8 Interesting Facts about the Dodge Ramcharger
- Although its production and distribution ended in 1993 for the United States market, the Dodge Ramcharger's production in Mexico continued until 1996. Dodge's assembly plant in Mexico did not produce any Ramchargers in 1997 and 1998. Their production resumed in 1999 with the new Dodge Ram Quad Cab pickup frame. The production of this version continued until 2001.
- After almost fifty years of hiatus, the "Ram" label of Dodge pickup trucks was resurrected through the release of the Dodge Ramcharger in 1993. But during its development years, the Dodge Ramcharger was nicknamed as the "Rhino" because of its huge built and strong features.
- The original Dodge Ramchargers were equipped with very large cabs. Their two-door bodies have a length that measures 184.6 inches and a width of 79.5 inches. They have a 106-inch wheelbase, and they stand 72 inches tall. Because of this, the first generation Dodge Ramcharger models do not have seats at the back because they were meant to be used as supply trucks or commercial vans. The 1991 to 1993 models increased their size by at least three inches.
- The Dodge Ramcharger is one of the many vehicles that were used in rallying. In 1975, it bagged the first place at Sno*Drift. It even appeared in the documentary entitled, "The World's Greatest Rally Cars" in 2000.
- The Dodge Ramcharger parts and accessories as well as its standard features were very unusual for the vehicles during its time. But compared to the modern vehicles in the same category, they have so many similarities. These features include skid plates, electronic ignition, power brakes, beverage cooler on the front console, bucket seats, and many others. Buyers during that time were also given the option to choose between a hardtop or a softop.
- The first batch of Dodge Ramchargers was only available in full-time four-wheel drive versions. The two-wheel drive option for this full-sized two-door SUV only came in 1975.
- The Dodge Ramcharger had a Plymouth equivalent called the Trailduster. The Plymouth Trailduster was offered from 1974 up to 1981. It is also the brand's sole SUV offering.
- With its badass look and sturdy body frame, the Dodge Ramcharger had a series of cameos in various Hollywood movies and television series. Some of these movies are The Keeper, Coming to America, Colombiana, In Time, The Flyboys, Dr. Dolittle 2, Se7en, and 10 Things I Hate About You. While the television series include, True Blood, NYPD Blue, The Hitchhiker, The Wonder Years, and The Sentinel.
Dodge Ramcharger Problems
Sold under the full-size sport utility vehicle category, the Ramcharger was produced by Dodge from 1974 to 1993 in North America and from 1999 to 2001 in Mexico. Within these periods, the Dodge Ramcharger produced three generations of high-performance models, which were used for various purposes like rallying and other performance driving events. The third and last generation of Dodge Ramcharger boasts of its powerful engine with 5.9-liter and 5.2-liter Magnum V8 options. Although the Dodge Ramcharger is no longer being manufactured today, those who want to buy second-hand models of the vehicle should still take note of these common problems encountered in most Ramcharger models.
Probably the most common problem of Dodge Ramcharger models is engine misfire. This can be signaled by failure in revving up the engine, significant delay when you start the vehicle, and intermittent loss of engine power. Other signs include occasional bucking and surging as well as unpredictable idles during low-speed deceleration. There were also complaints about annoying noises produced by the engine. The Ramchargers that suffered from this problem had to change their timing chain and sprockets with double-roller chains to reduce and eliminate the lifter noise.
A safety recall due to problems with the braking system was recorded in 1984. The trouble has something to do with the service brakes and the air supply hoses and piping. According to the reports, the front brake hose may have been twisted during its installation. This may lessen the Ramcharger's braking efficiency and promote premature wear of the front brake hose. Approximately 700 vehicles were affected by this recall.
During the same year, 8,800 Ramcharger models have been recalled due to the vehicles' underbody shields. Reports said that the frame and members of the underbody shields did not pass the impact test requirements set by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard item number 301 on fuel system integrity. Because of this, the fuel tank of the Ramcharger may develop fuel leakage in cases of rear-end collisions.
In 1982, a safety recall was issued by the Chrysler Corporation due to faulty ignition switches. The ignition switches of 1,725 Dodge Ramchargers were replaced because the originals may have been distorted. Some of the complaints regarding this issue include failure in starting the engine and unwarranted movement on vehicles with manual transmission in cases when the parking brake is not engaged.
Another recall was recorded in 1982 regarding the Ramcharger's suspension system. Approximately 4,000 Ramcharger vehicles were recalled because of cracked clamp bolts, which may cause the lower ball joint to separate from the steering knuckle. Complaints were also filed involving the fuel gauges of certain Ramcharger models. The defective gauges show readings that are lower than the actual fuel level.
Ramcharger owners also complain about the unusually smaller folding seats of the vehicles' last few models. These seats were located in the cargo area, and these were not really comfortable especially during long drives.
Why do they tell you that you should keep the gas tank at least half full most of the time, if not at all times? What could possibly go wrong if the Dodge Ramcharger is driven with gas below the half tank level or near the empty mark?
Driving a vehicle with near-empty gas or at low fuel level would allow moisture to form in the tank. Especially during winter, condensation can lead to freezing. The fuel lines could be clogged, and this would make it difficult to start the car and let the engine run smoothly. The fuel also acts some sort of coolant for the fuel pump motor. If the gas drops too low, air can easily get into the pump, and this can create some heat, which can lead to the premature failure of the pump. Dirt and rust that may occasionally be found in the tank can cause blockage to the fuel filter as the sediments collect. By driving with ample fuel or high levels of gas in the tank, these can be prevented. That's why they say that you should drive with a gas tank that's at least half full. It's ideal.
Something smells like a syrup, and I'm not sure what that means. Where could that sweet smell on my Dodge come from? Is this a sign of trouble?
The sweet syrup-y smell tells you that there's a coolant leak. Check underneath the vehicle—there could be a puddle of fluid there. The leak could be coming from a faulty component of the cooling system. Inspect the system for leaks. Start with the hoses that run through the coolant reservoir and radiator. The location of the puddle could give you a clue where the leak is probably coming from. Look for deposits and fluid stains around the radiator and other cooling system components. Be careful not to open the radiator cap when it's still hot. If you can't find the source of the leak, let a mechanic run some tests before your engine overheats and seizes up because of this.
What could be the ill effects of having a rich coolant mixture? I might have added a little bit more antifreeze than usual.
If there's too much antifreeze and not enough water, then the mixture would be thicker like some sort of a syrup. With this mixture, the flow rate will be adversely affected. The coolant won't be able to circulate around the engine as fast as it should, and this would reduce the cooling efficiency. Antifreeze doesn't absorb as much heat as water. So if there's more antifreeze to the mixture, then it wouldn't carry that much heat per cycle. Due to the over concentration of the antifreeze, the ability of the coolant to protect against boil over or freezing would be less. Refer to the recommended mixture from the manual or check the labels to get the needed cooling effect and other benefits from the mixture. If you messed up the ratio, you may have to flush the system and top it off with fresh coolant.
Dodge Ramcharger: Its Evolution from Being a Truck to Becoming an SUV
The Dodge Ramcharger was Chrysler’s first full-size sport-utility vehicle made to compete with the Chevrolet Blazer. During its development, Chrysler considered calling it Rhino. Ramchargers for the U.S. market were manufactured from 1974 to 1993 while those offered in Mexico started production in 1986 and lasted until 2001.
1974: The early Ramchargers
The first-generation Ramcharger rode on a short-wheelbase pickup truck chassis and was launched with a standard four wheel drive. It was basically a pickup truck with extended cab and a short bed, which could be covered by a cap or hard top especially designed for it. Initially, the Ramcharger only came with a standard front driver seat; all other seats were offered as an option.
An SE package was offered in 1975, offering carpet, deluxe bucket seats, cosmetic additions, and many other additional features. That same year, Dodge also offered a rear-wheel-drive Ramcharger with an independent coil spring front suspension.
Nothing much changed for the 1976 Ramcharger except for a re-engineered suspension to improve handling on- and off-road. For 1977, the Ramcharger got a new grille and rectangular parking lights. A year after, it got new bucket seats. And to welcome the new decade, the 1980 Ramcharger offered a part-time four-wheel-drive system.
1981: Redesigned Dodge Ramcharger
For the 1981 model year, the non-removable top made the Ramcharger a modern SUV. Chrysler added a Royal SE package with more options and convenience features to meet the demands of buyers looking for an upscale SUV. In 1983, this Dodge SUV received more standard equipment including radial tires, maintenance-free battery, 35-gallon fuel tank, new front bumpers, as well as automatic locking hubs on all four-wheel-drive models.
In 1985, the four-wheel-drive system got an upgrade, allowing drivers to shift into four-wheel drive and back at speeds of up to 55 mph without a need to stop just to unlock the front hubs.
1988: Dodge Ramcharger D/W100
It was in 1988 when the Ramcharger D/W100 was introduced to be a value leader like the Ram 100 and Power Ram 100 pickups. It was also during this year when the 318 received fuel injection (one injector per throttle body) and the standard hydraulic lifters were replaced with a roller hydraulic lifter.
In 1989, the standard wheel became 15 inches and the engine got some updates. For 1990 model year, the Ramcharger continued to be sold in four trim levels—D100, D150, W100, and W150. The D models were rear wheel drive while the W models were 4x4; 100 stood for 318 or 5.2 engine while 150 was for the 360 or 5.9 power plant.
1993: The last Dodge Ramcharger models for the U.S. market
The last Ramchargers sold in the U.S. market got standard four-speed automatic tranny and the industry’s highest towing rating during that time—7,500 lbs. Among the standard features were full gauges, front stabilizer bar, power disc brakes, rear wheel antilock brakes, and dual exterior mirrors.