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Old 03-06-2015, 03:00 PM   #1
cramar
 
1992 25' Excella
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Used RAM 1500 Hemi Tow Vehicle

I'm looking at buying a used 1/2 ton pickup as a tow vehicle for our 1992 25' Classic. Since I don't want to spend over $20k (Cdn), I am limited in my choices. This price point puts me at around 2010 or earlier. Tundras are extremely rare in my area (and cost more), Rams are as plentiful as F-150s. The Ford EB or 5.0L engines were not available back then, so they had the 5.4L V8. But I'm partial to Ram since the proven Hemi has been around a long time. Ideally, I'd like to find a two-wheel drive with locking differential, tow package, extended cab with 6' bed (for bikes), and the biggest gas tank available. Fat chance! Most of the used Rams are 4x4 so I might have to go that route. I even saw a low mileage 2004 Hemi ST for around $12k.

I have a some Ram questions when finding a suitable truck:

1: How do I know what axle ratio it has? Would rpm at 60mph indicate?
2: What kind of locking differentials were available back then, and what was available for 4x4, Limited Slip? How do I know if a 4x4 has LS?
3. How do I tell what size gas tank is in it?

Thanks for any help.
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Old 03-06-2015, 03:31 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by cramar View Post
I'm looking at buying a used 1/2 ton pickup as a tow vehicle for our 1992 25' Classic. Since I don't want to spend over $20k (Cdn), I am limited in my choices. This price point puts me at around 2010 or earlier. Tundras are extremely rare in my area (and cost more), Rams are as plentiful as F-150s. The Ford EB or 5.0L engines were not available back then, so they had the 5.4L V8. But I'm partial to Ram since the proven Hemi has been around a long time. Ideally, I'd like to find a two-wheel drive with locking differential, tow package, extended cab with 6' bed (for bikes), and the biggest gas tank available. Fat chance! Most of the used Rams are 4x4 so I might have to go that route. I even saw a low mileage 2004 Hemi ST for around $12k.

I have a some Ram questions when finding a suitable truck:

1: How do I know what axle ratio it has? Would rpm at 60mph indicate?
2: What kind of locking differentials were available back then, and what was available for 4x4, Limited Slip? How do I know if a 4x4 has LS?
3. How do I tell what size gas tank is in it?

Thanks for any help.
I have a 2010, love our truck. Go here: Ram Trucks - Contact Us click Equipment Listing on the left and enter the VIN of the truck, you will get a build sheet that will lists everything.

This is how we verified our truck had the options we wanted sight unseen. Our truck came from Salt Lake City, Ut.

I would like to point out that the older Hemi's prior to 2009 are in fact not the same as the new Hemi's. They are just the older Magnum V8's that Dodge was running for awhile with hemispherical heads. In 2009 the Hemi got a complete engine over haul, very similar to GM going from SB 350 to the LS series of engines. Wikipedia doesn't do a very good job of explaining this, but: Chrysler Hemi engine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - source.

The 32 gallon tank is hard to find, so good luck, we lucked out. I wanted 4x4 with 3.92 gears and that tank.

3.92 is what you will be aiming for in your price point. I'd shoot to find an 09 or 10 that you can snag for cash. What you are looking for is doable. We paid a few bucks more for ours because we got 4x4 with ram boxes and all the options.
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Old 03-06-2015, 03:38 PM   #3
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Also wanted to add that the Ram's have a service tag on the rear axle that lists which gears it has if you are looking at one in person and want to scramble under there.
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Old 03-06-2015, 04:31 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by BoldAdventure View Post
...

I would like to point out that the older Hemi's prior to 2009 are in fact not the same as the new Hemi's. They are just the older Magnum V8's that Dodge was running for awhile with hemispherical heads. In 2009 the Hemi got a complete engine over haul, very similar to GM going from SB 350 to the LS series of engines. Wikipedia doesn't do a very good job of explaining this, but: Chrysler Hemi engine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - source.
...
Not to pick nits, but I didn't interpret the wiki article that way. The 5.7 was a clean break from the 318/360 whether Magnum or otherwise.
I like wiki in general, but allpar might be an overall better source for some details.
The modern 5.7 Mopar Hemi V8 engine


But yeah, it's done well for them.
Nice post, thanks.
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Old 03-07-2015, 11:55 AM   #5
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My son had one of the first hemi's.. I wasnt impressed with it after growing up with the real 392s and 426s.. He had a lot of problems with it.. Broken piston rings, low oil pressure and something related to the valve train.. ( yes he ran it hard)

I got wind of the rebuild of the new hemi and started to follow its progress. They started with a clean sheet of paper and I feel came up with one of the better 5L based engines made. 400 hp,, and still able to see 20+ miles per gallon on a regular basis with 3.92 gearing and 4x4..

We have the 32 gallon tank,, but I would not make that item a deal breaker. With the mpg dash data it gives you a running count of how many miles you have left in the tank for the given load.

We pull a 72 Overlander with a Yamaha Rhino in the box ( 1200 lbs).. Its right on the gross limit but just added some air bags to gain another inch of axle travel for pot holes so we don't rattle any teeth loose.

So far I am real happy,, as it was a adjustment coming from a 98 RAM with a turbo Cummins. Yes its night and day but over all the hemi does it's job and gleans the cheaper fuel costs of regular gas. In most cases the price difference between diesel in our area runs $0.70 higher.. So getting the same mpg with a gasser I can live without the raw power of the diesel.

The only thing I do to baby this hemi,, is if we are pulling a heavy head wind or hills and the transmission keeps hunting for a gear,, I just pull it down to 4th gear as thats direct drive and seldom do I ever see the transmission get over 150f doing so.. 1 time on a 107f day,, it did get to 170f but that was at 6000 feet asl.. It as darn hot that day..

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Old 03-09-2015, 11:57 AM   #6
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After two Chrysler products, Plymouth Voyager and Dodge Caravan, I'm staying away from Fiat-Chrysler.

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Old 03-10-2015, 05:08 PM   #7
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If you have $20k to spend, you would be better off to put $4k down on a lease on a new vehicle. Put the remaining money in an interest bearing account to pay the monthly payment. A monthly payment on a lease for a new vehicle will be the same or less than the used one. You could also tell them you are going to lease and pay the entire lease up front, having no payments for 30 months. In the mean time, you save each month the amount you need at the end of the lease to buy the vehicle. Always lease with the minimum miles, usually 10-12k/year, because at the end of the lease, if you buy the vehicle, the number of miles doesn't matter. I always lease before I buy, that way you know the history of the vehicle.
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Old 03-10-2015, 08:40 PM   #8
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If you have $20k to spend, you would be better off to put $4k down on a lease on a new vehicle. Put the remaining money in an interest bearing account to pay the monthly payment. A monthly payment on a lease for a new vehicle will be the same or less than the used one. You could also tell them you are going to lease and pay the entire lease up front, having no payments for 30 months. In the mean time, you save each month the amount you need at the end of the lease to buy the vehicle. Always lease with the minimum miles, usually 10-12k/year, because at the end of the lease, if you buy the vehicle, the number of miles doesn't matter. I always lease before I buy, that way you know the history of the vehicle.
Please tell me where you bank that has an interest above 1% so I can immediately move some money, because right now in the US, the national rates are pretty terrible for cash. https://www.fdic.gov/regulations/resources/rates/
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Old 03-11-2015, 03:05 PM   #9
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Papi, please tell me how leasing will be less then buying?
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Old 03-11-2015, 06:09 PM   #10
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Yeah I still don't understand how paying interest is somehow cheaper than not paying interest. I mean my grand daddy taught me not to pay interest on depreciating assets. But I did skip math class a lot in high school. I'm all for leverage thought. I don't buy into Dave Ramsey's philosophy of no credit ever, so curiously waiting for a detailed explanation.

I wouldn't mind a 2500 Power Wagon with 6.7 Hemi. (Tim the tool man grunting) More POOOOWER!
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Old 03-11-2015, 08:05 PM   #11
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Pick tow vehicle with the equipment required for the task at hand.Pick a good resale color combination.Then add all the right option that people want when it comes time to trade.Take very good care of it cosmetically and service it.Keep it 36 mos and trade at or before 39,900 miles.This is the optimum conditions set for lowest cost of ownership.
I drive new $67k F350 Platinum every 3 years $5k per year as a example.
Leasing does not work out in this case.But it does work on vehicles that the mfg offers subsidized interest rates and high residual values.In which case you don't want to buy it at the end of term.


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Old 03-11-2015, 08:17 PM   #12
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The best thing about leasing is that people who don't wish to lease can pick up as-good-as-new vehicles with a perfect service history, often with generous original warrantee remaining, for 50% of the original price. Which is what I do. I'd never buy a new car, it loses 20% of its value the second you start it up.
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Old 03-12-2015, 11:00 AM   #13
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Leasing is really quite simple, especially the Ford lease, which has been the best vehicle lease in the business. First you must clear your head about all of the perceived negatives regarding vehicle leases, most of which are totally untrue.

The whole object of a lease is to get you into a new vehicle without paying as much as you would for an outright purchase. First off, you only pay a sales tax on the monthly payment, not on the purchase price. That alone will save you a pile on a $45k+ vehicle. Take the example above where this fellow has $20k to buy a used truck. If he negotiated a lease on a $45k, after he puts down $4k, his monthly payment would be around $724. If he purchased the $45k vehicle plus 6% sales tax, that's $47,700-$20,000, makes his payment for the remaining $27,700 for 30 months at $980/month. At the end of the lease, he has the option of buying the vehicle for the lease purchase residual of usually 50% of the sticker or $22,500.

Other options are to use the $20k to pay off the lease at the beginning and not have a payment for 24-30 months. One could also take out a second mortgage for the entire lease amount for 30 months and you would pay on the mortgage each month instead of a car payment and it would be a deduction on your income tax.

If nothing else, the fact that you only pay sales tax on the monthly payment on a lease vs paying interest on a financed payment where you are upside down for 4 of the 5 years of payments, makes a lease a better way to go, IMHO. Clear as mud, right?
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Old 03-15-2015, 11:34 AM   #14
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Just make sure you get the AIR RIG edition of the Ram to tow your Airstream...



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