1997 Dodge Ram from North America - Comments

1st Jun 2003, 12:15

Using oil, buddy had same problem and found a bulletin from dodge, faulty intake gasket, its basically acting like a 2 cycle engine, replace it and all should be good. As for me just turned 93k and reverse in Trans went, OD squeals and in shop to have trans rebuilt or replaced and most definitely NOT dealership.

11th Jun 2003, 16:10

About 2 years ago I bought a used 1500 dodge ram. V6. So far since I have bought it I've replaced the 02 sensor, the Cadillac converter, and now its going to cost me $1500 to get the transmission replaced. From what the mechanic told me, the torque converter is messed up and is throwing metal shavings all through the transmission and oh wait it gets better! Now it shifts really hard and won't idle right because the torque converter won't lock into place. Now I know why all my friends said "whatever you do, don't buy a dodge!"

3rd Sep 2003, 20:57

I have a '97 Dodge 2500 with transmission problems that seem to be electrical. Occasionally, it fails to shift out of low gear (always when the low fuel light comes on.) This problem started at around 40,000 miles.

If you have any information concerning this problem e-mail me at ddennis5@lycos.com.

21st Nov 2003, 15:48

I have a 1997 Dodge Ram 1500 5.2 V8 with 95,000. I took it in to have a transmission fluid leak looked at and to troubleshoot why it was making a terrible noise when backing up. They (Amaco) just told me I have to replace the transmission. Something about a governor pressure switch / solenoid being shot and scorching noticeable inside the transmission. I can see from all the other posts here that this seems to be a very common issue with Dodge Ram's - that's too bad. Until I did my research I was convinced Dodge make a good product; too bad my research was after the fact. I will not make that mistake again.

6th Jul 2004, 07:05

I have a 1997 4x2 Laramie SLT extended cab that is about to hit 100k. The tranny will no longer shift into 4th after it warms up a little. Took it to Mr Transmission and they said I need a new PCM (computer) and maybe the tranny after that. (I trust them, but for $2400 - I had to take if home instead :) ) My Dad gave me the truck because they felt it was not reliable, and looking at all the work he has done on it, I can see why they feel that way! I have spent $1000 on it since I got it, plus a little more to put a nice Flowmaster muffler on it (series 50 SUV).

I would talk bad about the truck, but it just puts a huge smile on my face riding down the road in it, listening to the burbling exhaust.

I am thinking about a heavy duty rebuild and external cooler for this thing when I do get the tranny fixed, since I like it so much.

One thing I am sure of, I would rather keep a spare car around than make payments! Someone posted earlier about all trucks having problems, but I sure do not see Chevy complaints on this web site!!

I went to jasperengines.com/ as recommended on another site, and they are very specific about the high failure rate of these Dodge trannies, and they have a program to use a lot of different/heavy duty parts in the key failure areas. I have no idea if they are any better than anyone else, I just found it informative how many areas they feel the transmissions are deficient! Now if I can just find someone who will update it for a lot less...

15th Nov 2004, 16:22

98 Dodge Ram 1500 3.9 V6 Magnum Standard Cab short bed manual transmission. Purchased New in 1997 from Marietta Dodge.

At about 37k miles the exhaust manifold bolts sheered off of the drivers side resulting in a gargling sound when accelerating.

The bolts were obviously over-torqued in the factory, but took this long to actually break. My dad who has worked on cars for 45 years says he never saw that before. (Glad I came up with a new one for him : () Of course at 37k I was just out of my "3 year 36" warranty and the bolts had to be tapped out one at a time... ($$$$) I tried to do it, but couldn't (2 tap and dye sets broken) so I took it to the car care place who tried, but failed to get it done. So I found another place who finally got that fixed.

47k the other side's manifold bolts sheered off. Why did I not have them replaced when the others failed? Stupidity I guess. I had both heads pulled and had the holes re-drilled and new more expensive bolts put on. I swore "never again" but I had no idea how many other things could go wrong.

62k the rear end started making noise on a trip home for fathers day from Alabama to St. Louis. I bought new spider gears and spent 2 days home working on the rear end. I didn't get the precision fit done right and on the way back to Alabama, the rear end failed again. Cost on rear end so far $380 and 2 days of my labor. I had a place in Tennessee put in a used rear end that I purchased from a Chrysler salvage yard in Birmingham. $400 for parts $350 for labor. Yes I got reamed on both ends. It gets better. The rear end that I was sold in Birmingham got me back to Birmingham, but was failing as well. The Parts yard refused to put in another one, but did swap the rear end for me. I found a place to swap the rear end for $200 estimate... $260 total. The truck was out of commission for 2 weeks and my rental car bill was over $700.00.

88k Truck has been running like a champ. Replaced the rear brakes and the brake pedal/ratchet assembly ($140) which never worked right. The pedal would not hold down and the ratchet would release unexpectedly. I had a lot of fun explaining why Valets shouldn't use the parking brake every time I went out. Now that the truck is getting older I don't want any undue stress on the transmission by leaving it in gear with no parking brake applied. It has a hard time holding on a slight hill without the parking brake. The transmission slips. But since it's a manual I am ignoring this.

94k Rear end fails on the way back from Nashville to St. Louis. I have moved a lot, the truck has been registered in GA, NC, AL, and now MO. Have priced out another used rear end from a MOPAR salvage yard in Missouri ($350.00), the first experience was so traumatic that I now don't remember which rear end ratio I have in it. So tonight I have to verify that and hopefully this one will work in it.

DO NOT TOW ANYTHING WITH A CHRYSLER LIGHT DUTY REAR END.

I have only towed u-haul trailers from state to state only while moving. Average of once every 18 months. Mostly using 5x8' box u-haul trailers with light loads. This has been the cause of my rear end troubles as far as I can tell. The engine is strong enough to handle the load... but the rear end is CHEAP and FLIMSY. The truck has not been off-road, in water, or tires spun. (Well there was one time... :) )

The truck is paid for and other than gas costs I am not spending much more on it if I can help it. I want it to turn 100k. I'll keep you all posted. It still looks good on the outside and I am glad after reading these posts that I do not have an Automatic transmission. The manual transmission apparently has saved me much more grief. Here are the lists of repairs made in chronological order.

1. Drivers side exhaust manifold bolts.

2. Drivers and Passengers side manifold bolts.

3. New Tires

4. Rear end #1

5. Rear end #2

6. New Tires

7. AC Compressor Clutch Failure replaced entire unit.

8. Parking brake assembly and rear brakes.

9. Rear end #3 (Pending)

10. Shocks and struts (Pending)

Current Mileage - 95,250.

Contact me if you have any questions.

Lessons learned:

1. Rotate your tires!!! Just do it, don't ask questions!

2. Not all trucks are created equal. This is a toy truck that is painted to look like a real truck.

3. Line - X Bed liners are the best thing ever invented. And they are guaranteed for life.

4. Camper shells are rubbish, until the first time your cargo gets wet. Then they are awesome.

5. Manual transmissions suck on long trips without cruise control.

6. SPEND MORE FOR AN EXTENDED CAB I WISH I HAD! If you are over 6 ft tall like me, a larger cab affords more reclining room.

7. a 1978 75th anniversary Harley Davidson WILL fit in a short bed pickup. And if its falling out, I DO have the strength to pick up the rear end and throw it up in there.

Although I probably wouldn't have done this had it not been my own bike. Just let if fall boys and girls. I attribute my stupidity and unlikely success to adrenaline. Full-dress Harley Davidsons are damn heavy.

Meet_jblack@yahoo.com.