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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
89,000 miles
Total Complaints:
3 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace heater coil (2 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
2002 Dodge Ram 1500 AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

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2002 Dodge Ram 1500 Owner Comments

problem #3

Oct 072011

Ram 1500 SLT 4.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles


well my 02 Dodge Ram heater core started leaking anti freeze inside the cab on passenger side. I took both hoses off the core and connected them together till I could have core replaced. But now my dash is so cracked up, changing core will make dash break away! This is crazy catch 22!

- , Memphis, TN, US

problem #2

Jul 092012

Ram 1500 4.7L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Coolant all over the inside of the cab. I had to replace the entire heater coil to fix the problem. Now every time that I use the heater it smells like rotten coolant. This truck stinks, both literally and figuratively.

- , Broomfield, CO, USA

problem #1

Nov 052008

Ram 1500 4.7L V8

  • Manual transmission
  • 62,000 miles

General, in case i don't get to go back and chronologically enter each cracking of the dash and the other failures mentioned in general in the first paragraph. Before this leak, the other failures with this truck have been the radio volume adjustment fails after just a couple of months(swapped once). The split drive shaft and built on mid carriage bearing failed around 33,000 miles (replaced once). Other those problems and the dash cracking and continuing to crack I have been relatively pleased with this truck.

Accolades Rides well, handles great, good power, great AC, handles loads and hauling good. 19mpg( 75-85 mph), 21mpg(=/<75MPH) unloaded. 17.5 MPG pulling unloaded 6.5 X 16 ft open utility trailer with a 5 ft tall air-gate weighing ~ 2,100 lbs). 16.5 to 17 MPG with trailer and 1,500 lbs on trailer. Great braking, large rotors and disk pads all wheel, P265x70-R17 tires.

Leaking tubing to / from or leaking heater core First indication of problem was 'lamp out' indicator illuminated on dash instrument panel. Checking determined no lamps out. Events and early observation of situation: Drove truck about 45 miles, parked truck for about 2.5 hours. Left that location, drove truck about 6 miles in town driving and parked at next location and remained there about 10 minutes. Upon nearing my truck I caught a weak odor of antifreeze. Figuring the faint antifreeze odor was from one of the older autos parked on each side of my truck I left as there was not indication of a problem with my truck. Just after pulling onto the road and proceeding about 20-30 yards the the 'door ajar' first illuminated, I checked the driver side door by opening and closing and the 'door ajar' lamp remained out, which I believe was related because the door appeared properly closed. Within a few seconds of opening and closing the driver's side door the 'lamp out' lamp illuminated and remained on for the most part of ~ 2 minutes. After the first couple of minutes of driving the audible alarm would occasionally and intermittently alarm recurring each time the road had a small bump or dip and rise. What ever was causing the audible alarm was often of such a short duration that no lamp illuminated to identify the source of the audible alarm.

At my first stop, out in an open sunny parking lot, I checked all the bulbs possible by just the operator. My next stop was shaded and I first pulled in and then backed in that testing to ensure all exterior lamps and lamp circuits both front and rear were good and functioning properly.

About 20 miles into my trip home the audible alarm continued to occur intermittently with the 'lamp out' lamp indicator illuminating at times with the audible alarm. I noticed a faint smell of antifreeze and two small thin flow paths where fluid determined to be engine coolant had dripped and ran down the passenger side over the transmission hump and onto the floor portion of the rubber floor mat. I pretty much determined that the tubing to the heater core has developed a leak and was spraying on the circuit that monitors 'lamp out', possibly initially 'door ajar'.

Calling my local dealer, the same on that said they could do nothing about the progressing cracks in my dash board (will get to that later) stated that the repair would probably require evacuating the AC and cost about $700 in labor and at least $200 plus in parts.

Then there is the Haynes for this truck manual that is not exactly clear. In the areas covering the supplemental restraint system (SRS) it states to disconnect the SRS wires after disconnecting the negative battery cable if you will be working in the area of the airbag. In that same area and the area that provide minimal text and wording relative to removing the airbag it cautions heavily to disconnect the initiation wires to all airbags. The section on the SRS refers to several other sections the first being to disconnect the negative battery cable, the next section referred to states to remove the airbag/horn section from the steering wheel and to disconnect the wiring to the airbag/horn. The other refers to the passenger side airbag on/off switch control which I will have to find. But still states to disconnect the passenger side airbag without stating where to do so. Then the section two paragraphs into the SRS system that is titled 'Disabling the SRS' basically states disconnecting the negative battery lead and waiting 2 minutes for the capacitor to discharge before proceeding will disarm the SRS. Which is it?

Did I mention the crappy plastic or design used for the dash on the 2002 Dodge that the local dealer service manager generically admitted that dodge did have some years or some trucks that had problems with the dash breaking. No offer to contact the Dodge service rep or assist me, so i figured it was a done deal that Dodge was not going to do squat about the dash. Anyway, the light colored gray plastic dash on the 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 crew cab has continued to fail over the years, crack from window to and over the crest of the dash where it faces the driver and passenger.

Why has the plastic dash on my 1995 F150 and 1992 F250 facing the same sun NOT cracked, split and broke apart????????????????.

- , Vicksburg, MS, USA

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