2017 Ram 1500 Top 3 Complaints and Problems – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Body structure, Electrical and Transmission issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners
HELPLINE

Given its macho name, you’d expect the Dodge ram to be tough, and hopefully, durable. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The full-size pickup is full of issues that compromise its safety, dependability, and comfort. According to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) website, the main problem areas for the 2017 model are the powertrain, structure and electrical system.

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Powertrain

The 2017 Ram 1500 is built with either a 6-speed or 8-speed automatic transmission. Both units are plenty advanced, with built-in electronics and computer controls. But there’s one big problem: they don’t stay in park. A component called the brake transmission shift interlock (BTSI) is known to fail, allowing the truck to roll away. Several people have been injured as a result.

One complaint submitted to the NHTSA website, reads, “The contact owns a 2017 Ram 1500. While stationary, the vehicle rolled backwards in the park position. The failure recurred on another occasion. The vehicle was taken to Fayetteville Dodge in Fayetteville, New York 13066, but the failure could not be duplicated. The contact was able to record the failure on video and submitted the videos to the dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 14,000.”

According to Ram, the problem may happen when the BTSI is exposed to high interior temperatures. Or, it may occur when the brake is pressed for prolonged periods with the engine running.

In other words, It sounds like the company doesn’t really know the cause – it’s just taking shots in the dark.

Regardless, a recall (18V100000) on nearly 1.8 million trucks has been issued to address the concern.  In it, dealers are instructed to reprogram an onboard computer, called the body control module. The BTSI will also be tested and repaired with a new solenoid if needed.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2017 Ram 1500 Transmission Problems:

WHILE DRIVING MY 2017 RAM 1500 LARAMIE CREW CAB DOWN A DIRT ROAD (APPROX. 25% GRADE) ON A DRY SUMMER DAY, THE TRUCK SEEMS TO ACCELERATE AND THEN ABRUPTLY DECELERATE. THE TRUCK WAS IN 4 WHEEL DRIVE LOW AND THE TRANSMISSION WAS MANUALLY PLACED IN 1ST GEAR. THE TRANSMISSION WOULD HOLD THE VEHICLE FROM GOING MORE THAN 4 MPH ON EVERY OTHER DOWNHILL AREA EXCEPT FOR THIS LONGER STRETCH (APPROX 300 FT.). THE TRUCK ACCELERATED TO ABOVE 8 MPH WITH THE RPM’S ALSO INCREASING AND THAN SUDDENLY DECREASING BACK TO NORMAL. I HAVE BEEN TRAVELING THIS ROAD FOR OVER 20 YEARS WITH MANY DIFFERENT VEHICLES AND HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED THIS KIND OF BEHAVIOR FROM A VEHICLE. THE VEHICLE WAS BROUGHT TO THE DEALERSHIP AND I WAS TOLD THAT THERE IS NOTHING THAT THEY COULD FIND WRONG, BUT THEY RE-FLASHED TRANSMISSION. THAT SOLVED NOTHING, EVERY TIME I GO DOWN THAT SAME SPOT I HAVE SAME RESULT. SUPPOSEDLY FCA ENGINEERING IS REVIEWING ISSUE, IF THIS IS TO HAPPEN IN THE WINTER, I KNOW THAT THE VEHICLE HAS A VERY COULD CHANCE OF BECOMING UNCONTROLLABLE SINCE THE TRUCK WOULD JUST START TO SKID WHEN IT SLOWS ABRUPTLY. FCA’S RESPONSE WAS TO BE PATIENT. WHEN I ASKED THE DEALERSHIP TO HAVE SOMEONE COME OUT TO THE PROPERTY SO THAT I COULD DUPLICATE THIS ISSUE FOR THEM THEY DECLINED.

ROTARY GEAR SHIFT KNOB ISSUE. PUT IN PARK, GOT OUT TO CLOSE MY GATE, TRUCK BEGAN ROLLING BACKWARDS WENT THROUGH MY YARD CRASHED INTO & OVER MY WATER WELL. NOT THE FIRST TIME IT HASN’T HELD.

2017 RAM 1500 WITH THE 8 SPEED TRANSMISSION AND ROTARY SHIFTER. TRUCK WAS LEFT IN PARK IN MY DRIVEWAY…THE NEXT DAY IT WAS FOUND TO HAVE ROLLED DOWN THE DRIVEWAY INTO THE STREETWISE GOT INTO THE TRUCK AND VERIFIED THE SHIFTER WAS INDEED IN THE PARK POSITION

Structure

If there’s one main feature consumers buy pickups for, it’s the bed. But since the power-operated tailgate on the 2017 Ram blows open unexpectedly, the bed is essentially useless.

That’s right – many owners of the full-size truck have had their cargo area unlatch without warning. As you can imagine, this is a dangerous scenario, especially if the truck is carrying a heavy payload.

On the NHTSA website, one owner writes, “2017 Ram 1500 – vehicle’s electronic controlled locking tailgate fails to secure when vehicle is put in motion allowing tailgate to fall open while vehicle is in motion. Vehicle was purchased with 14K miles and currently has 23K miles. Tailgate has fallen on 9 occasions in the 6 months/9K miles I have owned the vehicle. Also potential to occur while vehicle is parked. Fiat-Chrysler was contacted on 24 January 2018 and affirmed they have no technical service bulletins (TSBs) or recalls on this issue to date. However, internet research revealed “numerous” complaints in forums and videos on this occurring on 2013 – 2017 models. Some complainants indicate dealerships not aware or unable to deduce cause. Further internet research indicates a faulty tailgate actuator assembly, (a metal tab on assembly which serves as a lever-stop which allows tailgate to secure is breaking off of assembly plate and preventing full engagement of the locking mechanism between tailgate and bed).”

Since that post was written, a recall (18V486000) has been issued. According to Ram, “The tailgate actuator limiter tab may fracture and cause the tailgate to unlatch and open while driving.” Dealers are instructed to repair the assembly free of charge. Over 1 million trucks are affected by the issue

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2017 Ram 1500 Body Structure Problems:

THE TAILGATE ON MY RAM HAS OPENED TWICE WHILE VEHICLE WAS IN MOTION. ONCE WHILE I WAS PULLING A SMALL TRAILER. THE TAILGATE FELL OPEN HITTING THE TRAILER JACK CAUSING DAMAGE TO THE TAILGATE. THIS IS A LEASE VEHICLE AND I WILL BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT DAMAGE. BOTH TIMES I WAS PARKED AND HAD JUST STARTED TO LEAVE.

BOUGHT A BRAND NEW RAM 1500 CREW CAB SPORT NIGHT ESPECIAL EDITION. AT 3,332 MILES THE ENTIRE TRUCK WAS REPAINTED DUE TO RUST COMING THROUGH THE PAINT AND PAINT DEFECT BUBBLES UNDER PAINT AND DIRT , FRONT BUMPER PLATE BRACKET FIX DUE TO HOLES BEEN DRILLED TO BIG, AND FRONT PASSANGER SIDE LIGHT WAS ALIAGNED WITH THE BODY SINCE THERE WAS A GAP AND NOT INSTALLED CORRECTLY. I TOOKED MY TRUCK BACK TO THE DEALER TO PAINT 6 BOLTS THAT WEREN’T PAINTED AND TO REPLACE THE DRIVER SIDE( MOPAR CHRYSLER RAM ) STEP BAR DUE TO GETTING RUSTED . THIS HAPPENED AT 5,894 MILES . NOW AT 6,700 MILES I WILL BE TAKING MY TRUCK BACK TO THE DEALER DUE TO RUST SHOWING ON BOLTS AND REAR BUMPER.

MY TAILGATE ON MY PICK-UP FALLS OPEN RANDOMLY. SUPPOSEDLY THE LOCK MECHANISM HAS A TAB THAT IS PRONE TO BREAK OFF WHEN THE TAILGATE LOCKS AUTOMATICALLY WITH THE DOOR LOCKS. THIS CAUSES THE MECHANISM TO ENGAGE TO OPEN AND THE TAILGATE FALLS OPEN RANDOMLY. THIS COULD BE CATASTROPHIC IF I AM HAULING SOMETHING ON THE HIGHWAY AND THE TAILGATE FLIES OPEN SPILLING THE LOAD ON THE HIGHWAY. SHOULD BE A RECALL FOR SAFETY.

Electrical

The Ram 1500 is a cowboy Cadillac, with plenty of amenities and digital gadgets onboard. Unfortunately, many of them only work when they want to.

One area of contention is the Uconnect infotainment system, which incorporates features such as radio and navigation into a touchscreen display.

On the NHTSA website, one owner writes, “While driving, the radio (Uconnect) keeps shutting off and losing signal.

Another owner, on the Kelly Blue Book website,says, “The dealer is the problem I believe, its been to the shop 3 times for the radio and once for the window. I like the looks of the truck. its a bit squirrely in corners but that might be the tires. I like the motor and power, I would not recommend this truck to anyone, its a bit too high of a price and has too many little problems that the dealer doesn’t want to address and the two biggest problems they worked on but didn’t fix so DONT buy Ram trucks until they get the bugs worked out and price dropped to more inline with actual value.”

So far, there haven’t been any recalls or technical service bulletins released to address the radio concern.

Another electrical problem has to do with the cruise control, which in certain situations, cannot be canceled. As you can imagine, this is a dangerous scenario since it can prevent the vehicle from slowing down.

A recall (18V332000) has been issued to address the problem. The document instructs dealers to reflash the truck’s main computer, the powertrain control module. Altogether, 4.8 million Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, and Jeep vehicles were part of the debacle.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2017 Ram 1500 Electrical Problems:

TRUCK WITH 3.0L DIESEL ENGINE. VEHICLE HAS TWICE (DURING FIRST 6,000 MILES) SHOWN ERROR MESSAGE “SERVICE ELECTRONIC THROTTLE CONTROL” AND TRUCK HAS BEEN DISABLED. FIRST TIME WAS DRIVING ON MOUNTAIN HIGHWAY WITH HEAVY COMMUTE TRAFFIC WHEN TRUCK COULD NOT MAINTAIN ANY SPEED AND STRUGGLED GET TRUCK SAFELY OFF ROAD. WITH MULTIPLE OCCURENCES WITH BRAND NEW VEHICLE IT IS A SAFETY ISSUE.

SOMETIMES THE TRUCK WON’T RECOGNIZE THE KEY FOBS. TRUCK INSTRUMENT PANEL WILL CONTINUE TO DISPLAY KEY FOB HAS LEFT THE VECHILE AND THE CHIME CONTINUE TO SOUND EVEN THO I HAVE THE KEY FOB IN MY POSSESSION. I CAN PUT THE VECHILE IN GEAR AND DRIVE BUT INSTRUMENT PANEL WILL CONTINUE TO DISPLAY KEY FOB HAS LEFT THE VECHILE AND THE CHIME WON’T STOP SOUNDING. (I HAVE VIDEOS AND PICTURES OF THIS ISSUE) . ALSO WHEN I USED THE SPEED CONTROL AT A STEADY SPEED AND THAN USE THE CRUISE CONTROL TO REDUCE THE SPEED WHEN I COME TO A COMPLETE STOP AND PRESS THE GAS PEDAL AGAIN THE TRANSMISSION SHIFT DIFFERENTLY. THE TRANSMISSION DELAY SHIFTING ENGAGEMENT . (THERE WAS A RECALL ON MY VECHILE FOR THE CRUISE CONTROL AND AT THE MOMENT MY TRUCK IS IN THE DEALER GETTING THE RECALL DONE , TRANSMISSION SHIFTING PROBLEM LOOKED AT AND GETTING THE KEY FOB ELECTRICAL PROBLEM FIX. DEALER TECH IS TRYING TO FIX THE PROBLEM . A REQUEST WAS MADE TO CORPORATE ENGINEERS FOR ASSISTANTS FIXING THE PROBLEM. DEALER AND ENGINEERS ARE WORKING TOGETHER TRYING TO FIGURED THE KEY FOB PROBLEM.VECHICLE MILEAGE APPROXIMATELY 11400.

 WITH 21K MI. THE SERVICE AIRBAG SYSTEM CAME ON.IT IT STAYED ON FOR 5-7 SEC AND WENT OFF. IT WAS INTERMITTENT AT FIRST BUT NOW IT HAS BEEN DOING THE SAME 2 OR 3 TIMES PER MINUTE. #2 THE TAILGATE LATCH MALFUNCTIONS AT TIMES AND THE TAILGATE FALLS BY ITSELF. IT HAS DONE THIS WHILE DRIVING AND SITTING STATIONARY AFTER LOCKING IT WITH THE KEY FOB. #3 BOTH FRONT WINDOWS ARE EQUIPPED WITH AN AUTO UP FEATURE. THIS FEATURE HAS COME AND HOME IN BOTH FRONT WINDOWS. AT THE TIME IT WORKS BUT IT HAPPENS IRREGULARLY. #4 THE TRANSMISSION DOESN’T SHIFT WELL AFTER COASTING AS IN ON THE HIGHWAY. IT ALMOST SEEMS TO BOG DOWN AND I HAVE TO PUT SOME WEIGHT ON THE ACCELERATOR TO GET IT TO RESPOND. NO CODES HAVE BEEN THROWN FOR THE TRANSMISSION SO FAR. #5 THE KNOB ON THE FAR LEFT DRIVERS VENT FELL OFF.

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4 COMMENTS
  • RobS

    I bought a 2016 1500 with 15k miles on it. The previous owner had a lift kit installed and mudder tires on it (which I quickly replaced with a/ts), but the truck seemed sound.
    Not so.
    The first day of actual ownership I noted the headlights flickering on the way to work. Following that, the interior lights and instruments began ramdomly flashing….with the door closed, the key out of the ignition, and the vehicle in park. This required an “update”, which resolved the headlight issue, but only temporarily tended the interior lights…..which is to say they’ve gradually come back around to flashing with no provocation.
    Next issue was the steering box, which had to be replaced….which took 3 visits to the dealership to finally get done.
    Then hard shifting began, similar to the description above (ie rough transition from MDS to 8 cylinder mode), attended by a hard downshift through 1st when coming to a stop….none of which the dealer wants to acknowledge, of course. Also, following a U07 update (autopark functionality), the rotary shifter began clicking every time I shift from park into any gear; and on two occasions after this update, the vehicle slammed itself into park while in motion, both in drive and reverse (fortunately at low speed while parking). Also matters the dealer wishes to disregard.
    Lately it’s been a smorgasbord of cycling, unpredictable, irregular symptoms: loss of power, delayed throttle response, bogging in MDS, the list goes on…..I’ve opened a case with Fiat/Chrysler as a second-to-last resort, as I’m infuriated that despite buying a 100k bumper to bumper warranty atop the manufacturer’s power train warranty, nothing is being done to remedy these issues. Next step is a lawsuit.

    Suffice it to say, if you’re in SoCal, do NOT purchase a vehicle from Jack Powell Dodge….and my advice? Avoid Ram 1500 altogether. Everyone I know who has one is as disappointed and frustrated as I am.

  • Keith Griffith

    I have a 2018 Ram 2500 4×4. It also has refused to change gears down to reduce the rpm. This happened at around 35 MPH. It is wearing the rear tires at an alarming rate. They are almost gone at 18,000 miles for no reason. One dealer claims it’s the tire pressure and alignment. One said something is wrong, but he can’t duplicate the problem. I have pictures of the track mark the right rear tire makes when turning sharply at extremely low speeds in any direction. It also squawls tiers as I’m pulling into a parking spot at about idle speed. I have pictures of paint stripes it has broken chunks of paint out of. And a picture of where it broke a small chunk of asphalt where it meets concrete in the track mark left by the right rear tire. I have a video of a strange sound it makes when going into forward after backing up that’s not a creak, but more of a moan that experiences mechanics can’t explain and have never heard. And has now developed a clunk when normally accelerating to 45mph, then backing off the gas pedal to hold that speed. But they argue nothing is wrong with it. I guess if they can’t make a window go down smoothly, it’s hard to expect them to fix anything more complex.

  • Lucas

    I have a 2017 1500 w/Hemi. (Bought late 2018 as new and has less than 10K) Have had issues since day one with the transmission always seeming to be in too high a gear and have do a couple attempts at acceleration to get it into a proper gear. The MDS is a hard shift and very noticeable between 8 and 4 cylinder shifts, for both dealership says there is nothing wrong and refuses to flash the PCM.
    The other issue and thought it was just me, but reading some other comments, turning corners at almost any speed seems to cause the truck to lose control at the front tire taking the weight of the turn. Doesn’t seem to matter what the speed. The biggest and worst is on the highway say having to do a hard accelerate to do a pass or change lane the truck loses all steering capability like the front tires aren’t touching the ground and it starts to sway back and forth. I am wondering if anyone is having this issue. I suspect the dealer is going to say its something I did but they did sell it to me with an undeclared accident during the dealer transfer so who knows.

  • Richard Tucker

    Dodge Ram truck Bluetooth garbled with an annoying echo making speaking on phone impossible!
    Been back to transitown dodge on transit road
    Williamsville four times and car still not fixed after harnesses changed , microphones etc.
    Now I have been laid off because I cannot communicate efficiently with my manager
    As my vehicles phone is imperative in maintaining communication and instruction.
    I was at Jeep dodge dealer again today to inquire
    When the “ top techinician” was coming in from out of town to fix this problem. I was told this a month ago after my car was laid up there again
    Over the weekend . The manager today told me they prefer if the owner calls the powers that be themselves ! Which means Nobody called me
    To even tell me ! I not only lose my job, have no phone I could use in car I pay lease faithfully for each month , and it took my persistence by showing up there today only to be told , “ handle it yourself. “
    I would like this resolved either with a replacement vehicle or the “expert “ who it seems may as well be riding in on Santa’s Sled !
    Being laid off before my scheduled seasonal time is hurting me and my family financially and I am unable to apply
    Anywhere until this is resolved .

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