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2003 Dodge Ram Common Issues

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Old 01-23-2012, 02:01 AM
srini850 srini850 is offline
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Default 2003 Dodge Ram Common Issues

Hi I am new to the forums.

I am thinking about getting a 2003 Ram 1500 4wd that has about 58K miles.

I was wondering if there are any common issues with the 2003 specifically, since that is the first year they introduced the Hemi on these trucks. Also do the 2003's have plug wires as opposed to coil packs?

I saw this link:
http://dodgeforum.com/forum/3rd-gen-...e-posting.html

Just wondering if there were was anything else I should worry about?


Thanks for all the help.
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Old 01-23-2012, 02:59 AM
freestyledude freestyledude is offline
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Check the stickies at the top of this forum section, it has most of them.

The 03's have problems with valve spring breakage, I replaced all my springs with springs from a 6.1 Hemi. Not a very expensive job at the shop if you don't want to do it.
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Old 01-23-2012, 04:45 AM
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As mentioned...03 springs.....Retaining clip failures if fitted with an LSD.......HVAC issues with blend doors and direction doors.......Fuse box failures causing park light and other light failures.
I've had ALL of these issues at one time or another.
Al.
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:10 AM
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02-05 have long plug wires vs 06+ coils.
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:19 AM
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2003 has issue's, plus they are on their own as far as tuning if you were interested in getting any kind of programmer.
2003-2005 have issues with the steering racks as well.

I'd pass up on an '03 regardless of how good the deal is. Matter of fact, the better the deal, the more I'd be worried because there's prob a reason for it.
It has low miles for the year, but the trans fluid and filter are due for a change(60kmi), the coolant is due for a change(3yr/50kmi), plugs are due for a change(every 30kmi), diff's are due for a change(every 30kmi). Pretty much every fluid needs to be changed at 60kmi so whatever you pay for it be prepared to pay $4-500 for all the fluids/parts IF your doing it yourself. Shops will charge you that much in Labor. Diffs take Synthetic and coolant is a synthetic HOAT type. Trans fluid is a synthetic blend(ATF+4)
Just keep the maintenenace in mind unless there are receipts showing they have just been done(doubtful). How old are the brakes/rotors? Tires?

It's 9yrs ols so keep that in mind as well. So, how old is the battery? belt? if the coolant is original I'd be worried about the heater core($800job) the HOAT coolant breaks down aover time and allows chemicals to start eating and causing corrosion of the radiator and heater core and the gaskets of the waterpump..etc

If I were buying that truck, I wouldn't touch it unless it was atleast $2k below book for the maintenance reasons alone. I'd rather go for a Ford or Chevy at that point for the mechanical troubles. I love the looks and power of the Dodge, but they just aren't worth it(older years)
None of my friends with older 00-05 fords or chevy's have the problems the guys with the 02-05 rams have. Fords biggest issue is the 5.4L blowing plugs out of the heads and chevy doesn't have any nightmarish one's to speak of, but all makes have some type of issue or another. Overall cost is what you need to look at!

I'm not trying to start a bash or anything of that sort. Trying to give you advice on what vehicle is the best overall pick for your money.
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Old 01-23-2012, 10:42 AM
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Thank you very much for the replies everybody.

No offense taken dirtydog, I really appreciate the detailed explanation. Sure saved me from making an offer on that truck. I'll probably add some Fords and Chevys to my search as well, but I just love the look of the Dodges too.

If I wanted to go for a 2005 or even an 06 and newer, how many miles is too high on the Hemi? My budget is around $13K so a lot of the trucks are approaching 100k or past it.

Thanks
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:27 AM
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The '03s suffer a little from the 1st year of the Hemi woes, and can be a red-headed step child, but I wouldn't pass one up if the deal was right. Anything after the extremely early '04s have upgraded valve springs. But IMO the '05 Ram is the class of the 3rd Gens, in 1500s anyway. Easy to build on front torsion bars, no MDS to have to deal with and full support from about every tuning company. I'm not a fan of the coil over ('06+) Ram 1500s, no damn room for decent tire fitment and the CVs and a few other components got thinner and weaker to allow room for the coils. But over-all reliability, save some front end components is above average on the '06+ Rams.
I know a few people with 225k+ on Hemi trucks and the 545rfe tranny (and original racks, btw) that are still running strong...
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:56 AM
srini850 srini850 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HammerZ71 View Post
The '03s suffer a little from the 1st year of the Hemi woes, and can be a red-headed step child, but I wouldn't pass one up if the deal was right. Anything after the extremely early '04s have upgraded valve springs. But IMO the '05 Ram is the class of the 3rd Gens, in 1500s anyway. Easy to build on front torsion bars, no MDS to have to deal with and full support from about every tuning company. I'm not a fan of the coil over ('06+) Ram 1500s, no damn room for decent tire fitment and the CVs and a few other components got thinner and weaker to allow room for the coils. But over-all reliability, save some front end components is above average on the '06+ Rams.
I know a few people with 225k+ on Hemi trucks and the 545rfe tranny (and original racks, btw) that are still running strong...
Thanks. So I found an 05 2wd with about 60K mile for $12,477. I do know I should definitely bring the price down considering the 60K mile service dirtydog mentioned.

That's good news that owners are going that many miles on the original engines and racks. If the steering rack were to go out about when does it go? Also how often is the steering flushed to prevent problems?

Sorry for all the questions. Just trying to figure everything out so I can get something reliable. I already got a project car so not really wanting to do anything with this truck.
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Old 01-23-2012, 01:08 PM
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The racks are hit and miss. Most guys never have a problem as I'm running a heavy lift kit and heavy tires and my rack continues to be perfect without a hint of a leak (knock on wood). I know a slew of guys with over 125k still running original racks with bone dry seals. BUT it seems that once one goes, it's a problem. A couple of guys around here are on racks number three or even four in 100k miles or so. I don't know if it's because the aftermarket racks are for sh*t or what.

$12k for an '05 2WD in perfect shape with relatively low (60k) miles is about an average deal. Not a steal, but not gouging by any means. I would imagine if someone was looking to sell/trade at around 60k they'd skip all the maintenance due at that time, so consider that in what you are willing to pay for it.
Personally, if I am buying a used anything, I'm going to do a complete tune-up right down to dumping all the fluids for synthetic, even if there are full service records. First of all - I do all my own work so I don't have to deal with stupid high labor costs and secondly, it gives me piece of mind...
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:09 PM
srini850 srini850 is offline
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Ya I'm with you on that. I also usually do my own work and definitely like to change out everything in any used vehicle I get. I can probably only get that truck if I can bring the price down quite a bit then. I'll see what I can do and also keep my eyes open for better deals.
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:09 PM
 
 
 
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