Dodge Ram V10 8.0 Magnum Engine

Dodge Ram 8.0 Magnum V10 Engine Specs, Info, Reliability, Problems

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The massive 8.0 Magnum V10 was available in the 1994 to 2003 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 models. Its 310hp and 450tq made it the most powerful gasoline engine available in a passenger pickup truck. Dodge Ram V10 Magnum engines also offer the full 450 lb-ft of torque at a mere 2,400 RPM’s. The low-end torque makes the 8.0L engine very capable at towing. In this article, we dive deeper into the 8.0 Magnum specs and discuss engine reliability and common problems.

The Magnum engine was a gas engine alternative to the 5.9 Cummins 12v and 24v which was an upgrade option for the three-quarter and full-ton Ram trucks. The V10 gasser actually produced more power and torque than the Cummins diesel engine. The Cummins however had better fuel economy and more low-end torque which made it better for towing.

Dodge Ram V10 8.0 Magnum Engine

Dodge Ram 8.0 V10 Specs

A few specs for the 8.0L V10 Magnum engine include:

Engine Dodge 8.0 Magnum V10
Production 1993-2003
Applications Ram 2500 & 3500
Configuration 90° V10
Engine Family Chrysler LA Magnum
Displacement 488 cu in (8.0L)
Bore x Stroke 4.00in x 3.88in
Compression 8.4 : 1
Block Material Cast iron
Head Material Cast iron
Valvetrain Pushrod OHV
Oil Capacity 7.0 quarts
Horsepower 300-310 HP
Torque 450 lb-ft @ 2,400 RPM

Dodge also offers the V-10 Viper engine that shares the same basic dimensions. However, the 8.0 Magnum in the Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks is a totally different engine design. It is also a different design from the 5.9L Magnum engine which is basically a version of the Viper V10 with less cylinders.

Ram V10 engines use incredibly strong and heavy cast iron blocks and cylinder heads. The specs on paper certainly paint the engine as being very strong. Power and torque might not be quite as impressive today. However, 310 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque were excellent specs for the era of the Dodge V10 Magnum.

8.0L Magnum MPG

Dodge Ram 2500 & 3500 trucks with the 8.0L V10 typically get somewhere around 11-13mpg while not towing. Add a trailer and the V10’s MPG quickly dips into single digits. It’s the main reason the V10 Magnum’s production came to a halt in 2003. Modern engines were quickly closing the power and torque gap with smaller, more efficient engines.

Ram 2500 & 3500 V10 Performance

In the 90’s and early 00’s the power, torque, and towing capability of the Dodge 8.0 Magnum were nearly unmatched. Even diesel engines of the era struggled to match the Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks with the 8.0 V10 gasoline engine. Point is – the overall performance of the V10 Magnum is excellent. It’s likely enough power and torque for most modern needs.

However, as of 2021, the Dodge 8.0 V10 isn’t quite as impressive as it once was. Much smaller modern gas engines – even V6 turbo engines – offer similar performance to the V10. We’re also in an age where some factory diesel engines offer 1,000+ torque. The Dodge 8.0 Magnum was great for its time, but doesn’t quite compare to modern engines. It also comes with the cost of poor fuel economy to power the 10 large cylinders.

Performance Modifications

The Magnum V10 actually produces some pretty good power from the factory, even for today’s standards. Albeit, it is a V10 and is producing comparable power levels to V6 engines, it still offers a good level of performance. However, it’s always fun to add a bit of extra power to any engine and this V10 is no exception.

The performance aftermarket support for the 8.0L V10 is somewhat limited. Unfortunately the Viper’s engine is not the same and therefore performance parts for it don’t fit the Ram truck models. The biggest caveat or challenge to modding the Magnum V10 is that the automatic transmission can’t really hold any additional power. It is only rated for stock power levels so it doesn’t hold up well to mods. So if you want to add more than just an intake you will be sacrificing transmission reliability unless you have the manual.

Best Performance Upgrades

  • Cold air intake
  • Headers
  • Throttle body upgrade
  • More aggressive cam

There are a few other things you can do like port the heads but ultimately you are limited mostly to some bolt-on mods unless you want to spend a ton of money. Cam upgrades are available but are a bit less common. If you want a little added power tuning is probably the best route, you can drop an intake, headers, and throttle body on it for a bit of extra gains but that’s about it on these engines.

Dodge 8.0 Magnum V10 Reliability

Ram V10 reliability is a tough one. It’s not hard to say the 8.0 liter V10 is reliable. However, it has tough competition going up against the 5.9 6BT Cummins engine which is widely regarded as one of the most reliable passenger diesel engines of all time. This was before the era of endless emissions equipment on diesel engines. The Dodge Ram 5.9 Cummins is known to hold up well beyond 300,000 miles. With a B50 life of 350,000 miles a whopping 50% of engines make it beyond that mark.

Anyways, back to the topic at hand. The Dodge V10 Magnum is a very reliable gasoline engine. It’s not hard to find owners who have 150,000+ miles with very few engine problems, if any. Ram V10 engines are definitely great workhorses that offer solid reliability. However, it doesn’t quite live up to the same longevity standards as diesel engines from the era.

Ram 8.0 V10 Common Engine Problems

Normally, we write in-depth guides for common problems. However, there really isn’t much to dive into when it comes to the Dodge Ram 8.0 V10 engine. No engine is perfect, though. There aren’t really any common problems that affect a large percentage of the Ram V10 Magnum engines. However, there are a few issues that are more common than others when a failure does occur. We may expand this into an in-depth article in the future, but for now we’ll quickly discuss a few of the Dodge Ram V10 engine problems.

  • Cylinder Head Cracks
  • Engine Hesitation
  • Catalytic Converter Failure

1) 8.0 V10 Cylinder Head Cracking

Cylinder heads cracking on the Ram V10 really isn’t a common problem. Issues are far and few between. However, it can and has happened to some engines. It’s mostly worth the mention since a cracked cylinder head on the 8.0 V10 can be an expensive problem. This certainly wouldn’t scare us away from buying a Dodge 8.0L Magnum engine since it’s a very rare issue.

2) Dodge Ram V10 Engine Hesitation

This is a very minor problem in the grand scheme of things. Ram 8.0L V10’s sometimes run into issues with the engine hesitating and feeling a little down on power. Of course, all of these engines are nearing or beyond 20 years old. A lot also have high mileage, so normal wear and tear is normal. Fortunately, it seems many owners were able to resolve the hesitation problems by changing fuels or running a can of seafoam.

What exactly causes the problems is up in the air. However, it could just be deposits and build-up in the fuel system, on valves, etc. Quality fuels and special treatment fluids may help clean up the systems and get the Dodge Ram V10 running a bit better.

3) Catalytic Converter Failure

Similar to the other problems on this list, catalytic converter failure isn’t all that common on the 8.0 Magnum. However, as these engines shoot beyond 150,000 miles it becomes a little more prevalent. Catalytic converters can burn down inside over time which can cause them to clog and create a lot of backpressure within the exhaust system.

Most of these V10’s tend to run really cold which helps prevent this issue but the fuel injectors are known to need replacing at high mileage. A leaking fuel injector can lead to excess fuel being dumped into the cylinder which then makes its way to the exhaust system where it can combust and increase exhaust gas temps, causing the catalytic converter to melt.

8.0L V10 Engine Problems Summary

Ultimately there are very few problems with these engines, if any. Cracked cylinder heads is a pretty rare and uncommon issue, it mostly affected some early years but was still uncommon. As it ages it will need its fair share of maintenance like spark plugs and ignition wires, injectors have a mild tendency to go at higher mileage, the catalytic converter and so on.

The widespread consensus is that the biggest problem on these engines is gas mileage. Outside of that they are pretty bulletproof and great for hauling toys.

A few more points, though. These engines are getting older, so a decent chunk of the V10’s are probably nearing the end of their service life. Age can also be just as tough on an engine as mileage as it can wear down wiring, plastics, etc. When newer, the Ram V10 8.0 was an excellent engine. There still sound to this day, but it’s always a guessing game on engines that are 20+ years old.

Dodge Ram 8.0 V10 Summary

Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks offered a very compelling option in the 8.0L V10 engine. The power and torque were nearly unmatched in any other passenger pickup truck of the era. Not even diesel engines were far ahead, if at all. 310 horsepower and 450 torque available at low RPM’s made the Ram 2500 and 3500 V10 a tough competitor.

The specs for the Dodge 8.0 V10 were certainly impressive for the era. However, fuel economy is one area that leaves a lot to be desired. Most owners get about 11-13mpg without towing, and that quickly drops to single digits while towing. It may be a small downside for some, but the Ram V10 engines makes up for it with great reliability. Then again, the competition is tough with the 5.9 Cummins often regarded as one of the most reliable passenger truck engines in history.

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  1. I have a 2001 2500 v10 5 speed with 3.55 gears. My mpg stays between 11 /12 on open road running empty or pulling my cargo trl. You can set the cruse on 65/70 and never have to hear it shifting like an automatic trans does on a long grade. On steep hills it will lose some mph but 1 shift back to 4th and your trucken. It red lines at 4400 rpm and runs 65 mph at 1500 rpm. The long life of the engine is because your using it slowly. It doesn’t get the fuel mileage as a diesel, but it cost less overall. At 8.4 compression, it only requires 87 octane fuel, 6 qt. oil, and no fuel filters. According to my manuals, they don’t recommend higher octane fuel, stating it could burn injectors. I have run some 89 octane, but found no mileage or performance gains. I have 10 Dodge trucks from 57 to 01, various engines, and the V10 is the smoothest running engine by far. These V10s will last longer than the truck they came in.

    1. I’ve got a 95 ram v10. It’s the most reliable truck I’ve ever owned. It has 175,000 on it now. My only issue is finding someone to work on it. The hubs have to be pushed out to change the rotors and the manifold has to be removed to change the valve cover gaskets. I can’t find ANYONE who even wants to mess with that big plenum to do it. I knew it was a heavy duty truck but not so heavy that I need to take it semi truck shop. Even they don’t want to touch it. So I guess I’m gonna have to take a MONTH to try it myself. I love this truck and probably will never get rid of it. That’s if the body doesn’t rust away and fall off the frame and the drivetrain

  2. i have a 1999 dodge ram 2500 pickup with the V10 and i havent had any major engine problems and i have 373,000 miles on it and she still running strong ,i drive it i live in atlanta ga where there is alot of traffic and A/C still works great.

    1. Can anybody give me recommendations on purchasing one of these a 2003 3500 3 four hot shotting? Cameron Williams on FB PLEASE HELP

  3. I have a 2001 Ram 2500 Quad Cab 4×4 Laramie with the V10. Got it with 52,000 miles on it back in 2006. It currently sits (due to a blown up transfer case–the third one to die….) with well over 500,000 miles on it. Aside from replacing a rocker arm bolt (cost me like three dollars for the part and an hour or two labor), the engine has never been apart in any way. It has lived an EXTREMELY hard life as a “repo truck”; it has repossessed several thousand vehicles, and has towed some pretty heavy stuff. It wasn’t “neglected”, but I also hardly kept up with “regular” service, either-going between 10,000 and 24,000 (YES, 24 THOUSAND) miles between oil changes typically…and I have mostly only used the cheap “Super Tech” (or whatever it is called) Wal Mart oil. It has never leaked or burned ANY oil, has never “knocked” or made funny noises, and has not even once over-heated or even run close to the “middle” of the temperature gauge. ALWAYS has “north” of 45 PSI oil pressure, even when scorching hot outside and driven hard. To give an idea of how “hard” I drove the truck, I would get the headers to glow LAVA red, during extended (5+ minutes) W.O.T. towing runs, at least a few times a week, for several years…And STILL never blew a head gasket, never cracked a head, never burned a valve…Amazing engines…

    1. I’ve got a 1996 Dodge 1 ton single wheel 4×4 Ram with V10 ,, 410,000 miles .. On second transmission .. Was used to pull fifth wheel horse trailer most its life.. Cranks and runs better than most new trucks today.. I’ve owned her for eight years now.. Wouldn’t trade for another .. Motor is quiet no ticking, uses no oil at all .. Most cant believe how smooth it runs with the high mileage and the truck is beat up somewhat but its got a permanent home and if need be ill overhaul it when it finally does reach 500,000 or maybe not,,

        1. Jim – what vehicle do you have it in? Towing capacity is really more so driven by the vehicle rather than the engine.

  4. Mind yourself that the same 8.0L V10 , in the ’90s was also going into the Dodge Viper- tuned a bit different, but basically the same engine. That alone should tell you something .

    1. That’s falso. The viper engine is completely different…te aren’t even mae of the same material, cast iron vs. Aluminum.

      1. It was the most powerful Dodge engine, yes… But the 8.1L V8 had more torque and HP, and they were both available for a couple years.

        340hp and 455lb-ft of torque.

        Both are solid for towing, though, and the only gas engines with big low end torque, in the last 20 years.

  5. My 97 has developed a vibration and won’t pass emissions. The biggest problem though is they don’t make parts for the v10 any more. That and garages don’t want to work them.

  6. I have a 96 dodge crew about 200000 miles on it getting to put transmission but ilove damn truck always had power when I needed and mine got way beter gas mileage then what they quoted 17 in town and 22 on highway and it got beter if I was towing something.

  7. I’ve got a 99 v10 and engine wise we’ve only had one hiccup where we lost two Rocker studs from 2 (on intake) and 5 (exhaust) at the same time. Chased that for a bit finding nothing and yes cam is fine. Just replaced all 20 studs not wanting a repeat (having to find heavy grade bolts as they don’t sell studs anymore) and never had another issue. Is starting to burn oil at about 350,000 miles but building a 12valve to replace the v10 we won’t be fixing that issue. Also lost the voltage regulator in the pcm so just wired an external again since switching to diesel not gonna replace it twice, and it charges fine. We are currently chasing the “Dodge Wander” suddenly after replacing everything in the front end besides gear box. Was fine mostly before, or so we thought, due to having obviously bad ball joints and most bushings being loose. Obviously gear box is next. No death wobble though just Side to side wander with sudden jerking left to right.

  8. My father has a ‘94 Ram v10 and it will run great then shutoff. He has tried to replace many items ECMs, TPIS, coils,….. it’s almost and endless list. He has taken it to multiple mechanics to no avail.

    Is there any “v10” expert mechanics that work on these dinosaurs?

    1. There is a plug right behind the driver side front tire There are two plugs one is black and the other one is white full of wires online the white one would lose contact if wet or sometimes just on bumpy road would cut the motor out and another problem was crank sensor plug-in was also loose that’s located right by the oil filter checked them both

  9. Just picked up my first 1995 Dodgre Ram 2500 V10 auto single cab long bed for $600. Farmer passed away and I was only one to bid on it. Just got to get paperwork figured out and then get her going. Shows 155k on clock.

  10. I have a 96 ram 2500 V10 with 285,000 miles on it, runs great. I was servicing it and putting new sensors on it, like cam sensor and crank sensor, then when I went to start it up it would just spin and not start. The cam sensor had snapped off in the motor. I have built a lot of motors, so I thought I would just pull the motor and rering it and new seals. I found my cam was scared and in need of a new one, I was going to go back stock, but I can’t find a cam no where!! Does anybody know where or who would have one.

  11. I have a 2500 V10 SLT Sport. Since I used this truck to pull to horse shows and have not been showing for years. I only have 45,100 miles on her. She has never gave me any problems and plan to have her for years to come. Hoping to buy a camper trailer and do some traveling.

  12. I recently purchased a 1994 slt Laramie 2500 4×4 V10 in Flame red . This showroom truck has less than 59,000 klm on it. That’s less than 36,000 miles. It sat for 10 years only started a few times a year. When I drove it home (320 klm or 200 miles) it was running a little rough, I found that mice had chewed one of the injectors off so it was only running on 9 cyl . Got that fixed and runs great, never been smoked in , mint interior, beautiful truck!!

  13. I have a 2000 ram 2500 v10 . While driving it shuts off and backfires. At a stop it will die . And have to start it up again. Sometimes on first try other times after several tries. I know it has to be electrical because it shuts off and on immediately. When it does run it runs great…need your help guys.

  14. I have a 97 2500 SLT v-10 with 105000 miles . 410 gears posi in the rear overload springs aftermarket front bumper, 15000 pound Warn winch, air cruise control electric seats. Just took it on a three thousand mile trip with my son. Heavy camper and trailer. I will never sell it!!!!! The only real problem is I have had to put in 5 thermostats, the last time had to drill out some of the bolts. Replaced both front axle u-joints. Dana 60 up front and dana 70 in the rear, tough as nails.

  15. I have owned my 1999 Dodge Ram 2500 V10 short bed since 2014. Bought it with 99,000 miles on it. Just turned 135,000. Only issues I had was ABS brake module replaces twice. Common problem on these trucks. This truck is a must have an compliments my 7.3 Powerstroke Turbodiesel rigs I also own.

  16. I have a 1998 2500 Laramie 4×4 v-10 with 125000 on it. Bought this truck used in 2000. Only issue is at about 65000 mile the trans started jumping in and out of lockup at 65 to 75 mph. I’ve had 4 transmission in this thing with torque converters. Have never figured it out. I love this thing. It’s had a heard life. It’s a tow pig and has been It’s whole life. Everything on this truck is wore out or broke off. The last few years it just sits in the back yard growing moss. I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to get in it and drive cross country. I will never sell. It’s a part of me.

  17. So I’m the only one with a 96 v10 that gets 36mpg??? Hahaha I love alternative fuel, these 8.0l love woodgas. Just wish there was more compression ratio, trying to find pistons is a pain

  18. I bought a 2001 2500 cab and a half with 8′ bed and capper. There is no rust and 81,000 miles on it .It has a 4″ lift and 35″tires. The interior is mint, but like all dodge trucks, the top of dash is cracked. I only get 11 miles per gal, but i love this truck. It runs really cool and the temp guage never rises hardly at all. I changed the thermostat and ended putting cardboard in frint of radiator for good heat.

  19. Yea My 2001 Ram 2500 engine still strong like bull !!! But tears up all other components though, Harmonic balancer, 2 transmissions, Brakes and yes Much gas.

  20. Is there any difference in the basic engine between 95 & 96?
    Are they interchangeable in that I can put my 96 heads and intake on the 95 block?
    The 95 has a EGR VALVE on the intake.
    Pete V,M.

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