2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel: Sub-Par Washer Fluid Capacity?
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on September 7, 2015
The other day I climbed into our 2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel after Travis returned from his Tail of the Dragon road trip/Integra love fest. At some point I suspected he added windshield washer fluid, because I found a partially-filled bottle in the backseat, rolling around.
For the second time in two months I flashed back to my Toyota days in the mid-1990s, when I worked with a pair of Toyota Canada engineers who made a stink about this very issue during a winter suitability test of a 4-Runner prototype. Earlier this summer, while adding a jug of washer fluid to our 2014 Volvo S60 long-term vehicle, I recalled the entire amusing story of how they colorfully expressed their disappointment at the Toyota's inability to hold an entire 3.785-liter (1 gallon) jug of the stuff. I hadn't remembered that blast from the past in a dozen years.
I instantly wondered what had happened here. Surely the engineers at a Big Three truckmaker based in a state shaped like a mitten know all about snow, road salt, road grime and the need for the washer fluid bottle to readily devour an entire gallon container of the mysterious blue fluid in one pour. Don't they?
So I quizzed Travis about the circumstances. Had he added fluid because it was on sale or had the washer nozzles gone dry?
Neither. The Ram's low washer fluid indicator had come on, so he bought a gallon at the next fuel stop, more or less the same scenario that led to my recently successful Volvo fluid replenishment. The important difference is what you see here.
I was able to dump in the entire contents of a 1-gallon jug into our Volvo, but Travis was not able to do the same with the Ram. There's a lot left, too. So I looked at the options list for a 2014 Ram 1500 Laramie, wondering if we were missing some sort of cold weather package that might include an enlarged bottle.
Nope. I found three winter-related stand-alone options: remote start system, block heater and rear window defroster. This seems to be the only bottle. For my next trick I perused the owner's manual to see if it could at least tell me how much it holds. Nope.
It would seem there are two possibilities. Either the bottle is big enough but the "low fluid" warning is premature, in which case it might be necessary to let it run dry before attempting a refill. Or maybe the bottle simply doesn't have enough capacity. If that's true, the engineer in charge would be well-advised to take the short trip across the border into Windsor and chat with some Canadians.
After all, the Toyota Canada engineers I met back in the day never did think their Detroit-based counterparts knew much about winter. Based in Arizona at the time, I couldn't fathom such a state of affairs at the time, but perhaps they were right.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 40,094 miles