How to Replace a Wiper Motor on a 2003 Dodge RAM 1500by Marion Cobretti
Replacing the wiper motor on your RAM 1500 is a quick and easy job you can do yourself. Wiper motors fail for a number of reasons, including because of a defective part installed without the knowledge of the manufacturer. Damage to the wiper motor can happen from running the motor on a dry window surface. Heavy snow is also a culprit that can damage the wiper motor. The wiper motor on your RAM 1500 is located at the top center of the engine under the hood. You may consider using a step stool to properly service the motor bolts to avoid stripping them while reaching over. With the proper tools, replacing the wiper motor can be done in 30 minutes or less. Always think of safety when you’re performing your own auto repairs.
Removing the Wiper Motor
Use a flat-head screwdriver to remove the metal retaining clips from each of the windshield wiper pivot arms. Remove each of the pivot arms and place them on the ground on either side of the vehicle. Do not put them together to avoid mixing up which pivot arm is for the left and which for the right.
Lift the hood and disconnect the negative battery cable from its post with your socket wrench. The negative post on the battery will be identified with a minus symbol on the top of the battery. Wrap the metal end of the battery cable with the black electrical tape completely. Lay the cable down so that it is not touching any other metal or the engine itself.
Pop off and remove the grill panel on the cowl. This is the long plastic grill at the bottom of the windshield where the wiper pivot arms are. Set the grill to the side of the work area so that it’s not broken.
Unplug the wiring harness connected to the wiper motor. If you can’t lift the clip on the harness by hand, use a flat-head screwdriver to assist you. Pull the harness off by the connection plug, not by its wires.
Remove the retaining nut from the wiper motor’s control arm. Remove the two bolts at the top securing the wiper motor and the two at the bottom. The two bottom bolts securing the wiper motor will have two rubber bushings for each bolt, a total of four. Do not loosen them; they are needed for re-installation. Once all of the securing bolts are removed, take out the old wiper motor.
Install the RAM 1500 Wiper Motor
Inspect the new wiper motor for any visible signs of damage. Compare the old and new wiper motor side by side to make sure they are the same. Place the new wiper motor back into the same position as the old one.
Set your torque wrench to 60 inch-pounds and secure the two bottom bolts first on the wiper motor. Don’t forget to include the two rubber bushings for each bolt. Keep your torque wrench on the same setting and return the two bolts to the top of the wiper motor.
Position the wiper control arm back on the wiper motor pointing down. Set your torque wrench to 204 inch-pounds and completely tighten the retaining nut for the control arm.
Plug the wiper motor’s wiring harness back in. Put the grill back over the cowl. Unwrap the negative battery cable terminal and reconnect it to the negative battery post.
Install each of the windshield wiper pivot arms and their clips that secure them. Turn the power to the truck on and test out the new wiper motor.
- "Chilton's Dodge pick-ups 2002-05 repair manual"; John A. Wegman; 2005
- "Popular Mechanics Complete Car Care Manual"; The Editors of Popular Mechanics; 2005
- "Automotive Wiring and Electrical Systems Workbench Series"; Tony Candela; 2009
- Some aftermarket replacement wiper motors for the RAM 1500 only have one available securing point for the bottom of the motor. If this is the case with your replacement, secure the wiper motor using the right-side securing point, not the left.
Things You'll Need
- Flat-head screwdriver
- Socket wrench set
- Black electrical tape
- Wiper motor
- Torque wrench
Marion Cobretti began working as a freelance writer in 2006. His work appears on Newsvine and other websites. Cobretti completed a three-year course in automotive technology and is currently seeking an Associate of Applied Science at Macomb Community College.