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Old 03-08-2009, 12:34 PM   #29
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Woody,

I hit 718,000 miles on my '01 Dodge 3500 Cummins yesterday. The mpg's towing are 11 to 13 (I deliver campers for a living and every trip is a different trailer). Even after that number of miles it still has more than enough power. The head gasket has been replaced because it seeped underneath the thermostat which was common on those models, but at 575,000 miles I really couldn't complain.

I appreciate your desire for a 6 speed manual. When I went searching for my current truck the manual was a deal breaker. In '01 the auto was a 4 spd and was not built for what I was going to use it for. If I were to buy a newer truck it would be an '07 5.9 with 6 speed automatic! The new auto is designed and built to make the engine work, not slipping the torque converter like the older automatics. The new 6 spd auto locks up the torque converter in all the gears both up shifting and down shifting which enables the factory to offer the exhaust brake which is a great feature (I installed an aftermarket unit on my '01 BlackSheep). The controls are also present to allow you to select the gear you want to be in, which was always one of the reasons for me wanting a manual. There is no doubt I would buy that 6 speed auto. I would want the 5.9 because the emission junk on the 6.7 is unneccessary and could be very costly to maintain.

If you have not driven or considered a new 6 spd auto I strongly encourage you to do so.

Godspeed,
Trent
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TV1: Black Sheep, 2001 Dodge 3500, 800,xxx miles, a few non-stock parts here and there...
TV2: Brownie, 1989 Dodge W250, only 256,000 miles!
TV3: 2004.5 Dodge 3500, 415,000 miles, 6 spd
TV4: 2005 Dodge 3500, 478,000 miles, 4spd auto
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Old 03-08-2009, 02:40 PM   #30
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Woody,

If I were to buy a newer truck it would be an '07 5.9 with 6 speed automatic! The new auto is designed and built to make the engine work, not slipping the torque converter like the older automatics. The new 6 spd auto locks up the torque converter in all the gears both up shifting and down shifting which enables the factory to offer the exhaust brake which is a great feature (I installed an aftermarket unit on my '01 BlackSheep). The controls are also present to allow you to select the gear you want to be in, which was always one of the reasons for me wanting a manual. There is no doubt I would buy that 6 speed auto. I would want the 5.9 because the emission junk on the 6.7 is unneccessary and could be very costly to maintain.

If you have not driven or considered a new 6 spd auto I strongly encourage you to do so.

Godspeed,
Trent
Trent,

I am not sure the 5.9L CTD was available with the new 6 speed auto, even in 2007. Any Dodge guys/gals out there know for sure?
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Old 03-08-2009, 03:00 PM   #31
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Ditto on the auto trans.

Certainly used to be that manuals were more reliable, rugged, etc. Nowadays, the new 6 speeds are tough, and for the most part the trucks with them are rated for higher tow loads than with manuals. And in a lot of cases, auto shifters now get better mileage than manuals. Strange but true.

Over the looooooong haul, and presuming you're willing to replace a few clutches, a manual might last longer, but I would not be certain about that. I sure like my Allison and Duramax. And I'll likely never go back. YMMV.
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Old 03-08-2009, 03:18 PM   #32
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Woody, your trailer weighs either 4,840 (twin) or 4910 (double), dry weight, with either 480 or 490# tongue weight, a lot less than my trailer. Even adding a thousand pounds for tools to the TV, and you may have enough payload that some 1/2 ton trucks would work. It may depend whether you can store some tools in the trailer or cull some of them or get some that are lighter with the money you save buying a 1/2 ton.

So far as finding a stick shift, that is harder. Blame the cell phone. People don't want to shift when they are talking, eating, changing CD's or doing their hair. We didn't like to have to buy an automatic, but the new ones work a lot better, and with computerized shifting, they compare favorably with a stick for gas mileage. Personally I think it's easier to tow with an automatic and easier on the engine because the computer is smarter in matching shifting than most of us are.

And, we find small town dealers are a lot easier to deal with, but we rarely have to have any service done because our vehicles are so reliable. A $10,000 difference would make me put up with a lot.

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Old 03-08-2009, 03:39 PM   #33
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Woody,

I hit 718,000 miles on my '01 Dodge 3500 Cummins yesterday. The mpg's towing are 11 to 13 (I deliver campers for a living and every trip is a different trailer). Even after that number of miles it still has more than enough power. The head gasket has been replaced because it seeped underneath the thermostat which was common on those models, but at 575,000 miles I really couldn't complain.

I appreciate your desire for a 6 speed manual. When I went searching for my current truck the manual was a deal breaker. In '01 the auto was a 4 spd and was not built for what I was going to use it for. If I were to buy a newer truck it would be an '07 5.9 with 6 speed automatic! The new auto is designed and built to make the engine work, not slipping the torque converter like the older automatics. The new 6 spd auto locks up the torque converter in all the gears both up shifting and down shifting which enables the factory to offer the exhaust brake which is a great feature (I installed an aftermarket unit on my '01 BlackSheep). The controls are also present to allow you to select the gear you want to be in, which was always one of the reasons for me wanting a manual. There is no doubt I would buy that 6 speed auto. I would want the 5.9 because the emission junk on the 6.7 is unneccessary and could be very costly to maintain.

If you have not driven or considered a new 6 spd auto I strongly encourage you to do so.

Godspeed,
Trent
Trent,

Thanks for the comments. You did your research well, those automatics were also notorious for blowing up with very few miles on the clock.

There are other reasons for wanting the manual trans that I have not mentioned:
1. One of the main reasons is driving in ice/snow. I've been in situations that would've definitely put me in the ditch (or worse) had I not been able to dump the clutch.
2. Fuel economy is better with a manual trans, though the new autos are getting better.
3. Repair costs are still 10:1 in favor of the manual trans.
4. Reliability of the manual is still "just about" guaranteed for 1,000,000 miles, but nowhere near that for the auto.
5. A $1000 clutch every 200,000 miles is much easier on the wallet than a $3500 rebuilt automatic every 80,000 miles.
6. Last but not least. I must be a bit weird, because I don't like driving an automatic trans.

I also prefer the manually canceling turn signals, and wish that the manufacturers would bring them back. I purposely broke the little tabs on my old Bronco, and loved it. My current truck cancels so quickly that I have gotten in the habit of not using my signals anymore. (No sense in using the signal, when it cancels nanoseconds after being set. And, I can't sit there and hold the thing when my other hand is on the shifter.)

One other thing to think about.......The new automatic is not yet a proven technology, buying one today means that the consumer is the beta tester.

Woody
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Old 03-09-2009, 12:25 AM   #34
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Woody, your trailer weighs either 4,840 (twin) or 4910 (double), dry weight, with either 480 or 490# tongue weight, a lot less than my trailer. Even adding a thousand pounds for tools to the TV, and you may have enough payload that some 1/2 ton trucks would work. It may depend whether you can store some tools in the trailer or cull some of them or get some that are lighter with the money you save buying a 1/2 ton.

So far as finding a stick shift, that is harder. Blame the cell phone. People don't want to shift when they are talking, eating, changing CD's or doing their hair. We didn't like to have to buy an automatic, but the new ones work a lot better, and with computerized shifting, they compare favorably with a stick for gas mileage. Personally I think it's easier to tow with an automatic and easier on the engine because the computer is smarter in matching shifting than most of us are.

And, we find small town dealers are a lot easier to deal with, but we rarely have to have any service done because our vehicles are so reliable. A $10,000 difference would make me put up with a lot.

Gene
Gene,

Thanks for the comments.

I previously had an F-150, and it was extremely undersized for the task. When I had those toolboxes on that truck, it would only carry about two sheets of drywall without the rear bumper dragging the ground. There are times when I need to carry 40 or 50 bags of concrete, or a couple thousand pounds of rebar. The little trucks just can't haul that kind of load.

I never know when I might have to haul a big construction trailer with a backhoe or something

Woody
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Old 03-09-2009, 11:07 AM   #35
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OK, it's more than the tools. But…

Hampstead38 wants to get a truck with an aluminum utility bed with all the boxes for storage. The aluminum will significantly reduce the weight of the bed over steel and allow him to buy a 1/2 ton (if I remember right). The weight difference between aluminum and steel can be a lot, though I can't remember just how much. The number 700# creeps into my mind, but maybe Hamp' will correct me. Might be worth looking into.

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Old 03-09-2009, 12:25 PM   #36
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A steel utility body can weigh 1500 to 1600 pounds and that's without a lift gate or the toolboxes full. You lose some weight by pulling the stock box and tailgate, but not nearly 1500 pounds. The aluminum utility bodies I'm looking at weigh about half of the steel.

Now, 5/8" rebar weighs a pound a foot so a couple of thousand pounds of rebar would be about 2000 feet or 250 eight foot lengths... which is a fair bit of rebar for a guy doing concrete work out of a pickup. 50 eighty-pound bags of concrete weigh two tons or 4,000 pounds. This is way too much for a half-ton truck.

The utility body is great for tool access but lousy for materials access. I would hate to pack and pull 50 80-pound concrete bags from the relatively small open area in a utility body. I would buy a heavy-duty trailer and use it to haul materials. By the way, it is possible to overload a one-ton truck.
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Old 03-09-2009, 12:28 PM   #37
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The Dodge is not as plush as a GM or Ford and I describe it s a working truck.
I have to agree. I am a GM Guy for many years…If I didn’t have such a positive experience with GM’s I would drive a Ford as they are pretty nice trucks. The latest generation of Fords has some very nice features.
I owned a business for a while and always had 2-4 trucks on the road at anytime. Whenever it was time to purchase a new one, I would go out and drive all three. Every time my impression was the same, I guess that’s why I stuck with GM;
  • IMO, the GM gave the best balance of toughness, durability, power, capability, and fuel mileage while still being a nice daily driver.
  • Ford was close second. Never seemed to offer comparable fuel mileage or ride quality of GM, but they were close. As noted, the latest offerings may change my opinion here
  • Dodge, always seems to be a generation or 2 behind Ford and GM. Each time I drove one, I would get out thinking “who would buy one of these?” Not saying they’re not dependable/capable, just seemed…unrefined? Crude? I don’t know, always seemed to be lacking in the handling, ride quality areas IMO. (Why did GM and Ford sell ~ 900k-1m units/year and Dodge was a smaller player?) It was also my experience that Dodge was ~ $10k less for a comparable truck-I guess you get what you pay for?

These are my opinions/experience, along with $2 will get you a cup of coffee. In reality, I could drive any of these 3 trucks if I had to, and suggest you go out and drive them yourself. Everyone has their own idea of what makes a good truck. As long as it says “USA” on the side…you can’t go wrong.

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Old 03-09-2009, 02:54 PM   #38
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OK, it's more than the tools. But…

Hampstead38 wants to get a truck with an aluminum utility bed with all the boxes for storage. The aluminum will significantly reduce the weight of the bed over steel and allow him to buy a 1/2 ton (if I remember right). The weight difference between aluminum and steel can be a lot, though I can't remember just how much. The number 700# creeps into my mind, but maybe Hamp' will correct me. Might be worth looking into.

Gene
Gene,

From what little research I've done, it is now impossible to find a new 1/2 ton truck with a standard transmission. It may still be possible if I was to special order, but I haven't gone around to all the different dealerships to find out. I do know for a fact that Ford has dropped the standard trans.

I can also see where this is leading........I am willing to bet that the standard trans won't be available on anything other than true sports cars in the next ten years or so. I will probably have to buy a new truck and have it modified for a standard trans when that day comes.

It is quite a shame really. There are those people that enjoy the experience of driving, and realize that shifting the vehicle is a part of the driving experience. It is almost a matter of being in touch with the vehicle and the road....zen like. Most people think of driving as just a mere mode of transportation from point A to point B, and therefore having the vehicle do their thinking for them is a good thing. (This is also quite often what leads to driving while eating, talking on the phone, etc. and the crash 'em up derby associated with driving distracted.) Me personally, I would rather not have a machine do my thinking for me. I can only hope that the use of the cell phone will be banned while driving, and we can all go back to paying attention to the road again.

But, I digress. My rants and raves won't change the minds of the masses, and the wants of the masses are what the manufacturers make.

Returning to the subject at hand.......I've done a bit of research on JD Power, and found out that the Dodge has a much better reliability rating than the Ford. Much to my surprise and consternation, I might add. So, I looked it up on MSNAutos and found the same results there. (As if JD Power isn't already the authority on the subject. Yes, I had to get a second opinion.) It is so hard to believe that my beloved Ford has to take a back seat to a Dodge, but I am leaning that way.

Woody
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Old 03-09-2009, 03:02 PM   #39
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Woody,

I hit 718,000 miles on my '01 Dodge 3500 Cummins yesterday. The mpg's towing are 11 to 13 (I deliver campers for a living and every trip is a different trailer). Even after that number of miles it still has more than enough power. The head gasket has been replaced because it seeped underneath the thermostat which was common on those models, but at 575,000 miles I really couldn't complain.

I appreciate your desire for a 6 speed manual. When I went searching for my current truck the manual was a deal breaker. In '01 the auto was a 4 spd and was not built for what I was going to use it for. If I were to buy a newer truck it would be an '07 5.9 with 6 speed automatic! The new auto is designed and built to make the engine work, not slipping the torque converter like the older automatics. The new 6 spd auto locks up the torque converter in all the gears both up shifting and down shifting which enables the factory to offer the exhaust brake which is a great feature (I installed an aftermarket unit on my '01 BlackSheep). The controls are also present to allow you to select the gear you want to be in, which was always one of the reasons for me wanting a manual. There is no doubt I would buy that 6 speed auto. I would want the 5.9 because the emission junk on the 6.7 is unneccessary and could be very costly to maintain.

If you have not driven or considered a new 6 spd auto I strongly encourage you to do so.

Godspeed,
Trent
Trent,

Just out of curiosity, what kind of major and/or costly repairs have you had in those miles other than the head gasket?

I find it amazing that you are willing to drive a truck all over the country with that many miles on it. I've recently hit 200k on mine, and I'm now afraid to drive it very far.

Woody
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Old 03-09-2009, 03:31 PM   #40
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For Zen experience while driving, get on a bike (anything with 4 wheels will never come close…. Must read; “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” Robert M. Pirsig.) For towing, go with a slush box and conentrate on the task at hand.
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:17 PM   #41
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For Zen experience while driving, get on a bike (anything with 4 wheels will never come close…. Must read; “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” Robert M. Pirsig.) For towing, go with a slush box and conentrate on the task at hand.
Bill,

Thanks for the comments.

Growing up, I used to watch the Harley's roaring down the street and wish I was big enough to have one. The open road, hair in the wind, etc. (Oh, I don't have any hair left.) When I was 22 I was finally able to get a bike, and quickly realized that it is no where near as much fun as my Jeep. My dream of riding around the country on a big Fatboy was shattered.

Around town, and commuting to work wasn't too bad....provided the temps were above 75 degrees. A few months later, I decided to take that bike for a 2 1/2 hour ride. I thought to myself, this is going to be the beginning of a long journey across the vastness of the entire U.S. I hopped on with glee and delight. The wind noise was deafening, I had bugs in my teeth, welts on my chest from rocks thrown from cars, and I was stiff and sore from sitting in one position for the entire time. I asked myself, "Is this fun?". I rode the bike one more time, and sold it a few weeks later.

Nowadays, I'll get on a bike maybe once a year and take it around the block. That is enough of a fix for me. I still love to watch those Harley's roaring down the street, but it is just not for me. I have much more fun trying to get my truck stuck in the mud, or following a challenging 4x4 trail thru the woods.

I did have the opportunity to read that book, and it was quite interesting.

As far as the slush box, no thanks. I much prefer a row boat.

Woody
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:46 PM   #42
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No experience with Dodge, but buy Ford.
Bailout? What bailout? We don't need no stinking bailout.
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