Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. Notes: The 2002 has the well-known and documented problem with their dashboards falling to pieces, but it also has engine failure from oil sludge. That's a doube shot of awful in your morning coffee.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 1
Average Mileage:
82,981 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Dodge Ram 1500 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2002 Dodge Ram 1500 Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #20

Apr 052010

Ram 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • 112,000 miles


I have a 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 4dr 4WD.I just had my truck inspected and all lighting worked fine. I was pulled over easter evening by a New York state trooper and notified that my rear lights were out including parrking, running, and license plate lights, as well as front running lights.I was informed to turn 4 way flashers on while driving at night to my destination. After checking all fuses, B bulbs, relays and wiring are all good. When I checked for similiar problems via internet and my local mechanic and a Dodge dealer I was notified that the fuse box would have to be replaced and the front control module. This is a part that should not go bad as you have to change the whole box for just lights going out, which Dodge says is an unserviceable part that corrodes within a sealed box?and that has to be changed as a whole unit. There are numerous complaints via internet etc of this problem and that Dodge will not budge to fix the problem that they are very aware of occuring.the consumer should not have to pay for this repair estimates are anywhere from $250 to over a $1000 dollars just to replace the defect.and also that Dodge has a back order of these because of the numerous problems with them. The consequences are that the lights will go out without notice or a bulb out light being signalled theeby causing another vehicle to rearend or seriously injure someone without these lights at night. The trooper stated also that he has seen this before on Dodge trucks.

- Saratoga Springs, NY, USA

problem #19

Jul 042009

Ram 1500

  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Dodge Ram. While driving at night the headlights failed. He stated that water entered the power distribution center box and caused it to short circuit. No repairs were made. The failure and current mileages were 95,000.

- Serena, IL, USA

problem #18

Jul 012009

Ram 1500

  • 83,000 miles
Driving through a puddle after a rain storm, several safety features stopped functioning: Wipers, turn signals, horn, headlight control. I'm not sure what else is not functioning but these have been verified. Narrowed the problem down to the FCM (front control module). The FCM is connected to the ipm (integrated power module). Come to find out the ipm is not sealed from the elements. The circuit board is exposed from the bottom which allows water to splash into the module thereby shorting the FCM. I believed Dodge knows this is a poor design and is unsafe because I've read that they've designed a replacement ipm which is sealed from the elements. This is dangerous because of obvious reasons.

- Maricopa, AZ, USA

problem #17

Sep 192008

Ram 1500

  • 68,000 miles


The heater / ac fan became inoperative at anything other than the high speed setting. When I removed the fan speed resistor block I found the area to be packed with dry and burnt leaves and acorn caps, consistent with those from the coast live oak trees on my property and in my community. The resistor block power supply is equipped with a spring-loaded solder connection apparently designed to interrupt power if the circuit becomes hot enough to approach the melting point of the solder. The system partially worked by cutting power under extreme heat conditions. I feel though, that allowing a large quantity of combustible materials to enter and collect in an area where heat approaching the melting point of solder is present is unacceptable. I photographed and retained all of the dry tree material possible that was removed from the resistor / fan area. Much of it was reduced to a black carbon powder. The volume would be approximately 50 cubic inches of loose material. I resoldered the spring-loaded connection and re-installed the resistor block. Initial tests showed that it was operating correctly and cool to the touch. Several hours of driving this past weekend produced the same results but I would like to replace the resistor.

- Santa Clarita, CA, USA

problem #16

Sep 022006

Ram 1500

  • 70,000 miles
My 2002 Dodge Caravan has numerous electrical problems. The passenger and back windows only work intermittently. The inside door panel on the driver's side is also becoming loose. The air conditioner started only working on high speed. Then it wouldn't work at all unless you giggled the key a certain way. Now it won't work at all. These trucks have been subject to a recall for this issue. "the electrical connector at the bottom of the steering column contains an under-sized terminal for the HVAC blower motor circuit." Per the recall "¿dealers will install a wiring harness overlay to correct this condition" I contacted the dealer where I bought the monstrosity and he was rude and claimed this truck was not subject to that recall. I also called the national number and they refused to repair their defective vehicle. We live in Florida and it is dangerous to have to ride in a vehicle without air conditioning. Our Dodge Caravan also has a defective air conditioner. I rue the day I ever bought a Dodge.

- Crawfordville, FL, USA

problem #15

Oct 242008

Ram 1500

  • miles
1) interior blower fan: (24,000 miles) fan would shut off at times. First told by dealer the air intake was blocked with leaves and they cleaned it out. Two weeks later, I got the recall that the wiring harness for the blower was overheating. I had the dealer do repair for recall. They clipped the two lighter wires and replaced them with two 10 gauge wires. Fan still shuts off due to tilting steering wheel with heavier wiring not being flexible enough. Wires still get very hot. 2) radiator fan control relay: (90,000 miles) check engine light came on and code was for radiator fan control relay circuit. Relay was replaced. 3) engine: (129,000 miles) oil sludge caused oil not to circulate properly causing oil pressure gauge to drop to zero and back up to normal about 4 times. Engine over heated, warping heads and doing interior damage to rods and bearings. Engine had to be replaced with used engine. 4) passenger window switch: (for the past 20,000 miles) passenger side switch works intermittently. 5) parking lights: (149,000 miles) was informed by another driver that I had no tail lights. Checked fuses and relay and everything was ok. Took truck to garage, they checked and could not find a problem. Garage called Dodge dealership, they told them it would probably need the front control module replaced. The garage did not charge me and told me they did not want to just start replacing parts costing over $200 trying to pin point a problem and I needed to take it to the dealership. The dealership checked it and told me I would need to replace the power distribution module and the front control module due to both having an internal short. Why bother having fuses if you can just have circuit boards costing over $200 each blow out? 6) ignition park lock: (149,000 miles) got a recall notice about ignition park lock needing replaced. Dealership repaired. This truck definitely has its share off defects, with the engine and wiring. More should be done as far as recalls.

- Prosperity, PA, USA

problem #14

May 012003

Ram 1500

  • 24,000 miles


I turned my fan on to cool the inside of the truck and after a few minutes, it shut off. A while later, I tried it again and it worked, but soon shut off again. I took the truck to the dealership and they told me they cleaned the air intake out and it was full of leaves. They told me that is why it shut off. The problem continued. A few weeks later, I got the recall notice about the wiring being too light and it was over heating. The dealer did the repair. It worked fine for a good while. Eventually it started shutting off again. Sometimes I could tilt the steering wheel to a different location and it would come back on. I flipped the access panel down to find the repair, they clipped the two lighter wires and plugged in to I believe 10 gauge wire in their place. The heavy wires are too stiff to flex and when pushed certain ways the fan shuts off. I also noticed where the wires are plugged in, the wires are so hot you can barely touch them. I don't feel this was a very good fix for the problem, since although the fan does not shut off due to overheating, it still is heating up under the dash and may cause a fire under the dash.

- Prosperity, PA, USA

problem #13

Aug 152005

Ram 1500

  • 28,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Dodge Ram 1500. The contact experienced numerous electrical failures ranging from the fuse box and power lock:windows to the interior lighting. She took the vehicle to the dealer on several occasions and a technician repeatedly rewired the electrical system, replaced the fuses, and the motor for the power window devices. Immediately after the repair, the electrical failures recurred. She returned to the dealer and a technician stated that the wiring harness melted, which caused the alarm system to fail and have to be replaced. The parts are on back order and neither the manufacturer nor the dealer can provide an estimate of when the parts will be available. She has copies of documents pertaining to the repair history of the electrical system. The manufacturer did not provide any assistance. The failure mileage was 28,000 and current mileage was 49,369.

- Austell, GA, USA

problem #12

Dec 192006

Ram 1500

  • 120,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Dodge Ram 1500. While driving various speeds at night, the blower would turn on and off automatically and the instrument panel lights failed without warning. The blower eventually failed completely. The vehicle was repaired according to NHTSA campaign id number 03V078000 (steering:column), in which the instrument panel lights illuminated properly for thirty days before failing again. The vehicle currently needs a new computer. The current mileage was 155,000 and failure mileage was 120,000.

- Holland, TX, USA

problem #11

Aug 142007

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The dashboard on my truck cracked, then began losing pieces. Some pieces have been propelled at the driver and passengers by the air conditioning and when windows are open. Wiring problems appear to be developing (I am now receiving "lamp out" warnings). I have placed a dash cover to limit exposure to these hazards, but I have seen news reports that many other consumers are experiencing these problems, and that they continue to worsen.

- Sunrise , FL, USA

problem #10

Nov 202002

Ram 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,889 miles


Parking lights and tail lights do not function. Lamp out indicator light on dash is not on. Problem diagnosed to be in the fuse box circuit boards also known as the pdc (power distribution center). Apparently corrosion occurs inside the box and the ground is lost. Original equipment part number is 56045433ae. That part number is no longer available and has been replaced by part number 56045433af. Neither part is available for purchase from Dodge dealers. There depots also show no stock and they do not know when the part will be available. As the corrosion continues other electronic components of the vehicle could be lost resulting in a serious safety issue.

- Oriskany, NY, USA

problem #9

Jun 092006

Ram 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles
I was stopped by police due to the fact that my parking/running lights were not working. The signals and stop lights worked fine. My 2002 Dodge Ram is at the garage. They found the circuit board (power distribution center) under the fuse box is burned out. Cost from Dodge, $400. I think this is a safety issue, there is no indication that the light went out from the cab. The dash lights worked and the head lights worked. The garage informed me that is happening a lot to other Dodge Ram.

- Gardner, MA, USA

problem #8

Mar 242005

Ram 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles
First the transmission is slipping in 3rd gear at times, this has been an on going issue that the dealer can't reproduce. The lamp out light goes on and off with the bell this will do it intermittently for as long as 30 min straight and this truck is all over the road when you hit bumps at high speed.

- Oscoda, MI, USA

problem #7

Mar 142006

Ram 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,598 miles
: the contact stated while applying pressure to the accelerator pedal the engine sputtered. The check engine, airbag, and check gauges lights illuminated. The dealership was alerted. Updated 03/28/06

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #6

Sep 092005

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,068 miles
I had an electrical problem with the instrument cluster, which caused all of my gauges to stop working. No speedometer, odometer, battery, oil or temperature gauge. My turn signals, horn, interior lights, wipers, and power door locks also failed. I also discovered that I had no stop/brake lights or fog lights, but had headlights and parking lights even though the interior switch was in the off position. Even though this truck was purchased new in January of 2002 at jerrys Dodge (now safford Dodge, and the three year warranty was just up, I only had 7,078 miles on the truck at the time of the incident. The dealer replaced the cluster but I had to pay. I think this cluster suddenly going out is a major safety hazard. Thank god mine went out in the day time and not at night. I could have been rear ended as it is. This is the fourth incident of a failed instrument cluster that I know of. I am sure there are more, and I have read that chryslerdaimler/Dodge has had cluster problems in some of their other vehicles.

- Triangle, VA, USA

problem #5

Jan 032005

Ram 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
There is an electrical problem with the instrument cluster, which is causing the head lights, blinkers, and interior lights not to function. Owner will contact manufacturer. Other electrical problems included fog lamps; windshield wipers; turn signals, brake lights and all cluster functions. Dealer replaced a shorted cluster.

- Lexington, NC, USA

problem #4

Sep 112004

Ram 1500 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 49,540 miles
My computer system went out in my 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 truck. I spoke with an individual named chris on 9/15/04 ref#12633025. The manufacturer will not take any steps to rectify this problem because I was told that there aren't any recalls on the computer systems in these trucks. It's going to cost me $600 to get this problem with my lemon fixed.

- Covington, GA, USA

problem #3

Nov 102003

Ram 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 35,000 miles
Vehicle stalled when making left turns and/or braking. This resulted in loses of power steering and brakes. Took vehicle to dealer, and mechanic performed a diagnostic test, but no failure was found.

- Santa Cruz, NM, USA

problem #2

Mar 132003

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles
Vehicle has lunged forward while in drive. Engine idle electronically advances while transmission in drive, driver must keep foot firmly depressed on brake to avoid accident. Also having significant electrical problems - specifically gauges do not function properly and horn/lights engage. Problems are intermittent.

- Abita Springs, LA, USA

problem #1

May 032002

Ram 1500

  • miles
Consumer states that while driving all the digital readings on the dash came on. The turn signal, headlights, brakes etc. A red light sensor on the dash came on and the headlights came back on.

- Panama City, FL, USA

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