Ground straps are braided copper wires that are crucial parts of the electrical system of Dodge Ram pickup trucks. Their proper connectivity is essential to ensure the vehicle’s stability, safety, and optimal performance. You will find more than 12-14 of them at various locations to provide ground for multiple parts.
You can locate the Dodge Ram ground straps on the heads of the exhaust manifold, the firewall on the passenger side, the engine block, the valve cover, near the steering column, starter relay, fuel sending unit, radio system, and wiper motors. The battery’s negative terminal, connected with the chassis and engine block, also acts as a primary ground wire.
This article will cover the importance of ground wires and their purpose for Dodge Ram trucks. We will present the various locations of these straps in different model years, their significance for electrical safety, and the working of these systems.
Purpose of Dodge RAM ground straps
Ground straps are essential components of the electrical system to provide a return path for electric current. You will find a direct electrical connection between various parts of a vehicle’s electrical system and the chassis that then connects with the negative terminal of the battery to complete the path.
Their primary function is to provide a low-resistance pathway for electrical currents to flow to the ground, thus stabilizing voltage and preventing unwanted electrical interference.
In case of a broken or loose ground strap connection, you will observe malfunctioning of these systems showing symptoms like flickering lights, failure to start the engine, and non-functioning of other parts like a windshield wiper, blower motors, AC system, and gauge cluster.
Locations of ground straps on Dodge RAM
There are multiple ground straps on various parts of the Dodge Ram truck. Its chassis, connected with the negative terminal of the battery, acts as a common point.
At the same time, other electrical systems connect with various locations of the frame and other metallic parts in their vicinity to ensure an effective return path for electric current.
It is of prime importance to know their position to troubleshoot if any problem related to any of the systems occurs.
You will find a grounding strap split into 2, each connected with the heads of the exhaust manifold on a 2007 Dodge Ram truck. Its other end connects with the heat shield on the passenger side.
You will have to use a flashlight to clearly see the grounding point on the heat shield extended under the cab on the passenger’s side. If you can’t find the exact location of that wire, you can connect it to the truck frame or chassis at a nearby point.
However, you should ensure that the vehicle turns ON without any electrical issues or errors on the dashboard after changing the ground location.
You will also find a grounding strap from the exhaust muffler to the truck’s frame. It removes any static charge produced during the movement of gas through the exhaust pipe to protect any sensors or other electric circuitry nearby.
There are 2 ground straps connected with the firewall of the 2nd and 3rd generation Dodge Ram pickup trucks from 1994 to 2007 models. You can locate it on the passenger side.
One end goes to the engine block on its back side, and the 2nd one connects to the bolt on the valve cover on the passenger side.
If you find a gauge cluster of your truck behaving weirdly, displaying mysterious values, you should check that this ground wire is connected correctly and is free of rust.
You will find multiple ground wires attached to the engine block of a Dodge Ram truck. There are 2-3 ground straps connected with it from various parts like the firewall, power steering pump, and the battery’s negative terminal.
Moreover, since the cylinder head has aluminum construction, so there is a separate ground wire to provide a return path or bleed any static charge produced. These straps in good condition ensure the proper functioning of the various sensors installed on the engine.
Windshield wiper motor
The wiper motor has a bolt on its body to hold the ground strap and provide the return path for its current.
It should be of high gauge to ensure it can handle the number of amps the motor draws. Otherwise, you need to add an additional wire.
The other end of the wire goes to the firewall. In some models, you will find a thin brass foil on the motor body to attach the ground wire, but it is susceptible to failure due to its flimsy design. Therefore, you can replace it with a braided strap to ensure its proper working.
These trucks have a ground wire on the right side of the steering column. It connects with the frame in a nearby location.
However, in some earlier truck models, you will find bolts on the base of the steering shaft that attaches to the frame through a grounding strap.
If there is a loose connection or corrosion, you will observe the noisy operation of the wheel or different trouble codes on the OBD tool.
Negative terminal of the battery
It is the primary ground location in the form of a thick black wire that connects the battery’s negative terminal with the chassis of the Dodge Ram truck. Since the battery is the lifeline of all electrical systems in the vehicle, it should be properly connected and in good condition.
Otherwise, you will observe problems like no engine starting, flickering of lights, and failure of other electrical systems.
Moreover, it should be of thicker gauge as it provides a return path of electric current for all electrical systems of the truck.
The alternator of the truck produces an electric current to charge the battery and runs electrical systems once the engine starts running.
It has a ground wire that connects from its ground bolt to the engine block, which then combines it with the battery’s negative terminal.
Its design or shape can change according to the alternator model or engine type, but it is mainly attached to the engine block or chassis.
The radio or stereo system of the Dodge Ram usually has a built-in grounding wire in its wiring harness that then connects with the truck ground under the dashboard panel.
You can access a bolting point behind the kicker and rocker panel if you want to install a separate ground wire.
You will find a bolt that holds the dashboard. You can connect the grounding strap to it to ensure the radio system works appropriately.
Most of these trucks don’t have a grounding strap with the starter motor, but you will find one near the starter relay. Its other end goes to the engine block.
If you observe symptoms like the heating of the grounding wire or the engine not starting up, you should check the connectivity of this grounding strap.
Ensure there is no foreign material like debris, dirt, or rust between the mounting bolts and the body of the starter motor relay.
A 3-4 inches long grounding strap from a 2002-2008 model Dodge Ram connects the valve cover and intake bolt on both sides of the engine block.
In some models, you will find it as a loop going from the mounting bolt to the valve cover and then connected with the same bolt. These wires help to prevent electrolysis on the valve covers and head.
There is no separate ground for the headlights of the truck. However, a ground wire in the wiring harness from the Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM) serves the purpose.
A wire from the battery’s negative terminal then goes to the TIPM to complete the path. For the truck bed lights, you will find a black colored ground wire coming from the fuel filler neck.
They are equipped with a smog pump and have a ground strip connected to the engine block. Its purpose is to push fresh air into the exhaust stream.
The electric motor running the pump needs ground to run correctly. Moreover, you will also find a ground strap connected to the outlet of the fuel sending unit and its other end attached to the truck frame or any metallic object like fuel lines in the vicinity.
Do Dodge RAM 1500, 2500, and 3500 have the same ground strap locations?
Dodge Ram 1500 is a light pickup truck, while 2500 and 3500 are heavy-duty variants having differences in their performance in terms of horsepower and torque as well as dimensions.
Moreover, they also have different engine options, especially diesel-powered ones for high-power applications.
Therefore, their ground locations on the engine block can differ for different engine options. But mostly, they are the same for other parts of the truck.
You will find them attached with various components of their frames, chassis, and then to the battery’s negative terminal.