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Old 03-10-2004, 10:02 PM   #1
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First impressions of my new Dodge/Cummins tow vehicle

After test driving a 2004 Chevy Duramax/Allison rig and a 2004 Dodge with Cummins turbo diesel and a six-speed last week, I decided to drain my bank account at the Dodge dealer.

This improved pickup from Dodge became available three months ago. Chrysler actually calls it a 2004.5 model.

The two best features that convinced me to buy a new diesel rig rather than a used one was (1) diesel engines have quieted down recently, making them more "campground friendly" and (2) The Cummins engines used in the Dodges now have 600 lb-ft torque that really "gets up and goes".

I have not towed an Airstream with it yet, however the new Dodge/Cummins rig towed a Bobcat loader with trailer (a 7000 lb load) easily to a jobsite yesterday. I tested its ability to accelerate while pulling the Bobcat uphill and was impressed.

Fuel mileage while towing the Bobcat loader and trailer was about 14 MPG. Dodge says fuel economy and performance should improve as the engine breaks in over the next 3,000 miles.

I'm looking forward to towing an Airstream with it this Summer.

- Charlie
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Old 03-10-2004, 10:03 PM   #2
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Very nice!
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Old 03-10-2004, 11:27 PM   #3
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very cool, I'm looking forward to the day when I can combine my work car( I'm a real estate broker and need the 4 doors) with my tow vehicle. Right now I use a 99 Tahoe that is good, but when I upgrade to a new Airstream in few years, it looks like the Dodge Cummins is the way to go... Enjoy!
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Old 03-11-2004, 04:56 AM   #4
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Looks like a very nice new truck. Enjoy It!
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Old 03-11-2004, 06:15 AM   #5
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Congratulations Idahosafari! I've had my '03 for a year come the first of April and it still puts a smile on my face driving to work. Hardest thing for me to do is resist the temptation to race people at the stoplights. Just reached 16,000 miles and the mileage has steadily improved. Getting a little over 20 commuting to work and back. The cummins is just a little sweetheart of a motor ... how can a straight six have soooooooooo much torque? The new gen Dodge truck is great also. Love the short turning radius (shorter than our Cadillac DeVille) and the fold flat steel loading floor for the back seat area. You're just gonna love this truck! Again, congratulations.
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Old 03-11-2004, 06:40 AM   #6
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Glad to hear that you like your Dodge. We are shopping this week and so far have tested Dodge, Ford, and GMC. Looking at Chevs today. Hubbie liked the Dodge but I am concerned that the crew cab is smaller than on the other 2. Engine did sound good - much quieter than an older one that pulled in as we were trying to talk with the salesman.
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Old 03-11-2004, 07:01 AM   #7
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Like Charlie, I too narrowed the choice between the Dodge and Chevrolet diesels. It was a tough call, but I finally came down on the side of the Chevrolet. If you like manual transmissions I don't think the call is close at all - the Dodge six speed stick is terrific.

On the issue of the Quad cab vs. a true crew cab, if you really NEED a true full size crew cab, then the Dodge is not going to do it. If you like extended cabs, the slightly larger Quad cab is really nice, and as another poster noted, the optional fold-flat floor is great. I really like the Quad cab.

And the Dodge is better looking than either GM version. Of course, almost anything is better looking than the new slant-eyed Chevrolets. But GM has that marvelous 5 spd. Allison automatic.

I believe that, for me, the Dodge simply sets too far off the ground. I don't think I would ever accustom myself to the step up and down to get in and out of the cab. And, no, for me anyway, bars and running boards are not the answer.

Mark
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Old 03-11-2004, 07:06 AM   #8
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As to "get up and go" power, you might check and compare the final axle ratios. The DuraMax comes with a 3.73 ratio and I believe the Ford and Dodge diesels come with a 4.10 ratio. If you are comparing the short vs long bed models, you might want to verify the fuel tank capacity. Most short bed models have a smaller fuel tank.
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Old 03-11-2004, 07:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Safari Streamer
Hubbie liked the Dodge but I am concerned that the crew cab is smaller than on the other 2.
Yesterday, I took four of my fellow computer programmers out to lunch and all five of us fit nicely in the somewhat shorter Quadcab. Kids of any age would not have problems even on long trips. My sister-in-law and her husband rode with us exploring the Great Smoky Mountains national park last November. They referred to the Quadcab accomodations as "the limousine" commenting on how quiet it was compared to their '03 Ford. I guess what I'm sayin' is ... give the Quadcab a real test before rejecting it without a fair trial.
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Old 04-16-2004, 06:22 PM   #10
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just another thought or two

Just reading this tread and thought I'd drop my 2 cents worth. I'm window shopping now for a tow rig. Can't make up my mind.

1st off NICE rig Idahosafari, Have you had a chance to pull the Airstream with it yet? I'd be interested in how a shortbed does as compared to the longbed. Also mpg empty and towing.

The Dodge Quadcab has a shorter wheelbase then the other and is getting around in tight places like parking lots and parking Airstreams. Not sure about the turning radius but I heard that the Dodge Quads have the smallest of the big 3. I also here that they get the best fuel mileage of the big diesels when they equipped with the manual trannys. (rumors of 26 mpg empty) Not crazy about the automatic tranny in these beasts thought and not sure if I want the be shifting all the time. 2003 and beyond have the newer quieter motors.

The GM rigs have the Allison tranny, what more is there is say besides sweet. Have a neighbor with a chipped '00 Duramax 1 ton crewcab that is getting 22 mpg empty and 16-17 towing. But I'm not crazy about that new grill. 2000 first year of the Duramax and it a quieter motor then the old GM diesels.

Not a big Ford fan but 2003 was also the first year of the new quieter motors. I understand the there were problems with the early 2003 6 liter diesels that Ford was fixing without much fuss because they didn't any discontent among their faithful. (religous pun intended at all 3 makes of trucks) I understand that the new '04 diesels have an option that help when going down hill so that you're not riding the breaks.

Not sure what I'll get yet. My Airstream is many months from her maiden voyage and I'll probably need to unload my current diesel rig for something with a little more.....ah....everything. Althought I know I'll be taking a hit on MPGs when I do. Maybe I'll see what the '05 model year has to offer. I sure wish I could pick the best features from each one.

later, rod
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Old 04-16-2004, 06:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dwight
As to "get up and go" power, you might check and compare the final axle ratios. The DuraMax comes with a 3.73 ratio and I believe the Ford and Dodge diesels come with a 4.10 ratio. If you are comparing the short vs long bed models, you might want to verify the fuel tank capacity. Most short bed models have a smaller fuel tank.
Our '03 F-250, PSD, CC, short-bed has the standard 3:73's. The fuel tank is much smaller than the long-bed models. The shop that is adding the aux. tank said "short-bed pick-ups, especially Ford, are putting my kids through college"!! I found this out after we bought it, only 24 gals. useable.
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Old 04-16-2004, 07:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rschulz
NICE rig Idahosafari, Have you had a chance to pull the Airstream with it yet? I'd be interested in how a shortbed does as compared to the longbed. Also mpg empty and towing.later, rod
No, I haven't pulled an Airstream with it yet. I've been pretty busy this past month with taxes and all. The pickup has got about 3,000 miles on it so far, and gets about 20.5 mile per gallon on the freeway with winter blend diesel fuel. Dodge says I should expect mileage to improve in the next 5,000 miles.

Really don't have any complaints about it so far. I feel fortunate to have it. I don't have any strong allegience to Dodge, though. I think Duramax and PowerStroke are good too. Diesels have really improved in the last few years, and no matter which one you buy, (if you're buying a 2004 model) I think you'll be happy with it.

- Charlie
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Old 04-17-2004, 05:46 AM   #13
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Smile ABS Brakes

Does your Dodge have ABS? My Tradewind is setup with hydralic brakes right now. I hear that ABS and hydralic trailer brakes don't play well together. Hoping to budget for a new axle and electric brakes but it will be a ways down the road.

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Old 04-17-2004, 07:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rschulz
Does your Dodge have ABS?
I don't think so.

I was told by the dealer that Dodge increased the brake pad size in the 2004 models.

The brakes worked fine towing a 7,000 lb load up and down some hills around here.

- Charlie
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