2nd Gen Dodge Ram Pickups; A Headache or a Classic?

The Dodge Ram trucks are full-size pickups that have won Motor Trend’s “Truck of the year” award numerous times. Dodge offered The 2nd Gen Ram pickups in either regular, club, or crew cab body. The engine choices were either a V6, V8, V10, or an inline-six diesel. The inline-six diesel-only came in the medium-duty or larger trucks. For transmission, you had 4-speed 42RH-RE automatic, 4-speed 46RH-RE automatic, 4-speed 47RH-RE automatic, 5-speed NV3500 manual, 5-speed NV4500 manual, or 6-speed NV5600 manual, with RH being hydraulically controlled and RE being computer-controlled.

The 2nd generation Dodge Ram 1500 Pickup came equipped with either a 5.2-liter or 5.9-liter Dodge Ram 1500 V8 engine. The engine was mated to the capable four-speed, 46RE transmission. All 1500s had a Dana 44 axle in the front and a 9.25 Chrysler axle in the rear.

Common problems with the 2nd Gen 1500 Dodge Ram Pickup

Steering Wander

Owners of the 2nd Generation 1500 dodge Ram have noticed an issue with steering wander, especially when going fast on straight roads. You have to keep adjusting steering inputs to prevent the truck from veering side to side because of the road crown. The issue is more prominent in trucks that have oversized tires and those that have wheel spacers. To resolve this issue, most owners have installed an aftermarket bracket that attaches to the sway bars. This makes the frame more rigid in the front and eliminates the wander.

Transmission Regulator Valve

Inside the transmission, there is a regulator valve that breaks easily. Owners have noticed that when the truck is put in reverse, they could hear a whining noise. The noise is generated by the faulty regulator valve. Dodge released an updated version of the regulator valve that did not make any noise. The replacement, however, is not cheap as you have to take the truck to a mechanic to have the valve replaced.

Front Dash

The 2nd Generation 1500 Dodge Ram Pickup’s dash was made from a sheet of cheap plastic. The dash tends to dry up, become brittle, and crack, and if you take your truck off the road, it will cause those cracks to form holes. The only fix for the issue is to replace the dashboard with an aftermarket one made from a more durable material.

Transfer Case Grinding Noise

For some truck owners, there was a grinding noise when they accelerated. When they pushed the gas, the vehicle was not going as fast as they hoped, and instead, they hear a scary grinding noise from the transfer case. Most owners with this issue only noticed it while driving in 2WD mode and not as much in 4WD mode. The noise is caused by a broken snap ring on the rear of the transfer case housing. The snap ring prevents the output shaft from going in and out of the transfer case, and without it, the gears in the axle go out of mesh. To fix the issue, the owners had to replace the snap ring and service the transfer case.

4WD Disconnector

Some owners noticed that they could not shift into 4WD or 2WD even after switching the modes. The problem is caused by a vacuum leak on the lines to the disconnector, causing the disconnector not to work correctly. To fix this issue, some owners have replaced the vacuum 4WD disconnector using a cable to switch modes. If this is not possible, cleaning up the debris on the disconnector intake and patching any holes in the lines will fix the issue.

Seat tear

Any tall vehicle seats are prone to ripping on the edges due to the height you have to clear to reach the seat. To fix the issue, owners will need to install new foam and covers on the seats. Some owners installed running boards to help when stepping into the truck.


The rocker panels on the 2nd generation 1500 dodge Ram Pickup are prone to rust. The fix to this is to replace those panels with aftermarket panels.

Is the 2nd Generation Dodge Ram Pickup a classic?

The 2nd dodge ram established the big muscular macho look that is prominent today in trucks. The exaggerated grill took cues from large semi-trucks. Dodge Ram was the blueprint that modern trucks use today. You can see styling cues from any full-sized modern truck that can be traced back to the 2nd generation dodge Ram Pickup.

For any vehicle to qualify to be a classic, it has to have sufficient significance and is worth preserving and restoring. It is of historical importance; without it, we would still be driving trucks that look like vans. It is also worth preserving because it is almost collectible. The truck is very popular with restorers and modifiers alike. This is also a truck that is easy to get same day title loans on.

Most of the issues that plague the 2nd Generation Ram Pickup are fixable on the cheap. Although truck prices have been going up over the years, you don’t have to break the bank to get a decent truck. The engine choices and 46RE transmissions did not have any major issues aside from usual wear and tear. Additionally, nowadays you can pick up a rebuilt engine for sale for the 2nd gen Dodge trucks for cheap. The truck is not packed with too much digital technology to make repairs a nightmare. Most owners of the truck use their trucks daily. The answer to the question “ is The 2nd Generation Dodge Ram Pickup is a classic?” is a resounding yes.

Author: Brandon Park