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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a new guy here. I bought my 2003 Dmax 2500hd from a friend who bought it new. He said he had a howl when he put it in 4wd (very slippery/icy conditions) and accelerated or maintained a speed of 45mph or more. He took it to the dealer at 18,000 mi and they agreed it was foul. They had it three weeks, rebuilt the front differential and told him "don't put it in 4wd over 40mph". He said he couldn't really tell a difference, but they showed him a ring and pinion that were actually galded.

Here's where I come in. I don't buy the "if it makes a funny noise, don't use it" line the dealer fed him. I can't find that restriction on 4wd useage anywhere in my owners manual. It still howls loudly when you use 4wd (on glare ice, never tried it on pavement) over 40mph or under acceleration. No howl from 2wd at all. U-joints are all good, no excessive backlash on pinions. Fresh fluid and correct levels all around. Is this a normal sound? I can't imagine my straight axle chevy plow truck with a NP205 t-case having a quieter drivetrain than the '03. I have been a Caterpillar and Cummins mechanic for 21 years now, so I usually have a clue of what I am looking at...

Any suggestions? I have no powertrain warranty, so I'd better fix it now before it gets more expensive.

Thanks in advance.
 

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How is the transfer case? Did the dealer check it? How about the front hub bearing assembly? I replaced mine at 90k, it was doing the howling also, just all the time.
 

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Welcome! I'm officially "Newguy" but I'll let it slide for now.

My truck can go 65+ MPH without excessive noise in 4WD HI. I have been known to engage it when rolling along 0-40mph and it kicks into 4WD and I drive it like I stole it... it does have a bit more noise than 2WD, but not a howl.

Ask another dealer... remember you are only getting that one person's opinion. Sometimes you need to "prove" what's wrong for them to really get it. I have had that challenge from time to time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
U-joints are good. No metal in T-case. Doesn't "feel" sloppy. I am on my own here as I am told the warranty does not cover t-case and etc. after 3 year/36,000 miles

Good thought on front hubs, but only does it in 4wd and only under load. I think it almost has to be T-case... I always let off when shifting into 4wd. goes in smooth. No vibration to speak of, just an unholy howling.

Thanks again.
 

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oddplanes;1535117; said:
U-joints are good. No metal in T-case. Doesn't "feel" sloppy. I am on my own here as I am told the warranty does not cover t-case and etc. after 3 year/36,000 miles

Good thought on front hubs, but only does it in 4wd and only under load. I think it almost has to be T-case... I always let off when shifting into 4wd. goes in smooth. No vibration to speak of, just an unholy howling.

Thanks again.
Take a good look at your CV joints if your wheel bearings are ok.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Cvs are fine. rolled them through by hand at full lock steering and smooth as glass. thinking of doing the Merchant upgrade on the Tcase before I have an inevitible pump rub problem, so maybe I will find it then...

Thank you all for your suggestions.
 

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Newguy;1534518; said:
Welcome! I'm officially "Newguy" but I'll let it slide for now.

My truck can go 65+ MPH without excessive noise in 4WD HI. I have been known to engage it when rolling along 0-40mph and it kicks into 4WD and I drive it like I stole it... it does have a bit more noise than 2WD, but not a howl.

Ask another dealer... remember you are only getting that one person's opinion. Sometimes you need to "prove" what's wrong for them to really get it. I have had that challenge from time to time.
I have driven my 03 driving 65 MPH towing 15K 5er for 100 miles or more in 4WD it does make a little different noise but not a loud howl. You can shift it in and out at any speed just wouldn't do it under a lot of torque..My $.02
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Found it. Front pinion bearing slowly self-destructed. Took the ring and pinion with it. Dealer had rebuilt the front differential at 22K miles and apparently did something wrong. Works fine now though. Thank you all for the suggestions.
 

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oddplanes;1581510; said:
Found it. Front pinion bearing slowly self-destructed. Took the ring and pinion with it. Dealer had rebuilt the front differential at 22K miles and apparently did something wrong. Works fine now though. Thank you all for the suggestions.

Have you had any other problems with your drivetrain since you rebuilt the front differential? I have had a terrible 4WD drone since 2003. No one has been able to fix it.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
No other problems with the drivetrain... I have heard of one other front differential problem but I don't think it is that common.

Good luck, and sorry I don't have any new ideas that aren't posted here
 

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I agree bs if they tell you dont engage it over 40mph, i agree it pry isnt hte best. but it wont cause that much damage. Maybe increased wear, u joints fail sooner etc but not in that many miles.
 
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