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BW 44-44 to BW 44-45 Swap

Discussion in '4th Gen DIY' started by Moparman16, Dec 18, 2018.

  1. Moparman16

    Moparman16 Senior Member

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    I have successfully swapped my BW 44-44 transfer case for a BW 44-45 transfer case and I just wanted to document the process for anyone else looking to do this.



    Backstory

    Like many of you, I was never happy with the performance of the BW 44-44 transfer case in my 2013 Ram 1500. Even after adjusting my driving for the way this t-case works it just kept letting me down. After getting the “4wd Overheated” warning on almost a weekly basis, I took the truck into a driveline shop to get the transfer case looked at. They confirmed my suspicion and informed me that the clutches were toast on the t-case. My truck was out of warranty at this point so my options were:
    1. Rebuild my transfer case with new clutches and still have all the issues associated with a BW 44-44 OR
    2. Install the Rockland Standard Gear Kit to eliminate the clutches but end up with issues getting back into true 2wd OR
    3. Swap in a BW 44-45 and figure out how to get the trucks computer to think it came from the factory with a BW 44-45

    As you may have guessed from the title of this thread, I chose option three.



    Transfer Case Swap

    You will need the following parts for the swap:

    - BW 44-45 transfer case

    - 44-45 transfer case switch

    - AlfaOBD software

    - 2 Quarts of ATF+4

    I sourced a low mileage (42,000 km) BW 44-45 from a salvage yard through eBay. According to the ad it was out of a 2016 Ram 1500. They are easy to come by on eBay and www.car-part.com. I also bought a 44-45 transfer case switch from my local salvage yard. I admittedly don’t know if the 44-45 transfer case switch was needed but I wanted to make my install as factory as possible. Picked up some Red Line C+ATF from a local parts store and I already had the AlfaOBD software. The total cost of all of the parts (minus the AlfaOBD software) was $315 CAD. Obviously, your price will vary depending on how much you shop around for a good deal on a transfer case.

    Since it is winter in Northern Ontario and I don’t have a garage, I had a buddy (who owns a driveline shop) install the BW 44-45 for me. The connectors are the same between both transfer cases and they have the same physical dimensions. I have removed and reinstalled transfer cases on other vehicles and it is not a very difficult job or anything to get intimidated by. I will not be describing step by step how to remove and replace the t-case as there are already many guides on how to do this.

    You will need to transfer your encoder motor from your BW 44-44 to the 44-45, if your 44-45 didn’t come with an encoder motor. Both cases use the same encoder motor. There is a wire that runs from the encoder motor connector directly to the 44-44 transfer case that will need to be unpinned. Since there is only one wire that runs from this connector to the transfer case it is impossible for you to screw it up. The corresponding wire from the BW 44-45 transfer case will need to be pinned into the connector. When you have the transfer cases in front of you what I just described will make perfect sense.

    Once the BW 44-45 was installed and filled with fresh Red Line C+ ATF (approx. 1.5 quarts needed; any ATF+4 will work), the next step was to install the 44-45 switch. You need to remove the center stack (lots of guides and pictures available around the forum). Once the center stack is removed there are four screws that hold the 4wd switch in place. Loosen them, swap out the switch and reinstall the center stack. Please note, my truck is a 6 speed automatic so this may differ slightly for those you with the 8 speeds and rotary shifter.


    AlfaOBD

    The final part of the swap is changing the transfer case type with the AlfaOBD software. For anyone that is new to AlfaOBD follow the following link and familiarize yourself with the software: https://www.ramforum.com/threads/alfaobd.123982/Anyone that has tried to swap transfer cases or install the Rockland Standard Gear kit has faced the same problem after the install. They have been unable to get their trucks to return to “true 2wd” after the truck had cycled through 4wd Low. 4thGen Ram 1500s have two points of disconnect in 2wd: the front axle disconnect and the transfer case. With the RSG Kit or swapping to a 44-45 without modifying the software, the encoder motor will not rotate far enough when 2wd was selected to disconnect the front driveshaft from the transfer case. Only the front axle disconnect would disconnect the front driveshaft. This meant that you were technically in 2wd but the transfer case would always be locked in. The fear with this is that it would cause premature wear of the transfer case and increased vibration in the driveline. I root of this problem is caused by the body control modules of 44-44 and 44-45 trucks having different programming.

    The AlfaOBD software provides the ability to change the transfer case type within the Body Control Module. I reached to others on the forum and was able to get a dump of a 44-45 trucks BCM settings. These settings got compared to mine and the only difference was the transfer case type.


    To change your transfer case type you must:


    - Plug in OBDLink MX and turn key to “Run” position without the vehicle running

    - Select “Dodge/Ram” and then “Ram 1500 (DS/DX)”

    - Select “Body Computer”

    - Select control unit for your year of truck

    - Click "Connect"

    - Click on Active Diagnostics (picture of car with hood open; bottom right corner)

    - Scroll to the bottom of the list and select “Car Configuration Change”

    - Then in the lower menu select “VehConfig 3-T-Case Type"

    - Select “BW 4446 with Synchro”

    - Select “Start” and then press “Next”

    - You will get a message saying “Program Completed”

    - Back out to the main menu of AlfaOBD, remove OBDLink MX and turn key to off position and remove

    - Allow the truck to sleep for about 10 minutes and you should be good to go


    Testing

    When I started the truck no warnings or fault lights appeared. I tested all of the drive modes and everything worked perfectly. After testing the drive modes, I had one more thing to check: would the front driveshaft be disconnected at both disconnection points in 2wd. I turned my truck off with it in 2wd and climbed underneath. I was able to freely turn the front driveshaft and it was clear that both disengagement points were functioning as a factory built 44-45 truck would. I plugged the AlfaOBD back into my truck and checked for fault codes. There were none.

    I have been using the t-case almost daily since the swap and I have had no issues to date.

    Disclaimer:
    This swap was done on a 2013 Ram 1500 Big Horn Hemi. You can use the information above at your own risk. I do not accept any responsibility for changes you make to your truck. I also cannot ensure that my process will work for every combination of truck.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
  2. fengfengfeng

    fengfengfeng Member

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    :happy160:
     
  3. chrisbh17

    chrisbh17 Senior Member

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    Great write up and great results! Thanks for being the guinea pig.

    In your testing and checking afterwards, have you ever noted if the front driveshaft turns while driving *even in 2wd*?
     
    huntergreen likes this.
  4. Moparman16

    Moparman16 Senior Member

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    Never checked
     
  5. Hemi395

    Hemi395 Senior Member

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    Great write up! Kinda feel like I should just do this swap and not worry about clutches burning up again.
     
  6. chrisbh17

    chrisbh17 Senior Member

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    Dont forget you would no longer need to track down bodily fluids from a unicorn to use inside the xfer case.
     
    smiley, Mpgrimm2 and Hemi395 like this.
  7. Hemi395

    Hemi395 Senior Member

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    Lol yeah well I already said f it to the unicorn blood and am running C+ in my 44-44
     
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  8. 6.7CumminsDrvr

    6.7CumminsDrvr Senior Member

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    Sticky
    Sticky
    Sticky
     
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  9. Moparman16

    Moparman16 Senior Member

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    Do it...you won't regret it! :driver:
     
    Hemi395 likes this.
  10. Ghost_RAM

    Ghost_RAM Senior Member

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    Great write-up! Added your link to the OP of the Alfa thread.
     
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