I have a 1997 Dodge Ram, bought it with 120,800 miles it now has 123,900 it has been 3 months since I have had no real problems with it except the steering. I have so much play in my steering wheel that it is unsafe. While driving I can turn the wheel 2 inches to ether side and the truck doesn't move. I replaced the tie rods, track bar, steering box had it aligned 3 times in the past 2 weeks. Have spent hours trying to fix it without any luck. And in the process of trying to fix it I damaged the clock spring in the steering shaft so the air bag light is on. I have been reading around and maybe the steering shaft is worn, I don't know, but I will give it a shot. I don't plan on driving the truck until this ridiculous problem is solved. As for transmission it clunks once when I am going kinda slow and let off the gas to make a turn or something, but that's about it. Plus the brakes are pretty mushy as well. I plan on rebuilding the transmission at a shop other than the dealer. Other than that the truck is strong, needs a tune up though, it doesn't burn any oil, I run 93 octane gas it looks good I don't know though after reading these other horror stories I think I might get rid of it and get a Chevy...Ford sucks just as much as Dodge does.
When my 97 Dodge RAM 1500 (automatic,5.9 v8,2wd) runs, I think its the best truck in the world. Its powerful, smooth, spacious and looks great. When its not running, or making weird sounds I wonder why I still keep it.
I'm at about 90k miles now, here is what I have had to fix so far. Most of it without a warranty.
Door latch (door wouldn't close anymore) (Atlas dodge said this wasnt covered in my bumper-to-bumper warranty because it's a plastic component)
Both front brake rotors.
Ignition Wiring and Spark plugs.
Idler arm and Pitman Arm.
Rear bearings for the differential.
The drivers seat leather is splitting at the seems.
The seat belts don't roll-up anymore.
When I'm at high-speed sometimes my side mirror will fold in.
Right now the RAM is in my garage with a bad Heater core and a transmission that keeps slipping out of gear. I just bought myself a Ford Ranger with %0APR to drive me to work. I'm not sure what I want to do with the ram now. I might keep it as a project offroad truck, it being a dodge, I'm sure it will keep me pretty busy with *projects*
By the way. Stay clear of Atlas Dodge in Costa Mesa, CA. I and some of my friends have had nothing but the worst stories with their service dept. Tuttle-Click Dodge in Irvine, in contrast, was great and extremely prompt. I just hated the $1000s I had to shell out.
I have a 1997 Dodge Ram 1500. It has 150,000 miles on it right now. I think I was smart when I bought the truck by having a heavy duty trans cooler installed buy the dealer.
It is a 5.9L Magnum with a 4 speed Auto trans. The only problem I am having right now is a skip I can't fix. I have replaced the plug wires and plugs, rotor and cap, and coil. Still have the skip. It still has lots of power and pulls my boat just fine. I love my Dodge! Just hate the skip!
Mark E. Young.
Just purchased a 1997 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 extended cab. Looks great, 66,000 miles. Got a 30 day 1000 mile 50/50 warranty. Drove it 928 miles, oil light came on. Better than 5 quarts low on oil. Took it back, dealer doesn't know what the problem is, advise to continued to drive for a few more miles to see if their mechanic had forgotten to put oil in while changing the oil. Drove the car another 300 miles and checked the oil - quart and 1/2 low. No sign of any type of oil leakage from engine or under truck. Smells like oil burning and makes a lot of noise when pulling a hill. Can someone who has had the same problem tell me what is wrong before I take this truck in. The dealer thinks I am looking at a rebuilt engine. Libby Webb.
I to purchased a 97 Ram 1500 4x4 new. With 59,000 miles on it, I have had some of the problems most folks have posted, save the dreaded transmission failure. Lower ball joints gone at 36,000. Front axle seals also gone due to lower ball joint failures. Replaced with aftermarket nippled ball joints. I too, have had the pre ignition knock as well. That problem occurs because the manifold gasket is to thin. Had it replaced with after-market at 45,000 miles, and a little adjustment to the timing, and the problem is gone. Also had the painted bumpers start to rust (from the inside). To no-ones surprise, Dodge wouldn't cover the repair (said it's not a body part). The best advise I can give, and it has been mentioned here before, is take your truck to a reputable repair shop other than a Dodge dealer. I had all of my problems fixed right the first time. They don't charge nearly the same as a dealer, and the after market parts are of superior quality. Most shops are updated by the manufactures as to problem areas. The big difference is the independent shops don't have to play by Dodges rules.
I bought, new, a 99 ram 1500, 5.2L, 2wd, short-bed. It will be the LAST Dodge/Chrysler product I ever buy. At 42k, the transmission went... had it repaired at a local shop and not one problem with it since! In addition, the bed has rust where the joints are and the bumper has started to rust... no towing or hauling. By the time I hit 75k, the rear ABS sensor has gone, the entire brake system had to be replaced and the oil pump went. From what I have read online, Dodge also has a class action suit against them for premature engine failure due to oil sludge. Apparently these people, like myself, have records of the oil changes, but Dodge says "then it must be cheap oil". Customer service is THE LAST THING Dodge knows anything about. Take my advice, DO NOT BUY THIS TRUCK!!! You WILL regret it. I think I may do what another owner listed a few comments back and write "Don't buy a" over the Dodge sticker!
I bought a 1997 dodge ram 4x4 2500 from my local dealer. it had 105,000 miles when I bought it. drives and runs great, the only problem I am having is loose steering and very touchy brakes. I hope the dodge tranny bug doesn't come and bite me in the rear!!! too bad they have such a bad rep. there great looking trucks!!! Frank, Newbury, Ohio.
I have a 97 4x4 Ram with 5.9 liter engine. No problems, 67,000 miles pulling a 8000 pound trailer, hauling cargo that made the bumper nearly drag the pavement, and putting a boat in and out on a steep grade into a river. You guys to be able to tell the difference between bad service departments and a bad truck. Buying a used truck and then wondering why its screwed up? LMAO! ANY transmission used for anything more than passenger service requires a towing package with secondary cooler. Every horror story here can be found on any manufacturers gripe BB. Trucks require excessive maintenance or they require excessive repairs, take your choice.