RAM EcoDiesel Years to Avoid: A Buyer’s Guide to Dodge’s Diesel Trucks

If you’re in the market for a powerful, fuel-efficient pickup truck, the RAM EcoDiesel might be on your radar. However, not all EcoDiesel model years are created equal. Some years have experienced mechanical issues and reliability concerns that can lead to costly repairs and headaches for owners.

In this blog post, we will identify the RAM EcoDiesel years to avoid and provide insights into what went wrong. Our aim is to help you make an informed decision and find the best EcoDiesel truck for your needs. So, let’s dive in and explore the ups and downs of Dodge’s diesel truck lineup.

List 5 Dodge RAM 1500 Years To Avoid

1.     2014 RAM 1500 EcoDiesel

The 2014 RAM 1500 EcoDiesel was the first year of production for the EcoDiesel engine in the RAM lineup. As with many first-year models, this version faced multiple issues, including problems with the emissions system and the engine itself.

Some owners reported excessive oil consumption, faulty fuel injectors, and premature timing belt wear. Additionally, the 2014 EcoDiesel was part of a class-action lawsuit due to alleged emissions cheating. It’s best to avoid this model year and look for later, more refined versions.

2.     2015 RAM 1500 EcoDiesel

Although improvements were made in the 2015 RAM 1500 EcoDiesel, it still suffered from some reliability concerns. Owners reported issues with the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) system, as well as problems with the turbocharger and fuel injection system.

The 2015 EcoDiesel was also subject to recalls related to airbag and steering problems. While some of these issues were addressed by Dodge, it’s still wise to approach this model year with caution.

3.     2016 RAM 1500 EcoDiesel

The 2016 RAM 1500 EcoDiesel continued to struggle with some of the same issues as in previous years, particularly related to the DEF system and emissions. Owners reported problems with the SCR catalyst, which led to costly repairs.

2016 RAM 1500 exterior shown.

There were also reported issues with the transmission and electronic shifting system, which could cause the truck to shift unexpectedly. Overall, the 2016 model year is not as reliable as some of its successors.

4.     2009 RAM 1500

The 2009 RAM 1500 was before the EcoDiesel era, but it’s worth mentioning due to its multiple issues. It suffered from problems with the powertrain, such as the engine, transmission, and driveshaft.

Many owners also experienced issues with the truck’s suspension system, leading to uneven tire wear and potential safety concerns. The 2009 model year is best avoided in favor of later, more reliable options.

5.     2012 RAM 1500

Another pre-EcoDiesel year to avoid is the 2012 RAM 1500. This model experienced problems with the engine, including the Hemi tick, which is a ticking noise caused by worn exhaust manifold bolts.

Additionally, owners reported issues with the transmission, resulting in poor shifting performance and potential failures. It’s recommended to avoid the 2012 model and consider more recent options with improved reliability.

5 Best Dodge RAM 1500 Years to Look For

1.     2018 RAM 1500 EcoDiesel

The 2018 RAM 1500 EcoDiesel was a significant improvement over earlier models. Dodge addressed many of the previous issues with the engine and emissions systems, resulting in a more reliable and efficient truck.

The 2018 model also featured a stylish redesign and additional technology features. With improved reliability and performance, the 2018 RAM 1500 EcoDiesel is a solid choice for a used diesel truck.

2.     2020 RAM 1500

The 2020 RAM 1500 marks the beginning of the fifth generation of the truck, and it comes with a host of improvements. The truck features a new, stronger frame, improved suspension, and a revamped interior with additional technology features.

RAM 1500 Limited interior detail.

The 2020 model is available with multiple engine options, including the 3.0L EcoDiesel V6, which offers excellent fuel efficiency and towing capability. This model year is highly regarded for its overall quality and performance.

3.     2019 RAM 1500

The 2019 RAM 1500 was the last year of the fourth generation and offers a great blend of performance, reliability, and value. With a refined interior and a variety of engine options, including the 3.0L EcoDiesel V6, this model year provides a solid choice for those seeking a used truck.

The 2019 RAM 1500 is known for its towing capability, comfortable ride, and impressive fuel economy, making it a popular choice among truck enthusiasts.

4.     2021 RAM 1500

The 2021 RAM 1500 builds on the success of the fifth-generation models, offering even more technology and safety features. Available with the 3.0L EcoDiesel V6, this model year provides impressive fuel efficiency, power, and towing capabilities.

The interior is spacious and comfortable, with high-quality materials and an array of standard and optional features. The 2021 RAM 1500 is a top choice for those looking for a modern, reliable, and capable pickup truck.

2021 Ram 1500 in towing mode.

5.     2017 RAM 1500 EcoDiesel

The 2017 RAM 1500 EcoDiesel is another reliable option for those seeking a used diesel truck. While it does not offer the same level of refinement as the later models, it still delivers solid performance, fuel economy, and towing capabilities.

Dodge addressed many of the issues found in earlier EcoDiesel models, resulting in improved reliability for the 2017 model year. As a more affordable option compared to newer models, the 2017 RAM 1500 EcoDiesel is a smart choice for budget-conscious buyers.

List 8 Common Dodge RAM 1500 Problems

1.     Exhaust Manifold Bolts and Hemi Tick

One common problem with the RAM 1500, particularly in models with the Hemi engine, is the issue of exhaust manifold bolts breaking. This can lead to an exhaust leak, causing a ticking noise often referred to as the “Hemi tick.” Over time, the exhaust leak can also result in reduced engine performance and fuel efficiency.

Fixing this issue involves replacing the broken bolts and, in some cases, the exhaust manifold gasket. The Hemi tick is a prevalent problem in the 2009-2012 RAM 1500 models, but it can also occur in other model years. Regular maintenance and timely repairs are essential to prevent this issue from causing further engine damage.

2.     Transmission Issues

RAM 1500 trucks have experienced various transmission-related problems over the years, including hard shifts, slipping gears, and complete transmission failure. These issues are often attributed to faulty solenoids, software glitches, or internal transmission damage.

In some cases, a software update or solenoid replacement can resolve the issue, while more severe cases may require a complete transmission rebuild or replacement. Regular transmission maintenance, including fluid changes and inspections, can help prevent these issues and extend the life of the transmission.

3.     Differential and Axle Problems

Some RAM 1500 owners have reported issues with the rear differential and axle, including whining noises, fluid leaks, and premature wear or failure. These problems can be caused by a lack of proper maintenance, manufacturing defects, or damage sustained during off-road use.

Truck rear axle suspension system shown.

In some cases, repairs may involve replacing worn bearings, seals, or even the entire axle assembly. To minimize the risk of differential and axle problems, regular inspections and maintenance are crucial, including checking and replacing the differential fluid as needed

4.     Fuel Pump and Fuel System Issues

Fuel system problems, including fuel pump failure, have been reported in some RAM 1500 trucks. Symptoms of a failing fuel pump can include poor performance, decreased fuel efficiency, and difficulty starting the vehicle. In some cases, the issue may be traced to a faulty fuel pressure regulator, fuel injectors, or the fuel pump itself.

Replacing the faulty components is necessary to resolve these issues. Regular maintenance of the fuel system, including replacing the fuel filter and inspecting the fuel lines, can help prevent these problems.

5.     Suspension Issues

RAM 1500 trucks have occasionally experienced suspension-related problems, such as premature wear of components like ball joints, control arms, and tie rods. These issues can lead to uneven tire wear, poor handling, and potential safety concerns.

Regular suspension inspections and maintenance are essential to identify and address these issues before they become more severe. In some cases, upgrading to heavy-duty suspension components can provide a longer-lasting solution.

6.     Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) System Issues

Some RAM 1500 EcoDiesel models have experienced issues with the DEF system, which is designed to reduce harmful emissions. Problems with the DEF system can lead to warning messages, reduced engine performance, or even a forced engine shutdown.

Common issues include DEF pump failure, injector problems, and faulty sensors. Regular inspections and maintenance of the DEF system can help identify and address these issues before they become more severe.

7.     EGR and DPF Issues

EcoDiesel models have also experienced issues with the Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) and Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) systems. These components help control emissions, but they can become clogged or fail prematurely, leading to reduced engine performance or even engine failure.

In some cases, a software update or cleaning of the affected components can resolve the issue, while more severe cases may require component replacement. Regular maintenance, including EGR and DPF system inspections, can help prevent these problems.

8.     Electrical Issues

RAM 1500 trucks have occasionally experienced various electrical issues, ranging from faulty sensors and switches to more significant problems with the truck’s wiring harness or computer modules. Some common electrical issues include malfunctioning power windows, door locks, and interior lighting.

In more severe cases, problems with the truck’s electrical system can cause stalling, poor performance, or a failure to start.

Regular inspections of the electrical system, including checking for corroded or damaged connections and ensuring that all components are functioning properly, can help prevent these issues. In some cases, software updates or the replacement of faulty components may be required to resolve electrical problems.

Why Did RAM Discontinue The Ecodiesel?

RAM did not entirely discontinue the EcoDiesel engine. Instead, they have continued to refine and improve the engine in response to customer feedback and concerns. The 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 engine remains available in the RAM 1500 lineup, providing customers with a fuel-efficient and powerful diesel option.

RAM’s commitment to addressing the issues that plagued earlier EcoDiesel models has resulted in a more reliable and efficient engine that meets the needs of truck owners who prioritize fuel economy and towing capability.


In conclusion, the RAM 1500 has experienced its share of ups and downs over the years. While certain model years and engine options are best avoided, there are also many reliable and high-performing options available for truck buyers.

By doing a thorough research and being aware of the potential issues associated with specific model years, you can make an informed decision and find the right RAM 1500 for your needs. Regular maintenance and prompt attention to any issues will help ensure that your RAM truck remains a reliable workhorse for years to come.

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About Matthew Webb

Hi, I am Matthew! I am a dedicated car nerd! During the day, I am a journalist, at night I enjoy working on my 2 project cars. I have been a car nerd all my life, and am excited to share my knowledge with you!