Video: Well, That’s Not Good: Here’s What BROKE On Our Cheap Dodge Ram 1500!

Our Cheap Dodge Ram 1500, which is the most expensive pickup out of the three in the series, has a problem.

We bought our cheap Dodge Ram 1500 to compete against a cheap Chevrolet and a cheap Ford in an upcoming series. Our new series is called, “No Payment Needed, To Hell and Back.” Three, old, used 4×4 pickup trucks travel from Colorado to Moab, Utah to hit the trail. In the series, the trucks have to travel about 360 miles each way. Once in Moab, all three have to tackle Hell’s Revenge and other trails.

The setup is simple, we each buy an American pickup truck for under $5,000.00. Then, we modify them using our sponsor‘s resources. We also can use the surplus of the leftover purchase money. There was no surplus with the Dodge Ram. It was the most expensive, partially because it came ready to play.

The cheap Dodge Ram 1500 had issues

Our 2001 Dodge Ram 1500 Sport came with an off-road package. This included a factory lift, limited-slip rear differential, underside armor, and some unique styling cues. It also came with a 42RE 4-speed automatic transmission.

I mention this because this is where the weakness (in an otherwise awesome truck) resides. Even when we bought it, there was some slippage in first gear, but it seemed to work fine otherwise. This video illustrates what we did when the check engine light came on. Keep in mind, this happened after the whole Moab bumper-bashing expedition. It also came after a harrowing backroad sojourn in harsh winter conditions. The big Dodge never skipped a beat.

Once we got it back to Denver, Colorado – then the check engine light came on. At the time, the transmission was still slipping a bit in first gear. Shortly after we diagnosed the codes (which we did in this video) the truck began to suffer.

… but that’s a story for another time.

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.