4x4 dashboard knob switch vs Manual shift lever - DodgeTalk : Dodge Car Forums, Dodge Truck Forums and Ram Forums
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Tall Pine
 
  4x4 dashboard knob switch vs Manual shift lever - Posted: 05-22-2008, 09:03 AM
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Post #1

I have always preferred the manual 4x4 shifting levers but am considering buying a truck that has the dashboard knob switch. Is the knob switch something to be avoided, does it have a bad failure rate?

Is it a PIA the fix the vacuum mechanism (or whatever is used) when it does fail? I'm thinking of a trailside fix here-thats when it will go out and when it will need replacing.

TIA
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67Cuda
 
 Posted: 05-22-2008, 09:10 AM
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Post #2

I don't have an electric shift and have never used one, but I think simpler is better for shifting into 4 wheel drive.
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NK
 
 Posted: 05-22-2008, 09:21 AM
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Post #3

the 4x4 lever just looks tough, i'm glad i don't have electric. I dont think the switches have a high failure rate, but we've all seen them fail.
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Tall Pine
 
 Posted: 05-22-2008, 09:27 AM
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Post #4

Yeah, I lean that way myself. But I ask because I am hot on the trail of a used truck and that is the only drawback it has. These trucks are somewhat hard to find and this one is priced right.

Im conflicted...do I let it go, wait longer and maybe pay more later, or do I take it with its good price and electric 4wd switch?

Perhaps some idea of the rate of failure, and the ease of repair will help me decide. If it was a cinch to fix on the trail, I could just keep a spare switch in the truck for that inevitable day.
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stickshiftsrule
 
 Posted: 05-22-2008, 09:34 AM
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Post #5

What exactly is so "hard to find" about the truck you are looking for?

I always try to get the manual lever(s).......

But, as I understand it.....the trick is to engage the (electric) system every so often to keep it from freezing (rusting?) up.
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Tall Pine
 
 Posted: 05-22-2008, 09:44 AM
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Post #6

Stick,

Its a diesel, low miles, the color I want, auto tranny, one previous owner, QC, SWB, etc etc etc. Trust me, there arent many in the 700 mile radius I have been searching in for the past 3 weeks. Add in a cross country ATV trip Im planning for in June and its got me re-thinking this one, possibly immaterial part.

The Suburban I owned 10 years ago was a fairly easy fix. My friends and I joked that the vacuum activated switch/part looked like a hot dog. I could definatley keep a "hot dog" in this new truck if it was easy enough to isntall trailside.

Any ideas on what is needed to fix this when it does go bad?
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stickshiftsrule
 
 Posted: 05-22-2008, 09:50 AM
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Post #7

Do not know what is involved in fixing a bad switch......but
That's a pretty big purchase, I wouldn't "settle" if it was me.
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RB24
 
 Posted: 05-22-2008, 09:54 AM
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Post #8

my bro's ram, as well as mine, both have the electronic 4x4 switch on the dash...no issues
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Maxtcc
 
 Posted: 05-22-2008, 10:01 AM
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Post #9

I have the electric shift, and honestly there is nothing difficult about it.
It is as reliable as an auto trans is.
and as for fixing it in the outback there is no difficulty it is just a switch, you can always just connect the wires if the knob did break , but why would it , you don't turn it harder to make contact when the mud is sticky.

If you maintain your 4x4 mechs , lubing and cleaning, as you would anything else like your engine there is no reason to be wary of the electric switching.
And as far as the mechs of the elect switching you are actually less likely to harm them as the control module checks for you that all parameters are met to go into 4-lo.
eg if you didn't come to a stop and shift to neutral before selecting , it waits until you do before engaging
not saying you would but on the manual shift you might try to engage 4-lo without coming to a complete and non-rolling stop, and this would stress the transfer case

I have both the manual 4x4 in my jeep and the elect 4x4 in my RAM and have not had an issue with either. Even though I know I have rushed the shifts in the jeep whilst having a grand time.

As for failure rates I haven't heard anyone here or elsewhere mention that their selector switch has even failed to work.

oh as for fixing, there is one screw to hold the dash bezel in place, you pop that off remove the two backing screws for the switch swap the wires to the new switch , replace the screws pop the dash bezel on install one screw and you are done. And that is a factory fix not a trail fix.


Don't fear the knob.
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Last edited by Maxtcc : 05-22-2008 at 10:06 AM.
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RB24
 
 Posted: 05-22-2008, 10:06 AM
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Post #10

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxtcc
Don't fear the knob.

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stickshiftsrule
 
 Posted: 05-22-2008, 10:12 AM
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Post #11

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxtcc
I have the electric shift, and honestly there is nothing difficult about it.
It is as reliable as an auto trans is.


Just kidding.....couldn't help myself.

Seriously, he's right, and the electic shift is all but the standard nowadays, so it might even be a good idea to learn how to swap one out on the trail. Because pretty soon that is all you are going to see out there.

But it's your money, make sure you don't regret your purchase.
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stickshiftsrule
 
 Posted: 05-22-2008, 10:17 AM
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Post #12

Oh yeah.......I did a search for you...perhaps this will help.

http://www.dodgetalk.com/forums/show...c+4x4+problems

http://www.dodgetalk.com/forums/show...vice+4wd+light
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Tall Pine
 
 Posted: 05-22-2008, 10:18 AM
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Post #13

Well, that truck is now sold so my decision is put off a little longer.

But I wanted to finish this thread and tell you what the local Dodge shop told me. The tech said the failure rate isnt an issue, he hasnt seen any lopsided failure rates, elec vs manual. Take that for what its worth-he didnt say how many he's seen.

But he did tell me the elec solenoid is very easy to change out. Its not vacuum operated. The solenoid is on the front of the front axle, very easy to get to and replace. 4 bolts and an electrical connector. A very easy trailside fix if you have the right sized wrench.

He did say that the 2 systems operate differently. The manual system works by moving a rod in the transfer case to engage power to the front axle. He said on the elec versions, the transfer case is always spinning the 'pinion' and that its the solenoid on the front axle that locks up the power to the axle.

The tech suspected that theoretically the T-case using the elec system
might get more wear on it 'pinion' since its always spinning, whereas in the manual system it isnt spinning until activated by the shifter on the floor. I am clueless here.

Well, thats what I found out. Anyone know more about these different T-cases?
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Tall Pine
 
 Posted: 05-22-2008, 10:24 AM
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Post #14

Quote:
Originally Posted by stickshiftsrule


Just kidding.....couldn't help myself.

Seriously, he's right, and the electic shift is all but the standard nowadays, so it might even be a good idea to learn how to swap one out on the trail. Because pretty soon that is all you are going to see out there.

But it's your money, make sure you don't regret your purchase.
Thanks Stick, you sound like my buddy who swears by his 6 spd NV5600.

I totally agree with the buyers remorse thing. I think I know what I want and will just have to be patient. Thanks to you all for the help.
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stickshiftsrule
 
 Posted: 05-22-2008, 10:59 AM
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Post #15

No problem

One thing if you do get the manual t-case
dynatrac (sp?) makes a manual hub conversion kit (but it's pricey).

You might want to post in the diesel section also.
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White2500
 
 Posted: 05-22-2008, 11:05 AM
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Post #16

i dont kno to much about it , but my ZR2 blazer had the push button 4 wheel drive and while i was in vermont during a massive snow storm towing a 16 ft trailer with quads on it the ****ing thing shit the bed. so after spending the night on the side of the highway waiting for a snow plow to go by i will never buy something like that again.
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 Posted: 05-22-2008, 11:17 AM
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Post #17

I had an issue this winter where the axle disconnect solenoid failed. It failed to engage properly and when i tried switching the 4x4 back into 4wd it flashed the Srv 4wd light. The transfer case did shift (you could hear it) but the axle wouldn't engage. Unfortunately I was 160 miles from home when it happened.

It held together for the ride home and luckily it stopped snowing and the roads were clear. 2 days later when I went to shuffle my trucks around i heard a grinding. The axle was half engaged and the entire assembly had to be replaced. It was all covered under warranty and there was a TSB on the 4x4 system done as well.
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Tuned4Smoke
 
 Posted: 05-22-2008, 12:11 PM
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Post #18

Quote:
Originally Posted by stickshiftsrule
When I ordered my Mega that was the only way it came and I put some hard miles on the truck and have not had one problem yet. The tech you talked to isnt making sense. If you have a 3rd gen then there is no actuator on the front axle. That was the 2nd gen with the cad engagement assembly. The electric actuator is on the t-case. It doesnt matter about electric or manual the front drive shaft still turns somewhat in 2wd. To stop that you need lock out hubs.
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Tall Pine
 
 Posted: 05-22-2008, 04:39 PM
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Post #19

Smoke-

I got more information from a dealer who said the manual lever (in the '06 anyways) is actually a glorified electronic switch. He says both the dashboard switch and the manual floor lever send an elec signal to the Tcase.

This makes it sound like the Tcase is the same no matter which system is in place. Does this jive with what you know?

The real asnwer would be if someone knows if there are more than one T-cases for the 3rd gen 2500/3500's. The build sheet on this dashboard switched system says "DH3 Elec shift-on-the-fly Transfer Case".

I'll try to get a build sheet on a manual activated truck and see if there is a difference.
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ptgarcia
 
 Posted: 05-22-2008, 05:01 PM
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Post #20

There are 2 transfer cases for the 2500/3500 trucks. Both made by New Venture. I'll have to check on the model numbers for each.


Edit: The electronic shift is an NV273 and the lever shift is an NV271.
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Last edited by ptgarcia : 05-22-2008 at 07:04 PM.
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