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definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
24,768 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.

2003 Dodge Ram 1500 engine problems

engine problem

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

problem #25

Jan 252009

Ram 1500

  • miles


Oil pressure drops all of a sudden truck quits. There many other people on the web with the same problem. There is no other problem until oil pressure drops for no reason. Mechanics all say the same thing need new engine. Oil is changed when it is suppose to be. The engines need to be recalled because there are alot of people having the same problems.

- St Cloud, FL, USA

problem #24

Oct 082008

Ram 1500

  • 68,000 miles
I purchased a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 with 40000 miles on it with a 7 year/70000 mile warranty on it. The engine was making noise (since the day I bought it) so I took it to the dealer for repair and they did not fix the problem, took in again, still not corrected, took it in a third time now they claim it needs a new engine to the tune of $7,800 and they are not honoring the warranty due to "lack of maintenance". I then brought in receipts to contradict that then they said I changed the oil "too much"?? upon contacting Dodge they are agreeing with the service manager and are not willing to help me even though I have receipts for oils and filters.

- North Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #23

Jul 112008

Ram 1500

  • 74,000 miles
We purchased a 2003 Ram 1500 3.7, in 11/07, the truck has not been running right, we took it in and 2 plugs melted, into the coil, the dealer replaced the heads on that side. We picked up the truck. And the serpentine belt fell off and froze the water pump, blowing another head gasket. This isn't the first time the pump had been replaced.

- Pueblo, CO, USA

problem #22

Sep 192007

Ram 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,318 miles


On Monday September 17th while idling in park my 2003 Dodge Ram with 42,000 miles began to shake, make noise like there were rocks in the engine, and then shut off. I had it towed to century Dodge in taylor Michigan on telegraph road at roughly 9am on Tuesday September 18th and was told at roughly 4:55pm that they had not had a chance to look at it. At 9:30am on Wednesday I again spoke to the service department and was told they would have an answer for me by the end of the day. At 8:30am on Thursday September 20th my wife called and was told that they again have not had a chance to look at it but they would have an answer to her by lunch time. They did call her at 11:30am and from what I understand, the valve spring in the number 7 cylinder head broke which caused the connecting rod to drop. Apparently this is on the left side of the cylinder head. Chrysler is replacing the left cylinder head, the lower block, and the exhaust intake. Chrysler however will replace the parts in the right cylinder head that failed on the left side with new springs. I am no mechanic but common sense tells me that the same springs that were used on the number 7 cylinder valve were used on the other 7 cylinder valves. Am I going to be stuck with a $6,000 engine repair at 71,000 miles? all I am asking for is Chrysler to replace all the defective parts whether they have failed or not. Or extend the powertrain warranty to 83,000 miles which will prove to me that the valve springs have and will last for more than 42,318 miles. For someone that has owned Chrysler products all his life and believe that they are the best products out there this has left a very sour taste in my mouth and actually considering going to either Chevy or Nissan for my next truck purchase which hopefully isn't 30,000 miles from now. If Chrysler truly stood behind their products it would be something they would have suggested rather than tell me that they will only replace parts that have failed.

- Wyandotte, MI, USA

problem #21

Jul 102004

Ram 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles
Loud knock coming from lower end of the 5.7L hemi motor.

- Markesan, WI, USA

problem #20

Sep 202006

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • 30,764 miles
2003 slt 1500 engine piston and spark plugs melt while driving 70 mph. The vehicle was towed to a service dealer on 7/16/06. The technician determined that the consumer needed a new engine. The vehicle was towed to another dealer where it has been sitting for 68 days. Vehicle was not returned to consumer until 9/16/2006. After repairs the engine light illuminated again and engine ran rough, 30764 miles. After 6 weeks the truck still wasn't fixed.

- Anaheim Hills, CA, USA

problem #19

Sep 152005

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles


I have a loud tick coming from the motor. I have had it to the dealership to fix and they told me that it is a known problem but was told not to try and fix the problem. This is a known issue with these motors by daimler Chrysler but refuse to fix it until there is a serious problem with the motor. The problem I have with this is the warranty may be up at that time forcing me to have to pay for something that they know about now and also the resale of the vehicle before it is fixed with that noise coming from the motor.

- New Bern, NC, USA

problem #18

Apr 102006

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 26,464 miles
Loss oil pressure on I75, towed truck to Dodge dealer, they said the engine was ruined. Dodge will not fix engine. Truck has 26,000 miles and under warranty. They said the oil was bad but they didn't take an oil sample or have it tested.

- Snellville, GA, USA

problem #17

Jan 242006

Ram 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles
Driving down I-94 on 01/24/2006 from work going 70 mph and oil gauge bottomed out, and I had a ticking noise. Pulled off the highway and had truck towed to the dealership. Was told the engine was shot due to sludge. I maintained a excellent 3000 mile oil change. Currently, the truck sits at the dealership and I owe $27000 on something I could not drive. Help!!

- Springport, MI, USA

problem #16

Jan 172006

Ram 1500 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles
1. oil pressure gauge started swinging back & forth. I took me about 100 yards to pull over safely and the engine quit. 2. engine seized and needed to be replaced, bob bose Dodge in bradenton Florida said the failure was due to lack of maintenance and will not be covered by the extended warranty. I have maintained this engine religiously and have changes the oil more than recommended. There is no reason for an engine with 63,000 miles to fail like this.

- Riverview, FL, USA

problem #15

Dec 012005

Ram 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,200 miles


The contact stated after the vehicle was parked for eleven hours he turned the key in the ignition and heard a loud backfire noise coming from the engine. The passenger compartment filled with smoke, and he exited the vehicle. The parking attendant extinguished the fire and there was minimal fire damage. Eleven days later the vehicle was towed to the insurance company's salvage lot. Upon inspection the insurance company determined it was a mechanical problem. The vehicle was towed to a Dodge dealership, and although the dealership stated the vehicle needed to be taken apart to correctly diagnose it, the dealership claimed that the intake manifold exploded. No repairs have been made. Updated 2/7/2006 -

- Tom's River, NJ, USA

problem #14

May 032005

Ram 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,000 miles
Ref 2003 Dodge Ram 1500qc 4.7L 4X4 17000 miles on numerous occasions I had a near stalling issue, and 1 complete stall. I would start truck in morning let it sit for 2 minutes then drive to work as normal, no problems. After I leave work after an 8 hour tour I would start truck as normal let it sit for 2 minutes then drive away as normal after approx 100 yards through parking lot I would stop at stop sign waiting to turn, truck would bog down and chug as if it wanted to stall. I would tap the gas pedal while holding the brake down, then when it was clear I would drive as normal no more problems. The truck has done it numerous times.the truck was brought in to the dealer, spent a week, they said they couldn't find the problem with the idle, so they flashed the computer. I get the truck back drove home no problem drove to work next day no problem finished my tour started to drive home no problem, after 2 miles I made a left turn and truck stalled out narrowly missing a tree, I called dealer and gave them a code that flashed on dashboard, no such code had it towed in, they had the truck 3 more days, negative problems, but they installed an on board flight recorder so they can see what happens, so the recorder went in and the problem happens several times. I took the picture like the showed me how and got 3 good shots. The dealer gets the recorder back and says a few days until they hear from daimler/Chrysler. A week or so goes by and the problem happens a few more times. I call the dealer to find out what's going on, and they said the data was inconclusive. They wont do anything at this time. Daimler says until they have a dealer that comes forward with the same problem and a solution they wont act on it. So in the mean time keep driving the truck until this happens.

- Sag Harbor, NY, USA

problem #13

Jun 202005

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,800 miles
Vehicle has 107,000 miles on it 4.7 L. head gasket blew water number 2 cylindermotor over heated. Now dealership wants to charge $2600 to fix. Out of 5 Dodge have had 4 with bad head gaskets. 2 Caravan with 2,4L and a breeze(Plymouth) with a 2L. Was told by a non Dodge mechanic shop this is the 3rd one they have seen. Has anyone else had this problem. Also had right inner tie rod go out once and is doing so again. Causes severe tire wear and very erattic steering. Please post to this site if similar problems may force Dodge to stand behind their products and show this is something common and they are just biting their tounge until our warranty has expired.

- Elizabeth, LA, USA

problem #12

Mar 032005

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles
Vehicle stalls during parking lot manuvers on numerous occasions.going from reverse to drive it stumbles and or stalls. Vehicle bought in June of 2003. 1rst time it happened was in August of 2003. Took vehicle in and they "flashed" the PCM. Continued to happen about every three months up to the present. Have had it into the dealer on a couple of other occasions since. They were not able to fix. Happened again in February, a few days after it was at cerritos Dodge. Called the service rep there, alfonzo cuadra, he said that I would be wasting my time bringing it back in again. He said that it is a known problem and there is no fix available. He said that there would be a new flash in the "near future" and he would call me when it was in. Still no call. There is a dangerous issue. Was almost hit in a parking lot the last time that it happened. I don't feel like this is a safe vehicle and Chrysler doesn't seem to care.

- Lakewood, CA, USA

problem #11

Dec 012004

Ram 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
Have had the truck less than two years and have had service because of faulty motor in windshield wipers, bad coil in engine, mis-firing, causing the cylinders and valves to be replaced, fuel cap replaced, fuel line replaced because of water in the lines, heater had bad piece, causing heat to not come out of defrost or floors, shifter for 4-wheel drive will not shift. Has been in shop 13 days(3 visits) in last 4 weeks. Needs to go back this week for shifter.

- St. Clair Shores, MI, USA

problem #10

Jul 032004

Ram 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
While driving 60 mph vehicle shut off. As a result, consumer had to coast off the road. When the vehicle shuts down there was no power steering or brakes. The vehicle has been taken to the dealer but they have been unable to duplicate or correct the problem.

- Bruce, SD, USA

problem #9

Jun 222004

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,000 miles
I own a 2003 Dodge Ram truck with the 5.7L hemi engine that is one year old and has 9100 miles on it. Seven months ago, at about 4,000 miles, the engine started to make a loud tapping noise. It sounds like a valve tapping and is very noticeable. If you listen to the engine from below by the oil pan, it sounds like a diesel engine. I have brought it to my Dodge dealer three times; they say it is normal for the hemi engine. The oil has been changed every 2500 miles or less on this engine. This is not normal for any gasoline engine, it sounds like the valve train is oil starved on the passenger side of the engine. I am a member of the largest Dodge forum on the internet. About 15% to 20% of our hemi truck owners have this same problem and their dealers say that it is normal. If it were normal, all the hemi engines would do this. I am concerned that this engine will fail prematurely because of this problem that DC does not want to admit that there priced hemi engine has issues.

- Cypress, TX, USA

problem #8

May 212003

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,860 miles
Engine "hangs" at idle after backing up and shifting into drive. Will not accelerate. Can be overcome by shutting down and restarting. Has occurred in about a dozen instances since Jan 03. Dealer can't fix. Chrysler blows it off.

- Kempner, TX, USA

problem #7

Apr 202004

(reported on)

Ram 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • miles
Numerous problems with 2003 Dodge Ram since ownership. The consumer experienced a stalling problem that occurred whenever the vehicle was coming to a stop or idling. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who could not diagnose the problem. Power steering fluid leaked due to faulty clamp. The vehicle was leaking transmission fluid due to a faulty output seal at the transfer case.

- Warren, MI, USA

problem #6

Nov 132003

Ram 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,000 miles
Have an 03 Ram hemi, 6020 miles on it, broke down last week. Dealership thought it was a faultyfuel injector causing the missfire. It was a broken valve spring. Now they only want to replace 1 spring and leave 15 possibly bad ones in it. Have owned truck since July 2nd 2003.

- Grand Rapids, MI, USA

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