2002 Dodge Dakota 4 wheel drive clicking/knocking noise

Tiny
CGREENEE17
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 DODGE DAKOTA
  • 6 CYL
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 10,600 MILES
The truck runs fine when it is in regular 2 wheel drive but when I switch it into both 4-High & 4-Low, as I start to move once it is enganged, I start to hear a clicking/knocking noise coming from down there. And I only hear this noise once its into 4WD. I have been told that I might need a need transfer case motor but I am unsure. Any ideas?

And.

My check engine light is on. I have had this problem since I bought the truck about 6 months ago. Sometimes, maybe once every 15 or 20 times I start my truck, the truck will backfire after I drive it for about a 1/10 of a mile. It will backfire so much that I have to put the truck in neutral, turn it off, turn it back on, and put it back in drive. Then I dont have the problem again for another 15 or 20 starts. I have no idea what the problem is but I have replaced the rear cat converter (there are 3 cats total, 2 front and 1 in back), had a tune-up, and sea-fomed it twice to try and remove all the carbon build-up. STILL the truck backfired again this morning! The check engine light is still on and when I read the codes it says that the front cats are inefficient/uneffective or whatever you want to call it. But I dont want to replace the cats until I find out why it is backfiring in the first place. Please HELP!
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Saturday, February 20th, 2010 AT 8:25 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The 4wd issue sounds like a worn outer cv joint. Unlike a front wheel drive car, yours do not have torque applied to them when you're in 2wd. The torque is needed to cause them to bind and make noise. Your mechanic might run the truck in 4wd on a hoist, and listen with a stethoscope, but they still might not make noise since they're able to rotate freely. Another trick is to attach microphones, and listen to them while driving the truck in 4wd. The tool is called a "Chassis Ear".

The outer cv joints give very little trouble, so you might also look at the universal joints in the front drive shaft. The shaft is made up of two parts splined together. If the grease fitting has been ignored, the shaft could be binding when it changes length due to suspension travel. That won't happen in 2wd since it's not under pressure then.

As for the backfiring, I have a feeling it's not related to a sensor problem because restarting the engine isn't likely to change anything. There have been some problems with ignition switches, but the overheated contacts usually affect the radio / heater fan / power window circuit. That is a different circuit than the one that runs the engine. Still, repositioning the switch is the only obvious thing that's changing. The next time this happens, try moving the ignition switch just a little to see if the problem clears up. If it does, replace the switch.

Caradiodoc
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Sunday, February 21st, 2010 AT 4:51 AM
Tiny
CGREENEE17
  • MEMBER
I think you have misunderstood what I am trying to say about the backfiring problem. Its not the it backfires due to the ignition switch.I drive my truck about a 1/10 of a mile and then as I push down the accelerator, the engine begins to backfire right around the 20-25 mph area. At this point, I cannot increase my speed past 25 mph even if I apply more acceleration (the more I push on the gas pedal, the more it backfires). ALSO, this problem really only happens when I try to accelerate going up a hill (it mostly happens when I drive the 1/10 of a mile, come to a stop sign, and then try to accelerate up a hill).
I have recently Sea-foamed my Dakota twice in about the last 2 weeks and I have noticed that the truck has not done this backfiring activity "AS MUCH" as it did before. So I have a feeling it could be massive carbon buildup.
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Thursday, February 25th, 2010 AT 8:26 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Based on the additional symptoms, and especially if this is a constant problem, suspect a plugged catalytic converter. No chemicals are going to solve this type of problem.

Caradiodoc
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Thursday, February 25th, 2010 AT 9:31 AM
Tiny
2002SXTDAK
  • MEMBER
Sounds like the exact issue im having besides the backfiring. I need four wheel drive being stationed up here in Alaska. Im also in a remote area without access to any shops or any retail stores. Only stores I really have access to is an AC's and a NAPA. Thank god for that at least.

Anyways my issue is the same, I get a rattling/ knocking when I switch to 4x4 in high or low and accelerate. If I do take my front end apart with the help of a worker, my question is how do I know if it is what you guys stated? How do I know if the outer cv joints are bad? Or the u- joint? Will they be broken. I had someone suggest that the spider gear might be messed up but I doubt thats it. Im just really hoping my transfer case isnt gone. I have no trouble switching in and out of 4x4.

Any help would be appreciated! Also if it is one of the two issues, what are the likely parts cost since we'd be doing it ourselves.
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Monday, February 14th, 2011 AT 9:03 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
There are two ways to tell if a cv joint is the cause of a clicking noise. One is to hang from the bottom of the truck while a friend drives the truck and drags you through the snow. A better method is to use a "Chassis Ear". That is a set of six microphones, a receiver, and a set of head phones. The microphones are clipped to strategic locations, then you switch between them and listen while driving. Most new car dealers have this tool but a lot of mechanics have never seen or heard of it. Some auto parts stores borrow or rent tools and they might have this one, otherwise it is available through the tool truck guys. I can post the link for it on the Mac Tools web site.

You can try to listen next to the joint while a helper runs the engine in gear. You'll need all four tires jacked up off the ground. Run the truck with the wheels turned fully to one side. Since the noise will typically only occur when there is a load on the joint, apply some pressure to the brake pedal. Use a block of wood under one front tire to make the other one spin so you can listen by it. That still might not be conclusive. Normally we just go by the sound.

Caradiodoc
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Tuesday, February 15th, 2011 AT 12:27 AM

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