2012 DODGE RAM TRADESMAN. Click image to enlarge
This discussion at RamForumz.com has to do with drive shafts falling out while the truck is being driven. Besides the obvious result of rendering the truck immobile, it can also cause the rear axle to lock up, which creates some interesting handling characteristics. Transport Canada issued a recall for 2009 and 2010 models, in September 2012.
Here’s a discussion that hints at the possibility of transfer case leaks.
I came across a few mentions of failed valve lifters, but if this is a common thing in the Ram, I couldn’t find enough evidence to suggest it. A bad lifter will cause the engine to run badly.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the Ram a “good” rating in its moderate overlap front crash test, and a “marginal” score in side impact tests, owing to a high likelihood of rib fractures and internal organ injuries.
2011 DODGE RAM. Click image to enlarge
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the Ram a five-star rating for driver and front passenger in its frontal crash test, but didn’t conduct side impact testing.
Ram resale values are close to those of its domestic competitors – the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado (and the near-identical GMC Sierra); only the Toyota Tundra commands much more money than anything else in the full-size truck class.
I’d guess that this truck’s aggressive looks are part of the reason it sells as well as it does, but it appears that it’s also a decently-made truck, though it’ll take another year or two to see whether any more common flaws crop up.
For the time being, I’d recommend a used Ram as a solid used pickup, providing you follow the usual advice: look for one that comes with detailed service records, and get it checked by a trusted mechanic before you buy.