definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
38,792 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.

2003 Dodge Ram 1500 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2003 Dodge Ram 1500 Owner Comments

problem #11

Jun 192007

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,625 miles


Just had a warranty repair made to a somewhat notorious problem with the 2003 Dodge Ram 1500. The retainer clips broke and came out of the trac loc differential, causing failure in differential bearings and driveshaft. The Dodge dealer was aware of the many problems, but has yet to recall the notoriously defective part and continued to replace faulty parts with the same faulty parts.

- Wylie, TX, USA

problem #10

Feb 032007

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,971 miles
On the way to work one morning, both the brake and ABS lamps came on at the instrument panel on the dash. At the same time I noticed that the speedometer readings began to oscillate 5-10 mph from true vehicle speed. Truck seemed to drive just fine otherwise but dropped it off at a local dealer just in case. Dealer confirmed that the rear wheel speed sensor has been "destroyed" by debris accumulated in the tone or exciter ring in the differential housing. Dealer also found the remains of numerous "keepers" used to align the clutch packs in the Dodge 9.25" anti-spin differential housing and noted substantial scoring of the bearing caps. Faulty retainer clips have rendered the anti-lock braking system inoperative and made the speedometer unreliable.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #9

Jan 292007

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles
Large metal pieces found in differential housing, while changing lube, big enough to jam gears and cause real axles to lock up. Still under warranty, dealer will fix.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #8

Jun 012004

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles


03 quad cab 4.7 with 20" wheels rear end growling. Dealer repaired it 1 time and told us to drive it and if it still made noise that they would replace the complete rear end. Took it back a second time they took it apart and put more new parts in it, took the vehicle and drove it and it still made the growling sound, took it back and was told they were having some problem's with those rear ends and they drove it and said (could not duplicate complaint) the truck still has a growl in the rear end now they say it is a tire problem, the dates in this report are a guess, but the vehicle was still under the factory warranty at the time of both complaints. Vehicle was purchased at East tulsa Dodge in tulsa ok. And all services have been by them.

- Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #7

Nov 062006

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
9.25 lsd rear differential in 02-2005 Dodge Ram.

- Wentzville, MO, USA

problem #6

Jun 142006

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,850 miles
: the contact stated that the clutch retaining clip on the rear differential became detached, resulting in part of the axle to be worn away. The vehicle was taken to both a private mechanic shop, and a service dealer. The private mechanic informed the contact that that specific part should not have broken, and that a design flaw would be the cause of the problem. The service dealer expressed that it was a lack of maintenance on the vehicle causing the piece to become detached.

- Palm Bay, FL, USA

problem #5

Oct 222005

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,170 miles


Rear pinion seal went out at approximately 47000. Began hearing noise in rear differential at 57000. Took it into dealer. Tech was very helpful. Dismantled rear differential. Showed me appx 3/16" groove worn into differential housing and carrier from limited slip differential clutch retaining clip which broke off and was grinding differential housing. Tech says this is a common occurrence with the limited slip differential and could lead to catastrophic read differential failure during driving conditions. Read various internet forums with numerous Dodge Ram 1500 owners having the same problems. Some of these same owner have experienced catastrophic failures.

- Lake Elsinore, CA, USA

problem #4

Jan 112005

Ram 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,300 miles
1. felt noticable vibration in vehicle at low speeds (0 to 40 mph). Vibration would smooth out after 40 mph. 2. after driving approximately 10 miles, rear differential completely locked up with no rear wheel movement whatsoever. Had to use front drive axle to move vehice out of roadway while dragging locked up rear axle. Dodge technician suspects pinion nut failure causing pinion to bind rear axle. 3. vehicle is currently sitting on dealer lot waiting to be repaired. I have no confidence in this vehicle and am now scared to drive it.

- Midland, TX, USA

problem #3

Dec 222004

Ram 1500

  • 46,000 miles
Took vehicle for normal maintenance, requested differntial to be serviced. Called by dealer told that while performing rear differential service found clips broken in rear differential case, and side bearings warped. Must replace rear differential. Truck has 46000 miles.

- Hacienda Heights, CA, USA

problem #2

Dec 042004

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,646 miles
2003 Dodge Ram 1500, 4X2 (with limited slip 3.55 gear 9.25 Chrysler corporate axle). Built Nov. 6th 2002. VIN #[xxx]. while changing my rear differential fluid at 23,646 miles noticed gears looked O.K. there was however located, (stuck) on the magnet, a 3/4 inch "C" shaped clip and another small metal clip. Went to dealer, scheduled for entire differential gear replacement under warranty. He said they've repaired eight or nine of them. Worry now about it going out all together, was told to drive it until repaired. I find many, many experiencing same problem!! updated 07/24/2012 information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Fremont, OH, USA

problem #1

Sep 032003

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,145 miles
Transmission is not shifting properly. There is a period of free-wheeling when it downshifts from the od back into fourth gear, causing increased pressure to have to be applied to braking the pickup which in turn causes a jerking while braking. There is also a pause before the transmission shifts, it is slow getting into each gear and does not downshift properly. The rear-end has excessive slack to the point of startling people if nearby when shifting into gears. These have all been described as normal by the dealer. Not so!

- Amarillo, TX, USA

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