really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
91,500 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. have parts magnafluxed to insure they are good (1 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
2003 Dodge Ram 1500 cooling system problems

cooling system problem

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2003 Dodge Ram 1500 Owner Comments

problem #2

Sep 152012

Ram 1500

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,000 miles


was driving out to work and thermostat level went to H and overheated. don't know if I should risk to continue to drive out to work.

- , tampa, FL, USA

problem #1

Jul 062009

Ram 1500 SLT 4.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,000 miles

I bought this truck new in 2003 and it ran great since till this forth of July 2008. I was coming home from northern michigan and the coolant pump failed. I was left stranded 100 miles from home. I managed to get it off the road at a nearby gas station exit by coasting no power to the off ramp. I had to go back up and replace the water pump. What I found is the cheap bastards used a plastic impeller that broke to pieces. Bear in mind I had the back with about 600 lbs of camping stuff and that's it. Anyways, I fixed it and came home.

Just two days ago 12/07/09 the truck overheats, I thought totally my fault because I did not have the coolant system flushed to remove any residual impeller. I took it to Dick Scott Motor Mall and $300.00 later new t.stat. radiator flush and oil change. They tell me the overheating may have blown a gasket since the oil looks sludged. (I change it 3000 miles always). They find a piece of impeller jammed the t.stat shut.

They say drive it for a few hundred miles and watch the oil if sludging recurrs the heads need redone. Next day, overheating again. Apparently they can't or don't know how to flush the pieces out of the motor. I call them and they say bring it back in for more diagnostics at $88.00 per hour. Now, I don't blame myself because it is Dodges fault for using a plastic turd for a crtitical operation component. They got way too many engineers who have no idea what is critical and what is fluff.

Update from Jan 7, 2010: OK, so here is the big dollar learning experience. I hope you read and do better than me. I pulled my truck in the garage and tore it apart. I had the heads surfaced and put in new head gaskets. Put everything back together per Hayners manual. Truck ran fine when I started and drove it round the block. Next day all coolant is in oilpan. I took to local mechanic. He said I missed replacing the torque to yield bolts (you will know these by the torque spec saying torque to a specific value then tighten an additional 90 degrees). I said OK you rebuild it. He did I drove it fromshop to home. Next day coolant is in oilpan. I take it back and he says must be a problem with block since he had heads magnafluxed. I don't know how since they are aluminum but he had a story about using ion dust to find cracks. I don't know but I believe he is being honest. He says he will have to troubleshoot but I might want to look around on line and see if I can find a used engine. I find rebuilt short block from Accurate Engines in Grandville MI. Price $1995.00 +300 core charge. I say great as mechanic was saying 3 to 4k for replacement motor. I take to him and he installs and puts back together. Runs it down the road and back, lets it sit and coolant is in oilpan AGAIN!

He tears it apart and takes front cover for magnaflux (aluminum art) and low and behold a tiny hole by where the impeller for the water pump is. Initiallyvehicle is fine but later the small hole slowly drains heads causing overheating. Mechanic gave me the cover and it looks like the broken impeller may have impacted the casting and was able to tear a hole or make a weak spot that eventually became a hole. All this because Dodge used a plastic part for a critical operation component. My leason, if you take parts off. take them and pay to have them tested and surfaced and do all you can to check them over, don't assume they are fine. Cost of leeon ~$5,000 just like taking a college class but the lesson sinks in better. Hope this was informative.

- , Howell, MI, USA

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