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pondering a dodge MPG question

Discussion in 'Ram Trucks' started by james.j.smith, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. james.j.smith

    james.j.smith Senior Member
    from 19033
    Messages: 145

    I'm looking to upgrade to a crew cab and have had dodge Dakota in the past. I can't afford a new truck so it will be a 01 or newer truck. I've been comparing gas and diesel trucks and it seems that some people are getting better gas mileage in there diesels. I was wondering what type of gas mileage people are getting in the 1/2 ton and 3/4 tone trucks? I know the gearing plays a big impact but also what type of mods have you done to improve your gas mileage?

    right now I'm plowing with a 91 f250 and tow a 19 foo welcraft with my wife's envoy. the f20 is a regular cab so the family doesn't fit. So I really have no need for the 3/4 ton since alot of people plow with there 1/2 tons and a 1/2 ton will handle the boat. If i can get better gas mileage with a 3/4 ton diesel I would prefer the 3/4 ton.

    thanks in advance for your imput
  2. edgeair

    edgeair Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    My experience has always been that you want to size your truck to what you need and then one step heavier. A 3/4 ton would work well for you, 1/2 tons are a bit light for much significant plowing or trailering. The diesel is another step only you can decide. If you work your truck and do a lot of trailering, then it will likely pay you to get the diesel. On the other hand if you are empty most of the time, then a gasser would work ok.
  3. mike6256

    mike6256 Senior Member
    Messages: 286

    I agree with what Edgeair said above.
    I get 18-16mpg empty around town.
    10-12mpg pulling 13,000lb fifth wheel. I do have 4:10 rear so highway speeds hurt my MPG.
    and around 12mpg plowing. Don't forget to account for price per gallon difference in diesel vs gas. Pretty much they got ya.

    DAFFMOBILEWASH PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,602

    To justify the extra cost of the diesel to buy and maintain you need to fit into this criteria.

    -Drive 25 000miles a year or more
    -pull a trailer or work the truck more than 30% of the time
    -run the truck for more than 40min intervals

    If you are 2of3 or greater, then diesel would be a wise choise. If not stick to the 2500 gassers. Don't buy one thinking you are going to save $ out of the gate. There are many other factors involed. The simplest one is the extra $5000-10000 intial purchase price of the diesel.

    Many people have bought diesel trucks thinking they need them. To find out in time there are no savings in the long run.....
  5. edgeair

    edgeair Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    Yes very true when you are looking at a new truck. The OP was talking about an early 2000's truck, so the difference in gas vs. diesel is less of an issue. The top 2 of your points are valid, more number 2. But I disagree with the 40 min intervals thing. Very negligible difference if any, especially on the newer diesels.

    I agree that lots of people get diesels thinking they need them, but very few do. Its mostly whether you are working a truck or not. Pulling a trailer is a big difference on fuel burn in a gas vs. a diesel. It doesn't take long to make up your purchase price difference. Then there is resale. A diesel will always be worth more, although that difference gets less as the truck gets older.

    One point I would make to the OP is that if you are looking at the early 2000's in Dodge, watch out for those bad automatics. 2004 and up would be a safer bet for that issue.

    DAFFMOBILEWASH PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,602

    How long does it take a diesel truck to get to normal operating temperatures during the winter?? Keep in mind I don't keep mine pluged in and normally takes 20min or so to get fully warmed up. During this time the diesels are not doing very well in the fuel milage catagory so the gasser is the better choice. Hence the 40 min rule.
  7. MrPLow2011

    MrPLow2011 Senior Member
    from Boston
    Messages: 276

    I have heard this arguement many time. And everytime I point out the same thing, RESALE VALUE!!!! If he buys a decent 2001 CTD for say 10k He can run it for 4 years and still sell it for 7k 3-4 years down the road. With close to 200k on it. No one is going to buy V8 Magnum with 200k on it for more than 3k. But he would have paid 8k to buy that truck. If he can even find a sucker to buy it. CTD resale is awesome. But do your Home work on the 53 block before you buy one.

    Um about 2 miles and mine is at 190 and pumping heat. Ofcourse I let it warm for a min. So in about 4 not 40 minutes they are up to snuff. And if your next arguement is leaving loaded. Dodges have a high idle feature and truck is warm in under 10 mins, We are not talking about some OLD DT466 that never warms. Its a computer controlled pick up
  8. edgeair

    edgeair Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    My (unplugged) 04.5 gets to temp after about 5 minutes on the road when its -10C or above. A gas doesn't do much better. No vehicle is good in the winter. My 04.5 burns about 1/2 what my employees Dodge Dakota V6 does in the winter. Figure that one out.....

    Just got an '11 diesel. It warms up quicker than the 04.5.

    You might want to look at winter fronts if yours warms up that slow. I've never seen my trucks take 10 minutes to warm up even when it was -30C in Alberta when I had them there.

    Now idling is a different story. If you start a diesel and let it idle, yes it does take forever. But if you treat them like you are supposed to by starting them, let them warm up for 30 seconds to 5 minutes depending on how cold it is then drive off and give it a bit of a load, it doesn't take long to warm up.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2012

    DAFFMOBILEWASH PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,602

    Wow, every one is way to literal. Sure you get heat in 3-5 min and the temp on the guage is rocken 190 deg. Whats the temp of the anitfreeze in the rad??? Has the thermostat opened up yet??? What about the diffs and trans?? Yep, normal operating temps too !!!

    Still stand behind the 40 min rule. If you own a diesel truck and only drive 30min each way to work are you saving $$$$ ???? Same truck running for 4 hours steady...... This was my point.
  10. goel

    goel PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,079

    I agree with Daff. Big difference between heat rolling out the vents and Operating Temperature. Diesels are meant to RUN to maximize efficiency.
  11. edgeair

    edgeair Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    Diffs and trans - they don't know whether they are gas or diesel do they now.... same diff (no pun intended) :laughing: Yes, yes I know. The diesel tranny and diff has some extra mass which will take a 'little' longer to warm up. But not that much.

    You honestly believe that it takes 20 minutes to warm up a diesel? You are clearly not driving the same truck as I am. It sounds like you are driving a heavy truck which would take longer generally to warm up. Or maybe thats just what that old mechanic told you one day.

    The gauge reaching full temperature is the only measuring stick you have when driving - that applies both to a gas engine or a diesel and the relationship of "full temp" and rad temp would be the exact same between the two. If it takes 5 minutes to reach full temp with a gas truck and it takes 6 minutes with a diesel (both using the gauge) then the temp in the rad is likely roughly the same on each now isn't it? I don't see any kind of a drop in temperature after that on either, so its safe to say that either the thermostat doesn't open much after reaching full temp or the rad is up to temp. To argue based on anything else is splitting hairs which is not in keeping with the OP or a real world comparison of mileage. If you are the guy that wants full heat a minute or two faster, then I guess you better buy a gas truck.

    I have had both gas and diesel my whole working life. There really is not an appreciable advantage to a large block gas engine over its diesel counterpart in warm up time when its under load. Will a gas engine warm up quicker - yes. How much quicker - little difference. Does that little difference in time affect a diesel's comparative mileage - no. That is the point here. Both engines don't do as well in the wintertime as they do in the summer, that is a fact.

    Oh, and BTW. I choose to drive my diesel (empty) in the wintertime over my gasser because I continue to enjoy its mileage advantage - and hold on as this may comes as a shock - I ONLY drive 15-20 minutes from house to shop :eek:
  12. plowguy43

    plowguy43 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,281

    I gotta ask - do you "need" a crew cab, or is it just something you want? Do you use the truck for much else other than plowing that requires the family to come along? In my opinion you have the perfect setup already - a (I'm assuming) Paid for F250 to use as a dedicated plow truck, and a nice SUV to pull your boat and bring the family along to the water.

    Now if you need it for a daily driver, and want something nicer or more reliable to plow with and "need" it to tow the boat because the SUV isn't big enough, then I can understand.

    In that case I'd look for a 2006+ Ram 1500 HEMI. Those years have the MDS which does help a little bit in the mpg department. Some get 18-20mpg's on the highway if they cruise at 65mph. It will still hold a 7'6" plow and has plenty of power to push. It also shares the same engine and transmission with the 2500/3500 trucks.

    That being said, you can go with a 2003-2005 1500 as well, they have a torsion bar front end that is a little weaker than the 2006 (coil spring strut front), and it doesn't have MDS.

    I'd stick to the HEMI if it were a gasser as they get the same or better MPG's than the 4.7 (I've owned both), but have a lot more power.

    If you go with a 2500, my 2004 with 4.10's and 265/70/17's got 14-16mpg's. My area is very hilly, average speeds are 45-55mph. They weigh about 1000lbs more than the 1500's, but they still have nice power.

    The other's have commented enough on the diesel's.
  13. james.j.smith

    james.j.smith Senior Member
    from 19033
    Messages: 145

    I do need a crew cab. originally I bought the f250 as a stop gap measure to have a truck for plowing and home depot trips. I had to trade in my truck at the time (Dodge Dakota) for a more practical "family car". My wife drives the SUV and I drive a 1989 Chevy caviler for my commuter car to work. Even though the caviler has low miles (50K) I don't expect for it to last forever and need something that will also haul the family around. we just had a baby girl and also have a 6 year old and a dog and we don't want to put the baby in my car.

    Once we get the truck, we will be using the truck to haul the boat and for trips to the shore. I plan on using my car to commute to work the majority of the time, but want something more reliable with more room to transport the family then my caviler. Also I plan to get rid of the envoy for something else when I get a truck, since right now I get better gas mileage in the f250 then my wife gets in the envoy and I can't stand the way it tows the boat.

    when I purchased a truck I was hoping to get the lower gear ratio rears I believe its the 3.55 to help out with the mileage. I don't commute far to work approximately 15 miles each way but we head away on weekends during the summer which is avg 200 miles each weekend.

    I've also been looking into the hemi which a friend gets 17 to 20 mpgs he does a 60 mile commute each day. I know I use to get 19 in my Dakota on the highway if I didn't push it. I've read on some forums that the dodge diesels avg 23 mpg with some people claiming 29 mpg. Another friend of mine gets 23 in his diesel f250. Not sure what way I'm going to go yet but i'm learning alot from every ones input.
  14. plowguy43

    plowguy43 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,281

    Ok with that info - Don't look at the pre 2002 1500's or 2003 2500's (like my truck). The suicide rear doors are the biggest pain when you have kids, and the back seat is far too small for car seats. I have a 5 year old and a 1 year old, the 1 year old has to be in the middle and the 5 year old is right next to him (almost too close). My 5 year old has no room for his feet because of the car seat, and if we attempt to bring the dog its even worse (she's a big dog though, 180lb english mastiff).

    The Quad cab trucks have more room but are still a bit small for the family if you bring the dog along, but they are a million times better than the older ones (like mine). If you get a tonneau cover that makes life a much nicer since you now have a huge trunk for your stuff and the cab can keep the baby's diaper bag and some things for your older child without being overly tight.

    As far as diesels are concerned, for your purpose I'd stick to a gas truck. A diesel or even a 3/4 ton sounds like it'd be overkill.

    What kind of plowing do you do? How big of a boat?
  15. james.j.smith

    james.j.smith Senior Member
    from 19033
    Messages: 145

    I completely understand what your talking about with the car seat. In our envoy we have the rear facing seat in the middle and our 6 year old struggles getting to the seat belt buckles, thought the back seat was big enough until we had to install the car seat.

    Even though I'm not a big fan i would probably put a cap on the truck for the spring, summer and fall that way if we need to we can put the dog in the back of the truck in her crate for long trips. it worked really well with the Dakota when we needed to. I know a couple people with the extended cab and crew cab rams both 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton and plan to put the car seat in there trucks to see what type of room we will have.

    I plow as a sub and take car of a couple town home developments, I was also suppose to do lots for UPS this year (if it ever snows). Our boat is a 19 foot welcraft center console (single axle trailer) i'm hoping to upgrade some day and would like to eventually pick up a 20 to 24 foot camper. the camper would come before the boat upgrade (most likely next summer). A half ton should handle both.

    my line of thinking is that is I'm getting 18 to 19 highway in a half ton and 22 - 23 in a diesel 3/4 ton. the cost of fuel should be relatively the same. Just not sure how realistic I'm being hat's why I'm trying to get as much research done as possible before I decide what I'm going to go after.
  16. plowguy43

    plowguy43 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,281

    I'm like you and hate caps but this truck came with one and I've left it on because its come in handy the few times we've used the truck on family trips. They definitely help a lot and add a lot of storage space when traveling that is for sure.

    If you'd like, I can snap a picture tonight of what the car seat looks like in my truck. My son is still in a rear facing car seat so you can get an idea. The older trucks also don't have the LATCH system.

    You certainly do a decent amount of plowing it seems, but I'd still think a half ton would handle it fine. A diesel wouldn't bat an eye at it, and for a diesel I think your more likely to get 16mpg in town and up to 20-22mpg highway if you stay with a 5.9 with low (numerically) gears like 3.55's or 3.73's.

    I know you are asking about Dodge's but Chevy and Ford both had full size crew cabs with more space than the Dodge in those years as well. A 7.3 Crew Cab Ford will get some decent MPG's, but Fords gassers really can't hold a candle to the Dodge unless you get the V10, and both get bad mpg's. The Chevy is on par with the Dodge for mpg and has good power as well. The Dmax is a great motor and does well on mpg's too.

    DAFFMOBILEWASH PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,602

    I think a 06ish 1500 series 4x4 mega cab would be a great choice for you.
  18. james.j.smith

    james.j.smith Senior Member
    from 19033
    Messages: 145

    thanks for all the info, a picture would be great, I believe that all cars and trucks after 2001 where required to have the LATCH system for the car seats that is why I'm looking at 2001 to newer.

    I have also been looking at the fords and chevys and have heard alot of good things about the duramax but I think they may be out of my price range. I do not like the body style of the F150 so if I go with a 1/2 ton it will most likly be a dodge and the mega cab seems to have alot of room.

    thanks again for all the help
  19. plowguy43

    plowguy43 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,281

    Just an FYI 3/4 tons are considered a commercial vehicle and aren't required to have the LATCH system. The superduty doesn't have them in their crew cab or supercab even in the 2012 models. Since chevy and dodge use the same cab in the half tons along with the HDs they do have the LATCH.
  20. UglyTruck

    UglyTruck Senior Member
    Messages: 210

    A lot of honest info has been offered, I am proud that nobody had degraded to brand bashing yet.

    anyway... I am a diesel guy, I would tell you to buy a diesel. BUT that is a decision that you need to make for yourself and make sure it meets YOUR needs and wants. Myself, I think the 40 min rule is crap, but I do understand the argument behind it, so I cant completely discount it. and after all, I am biased toward diesels :nod:

    Do be wary of people telling you they are getting low to mid 20's for MPG. maybe some are, but I know alot of diesel guys and the guy getting that mileage is ALWAYS "A guy I know" , "A friend of a friend", "On a truck I used to have", or "I used to know a guy".

    the actual MPG isnt as important as the $ per mile. look at the current price of gas vs. diesel and do the math to compare what mileages you would need to be getting out of a gasser vs a diesel to achieve the same cost per mile. that might help you to better compare apples to apples.

    Here is a link to another forum site I am an active member at. if you scroll down there is a forum called "Potential Diesel Owners" it is full of all kinds of newbie information and the people there are alot like here. they want to help, not bash you. http://www.dieselbombers.com/