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Dodge Ram Care and Maintenance



  • Hey all. I noticed something strange early this week, and no one has been able to explain it to me yet. I'm new to this forum, but i hope someone can help me anyway. I have a 2001 Dodge Ram 1500, with 5.9L engine and HD tranny with about 135k miles on it. I don't normally haul anything in the truck except the tool box, which weighs a few hundred lbs. Monday, i had to carry approximately 1000 to 1500 lbs of equipment from Austin to Dallas (I never did weigh it, so this is a guess). After the first time i hit the brakes, i figured out i had better shut the OD off. I don't think i have ever gone any significant distance with the OD off before, so i was watching everything like a hawk. Oil pressure and temp looked a hair higher than usual, but that could have been my paranoia acting up. But what was funny was that the mileage looked WAY too high. I have one of those overhead consoles that keeps track of that stuff for you. For the trip up, i reset the economy meter while i was on the highway, and set the cruise control to exactly the speed limit. I was running about 3000 RPM @ 70. When I exited the freeway, i had 15.2 MPG. On the way back, i was unladen, i let the OD come on, and i reset the economy meter while i was on the freeway again, and i once again set the cruise control to exactly the speed limit. When i finally got off the freeway, i had an average of 14.1 MPG. This time, i was running about 2100 RPM @ 70 MPH (which is normal).

    So anyway, I cannot figure out why i got better mileage with the heavy load and the OD off. Has anyone else experienced this? This sure seems like something i should be worried about, but I don't know exactly what I'm worried about!

    Next week, I'm going to run some 'tests' to see how it reacts on my normal commute with the OD on vs the OD off.

    Any insight yall have will be greatly appreciated. I'm not sure if there is a way for yall to find my email address and/or send replies directly to it ... but if you can, DONT do that. The email address i first used to sign up here is no longer valid. Please just post responses to the board.

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    The difference is what is called throttle pressure. At higher RPMs the engine sees a decreased load, all other things being equal. Depending on the load, RPM, and speed, your scenario is very possible.

    With the difference between 2100 and 3000 RPM, however, I'm surprised that you saw an increase with the overdrive off, especially with such a light load.

    Best regards,
  • Throttle pressure? I did a quick search, and found instructions for changing the throttle pressure. Do you think I should adjust it a little?

    I don't understand how the engine see's a decreased load at higher RPM, do you have a link that explains this more fully? Maybe i just dont understand what a 'load' is in this context.

    And finally, is 1000-1500 lbs light for a half ton truck? I thought a ton was 2000 lbs. That would mean i was at or over its nominal rating. Although, i think the sticker on the driver-side door lists a gvwr of like 1700 lbs. The GVWR is the actual rating for how much weight i can put into the bed of the truck, right?

  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    In this instance I used the term "throttle pressure" to describe the inductive force of the air-fuel charge upon the cylinder. As the throttle is opened on a reciprocating piston engine the pressure of this charge increases.

    In the case of load an engine can see the work-taxing effects of load differently when operated through a gear train. The "load" in this case is your 1000 pounds. Moving it across the ground (work) represents a fixed load to the vehicle platform, but can be a variable or changing load to the engine or any component in the drive train.

    At lower RPM the engine produces a relative amount of power, but in most automotive engines that power increases as RPM is increased...within certain limits, of course. Assuming the vehicle is in top or high gearing, at 1500 RPM the load factor on the engine is x and the throttle is opened at x. In this scenario the amount of throttle opening -- or throttle pressure -- will generally be more than the amount necessary to keep the engine at the same RPM without a load.

    Even though the actual weight being moved has not changed, at increased RPM the engine's increased power allows the throttle to be close/closer to the momentum speed of the engine, meaning closer to the same relative throttle position that maintains the same RPM without a load.

    For this reason it is normal to see a condition(s) where for any given weight being moved by the engine, an increased RPM range will actually be more efficient and hence expending less fuel. Typically this comparison occurs more dramatically at lower vehicle ground speeds, but there is no perfect way to predict this since the combination of weight, speed, gearing are highly variable and a number of engine dynamics will not be very well known.

    As to the fact that you have a half-ton pick-up, that delineation is the vehicle platform rating in the form of suspension, braking, and drivetrain ability, much less so the engine's rated power. Most half-ton pick-ups will be rated to tow in excess of 4000 pounds. The Dodge Dakota, for example can be rated to tow as much as 6600 pounds, even though it is only rated to carry 1460 pounds in the bed.

    Best regards,
  • Thanks for the lesson. So if i am getting better mileage driving around everyday with the OD off (and it looks like i am, regardless of the load), should i just always drive that way? What is the drawback to not using overdrive? Will i shorten my engine or transmission life if i don't use it?

    As for the load, if i understand you right, you meant that the load was light from the engines point of view (I'm assuming that to the engine, pulling 2000 lbs is practically the same as putting 2000 lbs in the bed). Because the rating for the bed (that is the GVWR, right?) is really the limits of the suspension and braking system? Thats good to know. Next time i get a heavy load in it, I won't worry about the engine so much.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926

    If you're getting better mileage, then maybe you should drive that way. There's no injury to the transmission, in fact higher RPMs in third gear direct offer higher pump pressures that ensure transmission lubrication. The only disadvantage is increased wear on some engine components that -- theoretically at least -- shorten engine life. I'd experiment a while before you decide that driving without overdrive is actually giving you better mileage, though.

    Yes, weight to the engine is irrespective of where its at, either in the bed or on the rear bumper pulling something.

    Good luck.

    Best regards,
  • Hello i am new here and need some help ya know in the winter time when you start your car up and it takes it a bit to startup after you have turned the key? or smthing like that well my dodge ram 1500 is doing the same thing but only its summer time i didnt know if this was a problem or not.
  • Hello again could someone plz explain to em what overdive is and if i should have it on or off and why cause i ahve od on my ram and its currently off and thtas how i have been driving it thanks.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Matt, overdrive is a higher gear ratio. It's referred to as "overdrive" when the transmission ratio in any gear is less 1.00. High gear on many three and four speeeds years ago was one-to-one at the output shaft. This meant that the output shaft of the transmission was rotating at the same RPM as the engine.

    In recent times many transmissions actually have forward speed ratios that produce faster output shaft speeds than the engine speed. This is a overdrive.

    Most vehicles today utilize at least one overdrive as a final ratio. This reduces engine RPM and for most driving reduces fuel consumption. It is part of the normal sequential shift pattern on almost all automatics, and especially so on Chryslers.

    The "normal" driving method is with the overdrive engaged. When towing higher than average weights, driving in city traffic or hilly country, it is often recommened to disengage the overdrive.

    Best regards,
  • I was just getting ready to go out and change the oil on my NV5600 6 speed. I looked under there and didn't see a drain plug. Where do you drain this oil at. The Manual says that you don't need to regularly change it, but I can't see never changing the oil in something. I bought the Mopar oil for it since amsoil said they didn't have anything available. What is everyone else using for oil. I would be interested in knowing for the next time I change it.
  • mettechmettech Posts: 28
    Has anyone heard anything about this?
    This was found at:

    Thanks to KerrymanMopar for this information (it is quoted from an unnamed source within Chrysler, it’s by no means official).

    “Over the past five years, warranty costs have been reduced by over 40%, and we have had13 straight years of double-digit quality improvements at the Chrysler group. As the overall quality of our products continues to improve, an extended powertrain warranty has become less important to our customers. Ownership trading cycles are decreasing - Chrysler Group research reveals that the average length of new car ownership is 3.5 years. Despite our heavy promotion of 7/70 since 2002, less than 10% of consumers know that we have an extended powertrain warranty. That is why it has not become the traffic driving tool we had hoped. Consumers want new products and new features. What they truly value are our nine new products in 2004 and the many new products in 2005-2006. This is where we want to invest our money. We have decided to eliminate the 7/70 powertrain warranty effective on '06 MY vehicles. The 3/36 will remain in place.

    Service Contracts has already developed new programs that reflect these changes and continues to offer an array of products that range in age/mileage coverage and deductible amounts; which allows dealers the ability to customize the contract to meet customer's needs. These plans can be found starting on Page 10 in the pricing and eligibility guide under New Vehicle Plans 3/36 Basic Warranty tab. Our 3/36 warranty coverage is competitive with General Motors, Ford, and Honda.”
  • jamer1jamer1 Posts: 1
    I am thinking about buying an 06 1-ton with the cummings diesel. Could someone tell me what the average maintenance cost run, what kind of fuel milage I can expect, and what seems to be the major problems with engine,tranny,rear-end, and electronics. Thanks, Jamer1
  • loncrayloncray Posts: 301
    Well, I've got an '03 2500 4x4 - not precisely what you're looking at but close. I'm getting between 14 and 16 mpg right now - and that's city stop-and-go traffic, with a 4x4, BFG AT tires (I lost almost 2 mpg from the stock Michelins), a high cap and a lead foot. On the highway, I usually get 18 - 20 mpg (I don't tow anything). My maintenance costs have consisted of getting the oil and filter changed every 5000 miles or so, plus the new tires at 45,000 miles, a new pair of windshield wipers, and a new parking brake pedal (which also fell off). I have had no other problems outside of one incident of fuel gelling in just about 49,000 miles so far. Seriously, maybe I'm just lucky, but my truck has been pretty well flawless in 2.5 years. I take care of my truck but I don't baby it; I've been a little ways offroad but I'm not a rockcrawler, and I put over 5200 miles on it in one cross-country trip. Oh, and I drove from Kansas City MO to Washington DC (1900 miles) in one day - my truck is very comfortable too. You're going to love your CTD!
  • mxhaulermxhauler Posts: 1
    I recently bought a 1996 diesel dually with 125k miles to haul my 26ft toyhauler.
    I bought the truck after buying the trailer to ensure I have enough truck. But soon as I got the truck re-wired for the new plug away I went to the races, Only to find out that something does not seem right. Ok your not supposed to tow a load (trailer loaded near 4tons) in over-drive so I turned off the over-drive but there is no way I can go past 45mph since the engine is revved nears 2700+rpm. Now this is not a safe speed for long trips (rpm/mph) so I turned the overdrive on thinking maybe it is geared really low, but then its like it has no power and takes a while to get from 45 to 55 and any incline in the freeway even small overpasses bogs the motor down to what i seem to think is a treable engine lug and as soon as it recovers from that another small incline repeat process.....i take it in they say seems fine its the motor....ok......I tke it in the adjust the waste gate turbo injector pump and says seems fine.....So hear i am what to do....Truck seems fine empty around town freeway its just with the trailer in that window of speed to do the speed limit without overreving the engine or lugging it in o/d

    Any suggestions or answers? I dont know the gear ratio I can give the vin# if you have a way to find out.

  • br_brianbr_brian Posts: 3
    I'm the new owner of a 4.7 Ram 1500, and was wondering if it is worthwhile to ask for Mobil 1 or one of the other synthetic oils at the next oil change? I know that the synthetics allow you to go longer between oil changes, but I have to change oil every 3,000 miles to maintain warranty. Are there any other benefits to using synthetics that justify the increased cost?
  • mrbillmrbill Posts: 31
    I thought I'd add some activity here so this is an update on my Ram just to give an 8 month 14500 mile report card.
    Bought Sep 04 with 8 miles on the odometer: Hemi, Laramie edition, including NAV - IMHO, WORTH THE COST! Mine is the CD version - text/icon direction (4aDodge site shows a DVD version with actual maps displayed, but I didnt see it as a Ram option). The NAV works great if you program the destination correctly, as I found out. Compared to a mapquest printout, it gave almost an exact route match and I have relied on it several times when I needed to find an alternate address while traveling, leather, dual climate (wife appreciates that), heated seats (a leather option MUST), 4 wheel ALB, security, Towing Package/HD cooling, Sport appearance (Graphite), 17 in aluminum wheels.
    I do my own oil changes, Mobile1 synthetic, and rotated the tires at 10000 miles.
    Extras added, K&N filter and Extang full-tilt soft tonneau.
    Current MPG with mixed 75 percent hwy/25 city commute: 18.5 average mpg, trip cpmputer still shows approx 20 during full highway trips.
    Noises, a minor/random metalic "tick" somewhere around the rear paggenger slider window.. cant isolate, and its infrequent, possibly a loose seam or joint?? Seats, interior trim, no rattles or problems. Dash tight, cupholder has slight bind when being fully lowered, but it's so minor I dont even think about it.
    Wind noise, still well within reason IMHO, but a quirk: when the AC fan is off, a noticable wind noise is heard on passenger outside air inlet screen. Turn fan on and it stops.
    Engine idle good but can be slightly rough on occasion when stopped in park (tac often shows approx 600-650 rpm) when stopped, but in gear, it usually stays at 500 rpm. I'm wondering if this needs addressing, and I will ask dealer next week when i go in for the one issue I want checked:
    Front anti-sway bar endlink has developed a vertical slop, where I hear it popping on bumps at low speed. I can manually push the sway bar up and down next to the endlink bushings and recreate the slop and sound. To me its a loose lower joint. The passenger side it tight.
    Overal impression is very good, excellent looks, more than enough power and ride/handling is as comfortable and responsive as I can ask for .. :shades:
  • zstonecld2zstonecld2 Posts: 1
    i am in the process of changing the drum brakes on my 2001 dodge ram 1500. i ordered a set of satisfied brake shoes. i left the right side as a reference and using that and my haynes maunual i have the left side put back together and everything looks right but when i went to put the drum back on it won't even fit over the shoes. i did not get the drums turned and i have the shoes adjusted all the way in. any advice would be much appreciated.
  • Hey Dustyk, does this explanation abt using OD also apply to diesel engines? I pull a 10K pound 5th wheel rv, would I be better off not using OD?
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Yes, my comments were generic, although the impacts to fuel consumption might be different since a diesel produces higher torque (higher torque-to-engine speed) than a gas motor. Experimentation is recommended.

    As to reducing the strain on the engine and drive train, locking out the overdrive in certain scenarios is recommended whether diesel or gas.

    Best regards,
  • bbqguidebbqguide Posts: 11
    A leading consumer magazine did extensive comparative tests with synthetic verses non-synthetic motor oils. Their advice? Not worth the extra money. Plainly put!
  • p/n 52037648 is not currently available from dealers ... nor anyone else online (that I can find). This part covers several years of production. I find it odd that the part is not available (on back order). Any thoughts?

  • 1846618466 Posts: 46
    Just purchased a new 2005 Ram 2500 4x4 with a HEMI and was looking at the maintenance required and am puzzled at the sticker under the hood that states to lubricate the front drive shaft universals at every oil change but upon inspection of the universals there are no zerk fittings on them and to make matters even more confusing it says see owners manual on the sticker and in the owners manual it says "cross type universal joints do not require lubrication."

    Just wondering if anybody else ran across this and what maintenance if any they do on these front drive shaft universal joints.
  • bob1186bob1186 Posts: 2
    I have same truck. I use the Fram PH16. It needs to be more than hand tight so use a filter wrench to tighten 1/4 turn behond hand tight. Moisten rubber o-ring with oil before putting filter on. Good luck.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    There's no problem with the design of the PH-16. Since I heard they were so bad I had to start using them. I have the 4.7 in a Dakota, but I believe that the PH-16 application is good for all of the "LA" engines series (318, 360, 3.9). I suspect like what's been suggested that they're not being tightened enough. I usually go a full 1/2 turn or more after initial engagement. And yes, a little lube is needed on the oil ring.

  • jojo5150jojo5150 Posts: 1
    I just bought a 2002 Ram 1500SLT Quad Cab with the 4.7. The first thing I was wondering is about fuel mileage. What is a real world mileage for a truck like that and what are some tips to get the best mileage possible. I have always owned Hondas, so I am a little ignorant. Also, I was wondering if it would be realistic for me to change the transmission, transfer case, and differential fluids and if I do any recommendations for what fluids to use. The truck only has 10500 miles on it, and I was thinking about putting synthetic oil in. Is it worth it?
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    I have the same engine in a '03 Dakota Club Cab, automatic transmission with 45,000 miles. I just returned from a 250 mile trip, mostly interstate driving, and got 20.71 MPG with about 800 pounds loaded on to the truck. I typically get 16-17 in my weekly driving, which includes very little highway, most rural and around town. I have found the 4.7 to be a beautiful engine. They do take a while to break-in completely. Some have stated that it took 30,000 miles or more. Be patient.

    I use Mobil 1 0W-30 full synthetic motor oil, but in all honesty I think synthetics are hard to justify. Their biggest positive feature is viscosity stabilization, ie: high flow rates at a wider temperature range and longer duration. Unfortunately, synthetic oils collect dirt and moisture just like non-synthetics and should be changed because of it. I would not advocate 30, 20, or even 10,000 mile change intervals using synthetic motor oil. However, in the practical duration of the manufacturers recommended change interval, I would say that a synthetic is more reliable through 6-7500 miles.

    From a cost perspective alone synthetics are probably not justified.

    Best regards,
  • I have a 4.7 Ram as well. I drive about 182 miles a day and the 3K oil change rule started adding up quickly. There were times that my oil was still good according to the dealer. My local Dodge dealer recommended that I change my oil every 7500 miles. This worked out great, a change about every 6-8 weeks. I talked with several dealers, auto mechanics, and other owners about switching to synthetic oils for the 4.7 Ram and 90% said it was not worth it, even for high mileage drivers. The engine runs great with non-synths. I am at 110K and the engine runs awesome. I am averaging about 18-city/24Highway.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    What have you used for spark plugs?

    Best regards,
  • roper2roper2 Posts: 61
    What is the best replacement air filter for this engine, a k/n or a standard paperfilter. Do the performance filters help that much on a stock truck? thanks
  • gwp46gwp46 Posts: 3
    Hello Everybody,
    I have a question, can anybody tell me where i can get info on changing spark plugs on my 2003 1500 quad cab with the 4.7 engine. I have 63k miles on it and was wondering if changing the plugs might help the terrible fuel mileage (14 mpg).Thanks in advance.
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