Dodge Ram belongs to the full-size pickup trucks that remained in service from 1980 until 2010. After that, it is available under the brand name Ram.
What Year Dodge Ram Parts are Interchangeable? According to customer reviews, you can interchange parts of Dodge Ram from 1981 to 1993. Similarly, 1994 to 2003 Dodge Ram trucks belong to the same generation and you can swap their parts. From the year 2004 to 2009 they have a compatible body and engine parts. However, Electronics or computer modules are specific for each model year and require modifications for interchange.
You can also replace the parts from other models and years as soon as they fit in place and have the exact specifications.
Instructions to find interchangeable parts for Dodge Ram
Parts between different model years of Dodge Ram are interchangeable. However, you should follow the following instructions to find the best match for your vehicle:
The physical dimensions of the part should match with the original.
According to your pickup model, bolts’ location and fitting should be the same.
Search for compatible parts by using your truck model’s configuration, VIN, and specifications.
Look for a replacement with the same part number as on your vehicle.
You can swap the engine in your pickup if it has the same displacement and there is no significant upgrade difference between the two motors.
Mechanical fittings like the exhaust manifold, mounts, and wiring can be different, but mechanics can manage that by doing suitable modifications.
However, you cannot compensate for changes in electronics or engine working principles and cannot interchange the engines.
For example, Dodge Ram 1500 2003-2008 model years have 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engines, but you can not add these between 2003-2005 trucks.
From 2006 to 2008, the 5.7L Hemi engine has a multi-displacement system to operate at half valves while driving at cruise speeds to improve the mileage.
Moreover, the same engine in the 2009 version has variable valve technology. Therefore, you cannot use them in earlier vehicles.
Moreover, the 4.7L Dodge engine is compatible with the 2009-2013 model trucks having the same motor. However, it is better to change the wiring and a few sensors to make the engine work.
Dodge Ram 1500 has undergone significant upgrades from 2nd generation to 3rd generation regarding their suspension systems.
Other models, including 2500 and 3500, have the same suspension between the two groups and are interchangeable.
For example, you cannot change it between 1999 Ram 1500 and 2002 or later models. Earlier models have a dependent suspension system where all four wheels have a single shaft to connect them laterally.
In contrast, 3rd generation variants from 2002-2008 have independent front suspension where each wheel moves vertically irrespective of the other three.
2009-2012 years have coil springs instead of leaf springs, and they can fit with each other.
From 2013 onwards, selected models have air suspension with electronic stability control. You can replace them with 3rd or previous generations of the pickup.
You can also swap the suspension system of the 1994-2001 dodge Ram 1500 with 2500 or 3500. However, you will need to bend the mounting ears because 2500 and 3500 trucks have broader leaves than 1500.
Body parts, including windows, doors, and fenders, are interchangeable in same generation models unless they have undergone any significant body uplift.
For example, 1994-1996 models in the 2nd generation have the same rear windows with 2 sliders that join in the middle. While 1996-2001 had a single slider.
However, you can replace the complete window pane as a single unit in all models from 1994-2001 because of the same size.
You can also swap parts between Dodge Ram 1500 and 2500 belonging to the same year or generation models. Both designs have the same size doors and windows. There is a difference in body styling, including fender flares.
Headlights are also interchangeable between generations. You can also use aftermarket headlights to replace halogen lamps with LED lights and DRL options.
Wiring harnesses to link engine computers with various parts, and sensors have a significant role in the proper functioning of the vehicles.
Moreover, the manufacturer adds a few new features by changing electronics instead of major hardware changes each year.
Therefore, wiring connectors are different between consecutive years of vehicles. Therefore, it necessitates you also to change the wiring harness while replacing any significant part in your pickup.
However, you can make one yourself in case of the unavailability of a compatible wiring harness. You can also hire an expert mechanic who has complete knowledge of engine wires and their color codes. He will make the one for you, but it is tedious and costly.
Engine control module/PCM
ECM/PCM is specific for your trucks as they have VIN, mileage, transmission, gear ratio, and speed sensor data saved or programmed in them.
They are usually not compatible from one truck to another of the same model year. However, you can interchange them by reprogramming them with your truck data.
Trucks from 2001-2002 are consistent with their model years due to additional sensors and are incompatible with previous years. You will need to bypass a few options or make changes in wiring.
In 3rd generation vehicles, 2003 ECM is different and is not compatible with later models. You can repave them between 2004 and 2005 year trucks. Similarly, 2006 and 2007 have the same module that is compatible.
But still, you have to reprogram it from authorized dealers or third-party software developers who have developed their software to work on a range of vehicles, even in different generations.
Model years with the same engines have mostly the same transmission system. You can interchange them if both have the same bell housing and bolt locations.
For example, 5.9L Magnum V8 engines from 1994-2002 have 4-speed automatic transmissions 46RH/RE. One is the hydraulic version, while the other is electrically controllable. They also have an overdrive option.
Therefore, you can replace them with V8 engines having the same mechanical parts, including 5.2L Magnum during the 2nd generation trucks.
You can also use the 3rd generation transmissions, including 45RFE and 545RFE, compatible with 5.7L Hemi engines after 2002 with earlier variants. Still, there can be a problem with the electronics and smooth shifting of gears.
You will need to install a range sensor in 46RE transmission while using it in any model after 2003 having the same engine as it is a requirement from ECM to find the gear status of the truck.
Bumpers and grille
These pickups have mostly the same bumpers and grille design for a generation. Therefore, you can add the rear bumpers between trucks of the 2nd generation.
The same is the case for the 3rd generation. However, you cannot swap all the parts between the same model years of Dodge Ram 1500 and 2500.
Therefore, you can modify the fenders but not the bumpers. However, you can swap the two by modifying the brackets by themselves.
Front bumper brackets for 1996 model trucks will not bolt directly on the 2001 design because of different locations of bolts.
However, you can install a 2001 bumper on a 1996 Ram 1500. You can fix it by using the old brackets. Despite the same size and design of the bumper, you must check the compatibility of brackets that mount it with the frame.
Rear axles between the same chassis design trucks and the same gear ratio are interchangeable. It means you can replace the same axle type between Ram 1500 models and not with 2500 or 3500 type trucks.
If the axle you are replacing doesn’t have any part number or information regarding gear ratio, you can calculate the one by counting the number of teeth on shaft and pinion gears.
If you don’t match the gear ratio, the axle will be damaged while putting the vehicle into a 4WD configuration.
Interior parts of a truck include dashboard gadgets, buttons, knobs, headliners, overhead consoles, and seats. Despite being different shapes and designs, most of these parts are interchangeable by slight modifications.
My experience shows that Dodge Ram 1500 from 1994-1997 has the same dashboard. 1998 model year is different due to a pull-out switch and cigarette lighter. 1999-2001 models have airbags and are different from previous models.
Headliners are dissimilar in several model years in the same generation due to their styling and size differences.
Overhead consoles are the same from 1994-1998 and 1999 to 2002 model years. Later models in the 3rd and 4th generation have slight modifications year by year, and you need to find the best match by measuring the dimensions having the same size.
Another thing you need to check is the connector cable in the case of electric-powered seats.
Are Dodge Ram Truck beds interchangeable?
Dodge Ram 1500 has 3 options for truck bed sizes. They are a 5’7″ short bed compatible with the crew cabs, standard 6’4″ usable with the crew, quad and regular cabs, and an 8′ long bed that comes standard with the regular cab configuration.
Truck beds in the 2nd generation from 1994-2001 have the same size and are interchangeable, but you need to make sure of the wheelbase between the two truck models.
Similarly, you can swap beds between the 3rd generation pickups because they have the exact bed sizes.
However, both should have the same cab configuration and bed length. Interchanging a long bed with a short or standard bed will not be possible without modifications.
Heavy-duty trucks, including Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500, also have compatible beds between models of the same generation years.