Monthly Archives: April 2015

Ram front brake rotors, transfer case leak fix (?), bed scrubbing

I thought I’d go the cheap route and get the Ram’s front brake rotors machined, and replace the brake pads.

Kevin, Mary and I took the rotors off on Friday night. It’s a lot quicker the second time and with the right tools.

Discount Tire, in spite of their Web site saying they turn rotors, told me they do not. They sent me to O’Reilly.

O’Reilly measured the rotors and found that they both weren’t machineable. The right front one was simply missing too much metal, but at least had worn evenly. The left front one, on the other hand, not only is grooved on the outside, but the outer part of the rotor was worn down to 2/3 the thickness of the inner part of the rotor.

So both of them have to be replaced. The cheapest ones are $60 or so. The truck’s going to sit until this Thursday’s paycheck arrives.

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After learning we weren’t going to be able to fix the Ram’s brakes, Kevin and I tackled trying to fix the leak from the transfer case. Some previous owner or mechanic smeared gasket material along the bottom of the transfer case, probably trying to fix the leak, but I don’t think it was oil-resistant gasket maker. We bought some Permatex Ultra Black oil-resistant stuff for the job.

I was planning to take the transfer case apart, clean everything well, and reseal it with the black gasket maker.

But after we took the driveshaft off and tried every combination of prying and beating with hammers we could, I couldn’t get the tailshaft extension off. Without that off, I can’t split the case.

So we put everything back together and, after carefully cleaning all the old gasket material off the bottom and degreasing it with Simple Green, I smeared a generous coating of ultra black RTV on the underside. It says to wait 24 hours before adding oil, and it’s already been over 48 hours.

I hope this will fix the leak. Getting it apart would of course be the best thing, but I have no idea how to do so. The tailshaft extension seems to have black gasket material around it (the right stuff?) but damn, it’s strong. It’s just not coming apart. And there’s previous little information on the Internet about how to take apart an NP271-D.

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Kevin and I used degreaser and a lot of scrubbing on the Ram’s bed, which was gross. We got it looking better, but the bedliner’s never going to look like new again.

Ram Hub/Bearing Assembly Issues

The Ram has a wheel vibration issue at 65 MPH, which seems to be getting worse.

I looked into what could be causing it. This truck has a unit hub/bearing that can’t be rebuilt; only replaced. However, it should be possible to lube it through the ABS sensor hole, though it takes some work to get to it.

First, I jacked up both front wheels and checked for side-to-side and up-down play. Both wheels have play, which points to any number of things: bad ball joints, bad tie rod ends, bad u-joints, bad hub/bearings … but most likely a bad hub/bearing, when combined with the wheel vibration issue.

I took apart the driver side front wheel. It took at lot of banging, a lot of PB Blaster, and purchasing a 3/4″ drive torque wrench (PN #808) at Harbor Freight ($80, but $64 with a 20% off coupon), and a 1-11/16″ socket and 8″ 3/4″ drive extension at Tractor Supply (about $22). Then it turned out I didn’t even need those to get the rotor off; only to get the hub off, which isn’t necessary for lubing the hub, or even for removing the brake rotor. Anyway…

I lubed the hub through the ABS sensor hole, and put a lot of anti-seize on the back of the brake rotor, and put everything back together.

I think the grease helped, at little. Maybe not. I still have the vibration issue at 65 MPH, and now the brake pads are really rubbing. The wheel has dust all over it, and the rotor got really hot after the drive home yesterday. That rotor is not in great shape anyway; I need to go get it turned and replace the pads. I might as well take both rotors to Discount or Big O and get them done, and then replace the pads, so at least I know that’s in good shape.

I think I should go ahead and buy this stuff, though it doesn’t need to be done immediately, and replace everything in the front end. This is because when I turn, I hear clicking/popping sounds, and I also hear them when I go over bumps. I think everything up there is worn out. These prices are from Rock Auto:

Front brake pads Wagner SX965 $21.89 [buy these at AZ, better price]

Front rotors 2x Power Stop AR8771XPR $71.79 ea = $143.58 [buy these at AZ, better price]

Front hubs 2x Timken HA590032 $145.79 ea = $291.58 [buy at AZ; better price without shipping]

Front U-joints 2x Moog 464 $37.79 ea = $75.58

Front outer tie rod ends 2x Moog ES800532 $39.79 ea = $79.58

Upper ball joints 2x Moog K7460 $48.79 ea = $97.58

Lower ball joints 2x Moog K7467 $48.79 ea = $97.58
And I should get a front-end alignment done after I replace all this stuff.