pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
134,826 miles
Total Complaints:
8 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (4 reports)
  2. pinion bearings are worn (3 reports)
  3. needed wheel bearings, not rear-end overhaul. beware (1 reports)
2003 Dodge Ram 1500 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2003 Dodge Ram 1500 Owner Comments

problem #8

Aug 042016

Ram 1500 Laramie 5.7L Hemi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles


I bought this truck in January of this year (2016). I really like this truck and have had no problems with it up until my rear-end started to make this humming in early August. It is now the start of October and the hum has progressed to more of a howl. Went on line to check cost of a new used resend r o find all these complaints about 3003 RAM 1500 rear-end complaints and problems, yet no recall from Dodge. I have not yet fixed it but will probably have to do so soon. At this point, since I do not want to be dealing with this same problem again in the future will have to go with an aftermarket rear-end. Hopefully Dodge will own up to the fact that this problem is their fault and issue a recall, that way maybe I will be able to recoup the money I am going to have to fork out to fix my truck.

- , Fullerton, CA, USA

problem #7

Oct 302015

Ram 1500 st 4.7L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 142,000 miles

Recently decided to keep my 2003 Ram 1500 4.7L with 142,000. miles, which I bought new, despite being 12 yrs. old. Mainly because it's been dependable, and I get sick at the price of new ones. About 1 wk. ago I noticed a mild hum/whine seemed to be coming from the rear end. Realized at 142k miles the axle bearings must be beginning to show their age. Jumped on the Internet the other night just to get "boned-up" on rear ends, only to be shocked to learn what's been going on for quite a while. My only concern was a rear while that most likely will get worse, only to learn it's a prelude to rear axle lock-up and drive-shaft destruction, & a potential fatal accident. After recently learning how Dodge's heater boxes are made of sticks & cardboard, this certainly doesn't surprise me. I originally thought I could take my time correcting this, only to learn the worst could happen at any moment. After studying all the complaints, it appears the whine is the 1st sign. Most writers don't say how long they experienced the whine before the lock-up of the rear axles & the clunk of the drive-shaft breaking off occured. Several complained that the whine came back after having it repaired, some with as little as 5k miles. (I have to question the mechanic's ability w/that), however I do agree it only makes sense not to continue to repair with the same Dodge O.E. parts. I can use more info regarding using the Detroit Tru-Trac package, like Mike L. did, or any other manufacturer of an alternative differential package, or a Chevy 10-bolt. I've done 90-95% of my own work all my life, and am used to parts like these lasting forever. I live in Melbourne, Florida, and could use all the help or references I can get on this, so I'll have satisfaction in theend

Update from Dec 9, 2015: Found a good rear-end mechanic & scheduled a repair date 2 weeks out. Did a lot of highway testing of my own in mean-time, only to become suspicious if the whining, humming and wallowing noise was really coming from rear-end, or from some where else. Told him about this on drop-off day, and how the last thing I wanted was to rebuild the rear-end and still have the noise symptons. He promised to check it out real good first, and not jump right into rebuilding the rear. GOOD THING cause all the noise was coming from the front wheel bearing and hub assemblies, and NOT the Rear End. MY ADVICE IS FOR EVERYONE ELSE TO DO THE SAME THING. Now maybe I know why so many of you had the noise come back really quickly after having the rear-ends overhauled. I learned as a teenage to NEVER HAVE A DEALER SERVICE YOUR VEHICLE, unless you like burning your wallet.

- , Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #6

Jul 032014

Ram 1500 Quad 4.7L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles

My 2003 Dodge Ram started making noise in the rear and we were just getting ready to haul our camper camping. Took it apart and need total replacement of the rear end, so I guess we didn't go camping. Can't safely pull the camper with 3 kids with this truck.

- , Arena, WI, USA

problem #5

Dec 202013

Ram 1500 5.7L Hemi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,214 miles


I bought this truck with 29,000 miles on it from a dealership. It has been a P.O.S. truck. It's not the quality of Ford but it was cheaper. Since owning the truck I have had to replace four wheel bearings, CV shaft, multiple sets of brakes and rotors, due to wheel bearings going out. All of this has been done before hitting the 100,000 mark! I barely use the truck and rarely take it off road. And now thanks to the wonderful craftsmanship of Dodge, I have to rebuild the rear end due to pinion gear bearings going out. The truck now only has barely over 111,000.

Folks, I am a certified mechanic and cannot believe what a turd this truck really is...... I will never buy another, I have had three! Save yourself the trouble and DODGE the problem. BUY FORD!

- , Elko, NV, USA

problem #4

Jan 162013

Ram 1500 SLT 4.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,000 miles

I bought this truck used 2 years ago. didn't have a problem with it. but i noticed when i would back up the rearend would make noise. i just thought maybe the disc brakes? well jan.2013 the rear end is making noise and to this day still doing it. in march we go alot of snow and i got stuck well when i was trying to get out the rear end started growling like splines sliping. but its still drivable. now its may 2013 i inspected the rear end found lots of metal pcs. in the differential and looked like a pcs. off a clip. this is not good! i get on the internet and find out not just me is having this problem? dodge really should be recalling this ! this is bullshit! I'm almost 50 and never had one vehicle had a problem with the rear end! not very happy with dodge right now!

- , Hammond, IL, USA

problem #3

Jul 022012

Ram 1500 SLT 5.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 142,000 miles

Don't understand how the pinion bearings wear. Truck not driven hard, not a work truck and has never been off road. I'm told it can be anywhere from $1000.00 - $2500.00 to fix.

- , West Palm Beach, FL, US

problem #2

Jan 152012

Ram 1500 SLT 5.7L Hemi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,394 miles

Seems like I also have bad pinion bearings in my Dodge Ram 1500 4 wheel drive. The dealership quoted me $3200 to fix this problem. Pinions bearings should not wear out in less than 70,000 miles. My warranty has expired by time so I'm told by the warranty folks that they will not help in any way. I'm trading this truck in and I will not get a Dodge again. PINIONS BEARINGS SHOULD NOT WEAR OUT IN SUCH FEW OF MILES. DODGE FIX THE QUALITY OF YOUR STEEL AND YOUR PRODUCTS.

- , Montgomery, TX, USA

problem #1

Feb 262011

Ram 1500 Quad 4.7L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles

it makes noises when driving down the road, howls load when going down the road

- , Arena, WI, USA

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