The RAM EcoDiesel Years You Should Avoid

Diesel engines, known for their performance and efficient fuel usage, are, however, criticized for their emissions. Hence, the introduction of eco diesels. The Fiat Chrysler company decided to put this engine into their already existing Ram and Jeep pickup trucks.

While eco-diesel rams, just like every other car, can have typical car issues, there are some you shouldn’t near if you want to save yourself from unnecessary stress and expenses. However, before highlighting some Ram eco diesel years to avoid, let’s first understand what Ram eco-diesel is.

Ram ecodiesel years to avoid

What is ram eco-diesel?

Ram eco-diesels are ram trucks that are fitted with the eco diesel engines. These engines are great at producing extreme power and torque while using less fuel and producing less emission. Generally, the need for diesel engines to work without compromising performance and fuel usage yet environmentally friendly berthed the eco-diesel engines.

In 2014, Ram introduced the ecodiesel into their Ram 1500, including their Jeep Grand Cherokee, and surprisingly was widely accepted by people. This particular model was the beginning of the second-generation eco diesels. And were produced and used in these trucks from 2014 to 2019.

The third generation Ram ecodiesel were those produced and used in the Ram 1500 from 2020-2023. The model was also used in the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator. So generally, aside from the Ram 1500, You can also find this engine in other Jeeps trucks like the Wrangler, Gladiator, Grand Cherokee, etc.

Ram eco-diesel years to avoid

While eco-diesel rams undoubtedly are environmentally friendly, they can be hectic to use. These issues mostly stem from the improvements made to make the engine eco-friendly. These modifications include adding parts such as fuel injection systems, advanced particulate filters, selective catalytic systems, etc.

However, while the Ram eco diesel has had its share of issues, some are worse than others. So to save yourself issues, Ram ecodiesel years to avoid, according to forum discussions, includes 2014, 2015, and 2016 models, which are the much earlier years.

ram ecodiesel problems

2014 Ram 1500 ecodiesel

The 2014 eco diesel was the very first introduced to the Ram 1500. So, it will have issues as the company is still figuring things out. The problems encountered by this year’s ecodiesel led to 14 recalls, with engine-related problems as the major issue.

Owners of the 2014 ecodiesel complained of several transmission issues. Sometimes, the transmission shifts out of gear while in motion, and other times, have cold starts.

It also acts very noisy at low speeds, RPM without acceleration, and transmission bumping when the brake is released or accelerating. While most of the transmission issues might appear not so serious, these are fast ways to complete transmission failure.

2015 Ram 1500 ecodiesel

The 2015 model no doubt has some technological improvement. However, they still persisted with some of the 2014 problems and with even more additions to the list of problems.

Major issues reportedly encountered with the 2015 models were the dashboard light not functioning, RAM GPS/Uconnect failure, the radio not working correctly, and the screen not working. The most annoying of these is that technicians couldn’t decipher why they occur. So, they only initiate repairs or fixes that are temporary; hence, the problems end up resurfacing.

2016 Ram 1500 ecodiesel

While not as bad as the previous years, there are some 2016 ram eco-diesel years to avoid. The 2016 Ram eco-diesel addressed some of the concerns of the 2014 and 2015 models, setting the car at a reasonable height. This was more durable and has better emission and fuel efficiency, making it a good fit for both short and longer haul.

However, the 2016 models also came with problems that were different from those in previous years, leading to 11 recalls. This model reportedly had non-lattches and rear tailgate issues due to power lock failure (for trucks with power lock). Others include issues with the shifter linkage, airbags, and cruise control.

Ram eco-diesel years to buy

While eco-diesel no doubt had issues, some were far better than others. The best eco-diesel years to buy include the 2017 models upwards. These years Ram has had fewer problems and complaints compared to the previous years. Let’s take a close look at them

2017 Ram 1500 ecodiesel

2017 Ram 1500 ecodiesel

The 2017 model came with a lot of improvement. In fact, it is one of the best for hauling activities as it featured one of the smoothest suspensions in the market. And even graced with one of the best 8-speed automatic transmissions.

It retained most of the beautiful looks of its predecessor, was more reliable, and, as such, had fewer mechanical issues. How was it flawed? This model has emission issues that lead to users being fined and eventually needing modifications. These models also reportedly had problems with the cooling system, leading to overheating.

2018 Ram 1500 ecodiesel

2018 Ram 1500 ecodiesel

The 2018 design addressed some of the problems of the previous years and even better. It had smoother rides and finer interior design improvements. However, while addressing the old issues, it did give rise to newer ones.

The engine experienced exhaust and coolant issues. There were also electrical itches that affected the infotainment system. In fact, some users, due to these, included the  2018 ram as ecodiesel years to avoid.

2019 Ram 1500 ecodiesel

2019 Ram 1500 ecodiesel

In 2019, Ram took a break from producing Ram 1500 with ecodiesel. Instead, they focused on gasoline-driven RAM 1500. Taking this time to strategize how to develop a better eco-diesel Ram for subsequent years. This break might have been prompted by issues faced in previous years.

2020 Ram 1500 ecodiesel

2020 Ram 1500 ecodiesel

The model came with immense improvement that made it more competitive in its segment. In fact, it’s one of the best year for ram ecodiesel. The modification resulted in more power and better efficiency. The engine featured a 3.0 L V6  to ensure reliability was not sacrificed for performance. It was also revamped with a more aesthetically pleasing exterior.

However, while the redesign was

more reliable, it reportedly has issues relating to turbo lag. But thankfully, the recall and issues associated with the 2020 model saw a significant reduction. Pointing to the fact that Ram was sailing in the right direction. Those with the turbo issues are typical 2020 Ram Ecodiesel years to avoid if you’re opting for a second 2020 Ecodiesel Ram 1500

2021 Ram 1500 ecodiesel

2021 Ram 1500 ecodiesel

The Ram ecodiesel 2021 model maintained the same energy as the previous year.

The fewer recalls done was a testament that Ram was seriously rectifying past mistakes and ensuring things got better.

Users complained about issues regarding the engine sensors and minor glitches in the infotainment system. However, the 2021 model still retained the powerful hauling capacity and efficient fuel usage, stamping it as a strong competitor in the market.

2022 Ram 1500 ecodiesel

2022 Ram 1500 ecodiesel

Still basking in the euphoria of the previous year, Ram took their ecodiesel 1500 to another level. This model was graced with a better luxurious interior and an eye-catching exterior.

The inclusion of the 3.0L V6 engine also allowed for a smoother ride and better fuel. These improvements proved Ram was near perfection and wanted users to be extremely satisfied.

Ram ecodiesel common problems

The Ram 1500 with ecodiesel has been graced with several issues since inception, with some model years recording worse issues and complaints. Here are general problems related to the Ram ecodiesel.

Oil cooler issues

Defective oil coolers are one of the major causes of eco-diesel issues and were most associated with the 2014 and 2015 models. Oil coolers help cool the oil that lubricates and cools engine moving parts. When damaged, the oil can get contaminated with coolant, causing engine wear and tear.  Or gets too hot and unable to work as intended, invariably resulting in engine overheating.

Both situations often lead to performance issues drastically reducing engine life span. Oil coolers could get damaged when vehicles are used beyond what’s recommended. It can also fail due to manufacturing defects or not using the suitable fluid, causing clogging in the cooler. 

Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooler failure

The EGR cooler helps cool down hot exhaust gasses before sending them back to the intake system, invariably reducing pollution. However, users reported that the cooler cracks or stops working. Cracked EGR cooler cracks often result in coolant leaking into the engine, which can result in a fire outbreak or impede car performance.

In cases it stops working, it causes the vehicle to pump hot exhaust back into the engine, invariably resulting in overheating.  The major causes of deep cracks in the EGR stem from incorrect hot and cold engine cycles. And were mainly associated with 2014-2019 Rams ecodiesels. The issue was rampant that 108,000 Rams were recalled in 2019 by FCA.

Glow plug issues

This plug helps heat the air and fuel in the combustion chamber so efficient combustion can take place. When they get blown or damaged, it causes starting and emission problems.

Users complain that they often experience issues starting their engines. Here, they hear the clicking sound when they turn the key in the ignition, but the car never starts.

They also experience the emission of white smoke smoke and fuel leaks in the exhaust can.

Fuel injection system issues

Another complaint that owners made was the use of an inferior fuel delivery system. User notes that the fuel injectors and other components that help deliver fuel to the engine were below what Ram stated. And therefore requiring routine maintenance after 100k miles. This defect invariably impedes engine performance

Turbo failure

Turbocharger helps boost engine performance and efficiency. Turbo failure often stems from worn bearings, leaky oil seals, damaged compressors, sticky VGT components, failing turbine wheels, etc. While these individually look like minor issues, they collectively result in turbo failure, leading to expensive repairs.

Other causes of turbo failure include poor maintenance, oil contamination, or manufacturing faults. Aside from a drastic reduction in power, a failing turbo can cause uncomfortable noise, increased exhaust smoke, and illumination of the check engine light.

Other problems associated with the Ram ecodiesel includes;

Is the Ram ecodiesel worth buying?

Ram eco diesel is impressively dependable and more durable than its gasoline counterpart. It tows efficiently, has a quiet cabin, and uses less fuel, achieving 22 and 32 mpg for city and highway, respectively. Ram ecodiesels come with a 3-year or 36k miles basic warranty and a 5-year or 100k mile powertrain warranty.

Despite all the issues faced by the RAm 1500 ecodiesel, yours could last if properly maintained. This includes using the correct oil and fuel, maintaining proper fluid levels, and following routine maintenance. Another way your ecodiesel truck could last long is by always letting your vehicle warm properly, especially in cold climates.

For example, the DPF that helps trap exhaust soot to help lessen toxic emissions gets filled over time. If you keep driving short distances and your vehicle never gets hot to get rid of the soot, the overfilled DPF might clog the engine and cause other problems. 

Is the Ram ecodiesel reliable?

The Ram 1500 is proven to be reliable and, with proper maintenance, could go between 200k-300k miles. This engine has excellent towing capacity and fuel efficiency and lasts longer than gasoline engines.

Even if you’re going for a used model, you will always see a good and well-maintained RAM ecodiesel for sale. Just do your research so you know exactly what you’re getting into.

Final words

The 2014, 2015, and 2016 are Ram ecodiesel years to avoid as they were graced with multiple issues. However, while other years are recommended for purchases, understand they are also not problem-free; their issues are just few compared to the rest.

And despite the stories around the ram eco diesels, yours could last longer with proper maintenance and usage. Use the correct fluid and maintain proper fluid level, always drive till operating temperature, and don’t tow loads beyond what’s recommended.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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