Most Common Problems with the 4th Gen Ram 1500

Ram 1500 Problems

The 4th gen Ram 1500 ranges from the years 2009-2017. If you own a 4th generation Ram 1500, are looking to buy one, or just want to know the top issues on these trucks, we cover the top 5 problems 4th gen Ram trucks experience and some different ways you can fix them.

Top 5 Problems on the 4th Gen Ram Truck 1500

1. Shifting Too Easily from Brake Transmission Shift Interlock (BTSI)

Symptoms of a Bad Brake Transmission Shift Interlock

Shifter moves freely without pressing the brake pedal

Cause of a Bad Brake Transmission Shift Interlock

On the 2009 – 2017 Ram Truck 1500s with a shifter in the column, sometimes the brake transmission shift interlock (BTSI) fails. The shifter releases a locking pin when the brake pedal is depressed, allowing the driver to shift. On some vehicles, the locking pin gets stuck in the open position, making it very easy to shift without depressing the brake pedal, which is unsafe.

How to Fix a Bad Brake Transmission Shift Interlock

  • Test and check the operation of the BTSI to confirm the shifter’s locking pin is sticking in the open position and not shifting as intended
  • Reprogram the Electronic Control Module (ECM) for this issue
  • If there is a mechanical failure like with a locking pin, you may have to clean or replace it

2. Malfunctioning Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM) in your 2009 – 2017 Ram 1500

Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM)
Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM)

Symptoms of a Bad Totally Integrated Power Module

Odd electrical phenomena, such as the power windows rolling down on their own

Causes of a Bad Totally Integrated Power Module

The totally integrated power module (TIPM) has electrical fuses, relays, etc. for the electrical operations of parts like the windshield wipers, fuel pump, power windows, etc.

The TIPM box is known for allowing moisture inside, such as humidity or moisture in the air or a puddle in the road. This common problem can lead to odd phenomena and the suspicion that your truck is haunted, like the fuel pump still running constantly after the vehicle is off.

How to Fix a Bad Totally Integrated Power Module

  • While not likely and time-consuming, one way to fix this is to remove and check individual fuses related to the malfunctioning part for discoloration or corrosion.
  • If there is visible corrosion in the box, it is likely in other less-visible areas like the wires. If so, the TIPM unit needs to be replaced.
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3. 4th Gen Ram 1500 Cam and Lifter Failure

Symptoms of Cam and Lifter Failure

  • Engine ticking while driving or idling
  • Stopping abruptly and the engine stalls out
  • Shifting and the engine stalls

Causes of Cam and Lifter Failure

If the oil level is too low or, for example, it was changed on an incline and the oil level is too high, the engine can make a ticking noise. Too much oil in the engine aerates it, and aerated oil won’t lubricate parts of the engine like intended, leading to wear and a ticking sound.

How to Fix Cam and Lifter Failure

  • If you hear ticking, change the oil and fill it to the recommended amount. Run the engine again. If the noise disappears, the problem is fixed. Continue to monitor the oil level.
  • If the engine has been making noise for a prolonged period and the engine has been stalling out, it will likely have more engine issues, which may require an engine overhaul or a new engine.

4. Coolant Issues

Pressurizing the system with an antifreeze pressure tester
Pressurizing the system with an antifreeze pressure tester

Symptoms of a Leaking Coolant System

Causes of a Leaking Coolant System

Coolant has all kinds of opportunities for leaks. On this vehicle, water pumps are known for leaking, and radiator caps are known to fail over time. The radiators are known for leaking and leaving a green crust along the seam where the aluminum meets the plastic. Leaks along or near the firewall can indicate an issue with the heater core. Radiator clamps can rust, rot, and loosen over time, creating enough room for leaks.

How to Fix a Leaking Coolant System in your 4th Gen Ram 1500

  • Test the cooling system with an antifreeze pressure tester and confirm it’s holding pressure. If the needle drops, you might be able to see where the coolant is leaking by looking under the vehicle for a puddle. If needed, replace the necessary part. Re-pressurize the system.

These articles explain how to diagnose coolant leaks and use a coolant pressure tester in more detail:

5. Weak Tail Gate Locks

Tailgate latch lock

Symptoms of Bad Tail Gate Locks

Tailgate seemingly latches, but rattles, shakes, and sometimes opens while driving. As you can imagine, this a very dangerous situation, especially if you are hauling something in your 2009 – 2017 Dodge Ram 1500.

Cause of Bad Tail Gate Locks

The tab in the tailgate is supposed to lock in the locked position with the tailgate closed, but it fails to secure.

Fix These Parts on the 09-17 Ram Truck 1500 Yourself

To fix the parts featured in this article, search 1A Auto’s how-to video library for repair instructions related to your year, make, and model.

Shop 09-17 Ram 1500 Parts and Tools Featured in This Article

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