NEED INPUT FROM THE RAM-TRUCK PEOPLE.... BEST AUTOMATIC LOW MAINT DIESEL.

mountainhorse

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I'm a Chevy guy... but trying to help a friend that lives in Hawaii buy a good diesel truck and will ship to her.

Hawaii has a lot of beaters and not much selection.

Looking for input on what year/model/option-spec is the best in a used RAM diesel. (cummins 5.9)

Needs to be an auto trans... so the manuals are out for sure.

From a reliability standpoint... and WHEN the truck needs work... what are the best years and spec? One that most decent mechanics can work on... that will hold up and is not known to be problematic.... and not crazy expensive when service time comes.

I will be doing all required maint before the truck ships as needed... brakes, tires, fluid changes/flushes.

The truck will be kept stock... no add on tuners, no lift kits etc... if there are some add-ons in the aftermarket that are really needed... and reliable, non-hotrod, parts... thats fine.

Lots of trucks out there to choose from, and I'll be doing due-dillegence once the target-year/model is chosen.

MUST be the Cummins/4x4/Auto.... Extended/Crew... Long bed.
And not so rare that I won't be able to find one.

Please help me keep this thread on-point and relevant.

Thank you in advance... much appreciate the input!!





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turbolover

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Things to look for on each of the Cummins model trucks.
93 - 97 2nd Gen trucks the mighty P-Pumped 12 valve. Most sought after motor. And the 5 speed manual is like buying gold. The 47rh then later 47 RE trans are alright at stock power levels but torque converters, clutches and input shafts fail with regularity at almost any added power levels.
98.5 - 02 24 valve motors with the vp44 injection pump. Still the same issues with the 47RE trans (you’ll find this issue with most trucks with any power adders, the trans is the weak link and WILL NEED TO BE UPGRADED )
Another issue with the VP 44 injection pumps is that the electronics are cooled by fuel flowing throw the pump. A weak lift pump will destroy the brain in a vp44 in short order. A dead lift pump is almost a certain death knell for them. (Hence the popularity of aftermarket Airdog and Fass lift pumps)
03-07 5.9 24 valve common rail. This is where you can make some real power. The 48RE is still the weak link.(torque converter, clutches and input/output shafts) (Do Not tow without the trans in tow/haul mode!! You can almost guarantee rebuilding due to over drive being destroyed)
The CP3 pump is a good reliable pump and very few issues. Use good clean fuel and keep it clean. A Baldwin BF7977 filter is cheaper than the OEM filter and far exceeds the micron rating. Dirty fuel can hang an injector open and you will wash a cylinder down and destroy that cylinder. Can’t stress this enough.
07.5 - 12 6.7 Cummins motors blue tech ( no DEF)
13 + 6.7 Cummins (DEF)


Up to I think it was 99 they used Dana 60 front axles and a hybrid Dana 70/80 rear. All of these axles use a unit bearing knuckle. Ball joints are an issue with all of these years as the weight of the motor causes them to wear prematurely compared to similar use in gas powered trucks.
00 - 01 they switched to AAM (American Axle) still use a unit bearing knuckle and a central axle disconnect to engage 4wd.

I can go Into more detail you need it.
 

ryanjeri

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I remember someone talking about a 2004.5 or something like that as being a good choice... or some ".5" year ???




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I owned a 04.5 quad cab. It has the 325/600 Cummins in it. I sold it with 285000 miles on it several years ago.

I did a couple things to increase the longevity of it. I used 3 micron fuel filters.
I also did a Amsoil remote oil filter that had a 3 micron rating.

The Transmission was the weak link even in stock form. Use the Tow/Haul button "or as it really is an overdrive lock out"

I ran Schaeffer’s oil in motor, diff's, transfer case and transmission and changed the oil every 10k miles and had oil samples tested with every oil change.

I learned that the 4.5 motor was internal EGR, which I understood was an additional injection event for some reason. That is why I used the additional 3 micron oil filter. I also did not have injector issues, and I believe fully it was related to using 3 micron fuel filters, always.
For the first 36k miles it was stock, then I changed a couple things to make it tow better.

I added a modified CP3, some Exergy injectors, ARP head studs, Modified fuel rail, FASS fuel system, 6.7 harmonic balancer, Compound Turbo's, fully built transmission with torque converter lockup control, some stiffer valve springs, and I am sure there was more but I cannot remember it all.

It ended up being 711hp and 1300 something lb.’s of torque on a wheel dyno.

Had that setup for 200k miles, and that truck did not have an easy life it. I towed stuff I should not have at speeds that I should have known better.

I guess the moral of the story is with the proper maintenance, and care the Cummins motor will take a hell of a lot of abuse.

Here is a link for the internal EGR
 
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turbolover

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I remember someone talking about a 2004.5 or something like that as being a good choice... or some ".5" year ???

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The motors really aren’t the issue with any of these trucks. The motors are fantastic and easy to work on. The dodge components around it... ie transmission, lift pump, ball joints, central axle disconnect, that is what you have to look out for. The actual motor is very seldom the problem, it’s the stuff around it that causes issues with the motor or truck itself.
 

mountainhorse

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So... all that being said....

What 2000 -2010 has the best trans Automatic (only) especially... and other maint factors included?

If kept stock (tire-size, engine, trans etc)

Will be used for pulling a kubota tractor often.


How weak are the Dodge Auto Transmissions??\


I really need to narrow this down quickly and start looking for 'that' truck






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turbolover

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I believe that 98.5 - 2002 will have the 47 re trans - OD lockout only


These are the years I would look for, The 2003 - 2007 will have the 48 RE trans - OD lockout and Tow/Haul Mode. More specifically an 06 or 07.
These years are all 5.9 motors. In stock form the trans will hold fairly well if you remember to use tow/haul and be nice to it. No drag racing with the trailer, if it down shifts on a hill - pull the shifter down there and hold it and slow down.

I had an 07 5.9 that got fantastic fuel mileage. It would pull a fully loaded 30 car trailer up just about anything at about 60. I could go faster but didn’t like to wind it up that much. When it would drop out of OD about 60 I’d kick OD off leave it in direct and just keep going up the hill at that speed.

I upgraded trucks to a 14 6.7. I certainly has more power but no where near the fuel mileage.

The 2007.5 - 12 trucks are 6.7. They didn’t have DEF but the tuning absolutely sucked for fuel mileage. Tuners, exhaust and intakes didn’t seem to help them much either.
 

AZ800

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I have an 07 Dodge 5.9, G56, lower miles, 160k right now, had since almost new. Love it, good truck, tons of power with a tuner and a good clutch.
But if I was looking for the best pre emissions auto trans diesel from the 2000s, I'd get a duramax LLY or LBZ. Period.
Had a LB7 Dmax before the Dodge and at the same miles, with another canned tuner, the Dmax would absolutely waste the Dodge in a drag race, towed just as good and literally had only about 5% of the repair parts cost as the Dodge has had.
 
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whitefish

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Keep in mind diesel is much harder to source in Hawaii than here on the mainland. I believe there is only 10 pumps on Oahu.
 

Big10inch

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I have owned and operated for business, 6 different 3rd gen '03-07 Dodge trucks, most with the 48re auto. We used to use them to haul a fair amount of weight around. I switched to them after Ford went to the 6.0 and my '01 D-max experience was less than stellar. Had a great run with a bunch of those trucks. I had 2 '03s with the 305/555 HO motors, one dually, one QCSB srw. The srw would get an honest 22-23 mpg, 15-16 hauling a car at 70, awesome truck. The dually was a perfect truck too but did 15-16 mpg empty. Then I had an '05, and an '06 mega, then an ,06 with a G56 six speed. I had two Hemi powered 2500s too, '03 auto and an '06 manual.

I think '06 is the year to shoot for myself. Upgrades to the interior and the headlights are note worthy. I lost two auto transmission in 750,000 miles of use and towed frequently. One cooked when the fan clutch went out. Replaced under warranty. The second when my ex dropped the transmission into R at about 30 mph with the horse trailer on. Warranty replaced that one too. Otherwise I never had a trans failure at stock power levels and the trucks were worked.

Seems some have injector issues but I agree with the others, filtration can mitigate most of that. Nothing to scoff at either at $600 each. I never lost any though I did have the #4 metal line wear though and cause a heck of a fuel leak.

Anyway, I think any of them '03-07 in good shape, with some transmission maint records or budget for a rebuild, is a pretty solid truck. My current wife loved the '06 Hemi six speed truck, easy to drive, easy to see out of. Great trucks, let us know what you find. Nice ones draw a good premium still.
 

0neoldfart

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I’d look for an 06. But: plan for an auto rebuild. The 47/48RE transmissions are ok, but only with regular band adjustments and fluid changes. I’ve owned lots of them, and rebuilt my share of automatics as a mechanic. Personally I never owned and auto until the 68RE which were good, now I run the Asian trans and tow lots / heavy.
 

turbolover

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I have owned and operated for business, 6 different 3rd gen '03-07 Dodge trucks, most with the 48re auto. We used to use them to haul a fair amount of weight around. I switched to them after Ford went to the 6.0 and my '01 D-max experience was less than stellar. Had a great run with a bunch of those trucks. I had 2 '03s with the 305/555 HO motors, one dually, one QCSB srw. The srw would get an honest 22-23 mpg, 15-16 hauling a car at 70, awesome truck. The dually was a perfect truck too but did 15-16 mpg empty. Then I had an '05, and an '06 mega, then an ,06 with a G56 six speed.
I had a guy straight up call me a liar when I said I could get that kind of mileage out of my 07 5.9 truck.

I had to explain to him that it was a 5.9, not a 6.7, and our speed limits that I was getting that mileage were all 65 or less.
He was comparing a 6.7 on an 80+ freeway to my 5.9 on 55 and 65MPH roads.

One thing to remember with a diesel and a trailer that fuel mileage is on an exponential curve. My 6.7 will still do 80+ in a 50+ MPH headwind but you can watch the fuel mileage drop to less than 3 on the Lieometer doing that. If I slow down to about 65 or less I can pull it back up actual to low double digits.
 

Big10inch

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I had a guy straight up call me a liar when I said I could get that kind of mileage out of my 07 5.9 truck.

I had to explain to him that it was a 5.9, not a 6.7, and our speed limits that I was getting that mileage were all 65 or less.
He was comparing a 6.7 on an 80+ freeway to my 5.9 on 55 and 65MPH roads.

One thing to remember with a diesel and a trailer that fuel mileage is on an exponential curve. My 6.7 will still do 80+ in a 50+ MPH headwind but you can watch the fuel mileage drop to less than 3 on the Lieometer doing that. If I slow down to about 65 or less I can pull it back up actual to low double digits.
My experience was, that '03 was the only CTD I owned that did that well on fuel. Most ran between those two trucks at ~17 mpg highway. I never had another that did 20+ like that truck, no idea what the difference was, I used to get them with the 48re, 3.73 gears and ran 285/70-17 tires.

My buddy bought an '18 Mega 4x4 CTD G56 this year. It gets ~17-18 hwy empty but they have dropped rpm by going with the 3.42 gears on the new ones. Finally makes first gear in the G56 usable...

I'll back you up though! The ones that get great mileage do exist, I had one too.
 

Evanbcx

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I believe that 98.5 - 2002 will have the 47 re trans - OD lockout only


These are the years I would look for, The 2003 - 2007 will have the 48 RE trans - OD lockout and Tow/Haul Mode. More specifically an 06 or 07.
These years are all 5.9 motors. In stock form the trans will hold fairly well if you remember to use tow/haul and be nice to it. No drag racing with the trailer, if it down shifts on a hill - pull the shifter down there and hold it and slow down.

I had an 07 5.9 that got fantastic fuel mileage. It would pull a fully loaded 30 car trailer up just about anything at about 60. I could go faster but didn’t like to wind it up that much. When it would drop out of OD about 60 I’d kick OD off leave it in direct and just keep going up the hill at that speed.

I upgraded trucks to a 14 6.7. I certainly has more power but no where near the fuel mileage.

The 2007.5 - 12 trucks are 6.7. They didn’t have DEF but the tuning absolutely sucked for fuel mileage. Tuners, exhaust and intakes didn’t seem to help them much either.

I get between 25-29mpg out of my 08 6.7 deleted running on the highest tune. she's a g56 and thats going 60 on cruise with a sled in the back all the time.
 

Teth-Air

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In 2013 the front ends got a big upgrade and the couple I have owned seem to last much better than previous models. On the my 2004 and 2010 I had to have some front end work and u-joints at 70,000 kms. (about 42,000 miles).

2015 and 2019 seem much better.
 
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