I took out my 2004 Dodge Dakota 4x4 automatic trans. to play on the woods and went through a few huge puddles. On that trip immediately after being exposed to the puddles I started to hear a loud squealing. I believe that once all was dry the noise had ceased giving way to a metallic grinding sound consistent with vehicle speed. Sound changes to clicking consistent with vehicle speed when shifted in 4WD. After referring to the Chilton manual I learned it may be CV joint wear, but am confused as to why that would cause the noise to change in 4WD. I have wondered about possible transfer case issues. Given all the information I have provided could I be on the right track? And or what could I or should I do???
Gotta lift the wheels off the ground (up on a lift, preferably). Then engage the transmission and run the wheels at the speed you're hearing the noise.
At this point you should be able to narrow down the origin of the problem by looking and listening, carefully.