How-to: Dodge Ram Truck Air
Filter and Fuel Filter Service
factory gauge measures air flow at the air cleaner box. This indicates the air filter's ability to move
air. As the filter clogs, the gauge moves to the red zone.
Air and Fuel Filtration
Air filtration is
crucial to an engine's performance and lifespan. A clogged air filter prevents adequate air flow
and increases fuel consumption. If the filter does not seal properly, abrasive material seeps into the air
stream and damages the pistons, rings and the valves.
Years ago, when
truck engines were all carbureted (gasoline) or mechanically fuel injected (diesel), a clogged air cleaner was
obvious: The engine failed to perform well or used excessive amounts of fuel. Today, with EFI/MPI on
both gasoline and diesel engines, performance with a dirty air filter is not that easy to spot—until the
filter clogs grossly!
"How often do I change
my air or fuel filter?" many ask. This is a difficult question to answer, since both fuel and air flow are quickly
affected by contaminants. For the Dodge-Ram truck that drives down washboard gravel roads all day long, an air
filter can clog rapidly. A full day's exposure to alkaline dust can render a pleated paper air filter useless.
Dust conditions dictate filter needs.
Note: Most air filters require
regular visual inspections. For some later model Dodge and Ram truck engines, an air-flow gauge allows
quick spot-checks of the filter's ability to flow air.
service intervals are also difficult to determine. Of course, mileage-based OEM recommendations make sense. You
will find these intervals listed in the owners manual or a Service Manual for your truck.
There are additional variables to consider, too.
Diesel fuel, for
example, can contain high levels of water and particulates. In some regions, diesel fuel and fuel filters
suffer from bacterial contamination.
With both gasoline and
diesel fuel filters, the pleated paper will swell when exposed to water. (That's how the
filter prevents water from damaging the fuel distribution system and fuel injectors.) As little as one bad
tankful of water-dense fuel is enough to swell and clog the filter. Often, with little or no notice, the fuel
supply shuts off!
Given the variables,
it's always wise to change air and fuel filters at recommended intervals—or sooner! In your Dodge-Ram
truck owners manual, you will find "A" and "B" service schedules listed. These are the minimal time
intervals for service.
If you tow or drive in
dusty environments, use the severe-duty service schedule. Unless you drive your truck without a load and
along dust-free interstates, the air filter requires steady attention. For fuel filters, always use the severe
duty service interval.
Note: When traveling to remote areas, always carry an extra fuel filter and air filter element—bring the
tools necessary for changing the filters!
How-to: Servicing a Dodge-Ram Truck's Engine Air
Modern Dodge and Ram truck engines use pleated paper air filter
elements. These filters, contained in a plastic air box, are accessible and readily
1. Commonly, the Dodge-Ram truck
air boxes have a removable top with spring hold-down clips. This
illustration shows a spring clip on the '05 Dodge
Ram 3500 turbo-diesel's air cleaner box. There are usually several clips. Go around the box,
loosening clips carefully.
2. For this air box, it is easier to remove the top by first loosening the air inlet hose
(upper left). This view is the topside of the old air cleaner, which looks clean. See the dirty
air filter (further up the page). This is the same filter! Always remove and inspect the
intake side of the filter.
3. This is the unfiltered area of the air box.
Fortunately, the filter element prevents the abrasive debris and road dirt from entering the engine! This
illustrates how important it is to make sure the air filter element seals against the air box
4. To prevent quick contamination of the new air filter element, clean out the air box during
the filter service. A clean rag and solvent will remove the sooty debris. Dry out and vacuum the box before
installing the new air filter.
5. Our choice for quality filtration and
maximum engine protection is the Mopar® product line. For our '05 Dodge
Ram 3500 turbo-diesel, we turn to the Mopar® extreme service, OEM replacement
Mopar® Performance offers specialty aftermarket filters and systems designed
for racing and severe environments, including ram-air induction.
6. This is a unique option available for severe
duty air filtration. Mopar® offers this as an OEM replacement air filter
element. Many truck owners do not know about it...For the '05 Dodge Ram Cummins turbo-diesel application, the
Mopar® quick reference number is MO-249. (The full Mopar number is
Note: See your Chrysler Group or Dodge Ram Truck dealer. Request the severe-duty option if available
for your model and engine application!
7. The difference between the MO-249 filter and
the standard OEM filter (top) is dramatic. Added thickness and dense pleats mean far more surface area.
This allows the filter to accumulate more contaminants and provides a much longer service life. For long trips
across dirt and gravel roads, a severe-duty filter makes the best sense.
Place the new filter in the air box. Place the lid carefully back into place, making sure the lid
seals around the entire filter and air box flange. Fasten the air box spring clips then position
hoses and wiring back at their original locations. Be sure the lid fits flush and seals
8. This is the inlet hose clamp. The hose is
now in its original position on the air box lid. When loosening and tightening the clamp, be certain to
restore the hose seal. Prevent dirt from entering the air stream at the engine side of the
Note: As a safety precaution, carefully position the hose and clamp at
the OEM location. In this position, the clamp will conform snugly to impressions and contours, sealing
the hose against the air box duct.
Diesel Fuel Filter Change
Chrysler-built trucks with gasoline engines and
EFI/MPI may not have a fuel filter. (See your truck's owner manual or a factory OEM Service
Manual.) Often, the high output fuel pump has a "sock" filter at its in-tank pickup. There may be a
filter/regulator device that does not require periodic service. Such devices usually last the service
life of the fuel pump or the pressure regulator.
models do use a replaceable filter. In the case of Cummins turbo-diesel engines, there is always
a serviceable fuel filter. Diesel fuel, by its nature, requires ample filtration and even a water trap. This
filter must be replaced at regular intervals. If not, the truck's engine will lose power or stop running
Caution: Diesel fuel filters often fail due to water content in the fuel. A single fill-up
at the wrong filling station can lead to a clogged fuel filter. It is wise to carry a spare fuel filter on long
trips. Know how to replace the filter; bring the needed tools!
1. The '05 Dodge Ram Cummins model has an
accessible fuel filter canister. The plastic cap's built-in hex fitting is 1-1/8" size. Here, a socket and rachet
turn the cap counter-clockwise to loosen it. This is plastic; use care not to damage or round off the
2. Want OEM dependability like your Dodge-Ram
truck had when new? Use the Mopar® Cummins-rated fuel filters. Make no
Note: Use the
replacement filters recommended by both Chrysler Group and Cummins. Carry spare filters for backcountry travel
and long trips!
3. This filter is Cummins-rated for the turbo
diesel. The package includes a new sealing gasket. Follow the provided instructions and carefully fit the
filter into the cap clips. The clips are plastic and become brittle with age. Lube the O-ring as described in the
new filter instructions.
Caution: Keep the
cap and filter free of debris as you install it in the fuel canister. Tighten with a box-ended wrench or socket and
ratchet. Torque as specified.
Note: If there is
no torque specification for the fuel filter cap, make it snug enough to compress the new O-ring and stay securely
in place. Being plastic, do not over-tighten. Always wipe away spilled fuel and check for fuel