2003 Dodge Ram 1500 Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 2003 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.

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18
Known Problems

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.

If the transmission delays initial gear engagement after being parked overnight or longer, it may be due to a suspect transmission cooler return filter. If the transmission was recently serviced and the part number for the cooler return filter contains an "AB" suffix at the end, a new filter should be installed.

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 3.7L 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.

Some vehicles may develop a musty odor coming from the HVAC system, Dodge has issued a cleaner/disinfectant and a coating for the evaporator designed to inhibit bacterial growth.

The 3.7L V6 and 4.7L V8 in very cold climates (below freezing temperatures) moisture can collect in the Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) system and freeze. This will cause various drivability problems and there are revised PCV system components to repair this concern.

The track for the power seat may need to be replaced if the seat rocks when the vehicle accelerates or slows down.

The Check Engine Light may illuminate for many different reasons, some of which may be corrected by updating the software in the powertrain control module (PCM).

The throttle body may malfunction in very cold climates causing symptoms at engine start up. A throttle body causing problems will require replacement.

The thermostat may fail to close completely, causing the Check Engine Light to illuminate. This problem will prevent the engine from reaching normal operating temperature; a new thermostat should be installed.

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.

If it feels as though the steering wheel has a small amount of play (moves toward you when pulled), a new bearing retainer may be needed for the steering column.