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98 dodge ram the transfer case will not shift

I purchased a 98 dodge ram 4x4 v8 with automatic transmission. When i purchased it the guy told me there was an issue with the transfer case. From what he told me he got stuck and the transfer case is the result. I was told there is a fork in the transfer case that is probably bent? Does this sound correct? it is currently in 2wd. Do I have to remove the transfer case to replace the fork? What is it like to remove the transfer case? Drop the tranny?

the tranny does not have to be removed. do you have a shop manuel for your truck?

ps its not a fun job on the ground.

Is there a shift lever in the cab that shifts the transfer case? And this lever can’t be moved? Or is the transfer case shifted through an electrical solenoid…

lever to shift and it can not be moved

no don’t have a shop manual,

With the wheels straight ahead, drive slowly forward then backward while you try to move the lever…If your drive-train is “bound up” you will have trouble shifting the transfer case…All the tires must be the same size with similar wear…If just one tire is a little larger or smaller, it will rotate at a different speed and bind up the drive-train. Sometime driving onto some loose gravel so the tires can slip a little will allow the T-case to be shifted…Put the truck up on a lift and check the linkage for jammed, bent, broken parts. It’s a pretty simple mechanism…

thank you will do any idea about that fork inside the case?

Unless someone used EXTREME pressure to FORCE the control lever to move, it would be very hard to bend one of those shift forks…They are forged steel…Before you tear into the transfer case, have a 4WD specialty shop check the external linkage for binding or jamming…It could be something as simple as a rock or stone wedged in the linkage, jamming it…

I was under the truck on Sunday to examine the linkage, it appears to be fine. I will disconnect the linkage from from the yoke and try to move it back and forth with a wrench. Right as it is I can not feel any ‘play’ in that linkage at all. I tapped on it with a 4 lb. hammer, light taps and even that did not yield any free play. So I will disconnect the linkage and see if that makes any difference. (I had check the tire size to make sure they are the same, and i tried moving the truck back and forth.)
I guess I am getting the cart before the horse by asking this but can that side of the transfer case come off to get at the fork?

Remember to chock the wheels and have the parking brake set or the truck may move if you get the transfer case into neutral.

Many T-cases have a side cover as a place to mount a power-take-off…Obtain a shop manual with an exploded view of your transfer case. You should be able to find that online. First, positively identify what T-case is installed in your truck…There may be several models to choose from…

still have not disconnected the linkage to try to move it with a wrench. I have seen those forks bend, one would almost think they would break rather than bend but i have seen it. If not a fork what else could it be?

Get under there and take a look at that linkage…Most of the older T-cases shifted by pushing and pulling a pair of 3/4" round plunger-rods in and out of the case…Some crude but effective linkage back to the lever in the cab accomplished this…One rod did H-N-L and the other did 2WD-4WD…

Sometimes on a New Process transfer case the the fork will actually have one side worn off-Kevin

i unbolted the shift linkage on the transfer case, only one linkage. I then tried to move the shifter by placing a wrench on the square part coming out of the transfer case. It is stuck solid, doesn’t even wiggle a bit, no play at all. So something is jammed up inside. I will tear it apart. Does anyone know if i can pull it apart to see what is wrong with it still on the truck connected to the tranny.

If you are gonna have it off the ground, then try to shift it. It surely won’t be in a bind then.

Did you ever come across a solution?
I’m having same problem. Replaced broken linkage also. Just won’t move at all. With or without linkage on.
03’ ram 1500 5.7 hemi

No experience w/that make/model, but my truck has a Dana 20 transfer case and the two most common reasons I’d investigate on that one if it wouldn’t shift are

  • problem with the physical linkage between the shift lever (the thing you hold onto to shift the xfer case) and the xfer case shift rods. It’s sometimes possible to fix that w/out removing the xfer case.

  • Something binding or more likely broken inside the transfer case, like a gear, bearing, those y-shaped things that move the shift-gears etc. For that the xfer case would have to come out and repaired/rebuilt on the bench.

If you can figure out the make/model of xfer case somebody here probably knows all about it. Common xfer case brands are Dana and New Process.

Most people call them “shift forks”