drove as fast as I could, but there's something wrong, truck will only go 55 mph and the engine was at 5000rpms the whole way!" Truck was fine afterwards.

Real trucks with real transfer cases and using 4 low are one of the few things that the mfgs haven't been able to idiot proof from millenials and others. They don't go in and out of 4 low with an Iphone app!

You're not hurting anything, read the directions and shift in or out of 4 low in neutral, rolling slowly, foot off the brake, totally freewheeling the drivetrain. And it will work better. Remember though, it's not a system that has been perfected. If you hear grinding kill the engine immediately, shift trans to neutral or park and re start.


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