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:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
37,444 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Dodge Ram 1500 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #28

Apr 012013

Ram 1500

  • miles


I have a 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 quad cab and have had to replace all the heating and cooling components in this truck in the past few years. Last year I started having an issue with the heat/ac not working unless the steering wheel was in the up position. I had all the parts to the control board behind the dash replaced, all new knobs, etc. Still didn't work. Then we started diving into these sites that talk about all/any issues that people are having with this model truck. So we see that we need to replace the register in the steering column. Well that worked for about a week and now, again, if I want ac/heat I have to raise the steering up and drive. Not very safe!! are dealerships honoring recalls for this part still" what about all the wiring? does that need to be replaced to stop the constant blowing up of the register" this is a great looking truck but the money dumped into it to keep it on the road is outrageous. I could have purchased two trucks by now.

- Milwaukie, OR, USA

problem #27

Aug 012012

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • 126,932 miles
Air conditioning works fine, as long as the vehicle is moving. When stopped at traffic lights or intersections, the A/C gets warm, as if the condenser is not working. When starting up again, it gets cold after a bit of time. Searched the internet, and found this is a problem that occurs often, and many said check the fuse #39. On Aug. 1, I checked the fuse, and found that the plastic and metal parts of the fuse had melted onto the spot it was plugged into. All of the other fuses seem to be fine, but there is a tiny chunk of metal I cannot remove from the fusebox to plug in another fuse, nor do I want to plug in another fuse, as I don't know why the previous one melted. I am not sure if this is covered in any recalls. Also, when I tried to have the truck inspected, it failed for the check engine light, and there are several recalls listed in the possible cause list for the code that registered in the inspection machine.

- Franklinville, NJ, USA

problem #26

Jan 132012

Ram 1500 6-cyl

  • 97,000 miles
My 2002 Ram van 1500 6 cyl engine failed state required smog check. The check engine light went on prior to this. The smog report showed 3 cylinders out of 6 were misfiring. The diagnosis was damaged valves and lost compression. After the mechanic opened the engine he found both heads to be cracked. He also found problems with the water pump and radiator. The total cost of repair was $3100. After further investigation I found out that there are thousands of 1500 engines that failed for the same reason. As with the other owners I changed my oil at regular intervals and maintained the vehicle properly. I had a 1997 1500 in which the same thing happened. Dodge denies responsibility and blames the sludge build up on poor maintenance. Since it was no longer under warranty I was forced to repair it. There should be a national recall of this vehicle's engine and I should get reimbursed by Dodge for the repairs. I unfortunately didn't have a choice but to repair the engine but fear that the design defect will result in subsequent failure of the same nature. Dodge should be held responsible for this. Please help.

- Buena Park, CA, USA

problem #25

Mar 232012

Ram 1500

  • 74,500 miles


Thin cracks appeared on upper right of the main radiator, fluid leaking out. Car had not sustained any accident and is a clean title. My conclusion is that inferior products/polymers were used to manufacture this radiator. This is not an aftermarket radiator, but the one that came with the vehicle from the manufacturer.

- Portland, OR, USA

problem #24

Nov 242006

Ram 1500

  • miles
My dash on my 2002 Dodge Ram has been falling apart and dropping into my vents. It is so bad I had to put carpet over it. Now I'm having heater repairs done on it. I called Dodge and they won't do a thang about it. I have kids and both of them have cut themselves on the sharp pieces on the dash. I had to take one to the dr. Dodge needs to fix this on all the truck dashes now.

- Leander, TX, USA

problem #23

Oct 292011

Ram 1500

  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Dodge Ram model R35. The contact was driving 5 mph when smoke emitted inside of the vehicle and flames were visible from the hood. The failure caused the contact to drive into a ditch but there was no crash. The doors failed to open during the failure so the contact escaped by punching and shattering the windshield. The vehicle was towed to a private mechanic where the mechanic confirmed that the power disruption caught fire. The manufacturer was contacted. The vehicle was destroyed. The failure and the current mileages were 50,000.

- East Jewett, NY, USA

problem #22

Jul 012011

Ram 1500

  • miles


The contact owns a 2002 Dodge Ram 1500. The contact stated that the driver of the vehicle alerted her that the radiator hose blew. The contact did not know the details in regards to the failure. The vehicle was taken to an independent repair shop where it was repaired. The contact also stated that the vehicle would burn coolant at an excessive rate and the engine would intermittently stall. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure, but offered no assistance. The failure mileage was unavailable. The VIN was unavailable.

- Princeton, MN, USA

problem #21

Nov 202010

Ram 1500

  • 42,000 miles
Upper radiator hose blew-out, @42,000 miles, after replacing increase in engine temp. Replaced thermostat and radiator, temp remained elevated. Vehicle never overheated. Engine valves started tapping, antifreeze accumulation on the inside of engine oil cap. Bad headgaskets. Engine oil & filter changed every 2500 miles. Now with the warm weather, only occasional engine tapping and no antifreeze on the inside of engine oil cap. Head gaskets must be leaking or shrinkage of the gaskets with the cold weather. Contacted Dodge and they say that they have never heard of this! checked online and found multiple Dodge vehicle owners with the 4.7 litre engine have experienced similar problems. Poor engine design, thin walled engine block, lubrication holes in rocker arms not drilled in correct location= check replacement rocker arms as opposed to original equipment. This is a 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup 4.7 eng 43,000 miles. Chrysler should have a engine recall and replaced these defective engines as they were only available for a few years and then discontinued, I wonder why!!

- Cliffside Park, NJ, USA

problem #20

Dec 312010

Ram 1500

  • 42,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Dodge Ram 1500. The contact stated that while driving at any speed the engine was making a ticking noise. The vehicle was taken to the local mechanic who performed a diagnostic test which indicated that the engine valve had failed. The manufacturer would not assist with the repair because of the age of the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 42,000 and the current mileage was 45,000.

- Akron , OH, USA

problem #19

Jan 232010

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • 73,000 miles
Originally with no warning the truck would just die at intersections. Now it is starting to die when driving, even while turning. My teenage son usually drives this truck and I am truly afraid he is going to get in an accident. With the vehicle only having only 73,000 miles on it, I would not expect such a dangerous thing to happen. I have seen many posts from others indicating the same thing happening to them. I think Chrysler should be fixing these before someone dies. Also have the cracked dash.

- Hooper, UT, USA

problem #18

Feb 052009

Ram 1500

  • 60,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Dodge Ram 1500. While driving approximately 60 mph, the oil pressure gauge suddenly reduced to zero on the instrument panel. When the accelerator pedal was depressed, the oil pressure reading returned to normal. The failure occurred whenever the vehicle was idling. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for inspection and they recommended that the oil pump, pressure relief valve, and oil screen be replaced. The vehicle has not been repaired. The failure mileage was 60,000 and current mileage was 63,000.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #17

Apr 082009

Ram 1500

  • 69,000 miles
Stalling and rough idle. Engine will surge at stop and force vehicle to move forward very close to other vehicles.

- West Palm Beach, FL, USA

problem #16

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 #15

Oct 102007

Ram 1500

  • 101,000 miles
My 2002 Ram 1500 has problems holding the idle it fluctuates up and down. When I first bought it the idle was so low it cut off once. They made a computer adjustment then that worked for a little while. I have had to hold the brake down harder than normal at a stop. This happens all the time. I have cleaned the throttle body replaced air filter. Seems like another computer problem to me.

- Middleburg, FL, USA

problem #14

Jan 052008

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
While dong a routine oil change, noticed sludge under oil filler cap. Also noticing that the oil gauge will occasionally show low oil pressure. Have always done oil changes every 3000 miles. Was not a problem until recently. Is there a tech bulletin on this?

- Apo, AE, USA

problem #13

Jul 212006

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles
: the contact stated while traveling 60 mph on normal road conditions, the vehicle's engine began to misfire. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, who determined that cylinders 1, 3, and 5 were misfiring, and that the spark plugs needed to be replaced. A radiator, coolant, ac blower fan, and spark plugs were replaced, which corrected the problem. A week after the repairs, the ac blower fan stopped functioning, and the vehicle was taken back to the dealer. Upon inspection, it was noticed that coolant was dried on the top of the radiator and cap. The dealer determined that coolant overflowed. The misfiring problem recurred 2 & 1/2 weeks after the first repair, and was taken back to the dealer. It was noticed that coolant was found inside the ports, and the heads on the engine were warped. Also, it was determined that new heads would have to be installed to correct the problem. The paperwork stated exhaust fumes were found inside the cooling system. The contact planned to contact the manufacturer after filing a complaint with the NHTSA.

- Red Oak, TX, USA

problem #12

May 202005

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
When the vehicle was in motion it would stall at any speed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, and they asked the consumer what did she want them to do about it and that they could not fix the problem. The consumer was instructed to the vehicle home. The consumer reported to the dealer at least 4 times and received the same answer each time.

- Vineland, NJ, USA

problem #11

Jan 082005

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
Vehicle was traveling at 60 mph when all of a sudden T driver heard the engine knocking loudly, and noticed that the oil pressure went down. This caused the engine to fail.

- Corpus Christi, TX, USA

problem #10

Nov 082004

Ram 1500

  • 40,000 miles
While driving 30 mph, the engine stalled due to "engine sludge". the consumer pulled over and had the vehicle towed. The dealership was notified, but did not resolve the problem. The cause was not determined.

- Coral Springs, FL, USA

problem #9

Aug 142002

Ram 1500

  • miles
The vehicle stalled on several occasions. When the vehicle stalls, the consumer is afraid of being rear ended. The dealer can't duplicate the problem.

- Townsend, MA, USA

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