What’s the RAM 1500 truck mostly famous for? Superb performance on and off the road, of course! Plus, it’s a mighty hauler that easily handles the toughest towing tasks. Thanks to the premium V6 and V8 engines, Dodge’s champ is equally great for camping out, conquering the wilderness, and doing construction work. However, the factory cooling system isn’t really cut out for extreme situations.
I’m talking about the restricted stock radiator – it’s only good for “civilized” driving. If you do lots of off-roading and push the motor to the edge, it might just give up on you. On the bright side, with the best radiator for Dodge RAM 1500, you’ll be able to harness this truck’s full potential and prevent overheating. The following list includes five top-notch aftermarket rads. Come check them out!
How much is a Radiator for a Dodge RAM 1500?
The short answer – you can get one for cheap. While RAM is a highly capable truck, it’s still a light-duty vehicle. That means you won’t have to break the bank to buy a solid-quality aftermarket radiator. Right now, there are lots of outstanding third-party rads for the 1500 truck available for $80. For 100 bucks, you can buy slightly better material quality and engineering. And what about the 150-200 dollar price range?
For that kind of money, expect a generous warranty and lots of extras like drain plugs, rad caps, OEM tanks, and more. Compared to how much heavy-duty radiators cost (up to $1000), this is a bargain. True, pricing isn’t the only thing to consider when ordering a radiator (learn more about that in the Buyer’s Guide). But, it’s the first thing that we check, and I’m happy to say that most RAM 1500 owners will be able to afford one!
Best Radiator for Dodge Ram 1500 Review
1. AUTOSAVER88 – Best Radiator for Dodge Ram 1500
Let’s kick the list off with AUTOSAVER88. This company knows how to appeal to the average RAM 1500 driver and has a stellar reputation. As for this radiator, it’s got a flexible design and will fit a long list of Dodge trucks, which is a big pro. On top of that, it is protected by a standard 12K miles/12-month warranty – that should give you some peace of mind. Oh, and the package includes detailed installation instructions.
Sadly, you won’t find a radiator cap in there. But, these cost $5-8, so it’s not even a big deal. Besides, the AUTOSAVER88 radiator features high-density, multi-louvered fins and easily handles temperature extremes. The cooling efficiency is decent and significantly better than the stock gear. Last, but not least, every single rad by this manufacturer goes through a series of tough anti-leak tests to ensure it is “market-ready”.
ATUOSAVER88 is one of the safest bets when it comes to third-party radiators. Enhanced compatibility, a warranty deal, and overall solid performance turn it into a decent bang for the buck. And while the package doesn’t include caps, you will get a detailed, helpful user guide.
2. Spectra Premium CU1552 – Best 01 Ram 1500 Radiator
What is it that you’re looking for in an aftermarket radiator? Is it strong performance, advanced manufacturing, or easy installation? Well, there’s no need in making a tough choice with Spectra, because this radiator has it all! First, it doesn’t only meet but exceeds rigorous tests conducted by international third parties. On top of that, it boasts innovative engineering that ensures maximum efficiency in the most challenging situations on the road.
The installation process, in turn, is very simple and intuitive. You won’t have to spend hours trying to make the new rad fit or buy any expensive “one-time” tools. What I didn’t like about this product was the cheap set of ends. Crafted from plastic, they don’t look very durable or reliable. But, that’s the only con, and Spectra is still an excellent choice for many 1500 owners.
Engineered to last and crafted for maximum efficiency both on and off the road, the CU1552 replacement radiator by Spectra is a bargain. It can be installed in under an hour and has passed numerous tests with flying colors. Add perfect fitment with the RAM 1500 truck, and you’ll get a winner!
3. Klimoto Radiator KLI2480 – Best Radiator for a Dodge Ram 1500 V6
Moving on to the next radiator on the list, we’ve got Klimoto. With this unit, you’ll get a larger core, which means a higher cooling efficiency and overall stronger performance. Next, the included plastic tanks are quite durable, just like the oil coolers. The thermal expansion cuts, in turn, ensure a long lifespan and prevent premature radiator failure. This is a US-made product, by the way, crafted using domestic materials and components.
The folded tube design, premium-quality aluminum, and easy-fit construction are even more reasons to consider Klimoto over the competition. There is one downside, though, and it has to do with the package: it doesn’t include two important bolts – the radiator won’t mount/secure without them. You could, of course, use the factory set, but this is still a (minor) drawback.
Durability, reliability, and above-average cooling efficiency are this radiator’s biggest selling points. Klimoto is wide, thick, and features top-quality tanks, oil coolers, and expansion cuts. Just make sure to not throw away the stock hardware, as this rad doesn’t include any securing bolts.
4. DNA Motoring OEM-RA-2480 – Best Radiator for a 2005 Dodge Ram 1500
Here, we have the least expensive third-party radiator on the list, and that’s its biggest selling point. It is, indeed, available at a rather affordable price, but that doesn’t mean it’s less of a radiator than the competition. It is crafted from T-6061 aluminum. This lightweight, yet durable material is perfect for “handling” heat. On top of that, RA-2480 features an extended surface area.
It allows the rad to be more efficient than most rivaling units at cooling down the antifreeze. As an OEM replacement part, DNA Motoring is very easy to install: you won’t have to drill new holes or do any cutting to make it fit. Sadly, I have to also mention quality control issues reported by some drivers. I’m talking about broken fittings, bent cores, and bad packaging.
If not for the problems with QA/QC, DNA Motoring would’ve been a go-to radiator for most RAM 1500 drivers. It’s still a worthy investment, of course, mainly because of the attractive price. It’s also lightweight, long-lasting, and rather efficient, which puts it on par with the more expensive units.
5. Mishimoto R2480-MT – Best Dodge Ram 1500 Radiator
Mishimoto is one of those can’t-go-wrong-with companies that specialize in radiators and do an excellent job of crafting superb-quality units. R2480-MT is a great example of that. Crafted from 100% brazed aluminum, it’s incredibly strong and will serve you for many years (if not decades). Plus, it takes very little time to arrive (which can be a problem with some brands). Add Mishimoto’s traditional lifetime warranty, and you’ll get a crowd-pleaser.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay a slightly steep price for all these pros. While it’s not unreasonably high, and it will be a great investment in the long run, compared to, say, DNA Motoring, Mishimoto is significantly pricier. So, it all comes down to whether a Dodge RAM 1500 driver is ready to pay a bit extra for premium quality, or not. Either way, R2480-MT is a reliable replacement radiator.
To keep the RAM 1500 engine from overheating, you need a top-notch radiator, like the one by Mishimoto. It is highly efficient, brick-strong, and boasts fast shipment/delivery to any American state. It’s not particularly cheap, however, and might barely fit your budget.
Are you an avid off-roader? Or maybe you tow heavy equipment for a living? Either way, the factory radiator might not be up to the task. So, keep your eyes on the temperature gauge: if you see that the radiator can’t handle all the heat, think about buying an aftermarket replacement. As we learned today, you won’t have to spend a fortune on a brand-new unit.
There are lots of affordable options for the 1500 trucks out there. If you’re on a tight budget, DNA Motoring will be an excellent choice. Mishimoto, in turn, is backed by a lifetime warranty, while Spectra is all about innovative engineering. Still not sure which one to choose? Check out my Buyer’s Guide and FAQ to learn more about radiators and how to make the right pick!