really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
70,956 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.

1998 Dodge Ram 1500 electrical problems

electrical problem

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1998 Dodge Ram 1500 Owner Comments

problem #16

Aug 082015

Ram 1500

  • 141,000 miles


Drove my 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 to empty my trash, started back home and had driven less than 1/4 mile when the truck hesitated like it was going to stall out and there was some smoke beginning to come up through dash area on drivers side. Thinking I might have a busted radiator hose I immediately pulled over in the yard of person doing repair work on an old building. When I opened my truck door on drivers side flames shot between the inside of the door and seat. I jumped out of the truck but was not injured. The man saw flames shooting from the truck and I was very fortunate he had a fire extinguisher. He kept spraying the truck under the hood and was able to get the fire under control just as the volunteer fire department truck showed up. There were a lot hot spots and the fireman kept spraying it with water until it finally quit smoking. The main part of the fire was right at the front of the cab of the truck below the motor. You could see the fire burning from the side looking through the wheel wells. They said it had to be caused by a faulty gas line because of the location. All the electrical wiring including the wiring harness was melted. Thank goodness the man had the fire extinguisher or the whole truck would have burned. Very scary incident especially for a woman.

- Ringgold, VA, USA

problem #15

Sep 192013

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
Truck was park both times..one time over night..then second time parked at work for 8 hours..went to get into truck, nothing happen, no seat belt was working.. why there no recall on something like seat belt a big safety issue?? there was nothing I did wrong.

- Baytown, TX, USA

problem #14

Jan 102014

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
I understand that there was a recall of defective clocksprings that disabled airbags in certain Dodge products (safety recall 982)(NHTSA identification number 01V-153). The recall included vehicles in the VIN last 8 digits WS501493 to WS771681. My 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 has a last eight digits of [xxx]. thus, it does fall within the range of recalled VIN numbers. However, for some reason my truck is not described as one of those recalled. However, I have an airbag light that is on and the steering wheel mounted cruise control does not work it seems to me that both of these are indications of a defective clockspring just as on the recalled vehicles. I would like to know why I have not received a recall notice and why my vehicle make model and year is not described as recalled even though the last eight VIN digits falls within the range of those recalled for this defect. Can the recall of this be studied further and expanded to include my vehicle? information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Honolulu, HI, USA

problem #13

Jun 062000

Ram 1500

  • 2,300 miles


The contact owns a 1998 Dodge Ram 1500. The contact stated that the horn failed. The contact had to apply excessive force to the steering wheel in order for the horn to activate. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician advised that the air bag and horn contact unit needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and advised that the vehicle was not included in any recalls. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 2,300 and the current mileage was 65,000.

- Riverside, CA, USA

problem #12

Jan 152011

Ram 1500

  • 124,000 miles
1998 Dodge Ram dashboard is crumbling into little pieces. I smell burnt wires coming from my dash sometimes. I feel it may start a fire.

- Willliams, AZ, USA

problem #11

Jun 052010

Ram 1500

  • 85,000 miles
I have a 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck. Like many of these trucks my dashboard is literally breaking apart and collapsing. I have read on line where this is very common with my vehicle. My truck has an airbag built in the dash board and I am concerned that a sharp plastic shard could cause severe bodily injury if the airbag is deployed or if the airbag will even work since the dash board has caved in. Dealers are not willing to fix this problem. I am also concerned that the dashboard wiring could catch fire.

- Valrico, FL, USA

problem #10

Apr 092010

Ram 1500

  • 115,000 miles


The contact owns a 1998 Dodge Ram 1500. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 40 mph, the brake pedal went to the floorboard when depressed. The brake indicator light also illuminated. The brakes also failed intermittently. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealership for a diagnostic test and the contact was informed that the braking system was functioning properly but the failures were causing by an electric component. The vehicle was at the dealership for repair at the time of the complaint. The current and failure mileages were approximately 115,000.

- Obetz, OH, USA

problem #9

Dec 272008

Ram 1500

  • 148,000 miles
Back in May 08 speed sensor went out then ABS sensor went out a few days later causing no power brakes and could have cause my wife to have a wreck. Both replaced. Now getting engine codes for O2 sensors and truck sputters and cuts out and will not accelerate over 30 mph. Replaced sensors. Now receiving codes for PCM and now replacing. This is beginning to concern me. Will the next problem cause an accident.

- West Memphis, AR, USA

problem #8

May 152004

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 1998 Dodge Ram 1500. While driving 70 mph the service and ABS warning illuminated and he heard a humming sound coming from the right side of the vehicle. The mechanic stated that there was an electrical short, which caused the failure. The failure mileage was 85,000 and the current mileage was 132,000. Return usps, made 2nd attempt 08/07/07 failed.

- Buna, TX, USA

problem #7

Aug 012005

Ram 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles
Dashboard of my 1998 Dodge Ram pickup unexpectedly started cracking and it is my understanding, this is causing electrical failures which could cause an accident.

- Ocala, FL, USA

problem #6

Mar 212003

Ram 1500

  • miles


From the day I saw that 96 Dodge truck rolling down the street I fell in love. I saved every way possible to purchase the big bad 1500 4X4 5.9(98)with every option avail. Had everything and from week 1 had problems. Front windshield cracked while driving "due to frame stress" it about 2 weeks into it. Brake failure cause serious assault on guard rail, and Dodge said I must have been driving to fast (@ 30 mph). They refused any warranty because "nothing can touch the wheel" and since the incident occurred after 93 days lemon laws did not apply so after (2) $900 brake jobs two weeks apart everything was fine. Not to mention damage to body I paid for out of pocket. Now I just go through an entire set of brakes every 6 months. But I stop until then.. I replaced the transmission at 38 K miles, note the warranty on that is 36 K miles. I have had steering linkage become so loose instantaneously (or 3 separate occasions) that it felt like I was running over my own axle, which is another $1000 each time. For the past three emissions inspections the on board computer fails so I have to take it to the dealer while they charge $200 to fix it, but will not give straight answer to what is problem. And to night as I type, I spread the grime of engine crud across my keyboard as I try to figure out why the fuel filter suddenly stopped. Amazingly I have had this truck for 5 years because it has kept me too broke to buy something else. Any "legal" suggestions on what can be done would be appreciated. I recognize I have spent more than $15,000 trying to keep this thing running right, and that is too much for a "late model" truck. I would love to blame a dealer but I have been to just about all of them around here and with the smiles on there faces I hear "that will be another $950 sir".. good grief.

- Acworth, GA, USA

problem #5

Jan 172003

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles
While my wife was sitting with the truck on, in park, it burst in to flames. The entire front and cab of the truck was burned. It was a total loss. Electrical problems are suspected by the fire dept. Very scary and very dangerous!!!

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #4

Dec 122001

Ram 1500 4WD Diesel

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Electrical system kept burning out, causing dashboard and tail lights to go out, without warning. *akheadlight switch was checked and dealer found melted plastic wire to the switch connector. Switch was replaced, then the tail lights went out. Still the same problem.

- Victorville, CA, USA

problem #3

May 012001

Ram 1500

  • miles
Electrical system is not operable. Park lights wouldn't come on, and consumer smells like an electrical fire. There is a fuel leak leaking from back of engine.

- Cumby, TX, USA

problem #2

May 172000

(reported on)

Ram 1500

  • miles
Seat belt indicator lights continually on, replaced dash circuit board, seat belt relay and seat belt, symptom continued after three repair attempts not able to rectify failure.

- Oak Harbor, WA, USA

problem #1

Aug 221998

Ram 1500 4WD Diesel

  • miles
Within 3 days of buying the Dodge truck, while traveling down the road the gauges would malfunction and the truck would die. You could put it in neutral and restart it. It was taken to the shop and nothing was found wrong. This continues. Then we started blowing breakers and fuses that run brake lights and blinkers. Took to the shop. Found nothing. Just replaced breakers and fuses 3 times in 2 weeks. Now the check engine light comes on and motor dies going down the road. We have now had to buy a new apps sensor which cost us $613.61 because truck is now out of warranty without ever being fixed. This electrical problem has been and still is a safety hazard to everyone. It could cause a serious accident which Chrysler refuses to acknowledge. I know of another vehicle like mine in California that has had the same problems as mine and also one in fayetteville, ar. The man in Arkansas was having his truck worked on at the same time mine was in the shop. This is too many problems for a new vehicle.

- Bella Vista, AR, USA

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