Dodge Ram 1500 Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 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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Known Problems

The transfer case in the Dodge Ram 1500 has multiple gear ratios, which can be selected by moving the switch in the cabin to 2Hi, 4Hi, or 4Lo. It has been known to shift to 4Lo without warning, at any speed, and whether the vehicle is on or off. If this occurs at highway speeds, the result can be catastrophic failure of the transfer case.

This is caused by a faulty four wheel drive shift motor, selector switch (in the cab) or the wiring between the two. The most common cause is the transfer case switch, which is an electric motor mounted on the transfer case. 

To correct the issue, inspect the wiring to the transfer case switch motor for damage, and replace the shift motor if needed. Disconnecting power to the shift motor will lock the transfer case in its current setting.  

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.

A surging or bucking during acceleration can be caused if the distributor is moved or mis-indexed. This is a result of the cam and crank position sensors being out of synchronization. Wear of the oil pump drive gear can cause similar symptoms because it allows excessive free play in the distributor drive. The distributor drive gear and bushing should be replaced if the rotor tip moves back-and-forth more than 3/16th of an inch when checking drive gear free play.

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

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.

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 door locks intermittently lock and unlock without pressing the door lock switch, the door lock cylinder switches may need replacement. This may occur more often when driving in damp conditions like the rain or through a car wash.

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 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).