Test Drove the '03 TB LS. Questions

Robbabob

Original poster
Member
Dec 10, 2012
1,096
Vehicle data:
'03 TB LS 4X4
4.2 L, no G80, 3.42 rear
Built in OH


Observations (my son did the crawling; he went to auto tech school):
turned 106K miles during our test drive
No rust on any of the 5 door bottoms or hood
ball joints solid
Many of the boots front and rear show their signs of aging
tie rods good
bushing show signs of aging
Oil a little brown, but not black; not concerned.


Test drive:
No play in steering
Throttle response good, no hesitation
no misfire
soft suspension (confident this is normal)
braking was solid, ABS engaged during panic-stop test
all dash lights working
TC response good into 4HI, all wheels felt like they were working together
4LO when at a stop, engaged oddly; made the rear end squat. only dove straight on pavement, seems good.
HVAC worked on EVERY setting. Just didn't want to do fan speed of 5 at first, but then did. Seems typical issue.
Both wipers work
All speakers work.
Right side mirror didn't want to work outward for me at first, worked for wife (it'll be her truck, works fine then)

My '01 Dakota does not squat at all engaging 4LO. Maybe this is typical of the TB and uses different technology than Dodge.

Overall, the trip was worth it, IMO. For its age, it looks great inside and out. Would like input on the 4WD observation, and if there was anything else we didn't check or maybe I didn't post it yet.

Thanks in advance, as always!
 

Ed H

Member
Oct 18, 2012
167
That sounds like a good truck. I can't speak for the 4LO issue, but the soft suspension is probably (just guessing) because the original shocks / struts are on the vehicle. That can be remedied by a set of Bilstein HDs. ~$229 to your door. Install is pretty easy and no alignment needed afterwards. It really tightened up my truck. Nothing short of an awesome ride now.

Make sure the thermostat is good. Did the truck come up to temp quickly (needle almost straight-up at 200-210 degrees)? It should reach temp in a couple miles or less.

The tires are good? They are not cheap and might give you a bargaining point.
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
Since you can't go into or out of LO range without being in neutral, there's typically no transmission interaction involved. But if you had the brakes on, it could have left you in a residual nose-down, weight-shifted position from the stop. And any jiggling such as the LO range mode transfer might have just overcome friction in the suspension and the rear would lower itself a tiny amount. Or the LO->HI transition could have released some residual driveline wind-up that left torque on the transfer case clutches. You might repeat this test by stopping in reverse to lower the rear, then do the LO-HI thing again.

Make sure all the tires are not only the same size, but the same brand and model and tread depth.
 

Robbabob

Original poster
Member
Dec 10, 2012
1,096
Ed H said:
That sounds like a good truck. I can't speak for the 4LO issue, but the soft suspension is probably (just guessing) because the original shocks / struts are on the vehicle. That can be remedied by a set of Bilstein HDs. ~$229 to your door. Install is pretty easy and no alignment needed afterwards. It really tightened up my truck. Nothing short of an awesome ride now.

Make sure the thermostat is good. Did the truck come up to temp quickly (needle almost straight-up at 200-210 degrees)? It should reach temp in a couple miles or less.

The tires are good? They are not cheap and might give you a bargaining point.

Good point about the age of the shocks, probably stock.

The ONE thing I forgot to check, NEEDLE POSITION!

Owner did say he felt the thermostat needed replaced and would be doing that this next week(end). When all the lights lit, I didn't think to connect the OBDII reader... brought it for dual purpose, one being to check actual temp and not just the gauge.
 

Robbabob

Original poster
Member
Dec 10, 2012
1,096
the roadie said:
Since you can't go into or out of LO range without being in neutral, there's typically no transmission interaction involved. But if you had the brakes on, it could have left you in a residual nose-down, weight-shifted position from the stop. And any jiggling such as the LO range mode transfer might have just overcome friction in the suspension and the rear would lower itself a tiny amount. Or the LO->HI transition could have released some residual driveline wind-up that left torque on the transfer case clutches. You might repeat this test by stopping in reverse to lower the rear, then do the LO-HI thing again.

Make sure all the tires are not only the same size, but the same brand and model and tread depth.

Okay, tires in front, much newer and different brand. Makes sense about rotation differential.

We first did the transfer at very slow rolling and felt the clunk. The at full stop, and held the brake tight (for no reason on flat ground). Once he gets title, we will test drive again and change between hi and low with brake off. Tires will still be odd between front and rear, still.

Realizing the main purpose for the truck is wife on pavement. 4x4 mainly for when it snows and we will likely start taking hers on vacation where 4HI will be desired. Probably never 4LO, but we'll want the confidence of it's operation JUST IN CASE.

As our comparison for the 4X4 TC operation, when going home and at a red light, put my Dakota in neutral and performed exact steps and absolutely no clunk or sit. Hear the locking of the hubs is about all.
 

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