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Old 07-30-2015, 12:59 PM   #1
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Question Does my intended usage warrant going with diesel?

First of all, having read many, many, old threads here. I want to say up front, the initial cost of the diesel, gas mileage, and ongoing cost of regular oil changes and maintenance are not considerations with my decision. My only concern is which motor will be most reliable in the years to come.

Wife and I have decided on Dodge 3500 Mega cab Laramie SRW 4x4. Hauling 27-28' AS through Smoky Mountains of NC and Tenn a weekend or two each month and a big 2-3 week trip each summer out west is main towing usage.

My concern, my daily driving is just 5-7 miles into and from town, once weekly driving 30 miles away and back seeing family. And once a month 2.5 hours away to the coast to see family. Sometimes more highway driving, but this is the minimum average.

Then soon adding an AS, which we plan to do soon after buying TV. We will take at least one weekend trip a month to the Smoky Mountains of NC and Tenn which is 4-5 hours one way.

Is that enough to keep a diesel happy? Read they need to be driven a lot to 'clean out'. Read various ramblings about 'Regen', throwing 'Error codes', and such, but not sure how much driving style plays into this. My concern is my driving style may better suit the gas 6.4 Hemi.

An additional variable, I'm very interested in the AISIN $2400 transmission upgrade, but it's only available in the Ram 3500 with Cummins 6.7 diesel. So if going with gas, I don't have this option available to me.

Our primary goal is to have a long trouble free engine life. Plan is to keep truck a long time. We don't buy new cars often. We take care of them and keep them around. My main question is for our intended usage, do you think the cummins or Hemi 6.4 would be best?

Thanks for any insights you may share.


Dan
NC
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Old 07-30-2015, 01:28 PM   #2
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Diesel engines historically have lasted longer than their gas counterparts. And you wouldn't be disappointed in the towing power. I use my GMC 2500 Duramax as my daily driver. I work from home and when not traveling have a similar driving pattern as you describe. Haven't been disappointed yet.
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Old 07-30-2015, 01:41 PM   #3
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If you intend to keep the truck for a number of years, then yes, diesel is the way to go. That being said, reading your intended use, I'm wondering why you want a 3500 instead of a 2500.
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Old 07-30-2015, 02:00 PM   #4
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So I can get the AISIN transmission.
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Old 07-30-2015, 02:22 PM   #5
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Either engine would do the job fine.
If your buying a 2013 or newer Dodge you would be fine with either engine. Diesel emissions changed in 2013 and got better, more reliable. You will of course get better resale with the diesel engine.
I have the 68RFE transmission and it is fine. If you were hauling extreme weights if would worth upgrading to the Aisin as it is supposed to be a true medium duty truck transmission. Historically the 68RFE transmission has been reliable unless the truck gets a hotrod chip which eats up the overdrive clutches. The transmission in the 6.4 engine is the 66RFE - essentially the same as the 68RFE used in the diesel but tuned for the gas engine.
If it were me I would just have the 2500 for better ride comfort and call it a day. You could take the $2400 and put it towards a nice truck cap. I have seen some nice highly appointed gas engines go for a good discount if you decide not to go diesel.
I have the diesel engine - Towing is fun!
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Old 07-30-2015, 04:42 PM   #6
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The 2500 with coil spring and 5-link rear suspension is a better choice.

The 6.4L would be the only real upgrade I'd do. Just because I like HP.

I think you may be hung up re transmissions as crispyboy sez. It's the idiots who bypass factory programming. These are people who abuse trucks. Not reliable sources.

The 6.4l is more than enough for a 14k fiver in the steep mountains of BC Canada. See IB516s reports on WOODALLS. Ex diesel owner. Plenty of overkill for an A/S. And good reports on mpg for highway solo. 18-20.

Your DD use is hard on any vehicle. Leave the block heater plugged in year round.

Today's diesels are far too complicated. And your use in any case is contraindicated.

Order what you will. But in your use the diesel won't outlast the gasser. Today's gas motors are strong performers past 200k.

For an A/S the period of diesel applicability was 1997-2007. Too expensive with no offsetting benefits since then versus gasoline from any of the big three.

And the latest gas motors are far beyond what was available in 2007. Today it's as much about programming as about displacement. Pickups are computers with a truck attached.
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Old 07-30-2015, 05:54 PM   #7
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In my opinion go with either a gasser and use it for everything, or a diesel plus a low-end boring daily driver (Ram for tow/haul, and POS for DD).

Rumor is that the Cummins *generally* likes to see some longer highway driving, and less stop and go, due to emissions modes - it may go into regen mode often if exhaust gas temps aren't high enough to burn off all the soot or do whatever's going on downstream of the turbo. Too much stop and go may lead to clogging of the particular filter. I'm simply repeating what I've read on places like cumminsforum.com (great resource, check it out if you haven't yet), so please don't necessarily take this as fact.

Either way a 2500 would probably do you fine, but what size/weight Airstream will you pull?

I'm a sucker for the Cummins so went that route, but don't rule out the Hemi. Plenty people run the 68RFE with no issues and there's no guarantee the Aisin will be problem-free. The thing is... there's no guarantee ANYTHING will be problem-free.

Ran into someone recently pulling hefty (10K+) fiver with his '15 Hemi Ram (can't remember which trans, probably the 68RFE) and he absolutely loved it, no problems towing.

One important consideration between 2500 and 3500 is your real axle gear ratio! In recent years, now with ALL auto transmissions on the Ram 2500 you are limited to the 3.42:1 rear axle gears. Factory option 3.73 or 4.10 are no longer available! This may be more important on the gasser, as the diesel has more torque to deal with the taller 3.42 gears. So if you want more towing torque on a gasser, that may be a good reason to go with the 3500 over the 2500 - just make sure you order that option if you're going special order, or if buying off the lot just make sure you know what it comes with. That said, check the forums, as these auto trans may be okay with the 3.42 (I have no experience there). Tradeoff with fuel economy of course...

Current setup here is a '15 Cummins bone stock with 6-speed manual and 3.42 gears, plus a daily driver. With the 6-speed manual, the 3.42 gears are great. The Cummins is basically a summer-only tow/haul/workhorse (also keeps the New England salt/crud off it), daily driver for everything else. I'm towing only 3,300 lbs trailer plus passengers and cargo, pretty light for the Cummins, but hopefully will keep it happy for years.
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Old 07-30-2015, 06:09 PM   #8
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Short daily trips like the ones planned for are tough on any engine, but even more so on a diesel.
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Old 07-30-2015, 06:11 PM   #9
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So here are my observations as a diesel owner for my Airstream and boat, who lives in admittedly NY where I get freezing and cold to deal with that you may not. Diesels like to get warmed up when the run. In the winter I often take a 10 mile drive to go the grocery store 3 miles away so the engine and tranny are warmed up. Given that, for when I need my tow vehicle I would still choose the diesel I have. I just accept that when things are a bit cool outside I might get a bit more "sight seeing" time to be sure my engine temperatures are happy and I maximize the life expectancy of my truck. Sorry to deviate away from the "gears, HP, etc." where folks are headed. Just my input from someone who often has short drive needs except when towing.

And, I use cetane booster when it gets cold. And, I use the block heater when it drops below 18 as things get warmer faster so I can still keep my 3 mile "milk run where the store lies" to 20 miles. Another tip is I do travel for business and have found I need a 25 and 50 foot extension cord in the cab so I can find an outlet and keep plugged in when I want to.

Just my way of doing things. There are enough opinions coming to you that you can pick and choose what you need. Good luck!!
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Old 07-30-2015, 06:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danattherock View Post
First of all, having read many, many, old threads here. I want to say up front, the initial cost of the diesel, gas mileage, and ongoing cost of regular oil changes and maintenance are not considerations with my decision. My only concern is which motor will be most reliable in the years to come.



Wife and I have decided on Dodge 3500 Mega cab Laramie SRW 4x4. Hauling 27-28' AS through Smoky Mountains of NC and Tenn a weekend or two each month and a big 2-3 week trip each summer out west is main towing usage.



My concern, my daily driving is just 5-7 miles into and from town, once weekly driving 30 miles away and back seeing family. And once a month 2.5 hours away to the coast to see family. Sometimes more highway driving, but this is the minimum average.



Then soon adding an AS, which we plan to do soon after buying TV. We will take at least one weekend trip a month to the Smoky Mountains of NC and Tenn which is 4-5 hours one way.



Is that enough to keep a diesel happy? Read they need to be driven a lot to 'clean out'. Read various ramblings about 'Regen', throwing 'Error codes', and such, but not sure how much driving style plays into this. My concern is my driving style may better suit the gas 6.4 Hemi.



An additional variable, I'm very interested in the AISIN $2400 transmission upgrade, but it's only available in the Ram 3500 with Cummins 6.7 diesel. So if going with gas, I don't have this option available to me.



Our primary goal is to have a long trouble free engine life. Plan is to keep truck a long time. We don't buy new cars often. We take care of them and keep them around. My main question is for our intended usage, do you think the cummins or Hemi 6.4 would be best?



Thanks for any insights you may share.





Dan

NC

You will ordinarily get 200,000 plus miles from a gasser, according to my real world experience, of the big three diesel pick up makers, Dodge is going to be the to be the cheapest to repair and maintain to 200,000 miles, but all of them will be more trouble and more expensive to own and repair than a similar truck with a gas engine.

Diesels are expensive to fix, and THEY DO break.
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Old 07-30-2015, 07:25 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by bweybright View Post

Sorry to deviate away from the "gears, HP, etc." where folks are headed. Just my input from someone who often has short drive needs except when towing.

Thanks. Your comment here is at the very heart of my concern. Thanks.


Dan
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Old 07-30-2015, 07:34 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by slowmover View Post
The 2500 with coil spring and 5-link rear suspension is a better choice.

The 6.4L would be the only real upgrade I'd do. Just because I like HP.

I think you may be hung up re transmissions as crispyboy sez. It's the idiots who bypass factory programming. These are people who abuse trucks. Not reliable sources.

The 6.4l is more than enough for a 14k fiver in the steep mountains of BC Canada. See IB516s reports on WOODALLS. Ex diesel owner. Plenty of overkill for an A/S. And good reports on mpg for highway solo. 18-20.


Your DD use is hard on any vehicle. Leave the block heater plugged in year round.

Today's diesels are far too complicated. And your use in any case is contraindicated.

Order what you will. But in your use the diesel won't outlast the gasser. Today's gas motors are strong performers past 200k.

For an A/S the period of diesel applicability was 1997-2007. Too expensive with no offsetting benefits since then versus gasoline from any of the big three.

And the latest gas motors are far beyond what was available in 2007. Today it's as much about programming as about displacement. Pickups are computers with a truck attached.


If I felt that way, I would likely just go with the Hemi. I test drive the 6.4 Hemi and CTD yesterday. While I thought both felt strong, the diesel certainly felt more powerful. That doesn't mean that I need it. But simply put, if I want a motor to last 15+ years, it stands to reason the less I push it, the less wear and tear I will put on it. Then last night I see this video of Hemi 6.4 struggling (miserably) to haul 12k lbs up the Ike Gauntlet in Colorado. It's hard to unring a bell.

Scroll to 15 min 30 sec and listen...


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Old 07-30-2015, 09:20 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Danattherock View Post
If I felt that way, I would likely just go with the Hemi. I test drive the 6.4 Hemi and CTD yesterday. While I thought both felt strong, the diesel certainly felt more powerful. That doesn't mean that I need it. But simply put, if I want a motor to last 15+ years, it stands to reason the less I push it, the less wear and tear I will put on it. Then last night I see this video of Hemi 6.4 struggling (miserably) to haul 12k lbs up the Ike Gauntlet in Colorado. It's hard to unring a bell.

Scroll to 15 min 30 sec and listen...


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Old 07-30-2015, 09:27 PM   #14
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Don't be afraid of the dodge 3/4 ton with the 6 speed from Chrysler, it is solid, with it you have plenty of reserve power, try it you will like it....mine has sure been good...
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