Why is it so tough to shift into 4WD (4H, 4L) in my truck


Asked by Dec 17, 2015 at 11:18 PM about the 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT Quad Cab LB 4WD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I just bought a 2004 dodge ram, never checked out the 4WD feature like an
idiot. While sitting in my driveway I tried shifting into 4H, 4L and 2H. It would
shift at times but with a lot of force and with a sort of grinding sound at times.
Am i shifting wrong or is there something wrong with the truck? Very nervous
about this. I would appreciate any information.

7 Answers


I don't know if you have electric shift or manual shift but it can take a lot of force to manually shift in and out of 4WD. If you move the truck a little backwards or forwards it can become easier and all it takes is a little practice. Shifting into 4L usually means putting the trans in neutral and shifting while fully stopped. Your owners manual will explain all the specifics for your truck.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Best Answer

Thank you for the response! It is a manual shift, so its normal for it to be tough?? It didnt come with owners manual but I can buy one online and look through it. Even if just 4L worked I would be happy, not too many times where I would need 4H. Ill play around with it and try the things you mentioned. Thanks Full of Regrets.


Shifting a manual transfer case can be a pain in the donkey and can require some muscle which is probably why most are now electric shift. With practice you can usually find a sweet spot where it is easier by slipping the clutch and moving the truck a little. I personally use 4 high the most if I am out on the road and the snow is less than a foot deep. I use low range for off road and plowing snow.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

If your truck has shift on the fly you can shift into 4 high up to about 50mph if the hubs are locked in. My Toyota would shift really easy when driving. This might help - http://justgivemethedamnmanual.com/dodge/dodge-ram-owners- manuals

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Manual here too - http://www.ramtrucks.com/en/owners/manuals/

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Thank you so much for all your help. I really do appreciate it. I will check out the manual throughly tomorrow and test everything you have told me. You the man full of regrets!

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Best wishes to you!

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

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