The engine began pinging at about 50,000 miles. A dealer updated the PCM and tuned it which almost eliminated the problem. When it started up again around 65,000 miles, I re-routed the plug wires and put in 89 octane gas which has eliminated the ping, but is now eating my wallet too. This is common with Mopar since they don't use a "knock sensor" on their engines like Ford and Chevy do.
Front bearings and seals wore out around 65,000 miles. Unfortunately, the front ABS option requires a single bearing/hub assembly that costs $240 apiece.
Release bearing is starting to rattle after heavy stop and go driving.
I picked this truck after searching in vain for a 98 Chevy Z71 for months. One look and test drive and I was sold. Plus it was one year newer and thousands less than the 98 Chevy for which I was searching. The styling of the Ram is second to none. It still looks better than the new Ram and F150. As for Chevy, well, they must have broke the mold in 1998.
I was disappointed when the bearings went out and I had to replace the whole hub. This replacement seemed premature. Dodge should put a greasable bearing in there. Oh, well.
The pinging also bothers me. It's something that will never completely go away unless I rip off the PCM and throw a carb on it. The price we pay for emissions control...
My Ram is a 1500 short box quad cab with a manual (I was well aware of Dodge's auto troubles and I wanted a manual anyway). I got the ST model so there's no frivolous electronics to wear out unexpectedly. The floors are easy to clean and the seats are very comfortable. The center console is still the largest on the market and the gages are perfect. I keep a strict maintenance schedule and use the same brand oil and gas every change and fill. It is a very smooth highway cruiser and soaks up city potholes with ease.
Overall, this truck is magnificent! It starts everyday, hot or cold. It looks great dirty or clean. It plows through snow like a snowmobile. I've made four flawless cross-country trips with it in the summer and winter. The cab is huge and more comfortable than both my cars ever were. It would be nice to have more low end torque for going up hills or passing. But then again, it's a truck!
I highly recommend the Dodge Ram. It's not a car and not supposed to be a one. I love it for everything it does and doesn't do. For me, it's the perfect vehicle.