Dodge Ram - All Models

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Auto Defects > Dodge

July 2000

Dear Chrysler Owner:

Thank you for contacting the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) about your 1986 or later Dodge Ram pickup, Ram Van/Wagon, or Ramcharger. CAS has received many complaints which question Dodge's claim that their large trucks and vans are built "Ram tough." The most common complaints on these vehicles include stalling, transmission woes, paint peeling, and brake failures. Dramatically redesigned after more than twenty years of production, squeaks and rattles appear to plague the latest generation of Ram pickup trucks.

Most of these vehicles suffer from harsh/rough shifting transmissions. Many owners also experience unexplainable noises from their differentials at normal operating speeds. Chrysler has issued many Technical Service Bulletins (TSB's) and "driveability" kits in an attempt to cure stalling, surging and hesitation as listed in the enclosed fact sheet. Another common complaint on Ram trucks and vans concerns paint that peels off in large flakes like a bad sunburn. This is particularly common on 1985-93 models with blue, silver and gray paint. CAS has urged Chrysler officials to extend coverage for this and other factory paint defects to 6 years and unlimited mileage which is the same as GM adopted at CAS' urging.

Full-size Dodge Ram pickups with the 5.9L Cummins diesel engine also produce a large number of complaints for stalling, poor fuel economy, and coolant/thermostat problems. Chrysler has issued dozens of Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) on problems in the Cummins diesel and how to fix them. Driveline vibration and shudder are common problems as are various failure of power locks and remote keyless entries in later models. Chrysler notified dealers but not owners about these problems. CAS has listed many of the major TSBs in the enclosed Fact Sheet which tells you how to find any other TSBs on your vehicle.

You'll find more information on these and other Chrysler truck and van problems below and what you can do about them plus a complaint box. Your information will help us build a strong case against Chrysler on the defects we know about and help us spot new ones.

We need you to support the Center for Auto Safety in our fight for consumer rights and against poorly designed and unsafe cars. Your contribution is tax-deductible and entitles your to our quarterly newsletter, Lemon Times. Please submit the membership form along with your contribution and complaint. If you contribute $35 or more, we will send you the current edition of The Ultimate Car Book, by Jack Gillis. Every home should have this invaluable consumer guide.

Sincerely,

Clarence M. Ditlow
Executive Director

CHRYSLER RAM TRUCK & VAN FACT SHEET
Wagon, Truck, Charger, Van
Technical Service Bulletins are listed in brackets below.

Body/Paint: For info on bad paint, wind noise, or water leaks, go to Chrysler Paint.

Brakes/Suspension: Water in ABS warning lamp 1991 Van, Wagon, 1989-91 Truck, Charger (05-01-91); Front disc brake noise 1990-91 Truck, Charger (05-05-91), 1994-95 Truck (05-02-95); Rear drum wear 1990-92 Van, Wagon, 1989-92 Truck, Charger (05-04-92); Premature wear with 12" rear brake drums 1993-95 Van, Wagon, 1989-93 Truck (05-21-94); Vehicle leans left 1990-91 Truck, Charger (02-06-90); Rattle/Clunk from front 1994-95 Truck (02-05-95); Front shock bushings deteriorate 1995-97 V(02-11-97); Rear sits too low 1994-97 Truck (02-03-97), 1996-97 V (02-05-97), 1996 Van, Wagon (02-02-96); Pulls left or right 1994-97 Truck (05-03-97); Front brake lining wear 1994-97 Truck (05-04-97); Shudder pulling away from stop 1994-96 Truck (03-02-96), 1995-96 Truck (03-04-96); Rear leaf spring noise 1994-96 Truck (02-03-96); Drone, vibration 1994-96 Truck (03-03-96); Shimmy after hitting bump 1994-96 Truck (19-05-96); Smooth road vibration in seat 1995-96 Truck (23-48-96); Knocking in front on full turns 1998-99 V (02-08-98).

Engine/Driveability: No start 1992 All (18-04-92), 1994-97 Truck, Van, Wagon (08-21-97); Poor performance 1990-91 Truck, Charger (18-11-92), 1991-92 Truck, Charger diesels (18-18-92); Erratic idle/stall & Surging 1992 All (18-15-92, 18-16-92); White smoke/lack of power 1994 Truck with 5.9L Cummins (18-10-94); Erratic idle, stalling 1992-94 Truck, Charger with 3.9/5.2/5.9L (18-16-94); Slow to warm up 1994 Truck with 5.9L Cummins (07-07-94); Surge between 41 & 54 MPH 1994-95 Truck (18-11-95); Excess oil drainage from draft tube 1994-95 Truck (09-04-95); Runs poorly/Lacks power/Idles rough/Blows black smoke 1994-95 Truck (18-06-95); Miss/Rough idle 1994-95 Truck (18-09-95); Whine @ idle, High idle 1994-95 Truck (18-10-95); Vibration or miss 1994-95 Truck (21-04-95); Turbocharger problems 1994-97 Truck with 5.9L Cummins (11-15-96); Low rpm miss, white smoke, hard start, low power 1994-96 Truck with 5.9L Cummins (14-07-96); Fuel injector pump oil seepage 1994-95 with turbo (09-07-96); Rough idle, surge @ 10-mph 1994-95 Truck (18-21-96); Cold sag, hesitation 1994-95 All with 3.9/5.2L 1994-95 (18-21-97); V10 engine moan 1994-97 Truck (09-04-97); Erroneous malfunction indicator light (MIL) & driveability problems 1996 All (18-03-97), 1997 All (18-26-96, 18-12-97); Buck/jerk 1996-98 Truck with 5.9L Cummins (18-29-97A); Timing chain noise 1990-97 All with 3.9L (08-27-97A); Fuel odor, evaporative purge sticks open 1994-97 Truck (14-10-96A); Light spark knock 1996-97 All (18-24-98); Spark knock, misfire, surge @ 45mph in 4th with 3.9/5.2/5.9L 1994-99 Truck (18-48-98); Accessory drive belt noise or damage 1994-99 Truck with 8.0L (09-04-98); Low power or noise from wastegate actuator failure 1994-98 with 5.9L turbodiesel (11-08-98).

Transmission: Auto overdrive clutch repeat failure 1988-90 All (21-01-90); High 1-2 upshift 1987-90 Ram 50 (21-04-91); Noisy 3-4 upshifts 1988-91 All (21-11-91); Erratic 3-4 shift 1991-92 Truck, Charger (18-10-92); Delayed upshift 1992-93 All (21-18-92), 1992-94 Van, Wagon, Truck with 4spd auto (21-19-94); Delayed engagement 1990-94 Van, Wagon, Truck (21-08-94); Driveline clunk, harshness (4spd auto) 1988-94 Van, Truck (21-18-94); Delayed engagement/Torque conv. drainback 1994-95 Truck (21-05-95); High effort shifting from 2nd to 4WD in cold temps. 1994-95 Truck (21-25-94); Noise below 1400 rpm 1989-93 Truck (06-01-94); No overdrive below -5F 1996-98 All (21-06-97A); Buzz on shift into Reverse 1996 All (21-11-97); Failure below -15F All (21-01-96); No 5th 1994-99 Truck (21-10-98A).

Other: Overheating/no heat 1989-90 Truck, Charger 5.9L diesel (07-01-91); Lower hose leaks 1990-91 Truck, Charger (07-04-91); Faulty jack 1989-92 Truck, Charger (22-05-92); Exhaust drone @ idle 1994-95 Van, Wagon (11-03-95); Lubricant seep from rear axle speed sensor 1995 Truck, Van, Wagon (03-01-95); Cowl cracks 1993 & Prior Truck, Charger (23-63-94); Low heater output 1994-97 Truck (07-01-96); Engine oil contaminates vacuum system 1995-96 Truck with 5.9L Cummins; Remote lock fails 1995-97 Van, Wagon (08-16-97); Remote keyless entry discharges 1997-98 Van, Wagon,1998 Truck (08-39-97); Speed control inoperative 1996-97 Truck (08-22-97); Steering column clunk 1995-96 Truck (19-01-96),1996-97 Truck (19-08-97); Excess steering play 1994-98 Truck (19-10-97); Oil canning noise from cargo box 1994-98 Truck (23-61-97); A/C changes to defrost on accelerating 1994-96 Truck (24-01-96A); Door glass separates from lift channel 1990-96 Van, Wagon (23-13-96); Door area rattle 1994-96 Truck (23-46-96); Tailgate cracks 1994-96 Truck (23-29-96); Tailgate won't latch in cold weather 1994-96 Truck (23-21-96).

MAJOR RECALLS
Copies of recalls may be obtained from NHTSA's Technical Reference Division at 202-366-2768.

Airbag/seatbelt: Buckle unlatches 185,000 1994 Truck (95V-005); Buckle rivets bad 4,200 1998 Van, Wagon (98V-105); ECM module replace 30,400 1998 Van, 263,00 Van, Truck (99V-002, 99V-023);

Brakes: Master cylinders cracked 7,400 1986 D/W series (86V-020); Vacuum hose deteriorates 58,000 1995-96 Truck (97V-068); Brake rotor hub fractures 1,550 1998 Truck (98V-075).

Fires: Fails 30-mph Crash 26,600 1987-90 Truck (90V-124), 7,000 1994 Truck without rear bumper (94V-113); Exhaust pipe ignites material adjacent dash pad 6,400 1997 Truck (97V-126); Fuel tank valve leaks 497,000 1994-96 Truck (97V-199); Generator fuse arcs 12,000 1996 Truck (95V-237); Transmission line sprays fluid on hot exhaust 96,000 1994-97 Truck (97V-084); Fuel line leak 8,144 1998 Truck (98V-182); Diesel supply tube fracture 25,014 1998 Truck (98V-207); CNG tank straps 29 1999 Van (99V-034); Fuel hose leak 45 1999 Ram (99V-044); Clutch line rupture 8,800 1995-99 Truck (99V-115) & melts 9,000 1999 Ram (99V-190); Ignition switch overheats 690,000 1994-96 Truck (00V-135).

Suspension: Track bar attachment loss 3,900 1994 Truck 4wd (93V-173); Front track bar failure 1,900 1994 Truck (94V-097, 94V-202); Lower control arm weld fails 76 2000 Truck (00V-070); Upper control arm fastener breaks 480 2001 Truck (00V-307).

Other: Keys on ring lodge in steering wheel holes 200,000+ 1994-95 Truck (94V-145, 95V-088); Steering wheel comes loose 20,000+ 1991 Truck (95V-089); Seat back latch fails 17,000 1993 V(93V-213); Hood flies up 175,000 1994-95 Truck (95V-056); Wrong tires 2,500 1996 Truck (96V-027); Steering shaft separates 475,000 1994-95 Truck (96V-230); P/seat comes loose 3,500 1998 Van, Wagon (98V-076); Mirror glass wrong 90 1994 Truck (95V-025.002); High idle due to bad ECM software 30,747 1998 Truck with 5.9L diesel (98V-209); Headlight switch fails 79,000 1994-97 Ram 3500 (99V-024); Trailer hitch fracture 357,000 1998-00 Truck (00V-107).

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