1997 Dodge Ram 1500 Problems
RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1997 Dodge Ram 1500 based on complaints from actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.
Engine overheating can result from coolant leaks which are commonly found at the thermostat housing gasket, water pump, heater return tube O-ring at the water pump, intake manifold gasket, and timing cover gasket. Our technicians recommend a complete inspection of the cooling system after any repairs are made to be sure there are no other leaks.
On some models a void in the rear window seal may cause a water leak. Water may be present on or under the carpet. The seal will need to be replaced if that is the source.
On the 3.9L V6 and 5.2L V8 it is often misdiagnosed as a leaking oil filter gasket, the oil filter adapter can seep from between the adapter and engine block.
On 3.9L V6 and 5.9L V8 engines, the intake manifold gasket may leak and cause increased oil consumption and a spark knock during acceleration; the gasket should be replaced.
If the engine does not crank (or cranks but won't start), the wireless control module (WCM) may have locked up. This is due to static discharge through the ignition key. A revised model should be installed, but simply disconnecting the negative terminal of the battery for thirty seconds will temporarily reset the module so you can start the car.
The AC/heater (HVAC) system may unexpectedly switch to the defrost mode when accelerating. This system is operated by engine vacuum and should be inspected for any vacuum leaks if this problem develops. There is also a revised vacuum check valve available to address this concern.
If a Check Engine Light illuminates indicating leak detection pump (LDP) failure, the cause is often pinched or disconnected vacuum lines to the pump. Vacuum lines should be inspected before replacing the leak detection pump. Contamination (carbon or debris) in the pump can cause failure and any hoses should be cleared before a new pump is installed.
On the 3.9L V6 and 5.2L V8, rerouting the ignition coil wire and spark plug wires can help solve a misfire and/or surge problem that occurs at approximately 45 mph. A service bulletin was published that outlines the specifics of the repair. It states the rerouting procedure should be performed before other repairs are done for misfires, surging or spark knock.
Battery acid can leak on, and deteriorate a vacuum hose for the speed (cruise) control system. If the hose becomes loose or leaks vacuum, the speed (cruise) control will not function.
Some models could have a severe drift or pull to one side when the brakes were applied. If this is not caused by a dragging brake caliper, there is a service bulletin describing the step-by-step diagnosis and many possible solutions. Our technicians note the most common solutions are performing a four wheel alignment, checking torque on suspension components, installing shims between the wheels and hubs, and replacing the suspension arms.