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Old 11-25-2009, 11:35 PM   #1
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1973 27' Overlander
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Dodge Ram 2500 Vs. Ford F250

I'm deliberating between buying a 2000 Dodge Ram 2500 (with Hemi -- V8, 5.8) and a 2003 Ford F250 (V8, 5.4) to tow my 27-ft. Overlander.

Would both of these vehicles work? Any thoughts on Ford vs. Dodge?

As far as I can tell, they both have a high enough tow rating for my trailer. The Dodge is cheaper and I like the way it looks (mileage is about the same on both), but I also read some reviews about transmission problems in Dodge Rams -- this one has a new transmission.

Any advice to help with my decision?

Thanks everyone!

- EcoTrailer

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Old 11-25-2009, 11:57 PM   #2
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1998 30' Excella 1000
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If the dodge you are looking at is a 2000 model year it is not a hemi. It would be a 5.9l (360 cubic inch) wedge motor. Transmission wise they are about the same as far as longevity and dependability. Ford has had some problems with spark plug threads in their gas engines. Good Luck with your truck hunting.

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Old 11-26-2009, 12:52 AM   #3
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The Ford 5.4 is an excellent engine, except for the spark plugs.

When tool companies design, engineer, and produce a kit to fix the failures of a spark plug design, something very wrong happened a long time ago and nobody fixed it.

If you succeed in taking the plugs out, apply antiseize to the length of the electrode.
The cause for all the grief is because the spark plug electrode extends maybe an inch below the threads. This is the part that gets seized in the head. When an unsuspecting tech or owner goes to remove the spark plugs, the threaded part comes out fine, but the electrode snaps off because nobody at Ford thought to apply antiseize during the assembly process.
Even with the removal kits, some cases require removing the cylinder head.

The rest of the truck will probbably outlast you. The particular year model of truck your looking at will take care of you if you take care of it.
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Old 11-26-2009, 05:22 AM   #4
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what rear end gear ratios are in the two trucks?

are they 2wd or 4wd?

locking rear or not?
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Old 11-26-2009, 07:39 AM   #5
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The Ford 5.4 is a good engine but not in my opinion for towing. It has low torque. It will not tow in overdrive. Solo the fuel mileage is good, but towing it is poor because the engine is racing along all the time. Even worse, it will downshift going up the slightest incline. When the electric fan kicks in, it is hard to hear the radio over the engine noise. G.M. and Dodge make higher torque V-8's.
The Ford V-10 is a better choice for towing, but fuel mileage is poor even solo.
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Old 11-26-2009, 08:25 AM   #6
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SUPPOSEDLY, Ford fixed the spark plug problem on the Triton engine series (4.6L V8, 5.4L V8, and 6.8L V10) starting with the 2003 model year.

There was a larger component to the problem than the plug extending into the combustion chamber; the real problem was that Ford only put about seven threads to hold the plug into the roof of the combustion chamber. They only threaded about half, if that, of the thickness of the combustion chamber roof. The heads are, of course, aluminum.

So what happened is that the aluminum gets hot, it's soft to start with, and with only seven threads there, the plugs start to back out a little. Heat seeps up into the threads, further softening and loosening, allowing the plug to back out even more, until finally the force of combustion blows the plug right out of the head, trashing the threads and destroying the coil-on-ignition pack that is on each plug.

How do I know? I had a 2001 Excursion with the V10 that did this. Ford would not back it, either.

There is a company called Time-Sert that makes a repair kit to fix this problem. It is that common. The repair is an insert that looks much like an upside down top hat, that is made out of high strength steel. What you do is drill out the old threads and enlarge the hole to a much bigger diameter. You then tap the new hole for the ENTIRE depth of the combustion chamber roof, so you have 15-20 threads now holding it, instead of 7, and the diameter is three times as big. So you have fantastic gripping force now. OK, so you then apply permanent lok-tite to the insert and run it into the newly drilled and tapped hole and torque it to 20 ft-lbs. The inside of this insert is exactly the contour of the original combustion chamber spark plug hole, so you can use the original plugs. Last step, you run this mandrel through the newly installed insert, and it swells the "head" of the insert on the inside of the combustion chamber, like a rivet. So there is no way in the world it is ever coming out. This is the correct repair.

I have this kit, and a few extra inserts. So if you buy the Ford and it blows up, I can fix it for you cheap. The inserts themselves are about $9 each. The kit cost about $400, because of the special tooling that had to be made to allow a guy to do this repair with the engine still in the vehicle.

Oh yeah, on a Super Duty Ford, you have to pull the engine to get the head off; there isn't room to remove the head with the engine still in the truck. And, you cannot simply pull the engine out through the hood. There isn't room. You have two choices: (A) unbolt the front suspension and the front cross member and drop the engine out the bottom, or (B) undo the body bolts, wiring, linkages, etc., and lift the body off the frame and set it somewhere. Then you can get the engine out.

The 5.4 V8's were notorious for blowing the passenger side rearmost plug. The V10's would blow either that one or the one just in front. Mine blew the one just in front of the rear most passenger side plug.

I liked the Excursion a lot. It was a really nice vehicle, and it towed very nicely. But after it blew up like that and Ford told me to pound sand, I fixed it myself and got rid of it.

I bought a new Dodge Ram with the Cummins turbo diesel and never looked back. All I do now is turn the key and drive.

Truthfully, I think you should look hard at a Dodge with the Cummins. They are hard to beat. The trucks may not be quite as fancy as the Ford's, but you don't have much trouble with them, the Cummins is stout as all get out and will outlast any of the other diesels (much less a gasser), and they get good mileage to boot. As well, all the tranny issues I've ever heard of with Dodge's have been with the half ton models. I know a lot of guys with the 3/4 ton diesels with automatics and none of them have ever had a transmission problem (at least not before they modified their Cummins engine to make 800hp and 1500 ft-lb of torque....but all bets are off once you start doing that...have to call ATS and have them build you a super tranny at that level....)

Oh yeah, my first car was a '72 Dodge Polara with the 360 V8 (5.9L...should be the same engine as in this truck you're looking at). It had 274,000 miles on it when the thrust bearing finally wore out. It never did blow up, but she was using a lot of oil at that point. The 360 is a good engine; they built it forever (it started as the 273, got enlarged to the 318, then the 360). It'd probably do you OK. But you can't beat a diesel for towing.

Anyway, best of luck. If you want a Ford, I'd say get a Powerstroke. Otherwise, get a Dodge.
- Jim
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Old 11-26-2009, 08:35 AM   #7
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In 2000,I bought 3 1 ton vans Dodge 3500,when the warranty ran out,first the transmissions started to go then the ACs,by 2004 all were gone and replaced with Fords,never want another Dodge in my driveway,even it belongs to someone else.
None of the vans had over 65,000 on them when I got rid of them.No wonder they had to have a bailout. Dave
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Old 11-26-2009, 11:55 AM   #8
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thank you!!

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for all of the feedback!
Both are 4x4s, but I need to check on the other stats.
I'm not much the gearhead, so it's good to hear from those who are.
Part of why I haven't looking into the Cummins diesel is I haven't been able to find any available where I live in my price range. The power trucks are all bought up for snow plowing by December, so the pickings are a little slim (with used 3/4 ton trucks). But the two trucks I'm considering both really check out. Now you've all armed me with info. I can use to make the final call.

- EcoTrailer
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Old 12-05-2009, 12:30 PM   #9
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I vote for the Dodge (see sig), and -- unless you are otherwise positively convinced -- recommend that a 2WD with an anti-spin rear axle set will do what you need. Easier to find, maintain and operate.

The 5.9 V8-360 is an excellent engine. Look into the manifold gasket leak problem on any V8, the fix is easy enough. I had a 2001 with the V8-318 and 3.55 which wasn't up to what I needed for power or size. Otherwise loved it.
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Old 12-05-2009, 05:44 PM   #10
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I have posted previously how pleased I am with my Cummins. I am considering adding a jake brake and also a computer chip. I would apprecaite any experience on either of these.
2000 34' Limited with Sofa Slide
06 Dodge 3500 Cummins Turbodiesel 4X4 Quad Cab Hensley Hitch Pressure Pro Centramatics
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Old 12-07-2009, 08:08 PM   #11
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I traded off a 2004 1500 2WD Dodge hemi and bought a 2008 2500 4WD Dodge with the cummins diesel. At the time I owned the 1500 Dodge, I owned a 34' Excella. The hemi did real well on flat terrian, but if you got on much of a hill it had to shift down to 2nd ( with rpm's pretty high) to make it to the top. I have since sold the 34' AS and bought a 31' AS and purchased the diesel. My 2008 Dodge has a 6 speed automatic trans. and a jake brake. You really can't tell even tell that the airstream is even back there. Of course the diesel cost more than the hemi, but I really like the power (and the jake brake) that the cummins offers.
Charles & Annette
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Old 12-07-2009, 08:29 PM   #12
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Read "Diesel Power" magazine and see what dominates. It's the Cummins by about 10 to 1. Some guys even take Ford trucks and put Cummins engines in them (a major ordeal). The top E.T. holder is a Cummins Ram, best sled puller is a Cummins Ram....the Cummins is a good engine.'s heavy.

The Duramax is nice and light, and I've seen a '70 Chevelle with one that made 550hp, about 1000 ft-lbs of torque, and still got 36mpg but would do a burnout completely out of sight. THAT'S performance!

Personally, I'd like to get an old Caddy drop top, like a '64 DeVille convertible, and transplant in a Duramax and Allison. That would be a wicked cool car, and it could pull the 'stream just fine
- Jim
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:35 PM   #13
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I have an '01 Dodge Cummins. I get 16.5mpg pulling my trailer and about 20 without towing. I've thought about a new(er) one, but I'm afraid of getting one with substantially less gas mileage and emission control problems I've heard rumors about on the newer ones. Someone said 2004 was the best year. Anyone have good success with the 2008/09 models?
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:53 AM   #14
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I just traded an '07 1/2 ton GMC pickup (5.3L gas) for an '08 3/4 ton GMC Duramax Diesel 4X4. Took a short trip to New Mexico to pickup a small trailer (17 footer), and AVERAGED 14.9 MPG on the entire trip. The best mileage running empty was 16.8, and the worst pulling the little trailer was 13.6. This is actual mileage dividing miles driven by gallons used, not by the dashboard computer, which by the way, agrees.

This stuipid thing gets WORSE fuel mileage than my 1/2 ton gas truck did.

So, let's see now.....the fuel is about 20 cents a gallon more expensive, and it gets worse mileage????

Sorry folks, I just don't see any savings here. On the contrary, it will cost more to drive this Diesel. The only good thing is, it does have lots more power.

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