1999 Dodge Ram V8 5.9L 4X4 SPORT Tranny noise?

Hello All,
I am by no means a mechanic, however, I would like some input before I go to a mechanic to get my truck checked out. I am not totally convinced that my issue is 100% a transmission issue, however signs do
point to the area. When accelerating starting at approximately 40 Mph and 1500-3000 RPM I hear a pretty pronounced rattling ( kinda like a can with a couple of bolts shaken..). As best I can tell, it seems to be coming from the middle left area under the truck, most likely close to the tranny. The noise has gotten a bit worse over the last couple of weeks. It seems I can avoide the noise completely by traveling at less than 50 mph on a slight incline, and I dont seem to hear anything when accelerating on a decline. I dont hear the "rattle" while driving the back roads, only when on the freeway. The noise seems happen mostly when more force is needed to move the truck on an incline at 40 ++ MPH and higher RPM. Driving in OD seems to reduce the noise a bit as well. The truck shifts just fine, and Im not noticing any performance degradation, however I am very concerned about the noise. Also to note is that the Rear Diff seems to be leaking more than usual, I am planning on topping it off to see if that helps, since I cant be 100% certain that the noise is coming from the middle left Might be coming from the rear diff? I doubt it though. Any inputs would be greatly appreciated..
Thanks,
-Tim
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Could be that if there is a heat shield at the cat or elsewhere, it has become loose.
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This was my 1st thought. I recently had 2 heat shields break loose on my Dakota.
Ken
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very good point. I've had that happen too and a rattling noise it did make. simple shot from a MIG fixed that. My shield did not rattle at the higher speeds though but my rear differential did (pinion bearing).
a simple crack in a heat shield would be easy to locate by sight. start at the catalytic converter. that's where mine was.

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I had a universal joint do something like that once.

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The symptoms seem to be the same as I had with my 5.3L 4x4 except I had a vibration instead of a noise. Mine was the beginning of a tranny meltdown. I caught it early enough that the bill only came out to about $1,000 or so, half a rebuilt unit or a complete rebuild. I had the shop put in a shift kit which cost nothing extra but really helps in towing and shift-lag. I had tried everything to get rid of the vibration. It was kind of like a tire that was out of balance and showed at certain rpm ranges. I had changed to my extra tires and wheels and nothing seemed to help the problem. I had no obvious transmission problems at all for weeks and then I went to pass a slow car and noticed a very slight slip when it shifted down a gear. I went to the transmission shop immediately and they fixed the problem. It is just a guess as these issues can be a lot of things, especially if it is a rattle because the sound migrates along the chassis a lot and it is damn near impossible to 'really' know where it is coming from.
Ed
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Sounds lke the flex plate (flywheel) to Torque Converter bolts are loose. Check before the thing self destructs. Steve

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Hmm, How much would something like that usually cost to fix? Price range wise?
-Thanks
-Tim
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Oh, and thank you to all for replying :-) Much much appreciated :-D
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I was having similar issues and it was the U clamp between the cat and the muffler ( that clamps the pipe tight where it joins) that was not tight enough causing rattle.
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these trucks have a weakly designed rear differential for some reason. My 98 Dakota, a friend's 99 Ram 1500, and another friend's 01 Ram 1500 - all required pinion bearing replacements before 90k miles. All 3 of us ended up having a dealership do the work and 3 of us were screwed for an entire rear end rebuild. The only piece that was bad was the pinion bearing which could have been replaced without replacing everything else at a significantly lower price. Never towed anything and always kept fluid levels clean and up to proper level.
just my $0.02 worth.

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