Ram 1500/2500/3500 Owners & Service Manuals

Ram 1500/2500/3500: Manually Shifted Transfer Case - If Equipped

The transfer case provides four mode positions.

  • Two-wheel drive high range (2H)
  • Four-wheel drive high range (4H)
  • Neutral (N)
  • Four-wheel drive low range (4L)

This transfer case is intended to be driven in the 2H position for normal street and highway conditions such as dry, hard surfaced roads.

When additional traction is required, the 4H and 4L positions can be used to lock the front and rear driveshafts together and force the front and rear wheels to rotate at the same speed. This is accomplished by simply moving the shift lever to the desired positions once the appropriate speed and gear requirements are met refer to "Shifting Procedure - Manually Shifted Transfer Case" in this section for further information. The 4H and 4L positions are intended for loose, slippery road surfaces only. Driving in the 4H and 4L positions on dry, hard surfaced roads may cause increased tire wear and damage to the driveline components.

The "Transfer Case Position Indicator Light" in the instrument cluster will alert the driver that the vehicle is in four-wheel drive and that the front and rear driveshafts are locked together. This light will illuminate when the transfer case is shifted into either the 4H or 4L position. There is no light for the 2H or NEUTRAL positions on some models.

When operating your vehicle in 4L, the engine speed is approximately three times that of the 2H or 4H positions at a given road speed. Take care not to overspeed the engine and do not exceed 25 mph (40 km/h).

Proper operation of four-wheel drive vehicles depends on tires of equal size, type and circumference on each wheel. Any difference will adversely affect shifting and can cause damage to the drivetrain.

NOTE: Do not attempt to make a shift while only the front or rear wheels are spinning. The front and rear driveshaft speeds must be equal for the shift to take place. Shifting while only the front or rear wheels are spinning can cause damage to the transfer case.

Because four-wheel drive provides improved traction, there is a tendency to exceed safe turning and stopping speeds. Do not go faster than road conditions permit.

NOTE: Delayed shifts out of four-wheel drive may be experienced due to uneven tire wear, low or uneven tire pressures, excessive vehicle loading, or cold temperatures.

WARNING! You or others could be injured or killed if you leave the vehicle unattended with the transfer case in the NEUTRAL position without first fully engaging the parking brake. The transfer case NEUTRAL position disengages both the front and rear drive shafts from the powertrain and will allow the vehicle to move regardless of the transmission position. The parking brake should always be applied when the driver is not in the vehicle.

For additional information on the appropriate use of each transfer case mode position, see the information below:

2H

Rear-Wheel Drive High Range - This range is for normal street and highway driving on dry hard surfaced roads.

4H

Four-Wheel Drive High Range - This range locks the front and rear driveshafts together forcing the front and rear wheels to rotate at the same speed. Additional traction for loose, slippery road surfaces only.

Neutral (N)

Neutral - This range disengages the front and rear driveshafts from the powertrain. To be used for flat towing behind another vehicle. Refer to "Recreational Towing" in "Starting and Operating" for further information.

4L

Four-Wheel Drive Low Range - This range locks the front and rear driveshafts together forcing the front and rear wheels to rotate at the same speed. Additional traction and maximum pulling power for loose, slippery road surfaces only. Do not exceed 25 mph (40 km/h).

CAUTION! Do not use 4L (Low) range when operating the vehicle on dry pavement. Driveline hardware damage can result.

Shifting Procedure - Manually Shifted Transfer Case

2H To 4H

Shifting between 2H and 4H can be made with the vehicle stopped or in motion. If the vehicle is in motion, shifts can be made up to 55 mph (88 km/h). With the vehicle in motion, the transfer case will engage/ disengage faster if you momentarily release the accelerator pedal after completing the shift. Apply a constant force when shifting the transfer case lever.

2H Or 4H To 4L

With the vehicle rolling at 2 to 3 mph (3 to 5 km/h), shift the transmission into NEUTRAL. While the vehicle is coasting at 2 to 3 mph (3 to 5 km/h), shift the transfer case lever firmly to the desired position. Do not pause in transfer case NEUTRAL.

NOTE:

  • Pausing in transfer case NEUTRAL in vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission may require shutting the engine OFF to avoid gear clash while completing the shift. If difficulty occurs, shift the transmission into NEUTRAL, hold foot on brake, and turn the engine OFF. Make shift to the desired mode.
  • Shifting into or out of 4L is possible with the vehicle completely stopped, however difficulty may occur due to the mating clutch teeth not being properly aligned.

    Several attempts may be required for clutch teeth alignment and shift completion to occur. The preferred method is with the vehicle rolling 2 to 3 mph (3 to 5 km/h). Avoid attempting to engage or disengage 4L with the vehicle moving faster than 2 to 3 mph (3 to 5 km/h).

  • Do not attempt to shift into or from 4L while the transmission is in gear.

Transfer Case Position Indicator Light

The "Transfer Case Position Indicator Light" in the instrument cluster is used to alert the driver that the front axle is fully engaged and all four wheels are driving.

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