How Does a Ram’s 5.7-Liter Hemi V8 Look After 160,000 Miles?
At the heart of every V8 Ram 1500 is a 5.7-liter Hemi. These are known as generally reliable engines with a couple of persistent problems. Justin Wheeler owns a 2019 Ram 1500 Limited (5th gen), which he drives 50,000 miles yearly for work. He has certainly experienced issues, including the infamous cracked manifold. But he has also kept up with maintenance and oil changes, and an analysis of his engine oil after 160,000 miles gave the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 a “perfect score.”
What are the Ram 5.7-liter V8’s problems?
Two common Ram 1500 issues that could affect its engine are coolant leaks and cracked manifolds. But if you deal with these issues promptly, the rest of your 5.7-liter V8 will likely last for a long time.
When my colleague Nathaniel Ehinger wrote up the most common problems reported by Ram 1500 owners, both cracked manifold bolts and coolant leaks made the list. Between the truck’s 4th and 5th generations, Ram swapped to stronger manifold bolts. But now owners are reporting the entire manifold cracking instead.
The Ram 1500 coolant leak can have several causes. The most common include a leaking gasket between the aluminum radiator body and its plastic uprights, a defective radiator cap, or a worn seal between the water pump and engine block. If you see deposits along your radiator seams, on your engine, or even puddles of antifreeze on the ground, you want to take your Ram into the shop for the sake of your engine.
Are the Ram 5.7-liter V8s reliable?
The 5.7-liter Hemi V8 available in the Ram 1500 pickup truck–along with the rest of the major powertrain components–should prove reliable for many miles. This engine has been in production for 20 years, and Ram has had plenty of time to address any major problems.
The 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is a traditional, naturally aspirated V8. It uses big displacement to make big power. For this reason, fuel economy is one of its major weaknesses. But the upside to this engine’s old-fashioned simplicity is that it often lasts 100,000 or even 200,000 miles.
Wheeler has not babied his 2019 Ram 1500’s 5.7-liter V8, but he’s found the Hemi very reliable anyway. He regularly tows 6,000-8,000 pound trailers, uses 87 octane gas, and only changes the oil when his truck prompts him (intervals have run between 8,000-10,000 miles).
When Wheeler did his 160,000-mile engine oil change, he was curious about how his engine was doing. He sent his spent oil off to two separate testing labs. On his YouTube channel, he reveals that while there were the trace amounts of worn metal that would be expected, his 5.7-liter “basically had a perfect score for the age” of the engine.
Is the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 expensive?
The Ram 1500’s base engine is a 3.6-liter V6. The 5.7-liter V8 costs an extra $2,995 but is included on top-trim pickup trucks.
Until last year, you could actually choose either a regular 5.7-liter Hemi or a V8 equipped with Ram’s “eTorque” mild hybrid system for the same price. But for the 2023 model year, eTorque comes included with every Ram 1500 engine.
The eTorque mild hybrid system is best described as a combined starter/alternator attached to the engine with a heavy-duty serpentine drive belt. It smooths out the Ram 1500’s auto start/stop function by launching the truck from a standstill while the V6 or V8 fires up. When you tap the brakes, this unit also helps the truck slow down and recharges its battery.
Next, see how the same 5th-gen Ram 1500 at 200k miles is doing, or watch Justin Wheeler’s 160,000-mile motor oil analysis for yourself in the video below: