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pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
86,418 miles
Total Complaints:
24 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replaced rear differential (16 reports)
  2. not sure (4 reports)
  3. replaced with a rear differential from Detroit Tru-Trac (3 reports)
  4. replaced rear-end and transfer (1 reports)
2003 Dodge Ram 1500 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2003 Dodge Ram 1500 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #24

Jul 012013

Ram 1500 Laramie 5.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles


Suddenly heard whining noise from rear of vehicle as we were towing our camper on I-95 near Baltimore. Tried to make it to a break in the guardrail so we could get off the road. About 50 feet before the opening, there was a loud bang as the rear end blew apart, exposing the gears, leaving the drive shaft dragging on the ground and a 50 foot oil streak. Total time from first noise to blow up was less than 30 seconds. Fluid level was checked less than two weeks prior.

Oh, did I say that was a saturday afternoon, 300 miles from home and the start of a 4th of July camping vacation? Only one open repair shop in the area and they had us by the $$$$'s. No more Dodge trucks for me.

- , Berlin, CT, USA

problem #23

Nov 052010

Ram 1500 SLT/Laramie 5.7L V8 Hemi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

click to see larger images

rear differential failure

Truck rear end snapped and went out completely back in Nov of 2010.. Had to get it towed home and then to a 4x4 shop out of my own pocket.. I was stranded for a day and a half. I was without my truck for a month. When the shop called me, they said the pinion bearing went bad and snapped all the spider gears... I spent 900$ in new rebuild parts... I have driving it for about 1 year and the "clunking" started again... It's been getting worse and worse the longer I drive on it... I gotta take it back to the shop where the work was done and hopefully they will repair it with their own warranty they offer... No doubt the bearing went out again and is breaking off teeth from the spider gears again... Why hasn't dodge figured out a solution to this OBVIOUS manufactures default and called a recall on these 3.55 rear end issues in these 2003 dodge ram 1500 SLT/Laramie trucks yet?!?!?! What the hell are they thinking!!!! It's unsafe and seriously dangerous to send out into the world potentially life threatening manufactures foul ups!!!!! I pray that everyone driving these trucks, as well as myself stay safe out there on these rough streets!!! I'm filing a complaint and calling BBB about this issue!!! Enough is enough, I've been a loyal Dodge customer for several decades now and this truly is the last straw!!! I WANT RESOLUTION FOR THIS ISSUE!!!!!!!!!! And reimbursement for my financial loss and hardship!!! By the way, I have NEVER been off roading in my beautiful truck!!! What's the deal?!?!?!

- , Sanford, NC, USA

problem #22

Oct 012007

Ram 1500 SLT 4.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles

Bought truck brand new. Just after the original 50K drive train warranty expired, I start noticing a whine from the rear end. "Need to replace!" says my local dealer. Really? Replace the whole rear-end - on a TRUCK - with nothing but easy highway miles - that's never towed or carried anything heavier than my arse? "Must be done", says he. For some strange reason I had the money in my savings account, so I get it done. Since then, I've had the rear end checked regularly and fresh oil kept in it. Now I'm at 130k miles. Guess what? Whine coming from the rear end again. Dealer says "Replace!". I say "Not going to happen". When I look online, this seems to be a common problem for Dodge truck owners. Is their any actual SOLUTION to this problem, other than just putting the same faulty parts back in and crossing my fingers? Is there a later year rear end with less issues that can be swapped in? Aftermarket build something better than Dodge's complete failure? How can I get a Chevy 10 bolt in there - I've treated those like crap my whole life and NEVER had to replace one!

- , Ontario, CA, USA

problem #21

Jan 042013

Ram 1500 SLT V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 151,525 miles


In looking on the web, and researching this a little bit, there seems to be a fairly large problem with the rear-ends in the Dodge Ram trucks. First, I seem to recall this truck being a Motor Trend truck of the year at some point, and the problem is not limited to one model year. I have seen one site that graphs the complaints and it seems this rear-end problem peaked in 2010. I can't believe they ignored this problem, and can't believe that Dodge has ignored this problem for so long. As a matter of fact, the decline in complaints in 2011 and 2012 may be because auto sales tanked with the economy, so the problem may still be as bad.

I plan on buying a new truck in a year or so, and unless they own up and fix this problem I will NOT look at Dodge.........sorry.

- , Rice, VA, USA

problem #20

Jan 032013

Ram 1500 Laramie 5.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,626 miles

It started with a whining, but I just got new tires so I figured that was the cause. Travelling on the PA turnpike the sucker let loose and started bucking and carrying on. I limped it to the first mechanic I found at 5:30 in the morning and left it for him to look at. He said the diffy was gone and would cost $2500 in parts. I ended up paying $350 to tow it home and there it sits in my driveway leaking gear oil all over the place.

THANKS DODGE for making a terrific product.

- , Douglassville, PA, USA

problem #19

Sep 012012

Ram 1500 SLT 4.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,847 miles

Had a dealer repair could not justify new parts used wreckers qualified parts cost 3000 got another 600 miles blew again going to cost the same again. Dealer will reimburse 1500 but seems to me there should be a recall. discussed with neighbor his friend had it lock up on a major highway I suspect there are many cases not reported here.

- , Calgary, Alberta, canada

problem #18

Sep 302011

Ram 1500 5.7L Hemi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles


Well I guess I'm another lucky Dodge Ram 1500 owner with a locked up rear differential. This truck has 4WD, 104,000 miles. At first I thought it was a rear brake pad or inner shoe dragging. Problem - one rear wheel will lock up after backing up, and then, as going forward a few feet -- Snaps free or should Clanks free. Now wheels locked together - no slippage for turns. Apparently, from the previous owner, at 20,000-30,000miles (2005) was in for " clunking in rear axle " at a dealership in San Diego, Calif.

So, How do we get a recall going from Dodge. Petitions? NTSB-National Transportation and Safety Board? Ralph Nader?

Other than that Runs Great! for 100,000+ miles. At the moment looking for a reputable service shop in Los Angeles

- , glendale, CA, USA

problem #17

Dec 262010

Ram 1500 SL 4.7lV8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

I had the rear end repaired under warranty in 2006. however the dealer hoodwinked me into $900 worth of repairs replaced front wheel bearings when I probably didn't need them replaced. I sold the truck to my stepson in May 2010. When we went to visit him in Fl in Dec 2010 he complained of a noise in the rear end. We took the truck to a dealer in Chiefland Fl.The dealer told us the rear end needed to be replaced. We had this done at a cost of $2000. My stepson has only driven the truck 3000 miles. The rear end noise is back,the repair job is still under the 12 month warranty. I feel that Dodge knew that that model of truck had bad rear ends but didn't issue a recall. When my stepson comes home from over the road truck driving we will have the rear checked out again. I hope the dealer honors the warranty of the dec 2010 repair.

- , Toledo, OH, USA

problem #16

Oct 052011

Ram 1500

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,450 miles

Just bought this truck used from a dealer less then a year ago. had 58000 miles on it. at the time. at 70450 miles the rear differential went out. every one wants $2500.00 to fix this. I am taking my chances and going to the junk yard and fixing it myself and hoping i get a good rear end for $800.00 I am a Chrysler employee and this is my 3rd dodge truck and I have had problems with them all. I will never buy another one. Pay this one off and giving ford a shot. sad to say

- , Toledo, OH, USA

problem #15

Sep 052011

Ram 1500 5.7L Hemi V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 77,800 miles

Under 80k miles on the truck, the pinion bearing and seal went, sprayed most of the gear oil out. The repair shop took it apart and said the whole rear end would have to be replaced because it had run without much oil, which was going to cost (best case scenario) about $2000 to replace with used parts.

- , Ontario, NY, USA

problem #14

Mar 012011

Ram 1500 Hemi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,000 miles


rear locker failure, clutch retaining clip broke, wore into carrier barring cap and housing. I hear this is a big problem with Dodge Ram trucks, Chrysler Corp. refuse's to make a recall, too bad !!!! I WILL NEVER own a Chrysler car or truck again !!!!!!!! Dealership wants 4000.00 dollars to fix !!!!!! Ya right.....they can kiss my ass !!!!!

- , Toledo, OH, USA

problem #13

Jan 312011

Ram 1500 Quad Cab

  • 70,450 miles

One month ago while getting my oil change, the shop mechanic had my truck in the air and noticed water leaking from my rear differential. He advised me that there is water inside my rear differential. So i took the vehicle to a repair shop to change the rear differential fluid. When they took off the rear differential cover, they noticed 3 small circular metal pieces come out of the rear differential and they did not know what it was. So i bought the vehicle to know rear differential specialist and showed him the pieces and he advised me that it looks like part of my positive trac system. Is just a matter of time before that goes out. Now i am driving my vehicle wondering when will this go out and where will it leave me stranded. 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 4.7 liter

- , Opelousas, LA, USA

problem #12

Jul 072010

Ram 1500 SLT 4.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

Truck has never been off road. Very Surprised that a Limited Slip Differential would go bad after only 52,000 miles! I had two months before the 7 year 70,000 warranty expired, happily!

The truck is babied and always garaged!

- , Seaside Park, NJ, USA

problem #11

Apr 092008

Ram 1500 5.7L Hemi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles

Richard Petty got me driving Dodges in early 70s, and have drove one every since. I put up with the weak front-ends in the early models but stayed true, but this is a major malfunction. Less than 100,000 the whole frigging drive train was babied and should not have fallen out, (literally in middle of interstate transfer case and rear-end). I can't wait to get rid of this truck and am considering giving up Chrysler altogether

- , Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #10

Oct 122009

Ram 1500 SLT 5.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,500 miles

Been dealing with this nagging whining noise since October 2009, and decided to take it in here Sept 2010. Mileage at start was 84500 and now sits at 92450 and just decided to have it looked at. Got the call from the dodge dealer and it needs a rebuild as the bearing pinion is toast. $1190 to fix. I haven't picked it up yet, but that is what they are saying is wrong. I won't complain too much. This is a 2003 and I just now had my first major issue with it. Time will tell if it takes care of the problem...and for how long....

- , Austin, AR, USA

problem #9

Nov 132009

Ram 1500 1500 4.7L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,000 miles

I bought this truck used. The truck looks awesome and mean but it really is weak. It's not as bad ass as it looks! The rear end blew out along with the tranny and also the rack and pinion. All had to be fixed at the same time. I was without a car for a month. I have always owned a Ford and it looks like I will buy a Ford next time around.

- , West Islip, New York, USA

problem #8

Sep 152009

Ram 1500 1500 SLT 5.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 130,000 miles

For the third time since owning this truck I have had problems with the pinion bearings going out. Now my extended warranty is up and it is happening again. What am I to do? do I eat the cost to fix it? do I put a completely different rear end in it? do I trade it in for a different truck and get ready to take it where the sun doesn't shine? I cant get an answer as to why I keep having this problem, I live in sunny southern CA great weather no offroading mostly freeway driving so what gives? This is my second Ram the first one I had was an 02 1500 with the 4.7 only issue I had with that one was steering failure but that was my fault for having the lift and huge tires on it. I think I would rather deal with that issue anymore.

- , Huntington Beach, CA, USA

problem #7

Feb 172010

Ram 1500 5.9L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 127,000 miles

This sucks took it in and mechanic found issue thank goodness I haul my horse with this vehicle and found out that my rear end could of just locked up which could of spelled disaster if I was hauling at the time

- , Gowen, MI, USA

problem #6

Nov 182009

Ram 1500 SLT 4.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,058 miles

My nephew changed the brakes on the truck and he notice that the differential was liking, so I drop off the truck at the dealer to get it fix, the service was done after I paid the deductible of $100 dollars. But after few month later, my son almost got into an accident the driveshaft fell due to coming off from the differential the truck suddenly stopped. Thank God he is alright. My son called the dealer and service said they could not do anything about it. The extended warranty ended at 70,000. Now I'm stock with the bill, must likely will trade in with a Toyota Tundra. I had a Toyota before and they are reliable.

2. check engine light turns on and off they had change few sensors already. and right now it's on. change the heater core. I love the truck but coming up with numerous problems.

- , Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #5

Jun 042008

Ram 1500 SLT 4x4 1500 5.7L Hemi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

Like I said that the diff is trashed. At 58000 miles the trans went out & it was covered . They fixed it. But I told them they needed to look at the diff too. Any time you have a massive lock up stuff gets damaged. They said they looked and nothing was wrong . But I guess to cover their asses they put in new gear lube. Well about 25000 miles later I start getting whining and bucking from the rear . So to check it out . I paid $112.00 Just to tell me that the diff was trashed. They told me to have totally rebuilt it would cost 3600.00. And could get one from the junk yard one that had 60000 miles on it they could do it for me for 2800.00 with a 60 day warranty . And mind you, I paid 34,000.00 for this piece of sh*t.Were is the k.y . Anyway I go to Toyota to trade it in with the problem that I told you all about. They told me the would give me 7000.00. For it . So here I sit at a crossroad. Trade it or fix it. I want to buy a toyota because I already own a toyota yaris . The best money I spent. I drive a lot - its a 2007 and I have 108000 on it and no problems and 40 miles to the gallon. And I paid 12000.00 out the door. I hope toyota buries dodge in the ground . I can't wait till dodge goes out of business.

- , Round Lake Heights, ILL, USA

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