fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
82,500 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most common solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
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problem #1

May 032021

5500 Tradesman Crew Cab 60 C/A 4x4 6.7L I6 Cummins

  • Automatic transmission
  • 82,469 miles

click to see larger images

front driveshaft u-joint broke, blew transfer case apart front driveshaft u-joint broke, blew transfer case apart front driveshaft u-joint broke, blew transfer case apart front driveshaft u-joint broke, blew transfer case apart front driveshaft u-joint broke, blew transfer case apart front driveshaft u-joint broke, blew transfer case apart

On Sunday, May 2, 2021, I noticed that the "road noise" in my truck was getting louder. It sounded as if I had put giant mud tires onto my truck (which I obviously had not). I was sporting the standard 19.5" Continental tires that usually come standard on these type trucks. It wasn't too loud, but just enough that I noticed it wasn't normal. The next morning, driving down interstate, I noticed that the "road noise" seemed a little bit louder. I stopped for fuel and walked around my vehicle and even got underneath. I tried to move the driveshafts but got no play or movement. I then checked the air pressure in all the tires and found them to be a little different, but not out of normal range. I checked the tires for a possible loose tread or bare radial, but still found nothing unusual. Tires were fine with normal wear. I finished fueling and got back onto interstate. Within a mile or two, the humming sound grew exponentially louder then suddenly a loud boom and I felt something hitting underneath the truck. I immediately checked my mirrors and navigated across 3 lanes of traffic to the shoulder. In the process I noticed a few large pieces bouncing down the interstate behind me as cars were dodging them.

Once to the side of the road, I turned off the engine, got out and inspected the underside of the truck. Half my transfer case was missing, and parts and fluid were pouring out onto the road. Called my insurance company and eventually got it towed to the nearest Dodge dealer in Murfreesboro, TN. A couple days later, their service manager let me know that they could not even look at the truck because they were not allowed to per Chrysler because it was a 5500 model. I finally got it moved to Freeland Dodge in Antioch, TN almost a week later and it sat for over a month because they were "backed up with only one diesel mechanic on staff".

I called often to check the status but was told the same answer each time. Eventually I was told that they had looked at the truck but could not tell me the assessment until I provided service records. Which of course, I thought was odd. How does a previous service record change your investigation of the damaged vehicle at hand? Again, to which they had no answer. So, I called the previous owner and found out where they had the truck serviced. I then called that Dodge dealer and asked for the service records. They asked why. I explained. They were confused, the service manager said that he had never heard of that truck having a grease point on the drivetrain. He did promise, however, to send me ONLY one service record, not all of them. I asked why, but he just said that his system would not allow it. He promised to send it later. I called back several times on the following days and I never got the service records. I asked the service support specialist at Freeland Dodge to assist me in getting the former service records. She also called Sternberg Dodge in Jasper, IN and they promised her the service records as well. As of today (August 11, 2021) we still have not received those records.

On June 17, 2021 I finally got a handwritten estimate emailed to me. The mechanic still had not brought the truck into the shop to inspect properly, He only looked at it where it was sitting in the lot since it arrived over a month prior. They estimated a cost of $19,000 out the door. They also assessed that the damage was caused by a lack of grease on the front differential U-joint (which, by the way was missing because it went bouncing down I-24). Half of that double U-joint was still attached to the drive shaft on the truck but it did not have a grease fitting on it.

On June 21, 2021 I finally got my only service record from Valvoline and forwarded it to Freeland Dodge. According to Valvoline, their technician marked all lubrication points as "sealed" and did not grease the front driveshaft grease fitting when I had taken it in for an oil change back on September 30, 2020. When confronting Valvoline about the issue, they denied all responsibility because I did not bring the truck back to them within 3,000 miles to allow them an opportunity to find and correct the problem. I explained that it's a diesel and that Dodge recommends changing the oil every 15,000 miles. Valvoline still denied responsibility and denied the claim I filed with their corporate office. . In my experience, and in my research, I have never known a U-joint to start malfunctioning due to low grease and then completely break apart within 24 hours. I have heard driveshafts hum for weeks and months and even serviced some that took so much grease that they must've been completely empty. Yet they all still worked as designed. I have never seen one break apart only 24 hours after first hearing a noise from them. I firmly believe that something else went wrong inside that transfer case and caused that U-joint to seize up at 70 mph. But I cannot get Dodge to investigate further. They just keep asking me if I'm going to pay $19,000 to get it repaired.

Also... I asked my insurance company about a claim as well. But apparently Dodge called them before calling me with the report and told my insurance company that the "damage was due to mechanical failure as a result of owner negligence". I found this out later from my insurance company when they called to let me know they were closing the claim because they don't cover mechanical failures, only accidents.

- bennettrodgers, Nashville, TN, US