One thing many owners of 2002 – 2005 Dodge RAM pickups have in common is a broken thumb screw that holds the removable lid onto the truck’s fuse and relay box (also known as an IPM, or “Integrated Power Module”.) This thumb-screw bolt is subject to unusually high rates of breakage, so there is a good chance that at some point in the life of the vehicle, owners will find themselves wishing they had not over-tightened it, as finding a fuse box cover replacement bolt has been next to impossible. Until now.
Sitting under the hood, the “IPM” is the name by which Chrysler refers to the fuse box on most of its vehicles produced prior to 2006. (After 2006, Chrysler began referring to the device as a “TIPM”, adding the “T” for “Totally Integrated Power Module”.)
All TIPMs and IPMs come with an easy-open lid, or top cover, to make access to replace fuses and relays housed therein easy. While the later TIPM lids were designed to pop off and onto the base’s plastic hinge mounts, the early RAM IPMs instead used a plastic bolt to hold the cover in place.
The original Chrysler TIPM thumbscrew had an overall shape and Allen-wrench socket daring owners and mechanics alike to over-tighten it. Moreover, its construction of injection-molded plastic grew more brittle over time, leading to breakage in a surprisingly high ratio of RAM vehicles. Moreover, it had unique stem ridges to ensure that it stayed attached to the lid. These ridges and the bolt’s unique length meant it could not be easily replaced if broken, and Chrysler has long since discontinued it as a replacement part. It was originally made of injection-molded plastic that can weaken over time when exposed to the high temperatures and temperature fluctuations of the engine compartment.
MAK’s replacement TIPM thumbscrew is an identically threaded, perfect fit, made by MAK’s exclusively for MAK’s customers. Practically indestructible, it is machined from a single piece of high-heat-tolerant Delrin, and easily pops into the lid’s tab-locks just as the original.
Having received hundreds of requests for an otherwise unavailable substitute, MAK’s new replacement Dodge RAM IPM Lid / Cover Bolt can be purchased here. It comes with a Lifetime Warranty and free priority shipping.
Installing your Replacement Dodge RAM TIPM / IPM Lid Screw
There are two basic steps:
STEP 1: Remove any remnant of the broken stem that might still occupy the threaded brass receptacle of your IPM. If enough of the stem remains, you may be able to accomplish this with a pair of pliers alone. If the stem is broken off flush with the top of the brass housing, there are special kinds of drill bits, called “Easy Outs” specifically designed for this purpose. But since the old thumbscrew was made entirely of plastic, there is a quick and easy way to get it out using a small flathead screwdriver probably already in your tool chest. Choose a screwdriver with a flat head narrower than the diameter of the brass receptacle. Heat the tip with a flame until it is hot enough to melt plastic, push it into the receptacle so as to melt the plastic, creating an oozing plastic grip around the screwdriver head. Give it a moment to cool, then unscrew the plastic remnant, like any other flathead screw. If you have difficulty getting the screwdriver hot enough to melt the plastic, a soldering iron with a small flathead attachment works nicely.
STEP 2: Remove the remainder of the broken thumbscrew from the lid by gently prying the plastic tabs holding it in place, while pulling the bolt out from the top. Be gentle and don’t break the tabs. You can then insert the fuse box cover replacement bolt through the top hole and it will automatically seat between the lid’s gripping tabs.
You can then screw your lid back on as normal. As you’ve probably learned by now, hand-tightening is sufficient!