For many decades, the fullsize Dodge truck struggled to compete against its rivals from GM and Ford. To bolster lagging sales, a ‘big rig’ bodystyle was adopted in the mid-90’s, and the Dodge Ram finally took off.
The fourth generation (2009-present) Dodge Ram 1500 offer a range of powerful and efficient Hemi & non-Hemi engines that have 4, 5 or 6-speed automatic transmissions.
Do you have a problem with your 1500?
Let’s look at some of the most common transmission problems, and see what you can do to get your truck back on the road.
Recalls & Known Problems
2004 Ram 1500 – Loose Fasteners on Transfer Case (03V503000)
Most likely due to a glitch on the assembly line, the attaching fasteners on some Dodge 4×4 trucks may not have been tightened properly, which could cause leaks between the transmission and the four-wheel drive transfer case.
If this problem occurs, the propeller shaft could separate and damage critical fuel system components. This can lead to a fuel leak, and in the presence of an ignition source, an underbody fire. The loss of transmission fluid can also result in transmission/transfer case damage, an inoperable 4wd system, and a big red spot in your driveway.
Dodge dealers were given the correct torque specs to use when tightening the transfer case to the transmission fasteners. A recall for this problem was issued in December 2003. Owners can contact Fiat-Chrysler at 1-800-992-1997, or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 1-888-327-4236 (refer to recall ’03V503000′)
2014 Ram 1500 – Improperly Machined Transmission Case/Rollaway (14V161000)
On 125 copies of the 2014 Ram 1500 4×4, built between January 24, 2014 and February 5, 2014, a manufacturing defect could cause the transmission to not fully engage Park, which can result in a rollaway situation.
According to the recall, a handful of 8-speed automatic transfer cases weren’t properly machined, which prevented the Park prawl from fully engaging. In some situations, the truck can slip out of Park and cause serious injury or property damage.
The official recall was issued in May 2014, and dealers were instructed to replace the entire transmission. Owners can contact Fiat-Chrysler at 1-800-853-1403 (refer to recall ‘p13′), or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 1-888-327-4236 (refer to recall ’14V161000’)
Ram 1500 Technical Service Bulletins (TSB)
A small number of 2008 Dodge Ram trucks were fitted with a defective shift cable that could loosen itself, preventing the driver from manually selecting low gears with the shift lever.
The 2007 1500 came from the factory with transmission control software that could lead to harsh or erratic shifting. This TSB addressed the issue with a software patch that dealers could use to reprogram the TIPM (Totally Integrated Power Module).
The PCM (Powertrain Control Module) on the 2003 model contained software errors that prevented it from detecting problems with the governor pressure sensor. To fix the problem, dealers were issued a software update for the PCM.
What Transmission Does a Ram 1500 Have?
|1990-1992||V6 3.0L / V6 3.9L||42RE||4 SPD Auto 2/4WD|
|1993-2004||V8 5.2L / 5.7L / 5.9L / 8.0L||NV4500||5-SPD Manual 2/4WD|
|2003-2011||V8 4.7L / V8 5.7L||545RFE||4 SPD Auto 2/4WD|
|1987-2003||V6 3.9L / 4.7L / 5.2L||NV3500||5-SPD Manual 2/4WD|
|2007-2012||V6 3.7L||42RLE||4 SPD Auto 2/4WD|
|1995-2005||V8 5.9L||NV5600||6-SPD Manual 2/4WD|
|1995-2006||V8 5.2L / V8 5.7L / V8 5.9L||46RE||4 SPD Auto 2/4WD|
|2005-2012||V8 5.2L / 5.7L / 5.9L / 8.0L||G56||5-SPD Manual 2/4WD|
|1995-2006||V8 5.2L / V8 5.7L / V8 5.9L||46RH||4 SPD Auto 2/4WD|
The RFE is an automatic transmission family from Chrysler. The name refers to its Rear wheel drive design and Four Wheel Drive Electronic control system.
- 45RFE – 2002 Model (3.7L and 4.7)
- 545RFE – 2003–2011 Model (3.7L, 4.7L, 5.7L Hemi)
- 65RFE – 2012 Model (4.7L, 5.7L)
How to Diagnose & Fix
- Check the OBD Codes
- Check the fluid level
- Test fluid pressure
- Drop the pan
- Repair, replace or rebuild
What to Read Next
Related Forum Discussions
Over to You
What Problem Does Your 1500 Have?
Let us know the year, mileage and problem you’re having as well as any trouble (OBD) codes you’ve found. If you’ve been given a quote or paid for a repair, we’d like to hear about that too!