Rammed and Switched


I have a 1999 Ram 2500 pickup, 2WD,
automatic, 177K. It runs great and uses
about 1 quart of oil between changes,
which I do religiously at 4,000 miles.

Last month it developed some
weird electrical problems. Sometimes,
when I start it, a slew of lights come
on—ABS, brake, traction, and airbag,
when this happens the power windows
and mirrors also are dead. The
next time I drive it, it might be fine. I
took it to AutoZone and they scanned
it for fault codes, and there weren’t
any. One shop that I go to occasionally
says it is probably the computer,
they quoted me $450, but says they
will have to diagnose it before ordering
the, rebuilt unit.
Does this sound right?

No, not from where I sit. Here’s how to
confirm: The next time this happens on
startup, while all the waning lamps are
illuminated, wiggle the ignition key a bit
CW/CCW. Warning lamps off? Order
a new ignition switch, Rock Auto P/N
1S6468. This is used on many Dodge
trucks and Jeeps, ’97–00, and even Vipers
through 2002! Dirt cheap, too.
You can likely do this yourself; it is much
easier than ’70s Mopars, but not quite as
simple as some later models where the
switch is rod-operated and mounted at the
bottom of the column. On yours, the lock
cylinder actually installs in the switch, similar
to ’69-down. Refer to the FSM, or I am
sure you can find some YouTube video.

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