Dodge Ram Problems

by Rob Wagner

Dodge Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks can be equipped with up to eight different types of engines ranging from the 3.7-liter V-6 and 4.7-liter V-8 to the 6.7-liter Cummins inline-six diesel and the 8.3-Viper V-10. Up to five transmissions options also are available. In the late 1990s the 4.7-liter engine suffered from oil sludge problems that led to engine failure, but those issues were resolved.

4.7-liter V-8 Problems

Early versions of the 4.7-liter V-8 featured thin engine block walls. This caused overheating and created oil sludge. The engine was inadequately lubricated and had the potential to fail with less than 100,000 miles. Engine failure was often due to the heads cracking.

Transfer Case Problems

A small percentage of the 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 four-wheel-drive pickups may have an incorrectly calibrated integrated power module that contains the wrong transfer case calibration set points. This could cause the vehicle to inadvertently shift into Neutral. This may cause a parked vehicle without the parking brake on to roll away. New software should be installed.

Faulty ABS

Nearly 40,000 Ram 1500 four-wheel-drive pickups were recalled by Chrysler LLC due to a faulty electronic control on the antilock brake system that could cause a loss of the rear brake balance and lock up the brakes. This could result in a crash. The ABS electronic unit should be replaced.

Potential Fire

More than 108,000 2008 Ram 2500 pickups equipped with the 6.7-liter Cummins diesel engine may have an engine compartment silencer pad contacting the exhaust gas recirculation cooler. This could cause an engine compartment fire. Chrysler LLC was expected in 2009 to add a bracket to support the silencer pad next to the cooler following a December 2008 recall.

Gummy Oil

Gummy or sludge oil was a common problem in early 4.7 engines. Although Dodge Ram truck owners may follow the factory-mandated scheduled maintenance, oil sludge can go undetected until engine failure. Only early detection can rescue the engine. In addition to overheating, gummy oil can be caused by a faulty positive crankcase ventilation valve, which should be checked periodically.

Steering Problems

About 32,000 2008 and 2009 Ram 2500 pickups and the 3500 Cab Chassis trucks equipped with Powers & Sons steering linkage may have a faulty steering linkage drag link inner tie-rod connecting to the Pitman arm ball stud. This may result in a fracture. In addition, the steering linkage damper attached to a bracket may inadvertently shift. Both issues may result in losing control of the steering. Chrysler will replace the faulty items.

Other Linkage Problems

Some 2003 to 2007 Ram 2500 pickups and 3500 four-wheel-drive pickups equipped with LKI Enterprises Superlift Suspension may have inadequately heat-treated Pitman arms that may develop cracks and cause premature wear in the steering output shaft. This could cause steering failure. LKI will replace the Pitman arm.

About the Author

Rob Wagner is a journalist with over 35 years experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines. His experience ranges from legal affairs reporting to covering the Middle East. He served stints as a newspaper and magazine editor in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Wagner attended California State University, Los Angeles, and has a degree in journalism.

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