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Dodge Ram: Problems & Solutions



  • avnutavnut Posts: 10
    Thanx to you guys, I walked away from a deal on a 2002 4x4 Quad-Cab, went across the street and bought an Avalanche! THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart! DC needs to start all over with QC from MB in MHO! BTW, GM will be happy for your Biz! Good luck to y'all!
  • brnzbkbrnzbk Posts: 33
    Your the one who will need it!!!!
  • bc01clsbc01cls Posts: 44
    Not to smear Toyota or other brands, but please read the owners woes in this forum. Not just Toyota either....check out GM and Ford. All cars/trucks have problems, especially with the short testing times from pre production to actual production models. I have a Quad Cab '02 model and I've read that 5.9's with automatics have had a lot of tranny failures in the past, so I went with the 4.7. I had a Dakota 318 for 10 years and it was a great truck with no maladies whatsoever, which is what leaned me towards the Ram. I drove Toyota but I'm sorry; other than the nice ride, it has a very cheesy interior (not even as nice as the "lesser" Tacoma), rear drum brakes, and it is way too pricey. I guess I'll take my chances with the Mopar. It is truly a nice driver and 4 doors....woohoo! PS: 4,000 miles and nothing weird yet.
  • avnutavnut Posts: 10
    You're = You are. I hope your luck holds. The 5.3 Chevy Motor is 327 c.i. Have you seen any of those running around?
  • txyank1txyank1 Posts: 1,010
    with the "327". Different animals(except numerically). And not even in a "Dodge Ram".
  • newramfannewramfan Posts: 22
    I must say that I genuinely feel sorry for you. The Avalanche has got to be the ugliest truck I have ever seen, with those square topped wheel wells and god-awful front end. Not to mention the plastic sides that look like they might warp in the noon day sun. The proto-type for the Av. was much better looking. I don't think Red Green could make it look any worse. As a matter of fact, a little duct-tape on those plastic sides might help hold them on. I used to be a Chevy man, but they have really made a bad decision with that front end and now it looks like they plan to carry it over to the Silverado and the S-10. At least they don't have the plastic sides and square topped wheel wells. Maybe they are coming to their senses, but I doubt it. Bonne Chance to you Avnut.
  • bill5471bill5471 Posts: 8
    good for you, dont forget jeep used to be amc , there is still more quality in those than a dodge got 180,000 out of mine. had a 99 quadcab 19,000
    aliment out of wack, bottom of the doors rusting,
    motor pinging, reprogram computer-no pinging, also no power and really , really bad milage. Dodge told me to go pound salt! Tell all my union brothers to avoid dodge products like the plauge.Am very impressed with my av and also our chevy work trucks
  • brnzbkbrnzbk Posts: 33
    Just a heads up on your brake system. I have a '02 RAM Quad Cab built in Mexico, and my master cylinder was defective from the time of delivery. The symptoms were: if you were in stop and go traffic and gently applied the brake pedal it would continue to travel towards the floor and the truck would keep moving, however, if you increased the pedal pressure then the brake system would engage as normal. This is a subtle defect and from what I have learned this only affected trucks built in Mexico. I had my master cylinder replaced and everything is working properly, I just wanted to pass this along in case anyone else noticed this happening on their RAM. I was told that a interior diaphragm or seal was the culprit, and because the seal was completely enclosed within the cylinder housing there was no visible leakage, which would be a telltale sign of a faulty master cylinder.
  • jlamarjjlamarj Posts: 19
    The window sticker on mine indicated the assembly plant. Mine was built in Mexico. No brake problems. It did smell like a fresh bag of Nachos when I first bought it.

    My mirrors are a little loose. Noticed the right one vibrating immediately after taking the keys. The left one now seems a bit loose. I am scheduled to make a stop at the local dealer next week. I am sure they will handle it. I also noticed yesterday that the left rear brake lens had some condensation inside. I went through a high pressure "touchless" car wash the day before. I imagine some water made it through the seal. That, too, will be corrected.
    6800 miles and I love my truck!
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    While talking to a fellow in a mall parking lot about his new RAM 1500, I noticed his had condensation in the left taillight as well. So far that's the only one I've seen.

  • magillamagilla Posts: 75
    Not really a problem, but finally have something to talk to the dealership about when I go in for the 3K oil change and check. They'll think I'm nitpicky. My windshield or dash makes this small ticking or popping noise when it's cool out. Doesn't do it all the time, but I have tremendous hearing and any small noise is going to drive me nuts. I'm sure my 5star dealership will handle it. And yes, my mayor was elected in Mexico. Still love it.
  • rudy2000rudy2000 Posts: 32
    I had a '97 Ram CC, 360, all options. Positively loved the truck. 115k trouble-free miles. I would recommend to anyone "buy a Dodge".

    twinsscrew: check the VIN; first character is the build country. 1, 4, 5=USA, 2=Canada, 3=Mexico, J=Japan, G=Germany. Rudy
  • durango508durango508 Posts: 37
    It's been a while since I have lurked around here at edmunds.
    I have a 2002 2WD Quad with 4.7L and Auto Trans, about 7500 miles
    with no problems until the last 1000 or so. It is mostly an annoyance
    right now and haven't had it looked at yet. But, when slowing to make
    a turn or slowly coming to a stop I sometimes feel like the last downshift is a little harsh. Almost like something slipping. It is
    happening when I am going 5-10 mph. Anyone else with similar
    problems? I have checked the trans fluid and the level seems fine and
    it doesn't appear burned. Any suggestions?

    Thanks, Paul
  • sdscheffelsdscheffel Posts: 4
    The only problem I have had in 91,000+ miles is the freeze plugs rusted out between the back of the engine and the Trans. I have had no trans problems to speak of (knock on wood) except that annoying hum in reverse that you can't do anythig about. I run 265/75 16 Goodyear ATS with 3.55 gears (i changed the speedo gear to correct it). I use synthetics from front to back. K&N airfilter, Mopar performance PCM (adds 28hp and 25lbs torque, requires the use of premium fuel), Accel cap & rotor & super coil, and MSD 8.5mm plug wires. I drive the hell out of it and get 13mpg in town and 16 hyw. Est. 260-270hp 360-370lbs torque. Either I have just been lucky or got one built on a Wed.
  • peppe1peppe1 Posts: 54
    Hey all just got my password so I'm in!!
    Had a 5.2l(Auto) 2001 Sport Quad 2wd Green with every thing but leather. Took it in to get the console cover replaced with 1700miles and the dealer sprung the drivers side door and had to get the whole side repainted(on my birthday noless).
    So With 21199 miles on it traded it in for a 4.7L (auto) 2002 Green Quad SLT 2wd with everything but leather again in November 2001.
    No comparison in the two trucks The 02 kicks.. 7500 miles a few minor quirks head lamps collect water, getting them replaced. Idol is low, 400 rpm taking it in toget it looked at.
    Also hard shift upon slow down and gear grind when putting it into reverse.
    Let you know the out come Tues.
  • b360b360 Posts: 6
    My name is Bill, bought this truck new, after 52000 mi no serious problems. Only two sensors replaced, TPI and OX. Peeling paint was biggest problem. Everyone seemed to have it in that era.
    Chrysler does nothing about that. I used an independent shop to repaint the Truck, its still good enough to be worth it plus I feel better about the truck looks like a million bucks They had to strip to bare metal and start over. Cost...2800. anyone getting help from Dodge
    with paint problems?
  • hft03hft03 Posts: 1
    I have a 98 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 with the 360 motor. I have had a problem very similar to posting #7. The symptom is that the engine loses power while I'm driving. It basically goes into a idle type state no matter what speed I am driiving (for example 30 mph or 70 mph or whatever). Stepping on the gas either produces a stutter effect or it has no effect. It happens only for a few miles off and on and then everything is ok for maybe a few weeks, a month or even a few months. I have had two gaskets replaced one on the throttle body and one on the intake plenum (the intake plenum was causing a pinging problem and its replacement has fixed that problem) However I still have the original problem as it just happened again yesterday.
    Needless to say I'm pissed as I only have 33k miles on this truck and have had it serviced every 3k miles.
    If anyone knows whats wrong I'd like to hear from you as the dealer hasn't been much help. I've spent about $800 so far and the problem still exists.
  • shopsonshopson Posts: 1
    I have a 97 Ram 2500 SLT Diesel and a 99 2500 Diesel both have high mileage and have never had any problems. Even when the kid put unleaded in the 99. Just drained the tank and refilled with diesel and no problems. My next car will be a Ram 2500 Diesel.
  • lee76lee76 Posts: 3
    I am curious if anyone has had a similar problem. My steering box is leaking power steering fluid. The truck is a 2500 4X4 and has about 73K miles (just out of the extended warranty). I would expect either the pressure or return hose to let loose before the steering box.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926

    Where is it leaking? Is it the sector shaft seal?

  • Ever since I bought my '99 Dodge V10, 4x4 (new) I have been very pleased with the performance. I have one "major" problem though and that is with the brakes. I have replaced the front pads on this baby every 20K miles (I currently have 84K on it) and this last time I had to replace the shoes on the back....I'm not really complaining about the back brakes since this compares to the Fords I've driven previously (over 25 years experience with them..) Am I the only Dodge owner (again, this may be related to the fact that it is a V10, 3/4 Ton) who thinks the braking system (front wheels) were copied from a small KIA, or Honda?
    (Oh yes, the obvious thought would be to question my driving habits, but I assure you I do not ride the brakes, and all my trailers have their own brakes except for my boat trailer, plus I only pull trailers approx. 2 times a week, the rest is "normal" city street driving.
  • jcmdiejcmdie Posts: 595
    Dodge has been known for "small" brakes for some time. They did correct I believe in 2001 when they received 4 wheel discks. Anyhow, if you have the rear brakes adjusted the fronts will last longer. The "self-adjusters" on the rear brakes don't work.
  • dhalendhalen Posts: 2
    I haven't jumped on board the Ram 1500 band wagon just yet. I have heard too many horror stories about the Dodge transmissions.
    I REALLY like the new 1500 Quad Cab 4wd, but am a little gun shy because of the tranny.
    Has anyone had issues/experience with the new 1500's transmission?

  • jroy59jroy59 Posts: 2
    I have had a Dodge/Chrysler product for 23 of the past 26 yrs. Most have had minor problems like mirrors falling off, pwr. door lock malfunctions etc.
    But the 2002 Ram has pushed me to the limit.
    Theres a ticking sound from under the hood,
    one dealer says it origintes from the vacuum canister and nothing can be done. The dealer that I purchased the veh. from cannot hear anything.
    The truck has shut off 2x while at traffic lights,
    and I get 10 -12 mpg on the highway.
    My truck is at the Dodge dealership as we speak for repair.
    The dealership suggest that I let them drive my truck for 200 -300 miles and I'll have to buy the gas. Of course I refused to pay for the gas.
    The service mgr. tried to convince me that the sticker states that the truck should get 11 mpg..
    When we looked at a sticker it stated 17-22 mpg hwy.
    Of course the back peddling started.
    I'm so busy venting that I probably didn't mention how much I love the owning the truck.
    But the dealership that I'm dealing w/ sure will try to make a person feel dumb.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926

    I have talked to various transmission repair people. I have one, in fact, in the family. The consensus is that Dodge truck automatic failures were rarely seen until Dodge began using an overdrive system. These would be the A-518 and A-618 units and the time frame for trouble extends from 1985 through 1994 and the newer 45 & 46RE transmissions.

    During this time frame there were several complaints about delayed engagements and shifts on these transmissions. It was determined that this problem was caused by ATF siphoning out of the torque converter after shutdown and was predominantly a problem in cold weather climates. Chrysler addressed this problem by field retrofitting a "drain back valve" in the transmission cooling return line. This prevented ATF from draining out of the torque converter.

    However, the drainback valve inserted a new problem, that being that it was easily clogged or sometimes became frozen closed in extremely low temperatures which cut off fluid to the transmission. I have been told that in as many as 50% of Dodge truck transmission repairs all that was done was remove this drain back valve from the cooling line. In others, a complete drainback valve replacement was performed.

    Other Dodge truck transmission related problems appear to be the result of some solenoids in the electronic versions that either stick or fail, and an even smaller percentage related to corroded or faulty electrical wiring to these solenoids.

    Another problem is the use of the incorrect transmission fluid. Dodge specifies a "7176" ATF which contains special anti-friction modifiers. Use of MERCON 4 or 5, which is commonly used in Dodge truck transmissions, will lead to failure.

    I was told by one transmission shop that Dodge truck transmissions rarely fail because of catastrophic component failure, but more from contaminated ATF, either from lack of maintenance or severe duty use such as snow plowing. Indeed, the Consumers Report data shows more trouble for the Dodge 4x4. GMs, for example, have several hard failures such clutch desintegration, output shaft wear, seal failures and sun gears breaking. Fords have a multitude of seal problems.

    As I read posts from others on the GMs or Ford's F-series I have noted a fair amount of transmission related woes as well. I also note that the vast majority of so-called "reports" of bad Dodge truck transmission comes people who don't own a Dodge.

    Now regarding Consumers Reports (CR), there are several things that need to be understood about the data.

    First, the CR data reflects what is reported by owners, supposedly based on actual experience.
    Second, the reporting form used by CR asks to list "problem areas." Thus the input from these forms is only a reflection of a PROBLEM as defined by the person filling out the form. It is not an indicator of the severity of a problem, or whether there was actually a problem at all. In this respect a simple noise caused by a loose transmission cooling line will have the same gravity as a complete transmission failure.
    It is this area that, in my opinion, has gotten Dodge trucks the so-called "black marks" in past CR data. Upon inspection of the Dodge truck TSBs I noticed the vast majority addressed non-debilitating issues, such as noise or erratic shifts.

    Ambiguousness in the CR reporting method doesn't stop there.

    The so-called "black mark" method is highly inaccurate. Consumers Reports rates by the little circle method that represents a percentage RANGE of reported problems per 100 vehicles: full red = 2.0%; half red = 2.0 to 5.0%; no color (white) = 5.0% to 9.3%; half black = 9.3% to 14.8%; and full black = more than 14.8% (you will note a statistical overlap).

    J.D. Power, Runtzheimer and others base their quality reports on the number of problems per 100 vehicles. However, CR does not report the actual number of problems as most people think, but the deviation from AVERAGE reported problems, represented in percentage.

    So because of the ambiguious method that CR uses and without knowing the actual numerical figure of problems reported per 100 vehicles, it is possible that one vehicle with 9.3 problems reported per 100 vehicles will get a solid white (average) rating, while another with 9.31 problems will get the terrible half-black circle. But the actual difference would be less than one-half of a vehicle per 1000 vehicles.

    Still another problem. The CR transmission data does not differentiate between manual and automatic. So it is impossible to know which transmission is driving the reported problem number. For that matter, there are six different transmissions used across the RAM line.

    I have now talked to about 40 Dodge truck owners and I have had only two report that they have had a transmission problem of any type. One was a "failure" on 1994 RAM 4x4. The other was a Dakota manual transmission. The RAM 4x4 was operated by snow plow owner who admitted that he did not perform the routine 25,000 mile fluid changes. The Dakota owner reported poor shifting when cold and a rattle noise.

    Chrysler significantly addressed long term reliability problems with the "RE" series in 1998. Most of the changes enhanced fluid flow during overdrive operation. The newer 45RFE is a different design and is being reported as extremely reliable. If you get a 4.7 in a RAM 1500, it will likely be the 45RFE.

    Good Luck,
  • peppe1peppe1 Posts: 54
    It seems that you are knowledgeable about Tranny's so here is a question that hopefully you can shed some light on for me!!
    My 02 QC 4.7L(auto 45RFE) after about 7000 miles seemed to shutter after coming to a stop with the truck still in drive and my foot on the brake. Not a constant shutter but a kin to the vibrations you would get if a large truck would pull up next to you. Also started to notice that when the sutter happens the RPM's are at 500 with slight fluctuations down. Only seems to happen after the engine is a operating temperature. Also when this occurs if you stop and put the truck into reverse you get the "normal" solenoid sound followed by a brief grind of the gears. Only when going into reverse.

    The dealer put a DBR on the truck and said that the engine hit all targeted RPM's however it was in the shop and not up to temperature. Dealer said that sound heard was the solenoid, went back to reproduce sound for Service Manager and he would like the tranny guy to listen to the sound on Wednesday.

    Could there be a link to the low RPM's and the gear noise. And which should I address first.
    The dealer stated that once the test shows everything ok that they are not there to trace my problems and to drive it until the "annoyance" becomes more of a problem.
    Thanks For your Help.
  • jlamarjjlamarj Posts: 19
    02 Quad 45rfe 4.7. When I slide her into reverse I hear a moderately loud clunk. I am not mechanically inclined but a friend said it sounded like the "knuckles" were loose in the rear end. Now, I damned sure don't want to be riding around town with loose knuckles!


    I would never have noticed it but now that I have, it concerns me. The transmission has a small hesitation after being placed into drive. I did not expect this truck to react to inputs like an Accord.

    8000 miles into this and I am a very satisfied owner.

    Dusty-Should I be concerned?
  • lariat1lariat1 Posts: 461
    Both conditions sound normal. The clunk you hear is the gears in the rear end taking up the "lash" or in simpler terms the gap between the pinion and the gear. The hesitation when you place the tranny in drive is the time it takes for the fluid to be directed through the proper channels and start the output shaft turning
This discussion has been closed.