1998 Dodge Ram 1500 Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

Refine by vehicle
×
Choose your vehicle
18
Known Problems

If the engine cranks but does not start, or starts and stalls, the fuses should be inspected, especially the power door locks fuse. The power door lock fuse provides power to a module that sends the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) the "OK to start" signal.

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 the 3.7L V6 and 4.7L V8 the Exhaust manifold bolts commonly break, exhaust manifold gaskets should be replaced and replace bolts as needed.

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.

On the 3.7L V6 and 4.7L V8 the camshaft position sensor may fail and cause the engine to crank but not start or it can cause intermittent stalling. A failed camshaft sensor will require replacement.

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.

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.

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.

On the 3.9L V6, 5.2L V8 and 5.9L V8 the Oil leaks commonly from the valve cover gaskets, intake manifold gaskets (front and rear), timing cover gaskets, distributor O-ring, and the rear main seal area. Using fluorescent engine oil dye can be helpful in determining the source(s) of the oil leak.

On the 3.9L V6 and 5.9L V8 the engine oil leaks at the distributor can be misdiagnosed as leaks from the intake manifold seal, oil pan gasket, or rear crankshaft (rear main) seal. A revised distributor is available if oil is found inside the distributor.

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.


A loud buzzing or whining when the transmission is in reverse may be caused by a regulator valve in the transmission valve body. A revised valve was released that does not resonate. Careful diagnosis should be performed because other causes can create the noise.

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.