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Discussion Starter #1
Preface: Full story is long, skip to the end for the question.

Ok, so I've opened a can of worms. I'm a "weekender" mechanic of a 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 5.7L Hemi Quad Cab with 209,000 miles on it. I'm the only owner. Yes, it's an old truck with a lot of miles. Yes, I'd like a new one. Right now, my budget is too tight so I'm trying to limp this along.

Basically I change the oil, brakes, etc. Small, uncomplicated things mostly so my experience with things is very limited. Remember this later. Also, with various time constraints and family coming into town, this project started last Wednesday and is ongoing.

My driver's side rear end was squealing last week so I pulled the tire and saw the inner brake pad was gone and the rotor was getting chewed up. So I checked the front and saw they were low enough but the rotor was good. Got pads for all 4 but just rotors for the back.

Yanking the rear driver's side caliper, I noticed the e-brake cable was all corroded. I tested it and sure enough that was shot and needed replaced (inspection is next month so gotta do it now or later). Long story short, it took 2 days to get the right one and then while replacing it, I ended up getting a new tensioner because the old one was too corroded for even PB Blaster to work.

Got that hooked up finally and went to front and needed a new outer tie rod end. Got that and the brakes done and went to the passenger side. The rear wheel was seized to the rotor, which had never happened to me before. PB Blaster, some kicking, a dead blow mallet, and some cussing did nothing to dislodge it, so Youtube showed me a trick using a sledge on the inner part of the tire. Bingo.

I got the brakes together on that and had to adjust the e-brake pads on that side because I could barely get the old rotor off and really couldn't get the new one on. I made it so it was snug and closed it all back up.

Did the brakes on the front passenger side and jumped in to fire it up and see if anything needed adjusted and the battery was dead. It's quite old, I think I replaced it 5 years and over 100,000 miles ago. So I got a ride to Walmart and bought a new one. When replacing it, the bolt through the wedge securing the battery in place, snapped off even after hitting it with PB Blaster and letting it soak.

I got the battery in and headed down the driveway to test and go get gas. There's a ticking coming from the rear end, I initially thought it was the driver's side. So back into the garage we go (I didn't even make it to the street).

(Main question starts here!)I jack up the rear end and yank the driver's side tire. I don't see anything that'd cause a tick, so I try spinning the wheel (tranny in neutral, but not the 4N on the 4wd knob because it doesn't seem to want to work. I've never tried it before so I don't know if it's broken or I didn't do something right) to see if I can make it do it. I can't spin the wheel. I go to the passenger side where the tire is still on and I can't make that spin either. I put the truck in drive since it's on jack stands, and at idle, the passenger side spins but not the driver's side. I'd noticed that the passenger side tire showed more wear than any of the other 3, so now I'm concerned.

I believe I should be able to spin the tires (by hand) with it on jacks and in neutral. Can anyone confirm that?

And, since I can't and the driver's side won't spin at idle, does this sound like a normal anti-spin differential or that my rear end is jacked up?

This are 2 areas that I really don't know much about, so I'm not sure what to do next.

Thanks for any help, it is really appreciated!
 

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I can't completely answer but the passenger rear is the drive wheel and unless you rotate your tires at least every 5,000 it will show. I believe you should be able to turn the wheel but I believe it will be hard as the other side will also turn. If I remember right it will turn in the opposite direction. It's been a long time since I have done it.
 

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Are you sure their is not a issue with the E-brakes you installed? That is the first place I would check before tearing into the differential.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Update:

So I have determined that I have a open rear end, since the wheels spin in opposite directions. They are hard to turn but do turn.

I yanked everything completely off (again) last night and checked for anything hanging up. I backed the ebrake adjustments way off (and ended up pulling the adjuster on the driver's side as it was locked up. Some PB Blaster, and then a wire brush revitalized it to functioning correctly). I put it all back together and tried putting it in drive while lifted with no tires and got no noise. Installed the tires and the noise was back.

After much poking around, I FINALLY discovered that it was the 5-6 welded on weights inside the wheel were just barely making contact with the edge of one of the fins on the anti-rattle clips. Since I'd cleaned those up with a wire wheel I couldn't tell because they were shiny all over and the rubbing was so slight it was barely marring the weights. As soon as I bent that clip in just a hair, no more noise.

So, I ran down to the gas station a couple miles down the road with the windows down listening for any noises. I heard none. I got there and smoke and heat was rolling out of the rear driver's side wheel well! Now apparently I have a caliper hung up? That's my best guess. It was 11 PM at that point so I parked it when I got home, cleaned up and went to bed.
 

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Some times the surface where the brakes ride on the caliper get corroded, and when you apply brakes, they work, but they do not release as they should. try cleaning the surface where the metal edge of brake pads ride.
Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Working on it tonight. Will try to save the old caliper but I have a new one and brake fluid waiting in the garage just in case.
 

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You really should do them in pairs. If they are old and hanging up at all you will notice a difference.
I know they aren't cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Replaced the hung up one yesterday. All is better now.

Bumble Bea, I would, but it you read my first full post in this thread, I'm on "unexpected problem" #?. I'm outta cash at the moment. And I discovered my muffler has a leak and I need an alignment...
 

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Bumble Bea said:
I can't completely answer but the passenger rear is the drive wheel and unless you rotate your tires at least every 5,000 it will show. I believe you should be able to turn the wheel but I believe it will be hard as the other side will also turn. If I remember right it will turn in the opposite direction. It's been a long time since I have done it.
I take it you have no idea on how a differential works.
 

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Wish I would have seen this sooner, I would have helped, and the problem is QUITE FREQUENT AND COMMON.
 

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just fyi.

if a piston in the caliper is hanging up, the piston side (inner) pad will show more wear.

if the caliper is hanging up in the slides, the outer pad will show more wear.

although not as common, the flex hose going to the caliper can also cause the caliper to not release completly. if a new/rebuilt caliper doesn't solve the problem, replace the hose. don't pinch off the flex hose when changing/servicing calipers.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
That's all repaired and then some.

Took it in for an alignment and the shop called and said he'd align it, but I had a bad lower ball joint on the passenger side and my "outer steering rack seal" was bad. He said it'd need re-aligned after replacing the rack and / or the ball joint and didn't want to waste my $.

It was $841 for everything and the alignment. I can't swing that so I just had him park it. I took it home, got the stuff I needed for the ball joint and replaced that. I new one of my return lines was leaking power steering fluid and it was in the vicinity of the seal they were telling me was bad. So I got brake cleaner and scrub brushes and cleaned the heck out of that whole area. 2 days later and I still can't identify any leaks and my reservoir is full.

This morning driving in, I swear I heard a clunk when making a tight turn into my parking space. Ugg.
 

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Hopefully just your mind playing tricks on you... though your luck reminds me of my own.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Found my power steering leak. Driver's side of the steering rack, the inner tie rod end boot is torn and fluid is dripping out of it. So the leak is apparently in the seal that the boot covers where the inner tie rod end connects.

Going to try some Lucas Power Steering Stop Leak and if that works, replace the boot.

Haven't heard the clunk I spoke of lately...
 
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