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Old 02-19-2004, 09:00 PM   #1
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Will 2000 Dodge RAM 2500 with Cummins 5.9L tow A/S well?

I need some advice.

I was just down at the Dodge dealer this afternoon, looking at a 2000 Ram Truck 2500 with Quad Cab, 4x4, Short Bed, Automatic 4-Speed and 5.9L 24V Turbo Diesel*engine.

The Dodge people say this vehicle can tow 9450 pounds.

Is this a good tow vehicle for a Safari 28W? It seems like it would according to the A/S web site spec sheet, but I'm not very experienced with all the technical details of towing heavy loads. How reliable is the the Cummins 5.9L diesel? Anything else I should be concerned about on this truck before signing the paperwork?

Thanks!

- Charlie
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Old 02-20-2004, 06:58 AM   #2
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The simple answer to you question is that it will tow it VERY well.

I am looking at new (to me) trucks also, and have been strongly considering the Dodge. Two things bother me about them - the ride height is very high, and the automatics have a very poor reputation. The six speed is reputed to be strong, however, and I do like the gear spacing.

Even so, if I buy new I am going with Chevy. Don't need a ladder to get into the cab, smooth Duramax diesel, and really slick Allison automatic.

But before you buy, talk to the salesmen over on the new truck side. I am finding it extremely difficult to justify the prices of used diesel trucks when the new ones have rebates, 0% financing, and in the case of the Dodge, both!

Mark
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Old 02-20-2004, 07:44 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by j54mark
The simple answer to you question is that it will tow it VERY well.

I am looking at new (to me) trucks also, and have been strongly considering the Dodge. Two things bother me about them - the ride height is very high, and the automatics have a very poor reputation. The six speed is reputed to be strong, however, and I do like the gear spacing.

Even so, if I buy new I am going with Chevy. Don't need a ladder to get into the cab, smooth Duramax diesel, and really slick Allison automatic.

But before you buy, talk to the salesmen over on the new truck side. I am finding it extremely difficult to justify the prices of used diesel trucks when the new ones have rebates, 0% financing, and in the case of the Dodge, both!

Mark
I have to agree with Mark on the new incentives making it awful hard not to go with a brand new truck. IMHO, the Cummins in the Dodge trucks is the very best truck engine out there. They advertise that it has 40% fewer parts than the V8 diesels. I consistently get between 20.5 and 21 mpg going to work and back. We averaged 13.3 pulling an SOB up to Gatlinburg, TN, through the mountains, and back to Florida.

No ladder needed! That's what the Putco Boss full length step bars are for. Not only does it make the truck look pretty, it's an easy baby step into the cab and even gives a step up into the bed in front of the rear wheels.

Dodge automatics ... If you buy new, you'll get the new 48RE automatic which is substantially beefed up over the old 47 trannies. It came out in 2003 although there are still some 2003's out there with the older 47RE transmission. I have not heard of any troubles with the new automatic transmission and I love mine. Most everyone with the manual 6 speed loves it also.

I could go on and on about the Dodge truck ... one great tow vehicle and once you get where you're going, one great exploration vehicle.
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Old 02-20-2004, 08:18 AM   #4
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Charlie, as the others have said, this is a superb tow truck. If buying through a dealer, I presume there will be a warranty period, and Cummins warrants the engine for 100k miles or 5 years on my 98. I mention this as the 24 valve engine has had problems with the VP44 (I think that's right) fuel pump, and a replacement is several thousand dollars. You might ask the dealer for a quote for a replacement, including labor. Prepare to be shocked. The other weak point on the 4x4 is the front end, particularly the track bar, and steering wander. All vehicles have issues. Good luck with your choice. Nick.
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Old 02-20-2004, 08:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
Prepare to be shocked. The other weak point on the 4x4 is the front end, particularly the track bar, and steering wander.
There's a simple solution to this problem. http://www.lukeslink.com/

I honestly don't know why Dodge hasn't put in a recall for all trucks, and retrofitted this thing. Its cheap enough..., its certainly a safety issue, and "everyone" is very well aware of this chronic design flaw in the 4x4 front ends.

anyway, less than a hundred bucks to install it on mine, vs. the $350 + quote from the dealer. (and no guarantee that the same thing won't happen again ) And fwiw: I do not go "4-wheeling" with my truck, don't drive off road at all, don't even drive on bumpy roads. all e-z highway miles on my truck. and at only 50K miles, it needed a new track bar. ????

But ANYway...at a rally last year, I ran into a member that had a shiny new 2500 4x4 w/ the cummins deisel, and it wasn't any taller than my 1500 model. maybe not even as tall. There've been some significant changes since 2000, I guess. Mine is a 2000, and I remember looking at a 2500 on the lot, and that was one thing that really stuck out in my mind: how high up the damn thing was.
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Old 02-20-2004, 08:45 AM   #6
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Originally posted by chuck
one thing that really stuck out in my mind: how high up the damn thing was.
Yes, that stuck in my mind, too. After the test drive I opened the door and stepped out, forgetting about the long distance to the ground. I ended up hitting my groin on the door's threshold, and feeling quite stupid and embarrassed as I limped back into the the dealer's showroom.

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Old 02-20-2004, 09:00 AM   #7
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The Diesel question

Just traded away a 96 F250 Turbo Diesel 4x4 long-bed w/130,000 miles for a 2004 F-150 XLT 5.4 w/3.73 gearing. We're pulling a 1969 31 foot Sovereign. Here was the reasoning:

Wanted a newer vehicle to get the reliability of a newer vehicle along with the probability of fewer repairs. The new F-150 has a tow rating of 9,300#. The 300 hp engine has plenty of power along with the 3.73 gearing.

The old F250 turbo diesel had tons of power, ALL THE TIME, which we didn't need. Some of the diesel repairs were starting to hurt. We probably will be towing the AS several times a year, sometimes in the mountains. But, the rest of the year had no need for all that power.

The oil changes on the F250 were running $65.00 (that includes 15 qts of oil, $19.95 for the big filter and $11.00 or so for the change. Also had a few other expensive repairs: alternator R&R $400; rear axle bearings $800; high pressure oil repair $400. New tires needed, etc. etc. etc. Oil changes on the new F150 will be down around $20 or less, on special sometimes. Diesel repairs cost more than gasoline engine repairs. . don't kid yourself. (I'm making that claim because I've been a heavy truck mechanic for 30 years. . .argue if you like. . .just my humble opinion)

I guess the reasoning for the diesel is that the power available is intoxicating, but do you need that power all the time; especially if you use the vehicle for daily transportation?

I also thought about what it would be like to fire up that NOISY diesel early on a cold morning in a campground. . . .smoke, smoke, smoke. Anyone ever been shot at?

The mileage difference is still up in the air for us. The turbo diesel got 17mpg most of the time, but dropped down to 14 mpg. in the hills. Had to plug the truck in more of the time in the winter also to make sure it would start, especially below 10 deg. The new F-150 is getting 13 mpg right now in the winter; hopefully mileage will go up in the summer to maybe 15mpg, but expect that while towing it will be down around 12-14 again, maybe less. I hear that people with the Dodge Ram Cummins get up to 21 or so during daily driving.

Read an article a while back from Trailer Life where they compared diesel to gas and the main justification of owning a diesel truck was: IF you keep the diesel for 300,000 miles the cost per mile will be .07 cents per mile versus .12 cents per mile for a gas vehicle. . .assuming normal maintenance. You would have had to replace a gas engine during that 300,000 miles where the diesel would still be useable. (With diesel engines you're burning a lubricant which isn't trying to wash the oil off your cylinder walls . . . like gasoline.)

Just a few thoughts to chew on. I realize that there are exceptions to the norm, that mileages vary; sometimes you get a loser truck and sometimes you don't; and that you really do need enough power to pull an AS; also that being underpowered really sucks. Just consider the overall useage in your decision. I think I have compromised well for now. We'll see.

Best wishes with your new truck decision.
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Old 02-20-2004, 09:10 AM   #8
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Re: The Diesel question

Quote:
Originally posted by fritzs
I guess the reasoning for the diesel is that the power available is intoxicating, but do you need that power all the time; especially if you use the vehicle for daily transportation?

I also thought about what it would be like to fire up that NOISY diesel early on a cold morning in a campground. . . .smoke, smoke, smoke. Anyone ever been shot at?

Do I need the power all the time? No, but I like having the economy around all the time. (Last tank 20.6 mpg, to work and back commuting, went 604 miles on the tank.)

Smoke? You mean some diesels smoke when they start on cold mornings? Hmmmmm. Never seen any with the Cummins.
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Old 02-20-2004, 12:49 PM   #9
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If you can do it your self, diesel maintenace is not expensive. For example, I got oil filters for my Duramax on sale at Autozone for $1.99 each. Delvac 1300 15W40 is under $6 a gallon at Wal-Mart. So a home oil change is $20 for me.

I also bought a fuel filter for $20 off the 'net that cost 2-3 times that at a dealer. Allison transmission filter was quite a bit less off the 'net also. (kennedydiesel.com)

I too, love the power and economy, (18 mpg around town) of the diesel.
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Old 02-25-2004, 10:55 PM   #10
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Thanks, everyone for your thoughts. I decided to forego the 2000 Dodge with Cummins engine after I heard a 2004 Dodge with Cummins engine and noticed how much quieter it was!! A quiet engine is worth a lot to me.

Now I just have to figure out how to justify a $715 monthly truck payment...

Although, maybe I should just forget about diesel. Dodge dealer says their new Hemi is just as powerful and costs $5,000 less. Yes, I know a gas engine probably won't last as long a s diesel, but honestly, I've never gotten rid of a vehicle because the engine died. It's always the sum of the broken heater knobs, intermittent radio, wipers that stop in the "up" position, etc. that makes me long for a new truck. Having a diesel under the hood might mean I just have to put up with these annoyances longer to "get my money's worth" out of the drivetrain.

- Charlie
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Old 02-25-2004, 11:20 PM   #11
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Please do not use a half-ton truck for new trailers longer than 22 feet (though several members have GM 1500 HD trucks no longer being made that do have higher capacities -- joshua32064 comes to mind and he tows a new 28 footer -- not a Classic! not a Slide-Out!).

My Nissan Titan has a 9300# tow capacity and a great engine that has been equated with the hemi (just trying to attract trouble, a.k.a. more input FYI). The new F-150 also advertises a similar tow capacity. That doesn't change the fact that the truck still has a normal half-tonner GVWR. Your hitch weight will not be that advertised for the empty trailer -- you will travel with kitchen gear, fresh water, and anti-sway/WD that add up. Put two adults, gas and nothing else in the truck? Any new 25' trailer will exceed the GVWR in any practical usage configuration. 28 footer? Out of the question! GCWR will also stop you from carrying any practical load in either tow vehicle or trailer.

You'll appreciate towing in hilly or mountainous terrain when the trailer doesn't peg out the tow vehicle's numbers on max capacity!
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Old 02-25-2004, 11:51 PM   #12
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Bob,

I had great luck towing my old 25' Safari with my old 94 GMC 1500. A little slow going up steep grades but other than that I drove over 20,000 miles with that set up with no problem.

Now I have a beefy 1500 Sierra Denali that has Vortec 6000 and I roared up any mtn. pass. Never sway problems in either truck. So my experience tells me that 1/2 toners can handle 25' trailers.
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Old 02-26-2004, 07:52 PM   #13
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Big Dee -- No doubt it can be done. Also, a 3/4 or 1 ton diesel can tow to beat the band. (Though one would have to watch out for the limits on GVWR with a 3/4 ton and the longest trailers)

Let's overlook the inflated tow capacities and only look at the tow vehicle's GVWR. A new 25' Safari's additional allowable weight above the basic model is 942 pounds (596# for Six-sleeper!). Figure a hitch weight closer to 15% of the trailer's GVWR to be 879# (since there will be some additional trailer load, LP, and anti-sway).

As the new Fords are listed at higher tow capacity, on a new F-150 5.4L Super Cab 4x4 6.5' box the payload is 1470 pounds. Hitch weight + 170# (full tank) of fuel and 300# of driver, passenger, dogs or whatever is in the cab = 1349#. This leaves exactly 70 pounds of load allowable for the pickup box -- and a topper or tonneau cover hasn't been calculated into the equation yet. ...didn't add in truck options either -- no CD player, dang it!!

One can tow right up to a vehicle's limit and only time and performance are sacrificed -- and most of us can easily allow for a relaxed style of traveling. Since we don't have the towing charts possessed up at Can-Am, it is necessary to do the math and understand the greater wear and tear of going overweight -- hard to accept on an expensive new tow vehicle. Trailers at the same length slowly get lighter as they go back in time, so this should be applied to any individual situation as appropriate.

If one actually towed at the claimed 9000-plus pound half-tonner tow capacities, they would be riding alone in the cab and carrying how much gas?
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Old 02-26-2004, 08:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by idahosafari
Thanks, everyone for your thoughts. I decided to forego the 2000 Dodge with Cummins engine after I heard a 2004 Dodge with Cummins engine and noticed how much quieter it was!! A quiet engine is worth a lot to me.

Now I just have to figure out how to justify a $715 monthly truck payment...

Although, maybe I should just forget about diesel. Dodge dealer says their new Hemi is just as powerful and costs $5,000 less. Yes, I know a gas engine probably won't last as long a s diesel, but honestly, I've never gotten rid of a vehicle because the engine died. It's always the sum of the broken heater knobs, intermittent radio, wipers that stop in the "up" position, etc. that makes me long for a new truck. Having a diesel under the hood might mean I just have to put up with these annoyances longer to "get my money's worth" out of the drivetrain.

- Charlie
Charlie, my co-worker just dumped his Hemi-powered Ram because he was getting 7 MPG towing his 27' SOB trailer.13 not towing. The trailer wieghs 5500 pounds.
He bought the new Ram 2500 Cummins and gets 14 towing his trailer, and 19+ empty, probably more after break-in. Compare that to my Dakota with the 5.2 Magnum, getting 9.4 towing, and almost 14 empty.
Terry
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