ram 1500 truck interchangeable years

RAM 1500 Truck Interchangeable Years: The Complete Guide!

What years are interchangeable with your year of Dodge RAM 1500 truck? Let’s find out!

The Ram pickup was initially called ‘the Dodge Ram until 2010’ and sold under the Ram brand from 2010. The fifth Ram is the current flagship vehicle and first appeared at Auto Expo 2018 in Detroit in January of that year.

The 1500 model of the Ram pickup is available in a few different configurations, including the Tradesman, HFE, Laramie, Rebel, and Longhorn. Dodge RAM trucks are well-known for their durability and off-road capabilities, making them a popular choice for truck enthusiasts.

While most people think that all RAM trucks are the same, there are a few different years that are interchangeable. Here is a complete guide to help you find out what years and parts are synonymous with your Dodge RAM 1500 truck. Reliable Ram trucks are prone to acceleration problems; here’s guide to help you resolve it.

What is automotive parts interchangeability?

Parts interchangeability is a popular topic among automotive enthusiasts. Many people want to know what parts from other cars will fit their own, and the same goes for trucks. But how to quickly and accurately find out what years and parts are interchangeable?

The answer to this question depends on the specific part you are looking for. Generally, parts from later models will fit earlier models, but there can be some exceptions.

Guide to Dodge RAM 1500 interchangeable parts & years

Suspension system

ram suspension system

The most significant suspension system change is noticeable when you jump from the 2nd Gen Dodge Ram 1500 to the 3rd.

Unlike single shaft-based suspension in 2nd Gen, 3rd generation (2002-08) models equip independent front suspension where each wheel moves vertically irrespective of the other three.

The 2009-12 Ram 1500 has compatible coil springs instead of leaf springs.

You can swap the 1994-2001 dodge Ram 1500 suspension system with the 2500 or 3500 with a little modification to the mounting ears of your 1500. Check out the top shocks for Ram 1500 4WD here.


Chrysler PowerTech engine In Wikipedia

The third generation, i.e., from 2003-08 Dodge Ram 1500, equips interchangeable engines. In 2006, Dodge used two different 5.7 engines, so checking the engine code to ensure compatibility is essential. You can also use the Durango engine with the same code.

The 4.7-liter engine found in the 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 is also known as the VIN N engine. This VIN N engine is the same across 2002-07 Ram trucks, so it’s synonymous with a 4.7 liter 2004 Ram 1500 engine.

Transmission system

2013 Ram 1500 Transmission. Image Credits: CarICOS

The transmission system is essentially the same across model periods, with the same engines. The 2001 Dodge Rams are interchangeable with the 1997-2001 Dodge Rams.

For instance, the 5.9L Magnum V8 engine between 1994 to 2002 had 4-speed automatic transmission options 46RH/RE. The first being hydraulic and the second electrically controlled. Bell housing and bolt placements must match to swap them out.

As of 2002, you’ll need to use a 3rd generation transmission – including the 45RFE or 545RFE. It provides an option for an overdrive compatible with 5.7L Hemi engines. As a result, V8 engines with similar mechanical elements are swappable (e.g., the 5.2L Magnum used in 2nd gen trucks). However, there may be some issues concerning electronics and smooth gear shifting.

According to CarGurus, the engines and transmissions from 1997 will be compatible with the 2001 parts. So you won’t have any trouble getting that 01 transmissions to work with that 97 5.9 engine. 

From 1994-2001, the engines and transmissions were precisely the same things.

You may also swap your Dodge Ram’s automatic transmission with one from a 2000-2002 Dodge Ram truck to improve its performance. You will want to read this performance upgrade guide for your RAM 1500 here.

Interior parts

The 2nd Gen Ram Interior. Image credit: Bob5151 from DodgeForum

Although the interior truck parts – such as the dashboard gadgets, buttons, knobs, headliners, overhead consoles, and seats – come in different shapes and designs, with a few slight modifications, most of them are interchangeable.

The overhead consoles are identical in 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997 model years. The generation third and fourth have minor changes yearly, and you may want to match the dimensions of your existing seat to find the best fit. For electric-powered seats, you will want to look for the charging cable.

You can say that the dashboard in a Dodge Ram 1500 from 1994 to 1997 is identical. The design changed in 1998 due to a new switch and cigarette lighter, and then again in 1999-2001 when they added airbags.

Engine control module/PCM

The Early 2002 RAM PCM. Image credits: CarGurus

The engine control module (ECM) or PCM is specific to your truck, as it contains your VIN, mileage, transmission type, gear ratio, and speed sensor data.

It is usually not substitutable from one truck to another of the same model year. However, you can reprogram them with your truck data if you need to switch them between trucks of different model years.

For example, ECMs from 2001-2002 are consistent with their model years due to additional sensors but are incompatible with trucks from previous years.

In 2003, the ECM changed and was not compatible with later models – but you can reprogram them between 2004 & 05-year trucks. 

Likewise, 2006 and 2007 have the same module that is compatible. But still, you have to get it reprogrammed by someone with automotive software expertise.

Truck bed

2nd Gen Ram 1500 Bed.
2nd Gen Ram 1500 Bed. Credit Wikimedia commons

Now you may be having questions like “What year dodge truck beds interchange?”.

Well, Ram truck beds from the same generation are more likely to be interchangeable. However, they don’t line up perfectly all the time.

Within the same generation, truck body shape can sometimes change slightly year over year. Therefore, measuring your Dodge truck bed and comparing those dimensions with the potential replacement part is best.

The truck beds from the 2nd generation of trucks (from 1994-2001) have the same size and can be interchanged as long as the wheelbase is the same between the two truck models

Likewise, truck beds from the 3rd generation (2002-2008) pickups are convertible as long as both have the same cab configuration and bed length.

You should note that even though bed sizes from 1994 to 2001 are interchangeable, there are variances between the model years that should be considered. 

For example, the bed from 2002 1500 will also fit 2003-2009 2500 and 3500, but the two bubble taillights mount differently than the smooth-faced ones, so the lights may not pop in.

That said, both generations should have matching cab configurations and bed lengths. If you try to switch a long bed with a short or standard one, it won’t be possible without making relevant changes first.

Body parts

dodge ram 1500 different generation body comparison

The body style from 1994-2001 on the Dodge Ram 1500 is the same so the hood will interchange with the year 2000 Dodge Ram 1500 sports. If you get the bumper off a non-sport, be sure to get all hardware, and it will fit without a hazel.

2002-08 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup trucks are switchable with the 2004 Ram 1500 as they are the same generation. That means you should easily be able to swap parts like body parts, including the flender, number, and doors.

To ensure that the component you’re buying fits your car, follow these steps: 

Look for part numbers on the component you’re replacing. Keep in mind that a component may have many identification codes. Know your options for your truck.

You may also look up your VIN online or with the dealer to find out what choices are available for your vehicle. Compare photographs of components to your automobile to check if they appear similar. 

Please place the components side by side and verify that the bolts are in the exact locations and are sized in length, width, and height. It should appear identical.


Ram 1500 bumpers Image credits: Realtrucks

Being a part of the third generation, the 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 is interchangeable with 2002-2009 RAM 1500 models. You can switch automotive parts between these years and achieve a more modern look.

For example, the bumpers, headlights, and wheels were all upgrades. The truck also had upgraded axles later in the production run to fix some common problems.

Check out our latest insider’s guide on the worst Ram 1500 years as per drivers.

Tips for finding interchangeable parts for Dodge Ram 1500

  • Check the model years. Some parts are synonymous between different model years of the same truck. For example, the front bumper on a 2006 Ram 1500 will fit on a 2007 Ram 1500.
  • Check with a salvage yard. They may have parts that are interchangeable with your truck.
  • You can look up your VIN online or with the dealer and use it to find out what choices are available for your vehicle.
  • Try an online search. Many websites sell truck parts and may have what you’re looking for.
  • Check with the manufacturer. They may have parts that are exchangeable with your truck.
  • Ask a mechanic. They may know of parts that are substitutable with your truck.
  • Check the forums. There are many truck owners out there who may be able to help you find parts that are switchable with your truck.

What’s next? Max out your 5.7 HEMI truck MPG with the help of this guide.

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