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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last year was just a plethora of issues with the Dodge... as a result it sat all winter un-used because of a red lightning bolt on my dash.

I know, 95% of the time it's the throttle body, but I cleaned it, failed a few weeks later. Grabbed a scrapyard one, lasted 6 weeks and failed. Grabbed a new one and lasted a day before getting the error back. By then the snow came and I couldn't work on it.

From my understanding, the Accelerator Pedal Position Sensor (APPS) is under the battery on the 2003/04 Dodge Ram 5.7l Hemi models... and that part is now NLA here in Canada and the rare few I found were $650.

I did read that early 1980's Mercedes used the same one? But could not find a part number.

Any suggestions?

I have a few emails out to autowreckers.

Is there a cheap alternative?

Are these basically a potentiometer? And like a dry/scratchy pot on a guitar or amp, we usually just flush it with contact cleaner... would that work in this case?

Gathering info right now... hoping in 1-2 weeks to be able to get working on it again. Drove it in the driveway to keep it from rusting up, but don't trust it on the road.
 

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Have you had any success finding this part and/or fixing this issue? I have the same issue and after reading the posts on these forums I am becoming more and more confused. Any insight would be appreciated. I am in Ontario as well (Hamilton).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Have you had any success finding this part and/or fixing this issue? I have the same issue and after reading the posts on these forums I am becoming more and more confused. Any insight would be appreciated. I am in Ontario as well (Hamilton).
Sadly no... as you can see I never got a single response on here... I gotta say, there are 2 RAM forums, and both seem rather useless for finding help on.

I basically have it narrowed to 2 things....

1 - The APPS sensor... again, 2003-04 5.7l Hemi trucks only had it under the battery, and the local scrapper finally has one in. Sadly with covid lockdowns it's only recently available for me to go get, but it keeps raining on the days I can go and it's open.

2 - The plug that connects to the throttle body... mine has the clip broken, plus Dodge seems to have issues with their crappy wiring corroding. I read somewhere someone had the same issues and it was because the plug kept wiggling loose and the poor connection was causing the errors.

I was going to grab the APPS this past weekend but they closed for the long weekend holiday, so, hopefully in 2 days I can grab it, and I'll also cut off the plug for the throttle when there. I have a can of contact cleaner as well.

Darn truck's been dead in the driveway all year this year, because of trying to find that APPS (used is $40CAD vs new off eBay for $450CAD), COVID lockdowns, and sadly a few health issues regarding my back. I might have to drain out half the gas tank since the last time I filled it was around October 2020.

I tried moving it in the driveway on occasion to keep it from rusting up since last year I just installed new brakes/hubs, but eventually the battery also died, which I grabbed a new one this week.

Fingers crossed... though the oil pan also has a leak and no idea how long that will last.
 

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Just a quick checkup if you had found the resolution to your issue? I too have a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 5.7 Hemi with the same issue, periodic ETC light (red lightning bolt on the dash), truck goes into limp mode. For me, normally the issue would be daily around 5-10 minutes after starting the vehicle. It would happen in traffic or at stop lights, which would force me to turn off the truck and restart to remove the ETC light and limp mode. I had replaced Throttle Body with a brand new, OEM replacement Throttle Body, checked the wires, no frays or cuts, cleaned the plug, installed dielectric grease to keep the water out and it was still happening. So, I removed and took apart the APPS sensor under the battery tray and cleaned it with electronics cleaner, reassembled and installed dielectric grease to keep the water out too. Issue seemed finally solved as it didn't reappear for a few days but ultimately kicked on again today while idle in the driveway about 5 minutes after starting. Now I am back a square one, either replacing it entirely with a new (Costly) one or Junkyard one which would fail out any time as well. Please let me know what you found out! Thanks!!
 

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Just a quick checkup if you had found the resolution to your issue? I too have a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 5.7 Hemi with the same issue, periodic ETC light (red lightning bolt on the dash), truck goes into limp mode. For me, normally the issue would be daily around 5-10 minutes after starting the vehicle. It would happen in traffic or at stop lights, which would force me to turn off the truck and restart to remove the ETC light and limp mode. I had replaced Throttle Body with a brand new, OEM replacement Throttle Body, checked the wires, no frays or cuts, cleaned the plug, installed dielectric grease to keep the water out and it was still happening. So, I removed and took apart the APPS sensor under the battery tray and cleaned it with electronics cleaner, reassembled and installed dielectric grease to keep the water out too. Issue seemed finally solved as it didn't reappear for a few days but ultimately kicked on again today while idle in the driveway about 5 minutes after starting. Now I am back a square one, either replacing it entirely with a new (Costly) one or Junkyard one which would fail out any time as well. Please let me know what you found out! Thanks!!
Found this as well:
Could possibly be it as he says:

UPDATE I have recently found that the problem really is within the stock wiring harness. I have made a DIRECT harness from the APPS sensor to the ECM main plugs.

The harness comes with 2 of the extraction tools needed to remove the existing wires from the main ECM plugs. Instructions with a chart and picture of the wires you will be removing and which color wire you will be inserting into the correct PIN# location to the ECM plugs.



I receive a high volume of phone calls from guys who want to "run the symptoms of their problem past me". I want to say that of all of the symptoms I hear can be different. The check engine light usually comes on with a 2121,2122,2123,2127. Sometimes no engine light but a dead spot in the pedal, maybe an acceleration issue when it's cold outside, when on a bumpy road, maybe only when it's damp or raining outside. You have replaced the sensor 6 months ago and now you think it's the sensor again...
First and foremost put a direct harness on it!
I have made well over a 100 of these and 90+ % of times this has solved the problem.
If your problems go deeper then odd acceleration issues or the check engine light with APPS codes then there is a chance there is an internal ECM issue and at that point you will need to go the dealer or find someone in your area that is familiar with this ERA Cummins trucks to troubleshoot the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm on another RAM forum, a bit more response there LINK

But so far, maybe?

Wreckers got an '03 Hemi Ram in and I managed to get the APPS out of that for $10. I also grabbed the plug for it with about 8" of wire and the same for the throttle body, just in case.

I read somewhere someone had the same issue and it was the throttle body plug wiggling loose because the clip was broken, so I checked mine and it was fine so I cleaned it all out with contact cleaner. Cleaned the APPS plug with the cleaner as well. Quick spray with lubricant on the APPS spring to make sure it was moving freely and put it all together.

Truck ran idle in the driveway for 10min then the red bolt popped up... but I think I rushed it on the APPS reset/calibration. So, disconnected the battery again, 10min, then did the reset more slowly.

I've been doing short 20min drives for the week and no issues. Drove to town and back twice today (20min each way) and seems fine. That said, last time I thought it was fixed it lasted 2 months before it died again. That was when I swapped the throttle body for one from the wreckers.

Basically... error came up, cleaned the throttle body, worked for a week and died in town. Swapped for a scrapyard used throttle body and worked for 2 months. Died again so grabbed a new one and it lasted a day. That's where I was confused most because if it was the APPS, then why did swapping the throttle work for 2 months? It shouldn't have affected anything.

Anyways... new throttle body, all the plugs/contacts cleaned, used APPS.... 2 weeks of very small trips because just don't have the trust yet.

Another week and I'll take it in... brakes need bled and wheels aligned. Then I'll do the oil change here at home because I need to JBWeld the oil pan. Stupid design... engine needs lifted 2" for the pan to clear. So... $150 pan, and $800 labour... no thanks. If the JBWeld lasted 2-3yrs, it's worth a try. :D
 

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I'm on another RAM forum, a bit more response there LINK

But so far, maybe?

Wreckers got an '03 Hemi Ram in and I managed to get the APPS out of that for $10. I also grabbed the plug for it with about 8" of wire and the same for the throttle body, just in case.

I read somewhere someone had the same issue and it was the throttle body plug wiggling loose because the clip was broken, so I checked mine and it was fine so I cleaned it all out with contact cleaner. Cleaned the APPS plug with the cleaner as well. Quick spray with lubricant on the APPS spring to make sure it was moving freely and put it all together.

Truck ran idle in the driveway for 10min then the red bolt popped up... but I think I rushed it on the APPS reset/calibration. So, disconnected the battery again, 10min, then did the reset more slowly.

I've been doing short 20min drives for the week and no issues. Drove to town and back twice today (20min each way) and seems fine. That said, last time I thought it was fixed it lasted 2 months before it died again. That was when I swapped the throttle body for one from the wreckers.

Basically... error came up, cleaned the throttle body, worked for a week and died in town. Swapped for a scrapyard used throttle body and worked for 2 months. Died again so grabbed a new one and it lasted a day. That's where I was confused most because if it was the APPS, then why did swapping the throttle work for 2 months? It shouldn't have affected anything.

Anyways... new throttle body, all the plugs/contacts cleaned, used APPS.... 2 weeks of very small trips because just don't have the trust yet.

Another week and I'll take it in... brakes need bled and wheels aligned. Then I'll do the oil change here at home because I need to JBWeld the oil pan. Stupid design... engine needs lifted 2" for the pan to clear. So... $150 pan, and $800 labour... no thanks. If the JBWeld lasted 2-3yrs, it's worth a try. :D
Thanks! I'll check out the other forum as well since there isn't many hits here.
 

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Last year was just a plethora of issues with the Dodge... as a result it sat all winter un-used because of a red lightning bolt on my dash.

I know, 95% of the time it's the throttle body, but I cleaned it, failed a few weeks later. Grabbed a scrapyard one, lasted 6 weeks and failed. Grabbed a new one and lasted a day before getting the error back. By then the snow came and I couldn't work on it.

From my understanding, the Accelerator Pedal Position Sensor (APPS) is under the battery on the 2003/04 Dodge Ram 5.7l Hemi models... and that part is now NLA here in Canada and the rare few I found were $650.

I did read that early 1980's Mercedes used the same one? But could not find a part number.

Any suggestions?

I have a few emails out to autowreckers.

Is there a cheap alternative?

Are these basically a potentiometer? And like a dry/scratchy pot on a guitar or amp, we usually just flush it with contact cleaner... would that work in this case?

Gathering info right now... hoping in 1-2 weeks to be able to get working on it again. Drove it in the driveway to keep it from rusting up, but don't trust it on the road.
Did u ever figure out the problem? I’m having the same issue!? TIA
 

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Yes, for my issue, it was the ground straps on the valve covers. Both straps has rotted away causing sparking on the valve covers from the plug wires. Once I replaced the ground straps on both valve covers and new strap on the rear of the engine they connect to, I have never had the issue again. It has been 4 months since I did that without it ever happening again. Picture below is not a hemi engine but same principle and process for the most part. Start with your grounding locations first before going into part swapping as I am learning the hard way with my 2003 Ram 1500 5.7 HEMI.
Head Photograph White Organ Jaw
 

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Yes, for my issue, it was the ground straps on the valve covers. Both straps has rotted away causing sparking on the valve covers from the plug wires. Once I replaced the ground straps on both valve covers and new strap on the rear of the engine they connect to, I have never had the issue again. It has been 4 months since I did that without it ever happening again. Picture below is not a hemi engine but same principle and process for the most part. Start with your grounding locations first before going into part swapping as I am learning the hard way with my 2003 Ram 1500 5.7 HEMI.
View attachment 141551
Where did u get the replacement straps?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
@Alvanaxe I need to try that because in the summer I was working on it after it was dark and when the hood was up, I saw a few very small sparks dancing around near the coils/plug wires....

I have replaced the throttle body with a used one, then a new one, then replaced the APPS with a used one as well. It'll work for a day or a few weeks then back to being a problem again. And I know the previous owner was not as good as he thinks he was with the DIY stuff and did say he did the plugs and coils. Someone said that it was probably a grounding strap issue and the strap on that side was pretty bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Snow time here in Canada.... had to broom it off to get a photo, and not a great photo

But... right here is where the sparks were, and I reached in and sure enough, about 1/2" of braided wire and a bolt... must've rotted and broken off at some point.

Are the straps easy to get to and replace? or just easier/faster to have a mechanic do it? I'm finding with this Dodge that "simple" stuff is unusually difficult.

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Hood Tire Automotive exterior
 

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Snow time here in Canada.... had to broom it off to get a photo, and not a great photo

But... right here is where the sparks were, and I reached in and sure enough, about 1/2" of braided wire and a bolt... must've rotted and broken off at some point.

Are the straps easy to get to and replace? or just easier/faster to have a mechanic do it? I'm finding with this Dodge that "simple" stuff is unusually difficult.

View attachment 141557
That picture is extremely helpful I’m about to look myself!!
 

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@THRobinson
YES!! You got it too! That was exactly the problem for me! I just removed the bolt that had the old grounding straps on it, put the new ones on with some dielectric grease to keep the corrosion down and reconnected them at the back of the motor where they terminated prior. I also went the extra mile to run a separate wire from where they meet at the back of the motor to the ground at the firewall-fender to make sure all was grounding properly. No more sparks and no more (⚡) symbol!
 
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