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The 2nd gen (94-up) Dodge Rams use a button at the tip of the steering column shifter arm to control the overdrive, and that 2nd gen lever will 'swap' in place of the similar 1st gen (93-down) columns. My advice would be to install the 2nd gen lever, and wire it up to function same as the dash switch. How to do it? you ask, well I did a write-up for this very swap a while ago and I cut-posted it below. In the end you'll have the od functionality at the tip of the lever verse hunting for the button on the dash, and the [O/D OFF] light will work same as before {cool}. The 2nd gen lever arm should still be available at the dealers.

Lemme know if you have any questions.

Part 1:

This is an 'unofficial instruction manual' for converting your factory 1st gen automatic column shifter handle to the 2nd-gen variety (with the O/D button at the tip). This conversion moves the operation of the o/d on-off switch (mounted on the front face of the first gen dash) up to the tip of your auto shift lever. You'll love it, and it takes about 1/2 hour to install.

Mopar Part number: 1-04690522AB. Cost is about $45 (2003) from any dealer.

Switch Operation:
In short, there are a bunch of wires on the back of the original switch - one of them is Orange/White stripe - This is the 'trigger wire'. The new lever only has two wires, both little black ones; one to the trigger and one to ground. If you use one of those little blue splice connectors you can tap one of the wires from the new lever (either one) right into the original orange/white wire, and then ground the other wire from the new lever to anywhere on the back of the dash. Be sure to use a small star washer to get a good connection. Game-set-match. Both switches will trigger the o/d, and will also light up the original o/d switch light on the dash. Works great and you get to keep the 'indicator', only you won't have to search for the button!

Column covers:
You will need a small torx bit. When you take apart the plastic covers from your steering column, be VERY CAREFUL not to shatter or crack the plastic. It's real old and real fragile. It doesn't come apart easily, take your time and 'work' it back and forth, applying pressure to separate them. Don't use any 'oil' - that just makes a mess. They'll come eventually, but some of the ones that have never been apart are real buggers because two spots are 'pressed' together, much like a tight locating pin on a bellhousing.

Removing the factory lever:
DO NOT REMOVE THE ROLL PIN WITH A HAMMER AND TAP! Use a big set of channel lok pliers to 'squeeze' out the roll pin on the lever itself where it is seated into the column. Put one side of the pliers on the end of the pin sticking out of the bottom, and the other end on the opposite side of the pin but not actually on the pin - slightly off centered. This will not stress the aluminum and will use the housing to counter the force of budging the pin loose. It's tight, but you don't want to use a hammer and punch to initially budge it. Once it is loose (about a 1/4 inch) NOW you can use the punch to lightly tap out the pin. One good smack is better than several little ones. The column doesn't look killer strong, but it'll take a bunch of abuse. Remove the lever, and be sure to note how the little return spring is aligned at the base of the lever. You will want to place the new lever in exactly the same location.

Installing the new o/d lever:
The new lever hooks right in place of the old one. Take note of the position of the original lever in relation to the little return spring (when you pull back on the lever to go into gear it automatically returns to the rearward position via this spring - you'll see it). Once you get the lever to where it looks like it's in, it really isn't. The return spring will be on the back side of the tip of the lever. You'll have to 'convince' it to go in, and when it does you'll know it. Once in place reinstall the roll pin, pointy end down, and squeeze it back in its seat with the channel loc's again.

Part II:

Wiring:
Cut the end plug off of the new lever wires and 'peel' the two wires apart leaving about 4" worth of single wire each. They're really thin, but my truck hasn't burned down yet so I guess it's 'ok'. You'll want to find the orange/white stripe 'feed' wire on the original switch and 'splice' it into either of the new lever black wires. The little blue plastic splice connectors work just fine. You will typically have to add a 6" length wire to the new trigger and ground black wires to make the swap have plenty of slack. Slack is good - you can always zip tie it up if you have too much.
Now attach the other new wire to a good ground somewhere most convenient on the underside of your dash. Once you have the wiring hooked up, turn your key to run, not start, and hit the switch. Since our rigs default the o/d operation to 'on', when you hit the switch the [o/d-off] light should illuminate. If the [o/d off] light doesn't come on and the [cargo] light does, go get a beer and try again 'cause ya gots yer wiring a bit jacked up. If the [o/d-off] light comes on, go get two beers and celebrate your wiring prowess! Once celebrations and high-5's are complete, go ahead and put the column back together. If no one is there to celebrate with you, just high-5 yerself on the forehead.

Reassembly of the column covers:
Put the covers back together in reverse order of dissassembly. You might want to slightly hog out the centering hole for the alignment pins - they'll just make you mad again if you ever have to remove them again- DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN THE SCREWS - they strip easily.

Driving:
Yer rig will 'feel' like a new one now. It works great and is much easier to operate.

Hope this helps :)

- Sam
 
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