2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Long-Term Road Test - Maintenance

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Long-Term Road Test

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Putting the Step Bars Back On

by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on February 4, 2016

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

Remember when I took the step bars off our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel? I do. It was more than a year ago. At the time, it was theoretically halfway through our 12-month test with the Ram. We'd get six months with the step bars, six months without them, a pretty perfect comparison test.

Those six months lasted a lot longer than expected. Out of sheer will, desire and interest to see how it held up, we kept the Ram much longer than our regular long-term vehicles. Six months quickly turned into fifteen months and now it's finally time to put the truck back to the way we bought it.

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Fuel Economy Update — More MPG, More DEF

by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on January 8, 2016

2015 Nissan Murano

We're knocking on the door of 50,000 miles in our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and fuel economy has pretty much leveled out. With tens of thousands of towing-miles and a good balance of city and highway miles, the Ram's numbers don't change much these days. And aside from the addition of some DEF, these last few months were no different.

Between November 1, 2015 and January 1, 2016, we added 5,200 miles to the Ram's odometer and made 12 trips to the pump. Mileage over those eight weeks averaged out to 23.1 miles per gallon. That brought the overall mileage up from 21.6 to 21.8, just below the combined EPA estimate. And honestly, that's excellent considering all the hard work we've done in this truck.

As the year came to an end, the Ram also chimed in to let us know it needed diesel exhaust fluid too.

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Culprit for Slow Leak Revealed

by Mike Monticello, Senior Road Test Editor on November 12, 2015

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

Last week, Edmunds Car Czar Mike Schmidt noticed the left rear tire on our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel was running about five psi low. He added the appropriate air and figured we'd see what happened over the weekend with the truck in the hands of social media guru Travis Langness.

Come Monday, that same left tire was down four psi again. Clearly a slow leak, but a leak nonetheless.  

I took it straight to my local Allen Tire shop to see what was up.   

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Low Pressure on All Four Tires

by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on November 5, 2015

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

Fresh off of a week in our long-term Dodge Viper and in need of something more comfortable/practical (i.e. anything), I hopped in to our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel last weekend. But before I could leave the office, as if by some strange stroke of bad luck, I was greeted with a low tire-pressure warning for the second time in seven days. The TFT screen only warned that one tire was low, but all four tires read below the recommended pressure when cold.

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Breezes Through 40,000-Mile Service and Recalls

by Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor on October 5, 2015

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

With 41,421 miles on the odometer, we took our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel to the dealer for its 40k service. It's a slightly more involved service that requires not only an oil-and-filter change, but also a fuel filter change and a multi-point inspection.

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Due for Service at 40,000 Miles

by Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager on September 30, 2015

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

Shortly after our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel passed the 40,000-mile mark, the instrument panel lit up. It was due for routine maintenance. This visit called for a long list of visual inspections beyond the scheduled oil change and tire rotation.

Here is what the manual told us to expect:

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2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel: Sub-Par Washer Fluid Capacity?

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on September 7, 2015

2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel

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?

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: 40,000 Miles and Running Strong

August 21, 2015

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

On the home stretch of my road trip in our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, I crossed the Arizona-California border. Somewhere in that vast desert, the truck's odometer ticked over the 40,000-mile mark. We're interested in the long-term reliability of the Ram's diesel powertrain, so we've kept it longer than average, but the Ram hit this milestone after just 16 months in our fleet.

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: New Tires Before A Road Trip

August 3, 2015

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

Our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has 35,100 miles on the clock and it needs new tires. Okay, it doesn't need new tires, as we could probably eke out a few hundred more miles from them. But the tread is low and I'm about to go on a 5,200-mile road trip, so we decided to jump the gun and put on a new set before I hit the road.

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2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel: Overriding The Transmission for Emergency Towing

April 30, 2015

2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel

One particular design feature of our 2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel slipped under the radar when I explained why it was towed to the dealer for service two months ago. The feature in question played a critical role, however, because it has to do with how we were able to tow it in the first place.

To recap, the engine stalled abruptly while driving and rolled to a stop. In such cases the electronically-controlled transmission defaults to Park. I was subsequently unable to restart the engine, so I could not use the 8-speed transmission's electronic rotary gear selector to execute a shift into neutral in preparation for towing.

Oh, great. Now what?

It turns out there's an app for that. Or, more correctly, a rip cord.

Ram doesn't call it a rip cord, though. The term they use is Manual Park Release Pull Strap. It's all explained in the "What To Do In Emergencies" section of the 784-page owner's manual.

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2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel: Oil Service, Phantom Sounds and More About the Stall Problem

April 28, 2015

2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel

The oil life monitor counted down towards zero, indicating that it was once again time for us to take our 2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel in for a routine inspection and an oil/filter change. But there was another item on the service menu this time. The Ram regional service representative asked that we time our visit so he could rendezvous with us at the dealership and see how our truck was doing after its fuel system service in late February.

We expected this. It was something he requested when it was released back to us after the work was completed. His plan was to follow-up with a visual inspection and plug in his laptop to see if any of the codes had returned.

And there was one more thing on the menu. A couple of us, including yours truly, had heard an odd, sporadic ticking sound at low speeds a few weeks back. That sound ceased after a few days and hasn't been heard by anyone for a couple weeks. It's pretty much impossible to diagnose a sound that isn't there, but we planned to mention it anyway.

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Sporadic Clicking Noise

March 31, 2015

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

Our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has developed a sporadic "click-click-click-clicking" noise coming from the engine bay.

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Inconsistent Horn

March 27, 2015

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

The last time I drove our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel the horn was inconsistent. If I tried to hit it lightly, nothing would happen.

If I pressed harder it would eventually work. And it seemed like once I got it working, it would become more sensitive for use for a little while after that.

This was especially noticeable when I was driving on the two-lane Ortega Highway. A car pulled over to let me and the Ram by, I tried to give him a little "honk-honk" to say thanks. Nothing happened at first, so I pressed harder and then suddenly it was like I was laying on the horn at the poor guy, as if I were mad at him.

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2014 Ram 1500: Restoring the Bed With a Line-X Spray-on Bedliner

March 23, 2015

2014 Ram 1500

Our 2015 Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Colorado were close to brand new when we had their Line-X spray-on bedliners applied. But our 2014 Ram 1500 Crew Cab 4x4 Ecodiesel has some miles on it — over 26,000 of them.

At this point its bed is full of scuffs and scratches. Not many, mind you — we're not landscaping contractors or brick masons — but enough to make us wonder how beat up it might get after the next 26,000 miles and beyond. And we can only imagine the rust we might be seeing if we were located where they use road salt in winter or had the good fortune to live in a seaside bungalow.

The water cooler conversationalists on the testing team wondered if the Line-X spray-on bedliner treatment would be a good restorative measure. There was only one way to find out.

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2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel: Back in Service

March 3, 2015

2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel

Our 2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel is back in our hands after an extended stay at McPeek's Dodge of Anaheim, the dealership that was closest to the point at which it stalled abruptly.

And by "extended stay" I mean 12 days.

Why so long? The Ram engineering group in Detroit got involved. But not because I asked them to — I didn't. I guess that someone who knew someone must have seen the Tweet I'd sent out while I was waiting for the tow truck. Perhaps the problem description raised a red flag.

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2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel: Abrupt Stall While Moving

February 19, 2015

2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel

Everything seemed normal as I was driving my daughter to school in our 2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel. Well, almost normal. Five minutes earlier it had cranked an unusually long time (3 or 4 seconds) when I'd started it at home. That rather innocuous incident marked the third such occurrence in three consecutive days, so I made a mental note to tell the dealer about it at the next oil change before I backed out of my driveway and set off.

That plan abruptly changed as I rolled up to a green light and began a right-hand turn. A single-note chime resonated through the cabin, and I glanced down to find a brand new check-engine light glowing on the dash. Ten seconds later the engine died abruptly as I was slowing for the next red light.

I was gently brushing the brakes going no more than 20 mph when it happened, but the sudden loss of power brought me to a stop three truck-lengths short of the line. It was as good a spot as any for something like this to happen. This was a little-used shortcut with almost no traffic. But I was out in the second lane. I needed to move on or move over. So I pushed the start button and attempted a restart.

It was no good. The starter simply cranked and cranked until it timed-out after 25 seconds. I tried again and got the same result.

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2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel: Tire Wear OK at 24,000 Miles

February 4, 2015

2014 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel

There's still plenty of rubber left on our Ram's 275/60R20 Goodyear Wrangler SR-A tires as we approach 25,000 miles. This is what the wear bars look like on both the front and rears as of this writing. Notice how much rubber remains above the wear bar. About 7/32-in of the original 11/32-in remains. In other words, there's plenty of life left in these tires.

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Door Handle Stuck

December 26, 2014

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

I pulled the front passenger door handle on our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and it stuck...

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Tire Rub, Revisited

November 12, 2014

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

Senior Editor Josh Jacquot mentioned back in July that the tires on our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel rub the wheel wells in certain situations. Josh is probably going to try to garnishee my wages for saying this, but he's actually only half right.

How is this? Because only one of the wheels rubs. And it's the exact same situation every time.

That opening photo, of the driver's side front wheel area, shows the rub point on the fender liner, right near those two bolts. I wasn't sure what was going on for awhile, either, until I started turning the wheels full-lock both directions. The rubbing only occurs when you turn the steering wheel full lock to the right, at which point the left-side tire rubs up against the fender liner.

So the question is: Why is it doing this?

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Adding (and tracking) DEF

November 5, 2014

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

Along the second leg of my 1,300-mile road trip, our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel gave me a warning on the center screen that it was time to add some diesel exhaust fluid. I noticed the gauge was low before the trip, so I pre-purchased three boxes of DEF ahead of time. At my next stop, I added 7.5 gallons of DEF and logged the mileage. Here's a breakdown of all the DEF we've added to the Ram so far.

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: 15,000 Miles

November 3, 2014

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

After just six months in our fleet and right in the middle of my 1,300-mile road trip, our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel hit the 15,000-mile mark. We took the truck in for its first service a few months back, but it hasn't required any maintenance since then.

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Removing the Step Bars

September 18, 2014

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

A while back, Dan Edmunds asked if you, the readers, thought we should lose the step bars on our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. Like many of you, my response was, "Yes."

So this weekend, to prepare for a bit of light off-roading, I removed the rails. It would give me more clearance along dirt roads. And I think they make our truck look a bit clunky. Plus, I'm always looking for an excuse to get my hands dirty. Cue the workshop music.

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Busy First Service

August 11, 2014

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

I took our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel in early for its first service. With the odometer reading approximately 9,000, the service came about 1,000 miles before Chrysler recommends, but I was about to leave on a 1,000-plus mile trip and there were other more pressing reasons to see the dealer.

Including a check-engine light.

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Adding Diesel Exhaust Fluid

July 09, 2014

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

As Kurt pointed out the other day, our 2014 Ram 1500 is in need of diesel exhaust fluid, or DEF. It's the stuff that's sprayed into the exhaust to help clean up the emissions.

With the DEF gauge firmly in the red zone, I figured I would fill it up a little since I was driving it all weekend. I opened the manual to see how much DEF I'd need to add. I've never done it before so I don't have a reference point to start from. Are DEF tanks big? Small? I have no idea.

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: DEFinitely Low

July 07, 2014

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

That's the DEF gauge, and as you can see, we're running low on the stuff. DEF is an acronym for Diesel Exhaust Fluid, which broadly, is used to help reduce emissions for the diesel power plant in our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel.

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Not Sure About the Shifter

June 30, 2014

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

I've always liked the idea of alternative shifters for cars. Rather than have a giant lever taking up all that space on the console, why not make it a switch like everything else so you can put it anywhere that's convenient? Sure it takes some getting used to, but eventually you're glad to have the extra space.

I'm not so sure it works as well for trucks.

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Should We Lose the Step Bars?

June 26, 2014

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

The soundtrack to this 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel update is the song "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" by The Clash. That's what it comes down to really. Should those massive chrome side step bars stay or should they go?

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Broken Interior Light

June 17, 2014

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

This hole once housed an LED interior light in our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. It's located in the rear driver's side seat bottom cushion. When the seat bottom is flipped vertically to carry cargo instead of people, the light illuminates the cargo area, or at least it would if it were still located in this hole.

Instead, it's been pushed from its mount and is floating around in the seat bottom, visible when it's turned on through the carpeting on the bottom of the cushion.

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Capless Fuel Filler

May 28, 2014

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

Our new 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has a capless fuel filler, but you'd never know it from the picture above. The little green insert may look like the worlds lamest fuel cap, but in reality it's a throwaway piece the dealer was supposed to remove and toss aside as part of the pre-delivery inspection.

What's it for? It's part of the fuel tank sub-assembly, which arrives at the assembly plant with the filler neck in place. This little cap is there to prevent material from going down the neck and into the tank during shipping, handling and final assembly at the plant.

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: An Unfamiliar but Important Gauge

May 19, 2014

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

This unfamiliar gauge in our new 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is an important one. Much like the diesel fuel gauge, if the DEF goes to 0% the truck won't start. So what is it?

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: A Hotter Truck Than a Ford Raptor?

May 1, 2014

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

We're often in the market to buy cars just as they are hitting dealer lots, or even slightly before. As you might expect, this makes the cars harder to find and harder to get deals, too.

We wanted to get a 2014 Ram 1500 crew cab with an EcoDiesel V6 for our long-term fleet. There are V8-powered Ram 1500s all over the place but the new diesel engine is another story.

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Past Long-Term Road Tests