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Common Dodge Ram ProMaster Failures: Problems and Disadvantages

The ProMaster is the best option for personal, business use. Some people have even converted their ProMasters into camping vans suitable for nomadic lifestyles. However, this vehicle has some problems and in this post we will talk about the common failures of the Dodge Ram ProMaster.

This vehicle may be a hot commodity, but it’s not perfect, and there are some common issues you should be familiar with before purchasing one (or several) for your personal or business use.

Common Dodge Ram ProMaster Failures

The Dodge Ram ProMaster is a van carefully designed to carry people and cargo. With an impressive 131.7 cubic feet of maximum cargo space, and a cargo length of seven feet three inches, it’s sure to give you all the space (and then some) you could ever need.

If you are interested in this truck, it is important that you are aware of the most common failures that have been reported in the Ram ProMaster, then we will tell you what they are and what solution you can give:

1. Squealing brakes, or a screeching noise

This fault is especially common on the 2014 model, it seems as if the braking system is not up to par with many other makes and models fresh from the factory. It makes sense that the 2014 model gets the most complaints; it is the first and oldest ProMaster that Ram released.

The average consumer notices this problem early on, when the van has only 436 miles (700 km) on it. Some say the noises started immediately outside the lot, while others say the noises became present when the odometer was close to 500 miles (800 km).

The front brakes start to squeal first, followed by the rear.

Possible causes and solutions

Although Ram and its Detroit division are aware of the problem, there doesn’t appear to be a factory fix yet, and no recall has been issued.

The best solution for squealing brakes is to replace the pads and rotors on all four wheels, even the ones that aren’t squealing yet.

The calipers may also need to be adjusted or replaced. Although the pads and rotors are often the problem, and therefore need to be checked and replaced first, calipers are also a relatively common problem.

2. Blind spot monitoring system malfunction

The system has been known to shut down or reboot while in use, which is frustrating and annoying for many. There doesn’t seem to be a cause or reason for the shutdowns, all users know is that they are intermittent, occur at any variable speed, and at any time.

Possible causes and solutions

Right now, most people who have run into this problem are fixing it as-is. Since the problem is nearly impossible to reproduce, and occurs infrequently, it has been difficult to diagnose and correct.

It is recommended to update the software as updates become available, and be sure to keep in the habit of manually monitoring the traffic around you, and checking where your blind spots are on the ProMaster.

3. Parking brake failure

The ProMaster has been known to have parking brake issues. Either it won’t activate, or it crashes and refuses to unlock. Some users report that the initial problem is followed by the last one, all within a day.

Since the ProMaster has an automated manual transmission, it is not possible to leave the van in gear while parked on a steep hill. Users have had to manually chock the wheels with plastic, wooden or cinder block chocks.

Possible causes and solutions

The only known fix for a failed parking brake is to replace the entire braking system. Most dealerships and mechanics charge at least $1,000 for this fix, sometimes more, and of course the amount varies depending on where you are.

4. Headlight bulbs

There appears to be a wiring or fuse issue when it comes to the ProMaster’s headlights. Headlight bulbs, especially on the driver’s side, burn out frequently.

Drivers are replacing these bulbs every 6 months or every 5,000 miles (8000 km).

Possible causes and solutions:

1- Changing the bulbs for higher quality ones does not solve the problem.

Some people have had success replacing the headlights with aftermarket options, while others claim this didn’t fix anything.

This is most likely the result of a faulty fuse or wiring. It may be worth checking the fuse or replacing the wires.

Changing bulbs is a time-consuming task because the internal parts of the headlights are not easily accessible, so this faulty problem has become a nuisance for ProMaster owners.

2- None of the headlights work

If none of the headlights work, please check the vehicle’s power and make sure the battery is well connected.

The electrical harness may become loose and pull off the battery terminals.

It is also possible that both bulbs burn out at the same time, so check if replacing the bulbs solves the problem.

3- Low or high beams do not work

If the low beams or high beams don’t work, it may be due to burnt out bulbs, a bad fit, a bad switch, or a bad relay.

If replacing the bulbs doesn’t resolve the issue, make sure the headlights are aligned and adjusted so they are functional. One of the best ways to make sure your headlights are properly aligned is to park facing the garage door and change your headlight settings.

The garage door lines, as long as the driveway is level, will show you proper headlight alignment. If the headlights are properly balanced, replace the switch.

4- If the switch does not correct the fault, replace the relay.

If your headlights still work, but seem dim, you most likely have fogged lenses, bad headlight bulbs, or a faulty charging system.

  1. Clean the lenses properly and carefully.
  2. Be sure to also change the bulbs during this process; it’s tedious and time consuming to access the inner workings of the ProMaster’s headlights. It is convenient to take advantage of the situation and access to the lighthouse when you can.
  3. If that doesn’t correct the problem, you should repair or replace the charging system. Sometimes changing the battery is enough, other times, you may need more extensive work on the charging system.

The Good and Bad of the Dodge Ram ProMaster Van

Let’s dive into the good and bad things this van has to offer:

Advantages of the Dodge Ram ProMaster

Since you know the common faults of the Dodge Ram ProMaster, it is good that you also know the good things that this vehicle can offer you.

1- A lot of incredible space

With nearly 463 maximum cubic feet and a minimum of six feet three inches in cargo width and up to thirteen feet in cargo length, this van offers incredible amounts of space. And tall folks can rejoice because it has a maximum cargo height of six feet five inches tall.

Your van size options are:

  • 8′ load length, for 259 maximum cubic feet, a load height of 5’6″ and a load width of 6’3″. Available only on the standard roof.
  • 10′ cargo length, for 304 maximum cubic feet, a cargo height of 5’6″ for the standard roof, or 6’5″ for the high roof, and a cargo width of 6’3″.
  • 12′ load length, for a maximum of 420 cubic feet, a load height of 6’5″ and a load width of 6’3″. It is only available in the high roof option.
  • 13′ load length, for a maximum of 463 cubic feet, a load height of 6’5″ and a load width of 6’3″. It is only available in the high roof option.

While extra space is important to most people, Van-Lifers appreciate all of this space even more. Because the van is so wide, it’s easy to fit a bed across, giving users more convenient layout options.

The walls are also straight, making it easy to add shelving. This is ideal for contractors, moving companies and commercial vans.

Since the van can be extra long and wide, the roof is naturally larger as well. You’ll be amazed at how many tools and accessories you can safely store on top.

2- It is easily accessible for all purposes

The sliding side doors offer up to 49 inches of cargo space and accept a full-size pallet. The rear doors open up to 260 degrees, almost touching the outer sides of the van. This gives you sixty inches of width to load and unload the van.

Best of all, the ground sits 21 inches off the ground, making loading easy and almost effortless. Because it’s front-wheel drive only, all of the driving components are in the front of the van under the hood.

There is no axle that has to run to the rear wheel assembly, making it easy for this design to sit low to the ground with a safe and desirable low center of gravity.

3- Low center of gravity

A lower center of gravity, one of the side effects of having low ground clearance for easy loading, makes the van safer to drive , especially when considering faster turns.

When combined with the low-slung rear axle, this van is unlikely to become a tall center. If you ever find yourself on a muddy road with deep ruts, you’ll be relieved to know that you’re not likely to go off-center.

4- One of the most affordable van options

The Dodge Ram ProMaster is one of the most affordable vans on the market, priced several thousand dollars cheaper than most of the competition.

5- It is easy to obtain spare parts and repairs

The ProMaster shares nearly all components, including the engine and transmission, with most recent model Dodge, Ram, Jeep, and Chrysler models.

It’s cheap, easy to maintain and repair, and it’s not hard to find a skilled repairman when the time comes.

Disadvantages of the Dodge Ram ProMaster

The bad thing that stands out the most about the Dodge Ram ProMaster is the following:

1- Less ground clearance

While it’s convenient and safe to have such a low van, it means there’s a compromise in ground clearance.

If you need to go off-road, or on uneven ground, it will be more difficult to drive. It is easier to completely damage or destroy the underside of your ProMaster, especially with large rocks, wood, potholes, ditches, or even crossing wildlife.

Also, these vans are not available with four-wheel drive. This makes sense due to its purpose and design, but can be frustrating at times. However, a good set of tires will give you good ground clearance, and can make it easy to drive even on questionable surfaces like snow or ice.

Because it is FWD only, slopes with loose gravel or dirt are difficult for the van, and you may not be able to get up all roads or driveways.

Air up your tires, shift the weight to the front of the van, and use some speed and momentum if you want to go up that steep grade.

2- Minor interior drawbacks

  • The steering wheel only has one locked position, which may leave you wishing for better adjustability.
  • There’s a divider that rests just behind the driver’s seat, making it difficult to slide the seat back. Taller people who want more distance between themselves, the steering wheel, and the pedals may not like this design.
  • The front windows do not roll down all the way. Approximately 25% of the window remains up.
  • The cup holders are on the floor, not at hand height. It’s a minor inconvenience and distraction to put your drink down while driving.
  • The driver’s seat is ridiculously uncomfortable . The seat is rigid, with no lumbars, no electronic adjustments, and very few manual adjustment options. Although the seat is easy to get in and out of, it’s clearly not meant for long trips.

What do the reviews say about the Dodge Ram ProMaster?

The comments and opinions of the Ram ProMaster are quite positive. Among them, the most notable are the following:

“Amazing little van that can fit loads of tools and supplies, is easy to park. I enjoyed the mobility of the van. I do construction in the city and it’s probably the best choice I’ve ever made.”

This reviewer gave the ProMaster five out of five stars for interior design, performance, value for money, exterior styling, and reliability. They reserved their only four out of five star review for the overall comfort of the van.

“Just replaced my 2014 (only 30,000 miles – 48300 km) with the new 2019 Promaster. In 5 years a couple of factory recalls and a key fob issue were fixed under warranty. I use it for the construction business and camping. I love the big turning radius and decent off-road capability.”

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