I own a 1998 dodge ram slt quad cab. 5.2l smpi v 8 engine. and it is just a piece of junk. gas mileage hovers at 11mpg and more importantly it feels like I am dragging an anchor behind me wherever i go. It spits and sputters frequently (knocks actually, loudly) and for no apparenet reason. I just had a rear differential? put in and then the fronts breaks went bad. it only has 73000 miles on it. when you step on the gas its like something is holding you back. is it possibe it is geared incorrectly somehow. the old sticker says it has a lock up torque converter what the heck is that even my lovely wife hates to drive the thing. and she loves trucks.
Axle gear ratios are not your problem, and almost all automatic transmissions built in the past 20 years have lock-up torque converters.
Your problems are in the engine or engine management department. If it?s running as poorly as you describe the check engine light should be on and the there should be stored codes.