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What to look for when buying a used ram

Discussion in 'Ram, pickups, commercial trucks' started by berg621, Nov 23, 2017.

  1. berg621

    berg621 Member

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    I’m looking at buying a 08 Dodge Ram mega cab. Is there anything I should look at or check out before buying? I haven’t read about issues or anything wrong with them being new. It’s got 57,xxx miles and will be used for getting to work and towing a racecar
     
  2. Shane Estabrooks

    Shane Estabrooks Active Member

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    Is it a 1500 suspension or 2500.. the only reason I say that is if a 1500 it might need ball joints, ends etc.

    Lucky you to be getting a mega cab, hope all goes well.
     
  3. Scrounge

    Scrounge Well-Known Member

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    Like Shane recommends, definitely look underneath the truck for rust and abuse. I don't have any personal experience with these models; here are some reviews:

    2008 Dodge Ram Pickup 1500 Consumer Reviews (at https://www.edmunds.com/dodge/ram-pickup-1500/2008/consumer-reviews/pg-1/?sorting=CONFIDENCE )

    https://www.cars.com/research/dodge-ram_1500-2008/consumer-reviews/

    Here's a page with common complaints, plus a tab to check for recalls:

    2008 Dodge Ram 1500 problems (at https://www.carcomplaints.com/Dodge/Ram_1500/2008/ )

    Note that these are all for the 1500. If it's a 2500, you might surf a bit for more info.
     
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  4. Devildodge

    Devildodge Active Member

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    Check heater function for the change from defrost to panel to floor. Blend doors are an issue.
    I believe the 08 mega cab is considered a 1500, but gets 2500 axles and suspension.
    Is it a Hemi or Cummins?

    Good luck, if you buy it you sure won't be disappointed.

    Check for factory tow package. That will make things easier.
     
  5. Devildodge

    Devildodge Active Member

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    Seems they are 1500 with hemi and 2500 with Cummins...but both have 2500 axles.
     
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  6. berg621

    berg621 Member

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    I got the build sheet, tow package, hemi, 3.73 gears. No rust. Canadian built.
     
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  7. wtxiceman

    wtxiceman Well-Known Member

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    It will definitely need blend or recirc doors sooner or later. Lots of info out there.
     
    Doug D likes this.
  8. Shane Estabrooks

    Shane Estabrooks Active Member

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    Sounds like a great truck... Like the guys said above check for rust issues, most southern Canadian cities are bad for salt.. if the truck is from Northern Canada .. salt is not much of an issue.
     
  9. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    I've got an '06 1500 Quad Cab (Hemi) with 244K miles.

    Weak points so far:

    HVAC blend doors - the doors are plastic driven by actuators (motors) and over time the stop pins on the doors crack/break with the door eventually failing. Most common is the mode 2 door (floor/defrost). It is an expensive repair (don't ask how I know). There is a kit from Heater Treater if you are adventurous and feel like cutting into the assembly. I chose not to. The HVAC door issue is somewhat common for the '02-'08 generation. They will eventually fail. Dodge's mistake was making the stop pins out of plastic and not steel.

    Rear end/differential - Have had the pinion seal develop leaks twice. Had to replace the pinion bearings and carrier bearings at ~55K. I've had one shop recommend replacing/rebuilding the differential.

    Ball joints - I won't say this is problem area as the original ball joints lasted 244K on mine, but be aware if the lower ball joint needs to be replaced, they are often riveted to the lower control arm. The rivets can be cut off, but it is a time consuming process. Most shops will not want to take the time and will recommend replacing the lower control arm since it is easier (though not necessarily cheaper).

    You can save a lot of money changing the plugs (16 of them) yourself, but be aware it takes at least 2-3 hours. I have to keep reminding myself I'm saving $250+. My dealer would charge $250+ labor.

    Only other major repair that comes to mind is replacing both front hubs (bearings going bad) at ~120K. Cost was about $350 per side.

    If you tow frequently, be sure to service the transmission regularly.

    That's about all I can think of. Good luck!
     
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  10. berg621

    berg621 Member

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    Thanks for all the info. It has no rust bubbles yet. I might have to find a plastic pin at a junkyard and have steel ones made
     
    #10 berg621, Nov 24, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2017
  11. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    The HVAC doors available from Heater Treater are steel (including the stop pins). If you don't want to cut into the assemblies then the alternative is tearing the dash apart. In fact, in order to replace the mode 2 door you will have to remove a good portion of the dash as the mode 2 door is behind a steel bracket that comes up from the transmission hump. Unless the doors have failed I would not bother. At one point the recirculation door actually fell on to the blower fan. I simply removed it.

    On my '06 the mode 2 door failed just out of the original factory warranty. Had air flow through the defrost and dash vents, but not the floor. I lived with it until the mode 1 door failed (controls dash/defrost) - it stuck on the dash setting regardless of where I set the control. Since not having defrost is an automatic state inspection fail I had no choice but to replace them. Shop I used ended up replacing all three assemblies (the HVAC assembly comes in three sections) which included new doors which I believe have steel stop pins. Dodge redesigned the assemblies - which assemblies depends greatly on the manufacture date of the truck.

    Perhaps by '08 Dodge had modified the doors, but I would not count on it.
     
  12. voiceofstl

    voiceofstl Well-Known Member

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    What state are you in? I'm in Missouri and I have never seen a inspecter check the heater out.
     
  13. hemirunner426

    Level 2 Supporter

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    I have a 2007 Mega cab 1500 Hemi with 285000 thousand Kilometers that is still running good.It has a 2500 chassis and was made in Mexico.No Dodge trucks of this vintage were made in Canada.It has plowed snow and worked its a$$ off its whole life.
    Never had problems with blend doors.Ball joints are an issue if you hang a plow off the front end for 6 months of the year.Good tough truck but not great on fuel.
     
  14. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    Virginia. It is listed in the check list that inspectors are to use. Note Number 13 - Windshield Wiper/Defroster operation. And several times I have received my vehicle back with the HVAC control on the defrost setting so I know the technician inspecting the vehicle did in fact check the defrost operation.

    From the Virginia State Patrol:

    Virginia Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection Program

    The Required Official Inspection Procedure, as approved by the Virginia State Police Superintendent, is as follows:

    REQUIRED OFFICIAL INSPECTION PROCEDURE

    Each inspection consists of the following items – for further details consult the "Official Annual Motor Vehicle Inspection Manual":

    1. - REMOVE OLD INSPECTION STICKER.

    2. - DRIVE VEHICLE INTO INSPECTION LANE.

    3. - INSPECT BRAKES FOR:

    • Worn, damaged or missing parts.
    • Worn, contaminated or defective linings or drums.
    • Leakage in system and proper fluid level.
    • Worn, contaminated or defective disc pads or disc rotors.
      (NOTE: A minimum of two wheels and drums must be removed from each vehicle at the time of inspection. Consult the “Official Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection Manual” for exceptions.)
    4. - INSPECT PARKING BRAKE FOR:

    • Broken or missing parts.
    • Proper adjustment.
    • Standard factory equipment or equivalent.
    5. - INSPECT HEADLIGHTS FOR:

    • Approved type, aim and output.
    • Condition of lamps, lenses, wiring and switch.
    • High beam indicator.
    6. - INSPECT OTHER LIGHTS FOR:

    • Approved type, proper bulbs, and condition of lenses, wiring and switch.
    • Aim of fog and driving lamps.
    • Illumination of all lamps and proper color of lenses.
      (NOTE: Every vehicle must have a rear lamp showing a red light to the rear, a white light illuminating the rear license plate; vehicles over 7 feet wide or extending 4 inches or more beyond the front fender extremes must be equipped with approved clearance lamps and reflex reflectors. (Include load when measuring.)
    7. – INSPECT SIGNAL DEVICE FOR:

    • Approved type, proper bulbs, and condition of lenses, wiring and switch.
    • Correct operation of device.
    • Illumination of all lamps and proper lens color.
    8. – INSPECT STEERING & SUSPENSION FOR:
    (Jack up front end as shown in “Official Motor Vehicle Safety Inspection Manual”.)

    • Wear in bushings, kingpins, ball joints, wheel bearings and tie rod ends.
    • Looseness of gear box on frame, condition of drag link and steering arm.
    • Play in steering wheel; leakage of power steering fluid in the system.
    • Wheel alignment and axle alignment.
    • Broken coil springs, spring leaves and worn shackles.
    • Shock absorbers.
    • Broken or weakened frame.
    • Broken or missing engine mounts.
    • Lift blocks.
    9. – INSPECT TIRES, WHEELS & RIMS FOR:

    • Condition of tires including tread depth.
    • Mixing radials and bias ply tires.
    • Wheels that are cracked or damaged so as to affect safe operation.
    10. – INSPECT MIRRORS FOR:

    • Rigidity of mounting.
    • Condition of reflecting surface.
    • Check for road visibility 200 feet to the rear. (Truck mirrors must extend at least halfway beyond edge of body.)
    11. – INSPECT HORN FOR:

    • Electrical connections, mounting and horn button.
    • Emits sound audible for a minimum of 200 feet.
    12. – INSPECT WINDSHIELD AND OTHER GLASS FOR:

    • Approved type safety glass.
    • Cloudiness, distortion or other obstruction to vision.
    • Cracked, scratched or broken glass.
    • ALL UNAUTHORIZED STICKERS MUST BE REMOVED.
    • Sun shading material on windshield displaying words, lettering, numbers or pictures that does not extend below the AS-1 line is permitted. In the absence of an AS-1 line, sun shading material on the windshield displaying words, lettering, numbers or pictures cannot extend more than three inches downward from the top of the windshield, unless authorized by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and indicated on the vehicle registration.
    • Operation of left front door glass.
    13. – INSPECT WINDSHIELD WIPER/DEFROSTER FOR:


    • Operating condition.
    • Condition of wiper blades.
    14. – INSPECT EXHAUST SYSTEM FOR:

    • Exhaust line: manifold, gaskets, pipes, mufflers, connections, etc.
    • Leakage of gases at any point from engine to point discharged from system.
    15. – INSPECT REAR LICENSE PLATE FOR:

    • Illumination of rear plate.
    16. – INSPECT HOOD AND AREA UNDER THE HOOD FOR:

    • Operating condition of hood latch.
    • Presence of emissions system; evidence that any essential parts have been removed, rendered inoperative or disconnected.
    • Fluid levels that are below the proper level:
      (a) Brake fluid.
      (b) Power steering fluid.
    • Power steering belt; proper tension, wear or absence of belt.
    17. – INSPECT AIR POLLUTION CONTROL SYSTEM OF 1973 AND SUBSEQUENT MODELS FOR:

    • Installation.
    • No parts removed, disconnected or rendered inoperable.
      (NOTE: This includes the catalytic converter and the fuel tank filler pipe.)
    18. – INSPECT DRIVER’S SEAT FOR:

    • Anchorage.
    • Location.
    • Condition.
    19. – INSPECT SEAT BELTS FOR:

    • Approved type.
    • Installation.
    • Condition.
    20. – INSPECT AIR BAG AND AIRBAG READINESS LIGHT FOR:

    • Any defects in the air bag system noted by the air bag readiness light, or otherwise indicated; or
    • The air bag has been deployed and has not been replaced (and is not deactivated because of a medical or other exemption and a notice is posted to indicate that it has been deactivated); or
    • Any part of the air bag system has been removed from the vehicle; or
    • If the air bag indicator fails to light or stays on continuously.
    21. – INSPECT DOORS AT THE RIGHT & LEFT SIDE OF THE DRIVER’S SEAT FOR:

    • Handle or opening device which will permit the opening of the door from the outside and inside of the vehicle.
    • Latching system which will hold door in its proper closed position.
    22. – INSPECT FUEL SYSTEM FOR:

    • Any part that is not securely fastened.
    • Liquid fuel leakage.
    • Fuel tank filler cap for presence.
    23. – INSPECT FLOOR PAN FOR:

    • Holes which allow exhaust gases to enter occupant compartment.
    • Conditions which create a hazard to the occupants.
    24. – ISSUE STICKER:

    • If approved, place completed approval sticker on the vehicle and give the receipt of certificate to the operator.
    • ALL DEFECTS MUST BE CORRECTED AND THE VEHICLE REINSPECTED WITHIN 15 DAYS. THE DRIVER MAY BE SUBJECT TO RECEIVING A TRAFFIC SUMMONS FOR ANY DEFECT STILL PRESENT WHEN THE VEHICLE IS OPERATED ON THE HIGHWAY.
     
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  15. voiceofstl

    voiceofstl Well-Known Member

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    Those blend doors are super expensive to fix. You would think by now they could make the HVAC sytem so it wouldn't cost 2 grand to fix.
    I also include the AC of course
    You have a perfectly good car 6-8 years old with low milage and your stuck with a decision do i get rid of it or spend the 2 grand to fix the heater or AC.
     
  16. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    The total cost to fix my truck was just under $2200 and that was at a local shop, not a dealer. The parts were double the labor. $742 for just the housings, $161 for the heater core, $415 for the evaporator (required since the housings were redesigned). Factor in another $110 to recharge the AC system. Basically most new vehicles (since the late 90's) are not manufactured with ease of service in mind, but ease of installation at the factory. The last vehicles I had that were relatively easy to service were the EEK's I owned ('90 & '92 Acclaim). I suppose I could have gone the Heater Treater route, but I'm not fond of cutting into housings.

    My wife and I did sit down and discuss the possibility of trading my truck for a "newer" vehicle, but we figured there was still life in my truck and we'd be apt to be purchasing someone else's problems. Plus the truck is paid for and the annual personal property taxes are low (less than $200) and we really did not want another vehicle payment as I just paid off her Journey 4-5 months ago. Probably wouldn't have gotten much on a trade in the condition it was in before the repairs.
     
  17. voiceofstl

    voiceofstl Well-Known Member

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    I got my 2016 Caravan because my 2005 caravan had a "slow"freon leeck and because I heard that 2016 might be the last year to get a cheaper Caravan. I got a 1500 esimate to fix the AC. I put some stop leek freon in it and so far it has worked.
    Now on 05 I'll set the bi-level setting from the dash vents and the floor. for some reason all of a sudden the air will just out of the floor.
    My wife keeps bugging me to "give" it to a poor relative but it should useful to have a third car.
     
  18. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    It may just need to have the blend doors calibrated.
     
  19. duncanpohl

    duncanpohl Active Member

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    I just bought a 2005 Ram with the 5.7 Hemi. It had some 217,000 miles on it. Still runs great but I had to replace the transmission almost as fast as I could turn around from buying it. My mechanic told me that transmission was good for about 200,000 - 210,000 miles. My Ram had fantastic maintenance records so I know it was well maintained, so got a few more miles out of it than the mechanic said but it still pretty much lasted what he said they normally do. Just a heads up for the future - I can only go by my experience. Otherwise, I Love the thing!
     
  20. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    244,000 miles on my '06 and the transmission is running fine. I wouldn't take what your mechanic said as a hard fact. YMMV.
     

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