Headlight wiring color codes is one question that every Dodge Ram owner asks when he finds any fault in their circuit. It is also helpful while replacing or upgrading the headlamps on your pickup truck. Therefore, its knowledge helps you to save a lot of time and money.
Dodge Ram headlight wire color codes for 1993-1999 models are red wire with orange stripes for high beam, violet wire with white stripes for low beam, and black wire for ground on both driver and passenger sides. For 2000-2003 models, red with orange stripes for high beam, violet with white stripes for low beam, and black with orange stripes for ground for both left and right sides. In earlier models, a multifunction switch controls the headlights through hot (12V) wire, while for 2000-onwards, it controls via the ground wire.
You can search the specific wiring diagram with color codes for your Dodge Ram model using its VIN.
We have added differences in color codes for different model years, Sport vs. non Sports trim levels, and also for fog lights and DRL.
How many wires for Dodge Ram headlights?
There are 3 wires to control the high and low beams of the headlights assembly. One wire connects the 12V with a high beam, another for the power of the low beam and 3rd one is for the ground terminal on the headlamp bulbs.
Another essential wire is the 12V power source from PDC to the multifunction selector switch. They also have other associated bulbs for DRL, turn signals, and fog lamps.
Therefore, you can also expect separate cables running from PDC to these bulbs. Thus, the exact number can vary according to the available features in the headlight assembly of your pickup truck or any modification you have done to install any aftermarket solutions.
Dodge Ram headlight wiring color codes
Multiple wires run from the headlight’s beam select and multifunction switch to its assembly.
The power distribution center (PDC) is the central point to provide controlled power through multiple controls and relays to all electrical systems of the pickup truck.
Each cable has a specific color mentioned on its wiring diagram to facilitate fault tracing and proper wiring.
1993-1999 Dodge Ram models
Earlier Dodge Ram models have a different circuit configuration for the headlight assembly. A Multifunction switch controls the 12V terminal to the lights.
Here the power enters from the PDC to the controlling button, then to the lights, and subsequently to the ground to complete the path. Therefore, you will observe 0 volts on the High/Low beams with the switch to the OFF position.
A light green wire carries 12V from the battery’s positive terminal via PDC to the multifunction switch. It is safe to keep its gauge size 14 to prevent overheating due to the high resistance of smaller-sized wires.
Red with orange stripes connects 12V with the high beam on the left side headlamp.
Violet with white stripes provides power 12V to the low beam.
The black-colored cable is the ground to complete the current path of the circuit.
On the passenger or right side, you will find 1 wire from PDC to the controlling switch and 3 wires to the headlamp. They have the following color codes to ensure correct wiring:
A 14 gauge light green wire with white stripes connects positive battery feed 12V through PDC to the multifunction switch.
Red with orange Stripes wire connects with a high beam on the right side.
On the other hand, violet cable with white stripes is for low beam points on the headlight.
The black is for the ground point on the headlamp.
2000-2003 Dodge Ram models
Introduced in late 1999, 2000-2003, models have different wiring color codes for headlamps than earlier models.
Moreover, they have separate mechanisms to switch or control the lights.
In these trucks, 12V power from PDC enters the lamps first, then to the controlling switch, and lastly, it changes the ground instead of the 12V wire to turn them ON/OFF or select the low/high beam.
Driver side: On the left side, there are 4 wires, each with a code that is important for proper working the headlamps.
There is a violet-colored cable from PDC having 12V to the headlamp assembly. You can ensure it by measuring its voltage through a digital multimeter (DMM). Moreover, a 15 amps fuse is in the circuit for protection against short circuits or high currents.
A wire carrying 12V connected with the high beam on the driver side is red with orange stripes. You will find it written as Red/Org on the wiring diagram. Here the 1st abbreviation indicates the primary color of the wire, and the 2nd one is for the stripes on it.
Violet-colored cable with white stripes connects 12V with the low beam on the left side.
Black-colored wire with orange stripes is the ground providing a return path for current flow through the bulbs. The ground cable is universal and remains the same for all Dodge Ram pickup truck circuits.
A multifunction switch connected to the ground also controls the switching of lights. Therefore, you will observe 12V on the high and low beams, even with lights switched off, because it breaks the circuit path by controlling the ground terminal.
Passenger side: You will also find 4 wires on the passenger side having no significant differences as the selector switch simultaneously connects or disconnects the bulbs on both sides.
Violet wire with red stripes is power or 12V from PDC through a 15 amp fuse.
Red with orange stripes is for 12V to the high beam on the right side headlamp.
Violet with white stripes is for 12V to the low beams on that side bulb.
Black with orange stripes provides the ground connection for the headlamp. It also connects with the ON/OFF and the beam selector switch.
Wiring color code for fog lamps
Fog lamps are smaller lights below the headlight assembly to increase the visibility of your vehicle in foggy or bad weather with low daylight.
On the 1998 model Dodge Ram, its wire color code is light blue on both the left and right sides of the truck.
Black cable provides the ground or return path connected with the left fender. However, you can check by looking into the wiring diagram for other models.
DRL wire color code for Dodge Ram
Dodge Ram pickup trucks sold in the US don’t have daylight running lamps (DRL) functions as it is not a compulsory requirement.
However, you can get it activated by visiting your dealership and providing them with the VIN of your vehicle.
For earlier models, the DRL function is not present with no cables. Therefore, you have to do modification by installing a relay and tapping a wire which remains high as long as the truck remains ON.
Does the Dodge Ram headlight wiring color code remain the same for all model years?
There can be minor differences in the headlights wiring color configuration for each model year. But basically, there are 2 different arrangements in models before 2000 and 2000-onwards.
Older style wiring sends power through the switch to lights and then ground for their proper operation.
While newer models use backward style with power from PDC directly to the lights, a switch/relay controls the ground to turn them ON/OFF.
Therefore, you should ensure the wiring configuration of your Dodge Ram pickup truck before swapping for lights.
The difference in headlight wiring color for Dodge Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500 trucks
There is no significant difference in headlight wiring color coding for light-duty and heavy-duty variants of Dodge Ram pickup trucks.
However, these are different in the power, torque, and loading capacity of Dodge Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500 pickup trucks.
But you will find similar headlights and their wiring arrangement in all three variants.
So it will be pretty helpful in interchanging these parts between them without the hassle of any modifications or the risk of wrong wiring.
What is the importance of the headlight wire color code?
Wiring color code is a standard way automobile manufacturers introduce to trace the wiring path for any circuit and make any modifications to ensure compatibility with different aftermarket solutions.
For example, if the headlight assembly of your Dodge Ram pickup truck is not properly working, then you can trace its wiring path by looking for a specific colored wire from PDC to that part.
Moreover, if you are going for its replacement or upgrade, wiring color codes will help make correct connections.
One of my friends frequently complains about a faulty circuit causing the fuse to blow every time.
I sent him the codes for their wires, and he quickly traced the path to find them melted at a point causing a short circuit. This incident highlights the importance of wiring codes in troubleshooting faults.
Where to find the color codes of headlight wires?
The service manual of your Dodge Ram pickup truck is the most genuine and authentic source to find the color codes.
On the wiring diagram, you will find the color marking in abbreviated form to trace the circuit path.
Moreover, different online resources and websites can provide you with the complete wiring diagram of your pickup truck if you give them the VIN.
By the VIN, they assess the model number and send you the exact piece of information specific to your vehicle.
Difference between positive and negative ground with headlights
Some Dodge Ram 2nd generation models from 1993-2001 use a positive ground system for their electrical systems. In that case, the battery’s positive terminal connects with all ground points on the truck body.
To avoid confusion and keep the conventional marking in your mind, consider these positive points as negative and do the wiring as you do for standard negative ground systems.
A negative ground system is conventional, and you can find it in most vehicles. In that case, the battery’s negative terminal connects with all the ground terminals on the truck body.
Therefore, you should check beforehand the negative ground or positive ground system of your Dodge Ram pickup truck before wiring for the lights. It will remove a lot of confusion and help you to understand the system.
Difference between 9004 and 9007 headlight bulbs Dodge Ram
9004 and 9007 are 2 common types of bulbs used in Dodge Ram headlights. They have a few differences in their pin configuration and power rating.
Therefore, you can expect different wiring connections for both bulbs. 9004 bulbs have transverse filaments and a P29t base with a ground terminal on one side, a low beam in the center, and a high beam on the other. 9007 bulbs have axial filaments with a Px29t base. I
t has a ground pin in the center while low and high beams are on the sides. You should keep this pin-out configuration in mind while wiring the headlights.
Color codes will remain the same from PDC, but their connection with headlights will differ according to the installed bulb type.
Does headlight wiring remain the same for all trim levels of Dodge Ram?
Headlight wiring is the same in trim levels of Dodge Ram pickup trucks, with exceptions in a few model years.
For example, in the 2nd generation Dodge Ram 1993-1998 models, all trim levels have the same design and wiring for the lights. But for 1999-onwards Sport trim level has Quad High beams system with clear corners and two dual filament bulbs on each side assembly.
On the other hand, non-Sport models have a single bulb in each housing with no clear lenses. They have different bulbs for low and high beams.
You will observe pink wire with red stripes from PDC to the headlamp and light green with brown tracer from the headlamp to the Quad High beam relay.