RAM 1500 Problems: Complaints From Owners of Ram 1500 Trucks

The Ram 1500 (previously called the Dodge Ram) truck is the third most popular pickup in the USA, surpassed only by the Ford F150 and the Chevy Silverado.  So there are lots of Ram 1500 owners out there—more than 200,000 new users each year.

As with any vehicle, there are problems you may run into with your truck.  The makers of the Ram 1500,  of course, put out recall and repair bulletins.  There are also online owner forums where owners’ problems are discussed.  There are plenty of places to find out if your problem is a common problem or if the problem is unique to your particular truck. This information below is taken from both of those sources (recall notices and owner forums) and gathered together so you can find whatever you need at a glance.

These are some problems with Ram 1500 based on our research: 

2019 and Newer – Fifth Generation problems: Fifth-generation trucks carry on the electrical problems of the fourth generation and add the problem of rear axles that have actually been improperly built.

2009-2018- Fourth Generation Problems: The “brains” of the electrical system of this truck, called the Totally Integrated Power Module, tend to have a lot of issues.  As electrical problems are very hard to isolate, this makes for a very annoying problem.

2002-2009 -Third Generation Problems: These models have a high rate of exhaust manifold bolt breakage in the 3.7-liter and 4.7-liter engines.

That was a bird’s eye view of complaints regarding Dodge Ram 1500 trucks.  Now let’s get down into the specific problems with each model year.   Get out your wallet and look up your particular truck.

Ram 1500 2002 Model Year Problems

  1. Engine Failure from sludge buildup may occur. This is a particularly bad problem. You have to replace the whole engine at a cost of around $4000.  No recall, so no reimbursement to the owner.
  1. Bolts may break on the exhaust manifold. You may have to replace the gaskets and bolts at a cost of around $700.  Again there was no recall, so the cost is all yours.
  1. 7-liter engines have valve spring failures. You will have to replace the valve springs at a cost of around $200. Again, no recall, your cost to bear.
  1. Seals on the rear window are faulty, causing the window to leak.  You will have to take your truck to an auto glass repair shop to have them replace the seals. This will probably cost you around $100.  There was no recall put out for this problem, even though it is a common problem.

Ram 1500 2003 Model Year Problems

  1. Again, the bolts on the exhaust manifold on the 3.7 and 4.7-liter engines have a tendency to break.  These bolts all have to be replaced at a cost of about $700.  There was no recall put out for these bolts, so the cost falls on the owner.
  1. 7-liter engines have valve spring failures. You will have to replace the valve springs at a cost of around $200. Again, no recall, your cost to bear.
  1. Seals on the rear window are faulty, causing the window to leak. You will have to take your truck to an auto glass repair shop to have them replace the seals. This will probably cost you around $100.  There was no recall put out for this problem, even though it is a common problem.

Ram 1500 2004 Model Year Problems

  1. Again, the bolts on the exhaust manifold on the 3.7 and 4.7-liter engines have a tendency to break.  Have to be replaced at a cost of about $700.  No recall.  Your cost to bear.
  1. STILL the seals on the rear window leak.  Have to replace the seal.  Still, no recall so it costs you around $100.

Ram 1500 2005 Model Year Problems

  1. You guessed it – seals on the rear window leak.    Have to be replaced at a cost of around $100.
  1. And again, on the 3.7 and 4.7-liter engines the exhaust manifold bolts have a tendency to break.  Replace at a cost of about $700 to you.

Ram 1500 2006 Model Year Problems

  1. Guess what?  Exhaust manifold gaskets and bolts should be replaced because on 3.7 and 4.7-liter engines the bolts may break.  It will cost you about $700.
  1. Seals on the rear window are leaky and need to be replaced at a cost of about $100.

Ram 1500 2007 Model Year Problems

  1. Bolts break on exhaust manifold on 3.7 and 4.7-liter engines and should be replaced. Will cost you about $700.
  2. Seals on the rear window may be leaky and need to be replaced at a cost of about $100.

Ram 1500 2008 Model Year Problems

  1. Bolts break on exhaust manifold on 3.7 and 4.7-liter engines and should be replaced. Will cost you about $700.
  2. Seals on the rear window are may be leaky and need to be replaced at a cost of about $100.

Ram 1500 2009 Model Year Problems

  1. There are some surprise problems in this model year.  In addition to the usual leaky window seals and broken bolts,  the AC compressor or the heater core may need replacement.  The AC compressor will cost about $800 and the heater core will cost about $950.  There was no recall issued so you will have to pay for the repair.
  1. Second surprise: There have been failures of the TIPM (totally integrated power module). This is the control board of the vehicle—the brains of the vehicle.  Because the control board controls everything, it can cause just about every kind of problem.  You may be stuck chasing different problems until your mechanic realizes it is the control board.  You may be able to avoid some of that if you know ahead of time that these trucks are predisposed to this failure. It is a surprise that a recall was not issued.  So this repair will cost you about $400.
  1. Totally new problem: The rear axle pinion nut may fail.  But good news! There actually was a recall issued (13V038000).  So this will only cost your time and inconvenience, no money has to be paid.  Dodge covers all costs.
  1. Bolts break on exhaust manifold on 3.7 and 4.7-liter engines and should be replaced. Will cost you about $700.  There still is no recall on this problem.
  1. Seals on the rear window may be leaky and need to be replaced at a cost of about $100.  Again, there has not been a recall issued.

Ram 1500 2010 Model Year Problems

  1. Welcome again to the land of broken bolts on the exhaust manifold on 3.7 and 4.7-liter engines. There is no recall and bolts should be replaced at a cost to you of about $700.
  1. The computer may fail and need to be replaced at a cost to you of about $500.  There is no recall on these parts either.
  1. Seals on the rear window may leak and need replacement at a cost to you of about $100. No recall has been issued.
  1. TIPM (Totally Integrated Power Module) may fail and need replacement at a cost to you of about $400. No recall has been issued.
  1. The rear axle pinion nut may fail. But good news!  There has been a recall issued (13V038000).  So you don’t have to pay for this repair.

Ram 1500 2011 Model Year Problems

  1. Failure of TIPM (totally integrated power model) that will cost you about $400.
  1. New issue:  the camshaft and lifter may fail around 100,000 miles.  There is no recall so this one is a very expensive problem.  The repair can cost you around $3600.
  1. New issue: fuel pump or fuel pump relay can fail. There has been no recall issued. The relay only would cost you around $100. If it’s the whole fuel pump it runs around $1000.

Ram 1500 2012 Model Year Problems

  1. Same as the 2011 model year, the camshaft and lifter may fail at around 100,000 miles.  This will cost you around $3600 because there is still no recall issued.
  1. Rear-axle pinion nut may fail. But there is no cost to you! This failure is under recall (13V038000).
  1. New issue: Front airbag might deploy at any time.  Luckily, this one is under recall.  It won’t cost you anything for Ram to repair the wiring harness under the steering wheel. Recall Number 15V459000.

Ram 1500 2013 Model Year Problems

  1. Unexpected airbag deployment again.  Still under recall luckily so there is no cost to you. Under recall # 15V459000.
  1. When you start the car, the ESC (Electronic Stability Control) fails. No cost to you as it is under recall # 13V287000.

Ram 1500 2014 Model Year Problems

  1. Unexpected airbag deployment again.  No cost to you.  Under recall #15V459000.
  1. When using cruise control, it might not disengage. This could be a potentially fatal problem. The dealer will reflash the software at no cost to you.  This problem is under recall #18V332000.

Ram 1500 2015 Model Year Problems

  1. Rear-axle may have been improperly assembled.  Good news!  This problem is under recall.   The dealer will replace the rear axle if needed at no cost to you under recall #15V661000.
  1. When using cruise control, it might not disengage. The dealer will reflash the software at no cost to you under recall #18V33200.

Ram 1500 2016 Model Year Problems

  1. Rear-axle might be improperly assembled.  The dealer will replace the rear axle if necessary at no cost to you under recall  #15V661000.
  1. Possible failure of differential retaining pin. The dealer will replace differential retaining pin if necessary at no cost to you under recall # 17V198000.

Ram 1500 2017 Model Year Problems

  1. 2017 continues the 2016 problem of possible failure of differential pin. Dealer will replace differential retaining pin if necessary at no cost to you under recall # 17V198000.
  1. When using cruise control, it might not disengage. Dealer will reflash the software at no cost to you under recall #18V33200.

Ram 1500 2018 Model Year Problems

  1. After several years, there is still a problem with cruise control– it might not disengage. Dealer will reflash the software at no cost to you under recall #18V33200.
  1. Rear-axle might be improperly assembled. The dealer will replace the rear axle if necessary at no cost to you under recall  #15V661000.

Ram 1500 2019 Model Year Problems

  1. When using cruise control, it might not disengage. Dealer will reflash the software at no cost to you under recall #18V33200.
  1. The sensor in the passenger seat might fail. Deal will replace if necessary, at no cost to you, under recall #18V822000.
  1. Rear axle might not have been assembled properly. Dealer will replace axle if it doesn’t have sufficient oil levels, at no cost to you, under recall #18V556000.
  1. Electrical issues keep popping up. Some of them affect dashboard lights.  These trucks are new enough that the dealer should fix them under warranty.

In Summary:

We were able to use recall data for the newer trucks.  The older trucks rely on data from consumer personal reports.

The great thing about this article is the old saying “fore-warned is fore-armed.”  More people are buying used trucks because new trucks have become so expensive.  Now that you have been warned about the potential problems of the model year you are looking at, you are armed wit the information you need to make a wise decision.  See if you can take the truck to your mechanic before you buy it. Tell your mechanic about the problems other people have with that model year.  Have the mechanic check out those problems on your truck.  You might get really lucky and find out that your particular truck doesn’t have these problems.

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