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I recently bought a 2002 ram.1500 SLT single cab 2wd. i am not a very mechanically inclined person and am still learning about engines and parts of the vehicle in general. I was hoping some of you out there could give.me a helping hand. I'm wondering what I need to lo of or. what are some basic things to upgrade, and some common problems I should be on the lookout for and how to avoid. literally any type of truck information could help me
 

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2002 Ram 1500 4x4, 4.7L
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What engine, 4.7?
I've read that these have a tendency to sludge-up to the point of oil pump pickup blockage and oil starvation.... that's been the #1 thing that I've been watching out for. I can't say for sure whether or not the dash gauges would register the drop in oil pressure, but I generally don't trust factory "indicators" much.

Get yourself an OBD2 capable scan tool. I wouldn't necessarily recommend getting the absolute cheapest one available, but you don't have to spend a ton of dough for one either. I would recommend getting one that allows you to ERASE codes though... good feature.
If you get a CEL (Check Engine Light) that means there's a trouble code in the vehicle's computer (ECM or PCM, depending on who you talk to). With the scanner you can read the code, which will be something like PO122 (Generic TPS code, same across makes/models). Then, if you're like me, you go to the interwebz to find out what it means. Then, if you're like me, start looking around for a plain English version of the techno-jargon you just read (they're for technicians, not the general public). Oftentimes a YouTube video of the repair is available... that'll give you an idea on whether or not it's something you want to tackle yourself or have a shop do it.
I'm pretty new when it comes to all the whiz-bang electro magic in newer vehicles (my 02 is the newest I've ever messed with) and can confirm that it's pretty intimidating and/or confusing. A scanner and multimeter (best tools) take a lot of intuition out of the equation but engines still run the same way... it's just that a computer controls it all now vs the simple physics of older vehicles.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
yeah it's a 4.7 v8. it drives smooth as a 18 year old truck can drive. but I bought it from a buy here pay here spot so im sure problems will arise. I just wanted to get ahead of any common issues. thanks for all your suggestions though I'll Definitely go get a scan tool to give me an upper hand.
 

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2002 Ram 1500 4x4, 4.7L
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The only issues I've had w my 02 so far is the TPS (easy fix) and a coolant leak... replaced the OEM radiator.

The guy I bought the truck from was somewhat fanatical about maintainence, so I got pretty lucky there. Even so, I changed all fluids (where applicable) and spent some time underneath looking for any leaks, bad suspension bits/bushings, rusty exhaust, etc.
With the cooling system updated, next area I'll be looking at is the brakes.
Besides the TPS and radiator, the only failure I've had was the rear axle. I believe the PO had the axles serviced and the shop failed to put in friction modifier additive... necessary for the limited-slip rear. The LSD ate itself and sent metal bits all through the gear oil wiping-out a seal and, of course, the clutches.... that got expensive, mostly because I had to farm it out and I needed it in 2 days(!).
For a relatively easy first modification project, I suggest a cold air intake. There are several available (Hint: the Spectre unit does the same as the K&N for about 1/2 the $$). It'll get you started spinning wrenches, establish some familiarity with the underhood area, and sounds killer when you stomp the pedal.
 
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