The Cad might be a pain in the arse but it is stronger that way. The manual hubs are weaker than the set up is now. I reckon you have pros and cons on each. Here is a tech article that was written at dodge ram.org
Pros and Cons
Fairly strong. The size of the axle shaft at the disconnect is significantly stronger than a hub end could ever be. The outer axle splines can have a much tighter tolerance and thus distributes the load better. The weak point is the bearing carrier design instead of using discrete inner and outer bearings. In the early Jeeps, there was close to 4" between the inner and outer bearings to support side loads. In the Ram, there is only 1/8" between them. This makes rim backspace selection critical, and requires much higher tolerances in the bearings themselves. Also, with no way to service the bearings without a 20 ton press, you have no way to prevent failure without spending $300 for a new carrier.
Since the use of 4WD requires vacuum, a leak, or destruction of the lines can render the 4WD inoperative. However, the lines are fairly well protected, and failures are rare. The vacuum switch is a known weak point. The switch is a little tower on the transfer case with four lines coming from it. The switch is activated by the transfer case when a lever inside the case presses a plunger at the base of the switch. Then, a spring in the switch extends the plunger when the lever is retracted. The problem is that the plunger is rounded to ease the lever's action. This rounded part can be easily jammed inside the switch by the standard gunk in the transfer case. When this happens, the interlock and the 4WD light will not disengage. It is an easy fix by just un screwing the switch and cleaning it, but when it happens, you can feel the extra drag of the front driveshaft and associated parts.
Maintenance is very easy. A fluid change every so often is about all it requires. No spindle bearings to wear out, no dial to regrease, and no seals to leak. (actually the axle seals can leak, but it isn't too common. The part that sucks is that the passenger side seal is a bugger to replace as the seal must be pressed from inside the disconnect housing.)
This is my third vehicle with the disconnect system and I've never really had any major problems with it. Sure, I've had seals leak, and the switch jam, and other annoying things, but when I need 4WD, it has always been there.
I've also had vehicles with manual and auto hubs, and this is still an easier and more reliable system. It is only when you HAVE to get the system engaged while stopped that it can be difficult. For me, I just engage the 4WD earlier. Besides, it goes with the tread Lightly ideals.
you can view the rest of it here and it has some good information and some good links
Military Truck club member #151
2001 Ram 1500 5 sp, working on 360 conversion
1985 W350, d44, d60 33x12.50's, 360ci with 441cam, 727 w/ red clutches, 208TC
1990 Ramcharger Royle se, 360, 518, 241
1989 Ramcharger 318, 727, 241
1990 Ramcharger only the 518 and axles are left
1986 RC for parts
1983 Rc prospector for parts, has suregrip's
I have the yardofdodge ailment, and I want no cure