1997 Dodge Ram Van 3500 Reviews and Owner Comments

1997 Dodge Ram Van 3500 owners review and rate their 1997 Dodge Ram Van 3500.

1997 Dodge Ram Van 3500 (4 Reviews)
Body, Interior & Misc.
Drive Train
Electrical & Lights
Exhaust & Emissions
Heating & Air Conditioning
Suspension & Steering
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Two 2011 reports discuss steering stability problems. I have recently purchased a 1997 Dodge Roadtrek (an extended van, modified to allow standing in the center and fitted with cabinetry and plumbing). It drove beautifully when we got it, like a car. On our maiden trip, it had some intermittent shimmy so we took it to a local garage we have used before that has sufficient lift capacity and height. They replaced ball joints and front shocks and all four tires. The old tires had good tread but were apparently original and showed considerable sidewall checking. They had recently gotten alignment equipment and so could do so on the van.
Now the Roadtrek is quite unstable, making it very difficult to control exactly where it is on the road. It does not pull to either side but tends to wander. It is back in that shop where they hope to fix the problem. Any suggestions from owners with similar problems?
I bought a 1997 dodge ram 3500 12 passenger van with 240,000 miles on it from a church, they said it ran fine. A craig's list special for 2,000 dollars. I drove it around the SF Bay area for a few days before loading it up and heading to burning man in the desert above reno nevada. As I was driving around testing it, unloaded I noted that it was hard to start and it heated up to 4/5 of the temp range on the gauge. I replaced the thermostat and changed the coolant, and changed the oil again (replaced the 10w-30 with straight SAE 40 due to the low engine oil pressure light coming on at idle when warm). I also added a bottle of chemical to the coolant to keep the temp down. Then I loaded it FULL to the top with camping gear (3,000 lbs) for the party. It made it the whole way and never overheated or went above the 4/5 gauge mark. GREAT VAN!! It is still hard to start, leaks steering fluid and A/C problems, but for 2K, what a machine. I'm keeping it for next year's burning man party as well. Thanks to the church for taking good care of it and servicing it regularly. Christian
I have the exact same Roadtrek. I had the exact same problem. Tried the T-bar, but the Bilstine shocks helped the most. It's not perfect, but tolerable. I have had it with the shocks for 13 years now.
This 97 Dodge Roadtrek is very stable insofar as "sway" is concerned. The problem is the steering gear cannot hold the vehicle from wandering or swerving when encounering a side wind. I think the problem is the gear and perhaps too much caster adjusted in the alignment.