Do you hear a knocking noise from your Dodge Ram while driving, and you want to know what is causing it? You’ve come to the right place, for we have researched this question, and we have the answer for you.
The knocking noise in your Dodge Ram can come from the suspensions, the transmission, and the engine. Knocking noise from the suspension can come from the tie bar/rod, sway bar, and ball joints. Knocking noise from the transmission can be due to bad engine/transmission mounts, low transmission fluid level, faulty transmission sensors, or a loose or broken transmission component. A bad connecting rod bearing can cause a sound like a hammer tapping the engine in Dodge Ram.
We will talk about each possible cause in the succeeding sections and what you can do to fix the issue.
What are ball joints?
Ball joints are a component of the front wheels. It allows the front wheels to move in all directions up to a certain distance. This allows the front wheels to move side to side when you steer your Ram, and move vertically with the suspension to give you a smooth ride.
Their design is akin to how the shoulder joints in your arms work.
However, once the spherical bearing inside the ball joints wears out, there will be unnecessary movement inside the ball joints that will create a knocking sound when it hits the housing.
Unfortunately, driving habits and exposure to road splash and salt can reduce the life of the ball joints.
Bring your Dodge Ram to a service center or to a professional mechanic to verify the problem and make the necessary replacements.
What is a tie rod?
The tie rod is what connects the steering rack to the steering arm or steering knuckle.
When you turn the steering wheel, the pinion gear at the end of it will also turn. The pinion gear is a circular gear that transfers the movement of the steering wheel to a flat gear—the steering rack.
At both ends of the steering rack is a tie rod. The tie rod pushes or pulls the wheels to steer it when you turn the steering wheel.
The tie rod is made of two sections that allow its length to change depending on the alignment of the wheel.
Harsh road conditions and normal wear and tear can lead to tie rod failure. Potholes, bumps, and hitting the curb can damage tie rods and shorten their service life. Worn tie rods will cause rattling and knocking at the joints.
Consult a mechanic to verify the issue. The ball joint is located very close to the tie rod, and either one or both can cause the knocking noise.
What is a sway bar?
Sway bars or stabilizer bars are common components of larger vehicles like your Dodge Ram.
When you make a turn, the centrifugal force pushes your car outward from the center. This force is proportional to the speed of your Ram when you made the turn and the diameter of the turn.
If your vehicle is fast enough and the turn is sharp, your vehicle can roll over from the force of the turn.
Sway bars are an important part of a vehicle’s suspension system. It prevents body lean, especially in large vehicles, to avoid rolling over during a turn.
A sway bar is a torsion spring that keeps the inner wheels to the ground as the outer wheels brace the car for the turn. Without a sway bar, the outer wheels will pull the inner wheel off the ground and cause too much body lean, which could lead to a rollover.
However, like all the components of your car, sway bars also wear out. A clicking or knocking sound from the suspension of your Ram when going over bumps is a sign of a failing sway bar. A loose steering wheel and poor handling are also signs that the sway bar needs a replacement.
Bring your car to a mechanic to check your sway bar. If you constantly have problems with the sway bar of your Ram, consider switching to a different type.
What causes the knocking noise in the transmission?
The transmission and the engine are the two major parts of your car. They need to be in the right alignment all the time. If they lose alignment, the components that connect one to the other will cause knocking noises because they are hitting parts or areas that they should not.
Transmission mounts protect the transmission from too much vibration while driving while keeping it in the right position and in alignment with the engine. They normally last 60,000 to 100,000 miles or more. Oxidation and vibration naturally wear them out.
Worn transmission mounts will cause your Ram to create a clanking or knocking noise when you shift gears. In a Ram with a manual transmission, you will feel difficulty in shifting from one gear to another with grinding and knocking noise.
It is important to address this issue immediately. Ignoring this problem can cause damage to other drivetrain components like the driveshaft and the wheel axle.
A failing mount means that the other mounts will work harder to compensate for the lost support. This will cause premature failure in the other mounts.
Bring your Ram to a mechanic to replace the mounts.
Low Transmission Fluid
The transmission fluid lubricates the moving parts of the transmission. It is also responsible for cooling those parts.
If your Ram is low on transmission fluid, the moving parts of your transmission will not get the lubrication they need. Without proper lubrication, the gears will not shift well and cause a knocking sound. Old or dirty transmission fluid will also cause the same problem.
Check the color of your transmission fluid through the dipstick. It should be clear or reddish in color. If you see cloudy, dark brown, or black, then it is time to replace it.
Bring your Ram to a mechanic to check the transmission for leaks if you constantly get low transmission fluid.
The transmission of newer cars is controlled by the TCM (transmission control module). Sensors in the transmission allow the TCM to determine the right gear for any given speed of your Ram. If the sensors are failing, it will start to send inaccurate information to the TCM, and the TCM will shift your Ram to the wrong gears, causing the transmission to knock.
This is a problem that should be fixed immediately by a mechanic. It can easily damage the components of the transmission and cause more expensive damage.
Problem With Transmission Components
The transmission houses many gears, springs, and bearings. These components allow your transmission to provide the right gear while you drive your Ram. If any of these components come loose or become problematic, they will start to rub or slam into the other components of the transmission.
This will create the knocking noise that you hear.
Unfortunately, this problem often requires the removal of the transmission to check which component is failing.
What is a connecting rod bearing?
The connecting rod is what connects the piston and the crankpin of the crankshaft. The connecting rod transfers the energy generated by the combustion on the piston to the crankshaft.
The connecting rod bearing, on the other hand, is what ensures that the connecting rod will spin the crankpin without any problems. It is a split-sleeve type of bearing because you cannot insert the crankpin into it before you install the connecting rod.
A split-sleeve type bearing is made of two halves of a circle instead of a complete ring.
Worn Connecting Rod Bearing
A worn connecting rod bearing will have a loose grip on the crankpin. This will cause the connecting rod to hit the crankpin randomly as it spins instead of smoothly spinning. This is where the knocking sound comes from.
Testing Which Cylinder Is Knocking
One of the ways to check the connecting rod bearings involves draining the oil from your engine and removing the oil pan. The oil pan is often directly below the crankshaft.
You can easily disconnect the bottom of the connecting rod after you remove the oil pan. This will allow you to more closely inspect the connecting rod bearing.
Keep in mind that this test will involve jacking up your Ram and putting it on jack stands so that you will have enough room underneath to work on the connecting rod.
Alternatively, you can bring your Ram to a mechanic to check the connecting rod bearing for you and make any necessary replacements. It is important to replace a worn connecting rod bearing immediately because it can cause premature wear on the connecting rod.
Standard Rod Bearing Set For 2003-2016 Dodge is available on Amazon through this link.
There are several reasons why your Dodge Ram would make knocking noises. The location of the knocking noise will tell you which part is having a problem.