3 Common and Costly Ram 1500 Pickup Truck Problems, According to a Mechanic

The company 1A Auto sells replacement parts to DIY vehicle maintenance enthusiasts. It also employs a team of experienced mechanics to go over common problems with popular vehicles, and explain how to fix them yourself. When 1A Auto went over the fourth-generation Ram 1500, it listed three some common problems that could be costly to address. Luckily for Ram truck owners, there may also be ways to prevent certain problems from getting worse. Potentially expensive 2009-2017 Ram 1500 issues include:

  • Power module corrosion
  • Leaking coolant
  • Cam and lifter failure

Corroded power module causing electronic failures

A 2018 Ram 2500 Power Wagon with its hood up so you can see its engine bay with its problematic totally integrated power module (TIPM) visible on the fender well.
2018 Ram 2500 engine bay | Stellantis

The totally integrated power module (TIPM) is a plastic box under the hood of your Ram truck. It is located on the driver-side fender well. This box shields a series of fuses and relays. Underneath these is more complex circuitry that controls the truck’s electrical systems.

The problem is that the TIPM in fourth-generation Ram trucks–like many Chrysler products–doesn’t always seal properly. This malfunction can lead to moisture in the box and corrosion of the expensive electrical components inside. As these electronics fail, you can conceivably have all kinds of issues crop up with electrical systems. Problems could range from your power windows to your fuel pump to the ignition of the engine itself.

If you notice electrical issues with your Ram 1500, you can begin by opening up your TIPM and checking all the fuses and relays for corrosion. You do this by simply unplugging each component and looking for blue-green deposits on the contacts. Cleaning these contacts with a file or sandpaper might solve the problem for now. But if the circuitry beneath has corroded, you might be looking at a costly repair bill. This cost can climb rapidly if the malfunctioning TIPM has damaged the truck’s other systems.

If you own a Ram 1500, you can proactively check the TIPM for moisture. You can also inspect and replace the gasket that should seal the TIPM’s cover.

Leaking coolant making a mess and overheating the engine

A fourth generation Ram 1500 pickup truck parked in a garage for costly repairs to common problems.
Ram 1500 | Paul Kansonkho via Unsplash

My colleague Nathaniel Ehringer reported on the most common problems reported by Ram 1500 owners. One of the usual suspects is the infamous Ram coolant leak.

The experts at 1A Auto’s Youtube channel report that the water pumps in fourth-generation Ram trucks are prone to leaking. In addition, the radiator caps and radiators themselves can leak coolant. Other components of the coolant system that can cause a leak include the hoses, the thermostat housing gasket, the intake manifold gasket, and the timing cover gasket.

Luckily, the problematic Ram radiator cap is cheap and quick to replace. You might even get away with replacing the rubber seal that is part of the radiator cap. The radiator itself can cost a bit more. Most commonly, the radiator develops leaks between its aluminum body and plastic uprights. There is a gasket between these components that can fail. You can visually inspect your radiator, looking for any greenish deposits leftover from dripping coolant.

Other components, such as a manifold gasket, can be very expensive to repair. If you notice your coolant level is dropping, you can rent a tool to pressurize the system and try to spot the leak yourself. Once you know which component is leaking, you can contact local mechanics to get an idea of what a repair will cost you.

Cam and lifter failure requiring an engine rebuild

Hand-drawn cutaway of a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine from a Ram truck published by Dodge and Stellantis.
5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine | Stellantis

Your camshaft is at the bottom of the engine. It spins at the engine’s speed and bumps long cylindrical lifters up so they can then operate the valves at the top of each cylinder. When these components fail you are looking at an expensive engine rebuild or a full-on engine replacement.

How do you know if your camshaft or lifters are having problems? One sign can be if your engine develops a clicking noise while accelerating and eventually while idling. A symptom of this problem left untreated is your engine stalling out when you come to a stop or while you are shifting.

Don’t panic yet. These can also be symptoms of an engine running low on oil. These can even be symptoms of an engine overfilled with too much oil. So definitely check your oil levels ASAP and hope that an oil change will solve your engine ticking problem.

Next, read up on how the most common Ram 1500 problems only affect certain engines or see Lenny at 1A Auto show how these problems, and more, can affect a Ram 1500 pickup truck: