2003 Dodge RAM 1500 Fluid Specs

by Teri Olcott
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How close did Dodge's bespoke trucks come to being called the "Little Mermaids?" Closer than you might think. Back in 1929, University of Michigan sculptor Avard T. Fairbanks was broke, his Willys-Knight was always breaking down, and he needed a new car. He called up Chrysler and proposed a trade: a new, red 1932 Royal Eight, for a hood ornament to match anything from Rolls-Royce. His design, a mermaid riding the waves, was remembered as much for her -- ahem -- "stand-out" features as anything else. Some time later, he got an urgent phone call from Dodge; they couldn't put a mermaid on their burly trucks. So, seeking inspiration, Fairbanks pondered "What's the one thing you really want to 'dodge?'" The answer: a Ram!

Engine Oil

Dodge recommends 5 quarts of SAE 5W-30 oil with a new oil filter when changing the oil in the 3.7-liter and 5.9-liter engines. The 4.7-liter engine will require 6 quarts of oil.

Transmission Fluid

With the engine running and the truck in park, check its transmission fluid dipstick and add a half quart at a time until the fluid level appears between the hash marks on the dipstick. The Dodge Ram 1500 automatic transmission requires Mopar+4 automatic transmission fluid or equivalent and Mopar manual transmission fluid or equivalent for manual transmissions.

Transfer Case and Differential

Fill the transfer case with Mopar+4 ATF or equivalent, and top the differentials up with the recommended gear oil. Dodge recommends GL-5 SAE 75w90 gear oil for the front axle differential on 4x4 models. The rear axle differential requires Mopar synthetic gear lubricant SAE 75w140. Limited-slip rear axles will need 4 ounces of Mopar limited-slip additive or equivalent added. To fill the transfer case or differential, fill the component until the fluid begins to run out of the fill hole.

Power Steering

Fill the power steering reservoir to the full-line on the fluid reservoir with Mopar+4 or ATF equivalent.

Brakes and Clutch

Fill the brake fluid reservoir to the "FULL" line using DOT-3 brake fluid.

Cooling System

Fill the coolant reservoir tank to the "HOT" fill line with Mopar Antifreeze/Coolant 5 Year/100,000 Mile Formula, Hybrid Organic Additive Technology or equivalent. The 3.7-liter and 4.7-liter will hold 16.2 quarts. The 5.9-liter will hold 16.3 quarts.


Dodge recommends that the 2003 Ram 1500 3.7-liter and 4.7-liter engine use 87-octane gasoline. The 5.9-liter should be run on 89-octane gasoline. The short-bed truck has a 26-gallon gas tank; the long-bed has a 35-gallon gas tank.

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