2008 Ram Push Button Install "How To" - Hemi Truck Club
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Old 04-05-2009, 12:52 AM   #1
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2008 Ram Push Button Install "How To"

I decided that I was going to do the push button start mod for my 2008 Ram before I even bought it. It was a mod I always wanted to do on my 04 Ram but I never got to it before selling the truck back in 2005. I swore if I ever got another Ram I would do it 1st thing. Got the new truck at the end of November( 08 )and decided to do the push button start mod a couple weeks later. So I went online and looked up the how to’s to refresh myself on how to do it.

Unfortunately, I discovered it was not as simple as the 02-05 Trucks, Just my luck. I also found out that very few people have done this mod on the 06-08 Rams( at least compared to the 02-05 Rams ), because it is a royal PITA! Very few how to posts and frankly( and I mean no offense to anyone who did one )but the one’s that have been done, that I have seen anyway, are sorely lacking in important details and/or are not written in a very clear and concise manner so they are confusing. There is a decent base set of guidelines but you are really on your own trying to figure it all out from the bits and pieces you can find.

So I decided to do a how to based on my truck, with much more detailed information than I found when I looked for this stuff, and post it up. Hope it helps you out and good luck. Please feel free to post/PM/e-mail me with any questions or if you need help with parts or anything else. Glad to help out if I can. I apologize in advance for the length of it but I wanted at least ONE thorough How To for doing this on 06-08 Rams.

2008 Dodge Ram 1500 Push Button Start

DISCLAIMER - Use the following information at your own risk! I am not responsible for any damage caused by these directions to your truck. This worked on my truck but I take no responsibility for what will happen if you follow these directions on your truck. This how to should also work for 2006 and 2007 models. Notes will be made where differences between years apply when possible.

NOTE - this how to is for an Illuminated Performance start button. If you use another brand or the SRT-10 button you need to adjust the wiring accordingly.

Ignited Performance Illuminated Engine Start Button( Part # IGN2001-B )
Dorman 30AMP 12V 4-Prong Relay( Part# 84601 )
18-20 Gauge Wire
Assorted Electrical Connectors( Spade, Wire Tap, etc...- use what you need/want as you go to hook it up )
Heat Shrink Tubing( if desired )
Electrical Tape
180 OHM Resistor */**/***

* = Give yourself some time to find one of these. Radio Shack was hit or miss on having it around here. Even when a store did have a 180 OHM one it was part of a 500 piece assortment pack. Not all the local stereo/alarm installation shops had them either. You can get the Resistor online pretty easy( E-Bay ). Plan ahead as this isn’t something that is easy to find if you decided last minute to do it.

** = Resistors come in a wide range of wattage ratings( 1/4W up to 20W+ ) in the same OHM size AND they come in a variety of styles( carbon, wire wound, silicone, etc... ). I looked EVERYWHERE trying to find out what wattage resistor to buy, and what kind to buy, but came up empty. No one who did the install already returned PM’s or would answer posts I made trying to find out or if they did answer they said they didn’t know what they used. So, I finally just went with the Resistor that the local stereo install shop had in stock. It was a 180 OHM 1 Watt Carbon Comp Resistor.

Here is an example...
*** = If you are like me and do not have a soldering gun, nor wish to buy one as this is probably the only time you will ever need it, you can have a local stereo/alarm shop that does installations make one up for a small fee. I got it done for $5. That was the resistor soldered inline, 2’ of wire either side, heat shrink tubing, and they did it all for me. Took them less than 5 minutes and was well worth the $5.

Phillips Head Screwdriver
T-15 Torx Driver
Wire Crimping Tool
Electrical Tester

Step 1 - Lower Dash Trim Removal( under steering column ). There are two screws at the bottom of the panel that you need to remove. Once they are out you need to pull on the panel until the four retaining clips release. Start at the left side, bottom, to release the clip that is under the parking brake lever and work up and over.

Step 2 - Remove Metal Plate. There are four phillips head screws holding the metal plate on. There is a hook on the upper right hand corner that holds the plate on even after the screws are out. It lifts off very easy though. There is no need to unhook the hood release lever. Just leave it attached. However, the OBDII port is attached to the bottom of the plate as well so be careful not to damage it or the wiring harness going to it. You can unhook it and let the plate lay down to the floor or you can slide it over and out of the way, sort of wedged onto the brake pedal shaft, like I did.

Step 3 - Remove Steering Column Upper & Lower Trim. Pull the rubber trim boot around the shift lever out and slide it up the shifter arm out of the way( be careful not to rip it! ). Next remove the four T-15 torx screws holding the steering column trim panels together. There are two on the very bottom( the furthest one to the right nearest the radio is in there pretty deep - you need a T-15 screwdriver to reach it ), one under the turn signal lever, and then one going through and holding the tilt lever on. NOTE - there is a single shiny silver screw( red arrow )located at the bottom. Make note of where it goes as it is a machine screw and the others are not. I used a piece of masking tape over the hole to remember where it went.

Step 4 - Ignition Wiring Harness. The ignition wiring harness is located on the left hand side of the column. Unplug the harness from the switch( press tab on back side of the plug, in as you pull down, to release the plug )so you can work with it. There should be five wires for 2006 Rams, and four wires for 2007-2008 Rams, making up the harness. They are thin 22G wire so be careful working with them. The wires you are looking for are( supposedly - reports vary as to what wires actually are the right ones for the ignition output at least for 07-08 - I got the 2008 info from a Chrysler tech )...

Ignition Switch Output = Green/Red
Ignition Sensing Wire = Violet/Brown

Ignition Switch Output = Blue/Red or Pink/White( SEE NOTE )
Ignition Sensing Wire = Violet/Brown
NOTE - my schematic for the 08 lists Pink/White as the OUTPUT/START-RUN wire and Blue/Red as FUSED B(+). I found no one who has done an 08 but a guy who did an 07 said he used the Blue/Red wire. If 07 and 08 are the same I would think it would be Pink/White? There is no Green/Red on 07-08 Rams. I had trouble with this part getting it to work. All the info I found on how to wire the switch up for 06-08 Rams was very sketchy and poorly covered. Please keep reading further along and see how I bypassed this wire completely to make it all work.

Step 5 - Remove Center Bezel. Now it is time to remove the center bezel. For 2006 models, and I believe 2007 as well, there are 2 screws located at the bottom of the bezel. You need to lower your drink holder to get at them. They are located approximately under the cigarette lighter and the power outlet. It appears 2008 models do not have the screws installed even though the holes are there. I read about that and when I looked at my truck they were not there. Once the screws are out, if applicable, you need to pull the bezel out to disengage the retaining clips. This is HARD to do. You are going to think you are going to snap something before it gives but eventually it will. Once one clip pops the rest come easier. Start at the bottom left and get your fingers right on the thin lip and just PULL straight out. Work up the left side to the top then over across the top to the right and down to release it. There are eight retaining clips all totaled. Once the bezel is free you have to unplug all the harnesses in the rear( will vary as to how many based on your options I would assume ). All the harnesses unplug the same as the ignition switch harness on the column. You press/squeeze the tab as you pull out.

NOTE - I changed my bezel while I was doing this. If you will be doing the same thing you should swap over all of your various switch panels and such at this time. They are all held in by phillips head screws. There is actually a little play in them so you need to align everything before tightening so it looks right.

Step 6 - Remove Cigarette Lighter. Time to remove the cigarette lighter from the bezel. This is a ROYAL PITA! I am sure there is a trick to it or maybe even a special tool but I didn’t know the trick nor have the tool. I just pressed really hard on the harness connector on the back side and the center finally popped out. The trim ring then pops out as well( that was easy ). NO PICTURES.

Step 7 - Begin Wiring/Switch Power. At this time you need to decide if you will use just the column harness wires or proceed as I did. As I said earlier I had a hard time making things work using just the column harness wires with what little direction and info I could find. I finally spliced in and grabbed my +12V power feed for the switch from the power outlet( do not use the cigarette lighter power feed as it loses power as the engine starts up until it is running ). Once I did that I was able to make everything work. However you wish to wire it now is the time to run all of your wiring into the bezel area. Run the wiring behind the dash, securing with zip ties where needed/possible, and feed them through any of the openings in the back of the dash that open behind where the bezel sits. Be very careful with the 180 OHM wire! Do not bend or brake the Resistor. Try to cut your wires about 12” long so you have plenty of extra for now( SEE WIRING DIAGRAM FOR DETAILS ).

Step 8 - Attach Ground Wires. You want to cut 2 lengths of 18-20 gauge wire, approx 24-30” in length( you want them long for now - SEE TIP BELOW )to use as Ground. Reattach the metal plate beneath the steering column with the 4 phillips head screws. Use an eyelet terminal to hook your Ground wires( you should run two of them )to/behind the bottom right hand screw. Run them behind the dash and out into the area behind the bezel( cigarette lighter area ).

Step 9 - Power The Switch Light. Skip this step if you do not want the switch to light up or if you are using a non illuminated switch. Assuming you have and want a lighted switch you have two choices. The first is to find a dash light wire and use that. I did this. I found one on the large right hand HVAC harness. The color was Lime Green/Orange( thin wire - there is a heavier gauge one with a similar color ). Use your electrical tester to find the wire of your choice. Your other option is to hook the light to a switched power source so it comes on as soon as the key is turned on. I may swap mine over to this method later but for now I have it come on with the rest of the dash lights. As with the other wires you have run leave about 12” extra for now. You will need one of your Ground wires( SEE WIRING DIAGRAM FOR DETAILS ).

TIP - It is a really good idea if you temporarily hook everything up to make sure it works before trimming all the wires to size, using heat shrink tubing, and permanently mounting everything. I am really glad I got the switch working before I mounted everything. I strongly suggest that you use that extra wire I had you leave to do a test run before doing your permanent wiring and mounting.

Step 10 - Wiring The Switch. Please refer to the Diagram below for detailed wiring information.

Step 11 - Wiring The Relay. Please refer to the Diagram below for detailed wiring information.

Assuming everything works proceed to Step 12. If not you need to trace wires, check connections, double check your wiring against the diagrams, etc... and try and find out what went wrong. Go no further until you are sure everything works.

Step 12 - Mount The Relay. Ok, I am assuming that you have made sure the switch works and your truck starts. Now it is time to mount everything and get ready to button it all back up. The 1st thing to do is mount the Relay to a safe and secure spot where it is out of the way and will not get hit or touch anything else. There is a convenient location right behind the cigarette lighter that it fits perfectly in using a screw already there( photo is borrowed - I mounted in same location however ).

Step 13 - Mount Push Button Start Switch. Now you want to mount the switch in the hole where you removed the cigarette lighter( see Step 6 ). The Ignited Performance switch fits just right in the hole if you line it up as you tighten. There is no need for a trim washer. Other button styles/brands may be different? Slide the lock lever over on the switch base, twist, and remove the button and lock nut. Unscrew the lock nut from the button. Slide the button through the hole in the bezel where the cigarette lighter was originally mounted( make sure you have the thin rubber gasket on that came with the switch - it helps ). Align it in the center and then screw the lock nut on and tighten good and snug. The button just covers the hole so keep it lined up. It will be ever so slightly off center but it is only noticeable if you really look close( nothing you can do - just how it fits ).

Step 14 - Reinstall Center Bezel. Now plug all the wiring harnesses that go into the center bezel back in. Once they are all plugged in slowly work the bezel back into place making sure you do not pinch any wires or bump the Relay. Ease the bezel into place( helps if you pull the shifter arm out/forward and then slide the bezel in behind )and firmly press inward until a couple of the retaining clips pop in. Then tap the rest in.

TIP - before proceeding check one more time to make sure everything is working. If it is move on to step 15 but if not retrace your work and find out what happened.

Step 15 - Reinstall Steering Column Trim & Lower Panel. Pop the top and bottom halves of the steering column covers back on( rubber seal on directional arm stays inside the trim ), snap them together, and then reinstall the screws. REMEMBER WHICH ONE GETS THE SHINY SILVER SCREW! Slide the shifter arm boot back into place. Pop the bottom trim panel back on starting with the retaining clip on the bottom left below the parking brake release lever. Pop it in and then press up and in to get the 3 retaining clips along the top to pop in. reinstall the two phillips head screws and you are DONE!




VIDEO STARTING( WARNING - Annoying Chimes! ):

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Old 04-05-2009, 10:41 AM   #2
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2008 Ram Push Button Install "How To"

Great write up!!!
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Old 04-05-2009, 05:09 PM   #3
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2008 Ram Push Button Install "How To"

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Old 04-05-2009, 05:15 PM   #4
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2008 Ram Push Button Install "How To"

one question what sence does it make to have a push button start if you still need a key to activate the push button
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Old 04-05-2009, 05:36 PM   #5
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2008 Ram Push Button Install "How To"

Great "how to" write up Scott - that's the NHHEMI I remember!!!
I'll make this thread a sticky
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Old 04-05-2009, 06:43 PM   #6
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2008 Ram Push Button Install "How To"

quote:Originally posted by Illone:
one question what sence does it make to have a push button start if you still need a key to activate the push button
I do agree that it seems odd to install a push button start and leave the key operational. However( ),there is a good reason why I did that.

1st of all keep in mind you have to insert the key into the ignition and turn it to the ON/RUN position regardless of how you hook things up. You need that chip in the key plugged into the ignition or the truck will not start. I do not believe you can make it work otherwise on these trucks?

2nd. I could have done it so only the button would actually start the truck after the key was installed. A simple snip of a wire and the use of a butt splice, instead of tapping into the uncut wire with a wire tap as I did, would have disabled being able to start it with the key so only the button would do it.

Here is why I didn't. Based on your comments about the write up I am assuming here that you read through it. You know it is a lot of work tearing things apart to get to the switch and relay. Now imagine you are out on the road and the push button fails and/or the relay fails. What do you do?

If you only can start the truck with the button unless you have a spare switch and/or relay with you, plus all your tools, you start walking, wait for help, or call AAA. If you wired it as I did however, where the key also will start the truck, you just use the key and you are good to go and you fix it later. The relay and aftermarket switch are much more likely to fail than the stock ignition switch.

I left it as a simple fail safe device. Doesn't hurt anything and might help me someday avoid a real mess.
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Old 04-07-2009, 04:10 PM   #7
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2008 Ram Push Button Install "How To"

Nice explanation!
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Old 04-07-2009, 05:08 PM   #8
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2008 Ram Push Button Install "How To"

Great write up &
I also wanted to do the pushbutton start with out a key just a fob like most new cars but remembered to use my Superchips or any programer you must turn on and off ignition with out starting the truck
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Old 04-08-2009, 02:53 PM   #9
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2008 Ram Push Button Install "How To"

UPDATE:: 04/08/2009

I pulled the bezel off today and did a little rewiring. As I said in the original post I didn't want to leave the switch power hooked to the power outlet. That has power all the time and even with the key out of the ignition and the truck off you can still trip the relay by pressing the switch. While the truck won't start, so it is not a big deal, I just didn't like it.

So I pulled it all apart and re wired some of it. Man, what a pain undoing what I had done. I really take my time when wiring to make everything neat and tidy. I tape everything or heat shrink tube it, run my wiring along the factory harnesses and tape/wire tie to it, and so on. When you have to get back into it it stinks.

Anyway, once I got the power feed to the switch unhooked I started to think where I was going to pull power? I really didn't want to get into the column but every other wire that recieved keyed power available went dead as the truck started. All the write up's I had seen on doing this mod said those sources wouldn't work. So, I just had that in my head as true when doing this. So I started testing wires for keyed power that stayed on when the switch was all the way forward.

Then it hit me out of the blue = that doesn't matter! When using the button you don't move the switch to the actual start position which kills power to everything so the button never loses power. Maybe the button grabs power from the +12V keyed power source you select and then sends the power to the switch without killing power everywhere elese? "AH-HA" says I!

I then made a jumper wire and did a test run using the cigarette lighter to power the switch and BINGO we had a winner! So you CAN use the cigarette lighter to power the push button switch and all you need in the column harness is the Violet(Purple)/Brown wire that hooks to your 180 OHM resistor wire. A MILLION times easier. So every thing is now buttoned back up and working fine. I definitely feel better knowing the button has no power until the key is turned on.
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Old 04-09-2009, 09:14 PM   #10
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2008 Ram Push Button Install "How To"

oh ok now I see, well it was just a question I had on my mind.
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