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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53
Known Problems

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.

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 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.

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 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.

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.

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 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 vehicle will not shift into, or out of four wheel drive, and the "Serv 4WD" warning light is illuminated, the front axle disconnect actuator may need replacement and a power module (TIPM) may need a software update.

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.