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What to get?

Discussion in 'Ram Trucks' started by griffithtlc, Jul 29, 2003.

  1. griffithtlc

    griffithtlc Senior Member
    Messages: 213

    I am new to this page, but I have to say that after looking around for an hour or so, you guys know what you are talking about, so I am going to give you guys something to think about. I am nearly 17, and my dad and my brothers and I just jumped head first into the lawncare business. But we need a heavier truck to plow in the winter. I am going to get a post-94 ram 2500 reg cab to hang a plow on. There are a few 94-97's around here with less than 100k on them (gas 360) that are under 8500. But then there are some diesels for the same with around 150K. My dad doesn't think I should get a diesel. this summer, it will pull mowers around all day, and then in the fall, it will just get me 15 miles to school and 15 miles back, and when it snows I will swap trucks and it will be plowing while im in school. The Q is 360, V10, or cummins.
    Any info or advice would be great. After i pay the truck off, I am slowly going to build it into an off roader/daily driver.
  2. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    Buy the diesel if you can find one in your price range.The mighty Cummins is virtually idestructable,and will outlast the body it sits in.At 150,000 miles the Cummins is just starting to get broken in,where the gasser will be on it's way out.You seem to plan on keeping it for a long time,so the diesel is the way to go.

    The 94-97 Cummins Turbo diesel's had the P7100 inline pump,which is pretty much bulletproof,and has the ability to make LOTS of power with very simple mods.Along with a solid front axle,HD transfer case,and all the other HD stuff,you can't go wrong for a tough plow truck.

    If your serious about buying one,I'd recommend browsing around here first. www.turbodieselregister.com

    If you end up buying one,I'd recommend you join,as it will be the best money you ever spend on your truck.

    Or...............you can just ask me or Johnny D whatever you want to know about the Cummins. :D

    Here's a pic of one of mine,getting pretty close to going over 400,000 K,and been run hard all it's life.It's just getting broken in now :D

    truck underhood.jpg
  3. Roger Dodger

    Roger Dodger Senior Member
    from nw Pa.
    Messages: 240

    While I won't argue the benefits/drawbacks of diesels you need to consider the following before running out and plopping down your cash:

    1. cost and availability of diesel fuel vs. gas in your area
    2. trade-in values of diesel vs gas models in your area
    3. main purposes the truck will be used for

    Diesels will give better fuel economy vs gas however a high mileage diesel truck still has that accumulated mileage on the remainder of the truck. So what if the motor is middle aged when the rest of it has been stressed with 150K and could need some repairs from such. Trade-in values are not as high as you would hope for with diesels. They sell on the lots for big dollars but most salesmen will use that motor option against you claiming it's a speciality truck requiring a specific customer and will not sell as quickly as a gas 1/2 ton or a similar song and dance routine. You have to stand your ground to get a decent trade-in allowance. There's a circle of owners about that consider the Cummins as nothing more than a very good "light duty" diesel. They feel it's not the HD motor as many tout it to be. I cannot say yeah or nay since I haven't one myself. I do gather that for the most part it is a well performing motor of top shelf design as compared to the other two truck mfgrs. diesels (no offense to you wyldman being that you have CTD).

    While your choice to go the route of a 3/4t is wise for a number of obvious reasons, you should calculate the towing weight of your trailer and lawn equipment. You will find that a 360 gas motor will suffice nicely and you did mention that you will be using it eventually as an off-roader/daily driver, although those two driving uses don't mix well, from a vehicle dependability standpoint.

    The V10 is a monster and just slightly less a puller than its diesel counterpart but it's a gas hog to the max. At 17yrs. old I think you may want to save some of your earnings for college or a house some day.... unless you need gobs of torque for towing big loads avoid the V10.... it's programmed from the factory to automatically sniff out a gas station within 2 miles and then drives itself to the pumps! Ride with me sometime and you'll see!

    The 360 motor is considered by many to be a grunt motor. Torque comes on early and a 2500 model powered by it can pull quite a load... alot more than a trailer loaded with a couple X-Marks, two trim mowers, and associated stuff. It has so many aftermarket goodies and simple mods to be done to it for increases in performance. It is typically more economical to do the standard maintainance vs. a diesel motor.CLICK HERE for a site that lists TSB and specs to model year Rams so you can be aware of potential areas of concern before purchasing. The forum Dodge Trucks.org is chocked full of advice, modifications, and what not for the Ram. If you are going to do residential plowing, think about the motor noise factor when doing a driveway at 5am. The customer doesn't want to be awakened to a banging/scraping blade and a noisy diesel revving back and forth. The blade noise is one thing you can't control, but the loud motor/exhaust is. My neighbor had a noisy Chevy gas motor and it disturbed me and other neighbors when he plowed at 4am!! I don't know how many times I wanted to go out there and shove his face in a snowbank.
    :realmad: :realmad:

    Finally, keep in mind that Dodge offered a Plow Prep pkg. to better deal with the stresses of plowing. If you can find a truck that has this you are that much better off. Depending upon model year, the suspension & transfer case is slightly beefier, and it includes the HD Service Group. Unless you can get a real spankin' deal on a diesel, my recommendation is the 360c.i.d 2500 model (based according to your stated needs and intentions). You will likely have many more of this model type to carefully choose from as well. Good luck!:salute:
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2003
  4. griffithtlc

    griffithtlc Senior Member
    Messages: 213

    wyldman, I would really like to get a diesel, but there are a few areas of concern. I have heard that the starters get eaten up fast, and that they get poor milage in the winter. My question for you is about cold weather. How hard is it to start in the middle of the winter, if it is below zero. I would be driving it up to lake superior, and it will get colder than 30 below, and i can't plug it in. will the grid heater be effective? My dad says that the truck won't even be warmed up by the time i get to school, 15 miles, what is your experience with this? Thanks all for helping out.
  5. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    Starters are not a problem on the Cummins.Starter contacts are.They wear out and the starter sticks on,causing damage,and burning out the fuel shutoff solenoid.The contacts are easily replaced,and you can get oversize ones,so they last forever.

    Cold starting is not really a problem.Good batteries (very important on a diesel),and the intake air heaters will get you going in cold weather.If it's really cold,plug it in.I also have a remote starter which starts the engine when the temperature starts to drop,and warms it up every few hours,so it never gets cold.

    The Cummins uses intake air heater grids,which don't burn out,and require frequent replacement like the glow plugs used in other diesels.They also do a much better job in cold temps.

    It will start at minus 30 with just the grid heaters,but it will not like it.It may take a bit of finesse,but once she goes,it will be fine.Mine stays parked outside,not always plugged in,and has never failed to start.It has been close,but she always goes.

    If you really need really cold starting ability without the ability to plug it in,then get a Webasto,or Espar diesel fired heater.They will warm it up in short order,and have the cab toasty warm in no time.This will also help on your short trip to school.
  6. Nozzleman

    Nozzleman Senior Member
    Messages: 267

    I will try to answer your questions.

    1. I have not heard of the starter issue so I don't know if that is true or not.

    2. The lower mileage during winter month's can be attributed to the "blend" of diesel used during the winter to prevent gelling. It seem's the winter fuel doesn't have the BTU's of straight diesel so the mileage drop's. However, even with winter fuel a diesel will get better mileage then a gasser.

    3. The big drawback you will encounter is the inability to plug in during extreme cold. I have a '03 Cummins and I know it will start down to zero degree's unplugged. However, I work with a guy who has a '97 12 valve and he has been stranded in temp's below 32 degrees when his truck wasn't plugged in.

    4. It is true that a diesel takes a lot longer to warm up. One option you have is to put "winter front's" on the grill to reduce airflow over the radiator.

    Hope this help's.
  7. Nozzleman

    Nozzleman Senior Member
    Messages: 267

    Wyldman, you beat me to it.
  8. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    The 12 valve motors start just as well if not better than the 24 valve motor.On the 12 valve motor you can adjust timing,which can help cold starting.

    One other option is to disconnect the grid heater relays and fire it on starting fluid if you can get it to turn over fast enough.
  9. griffithtlc

    griffithtlc Senior Member
    Messages: 213

    Alright guys, you have given me some great info, but just a few more questions about repairs. What are some of the repairs that you have done on the motor? I know that parts are going to be a lot more expensive than on a gasser. What are the most common things to go on a diesel? The injectors? How much $$$ are we talking about? What are the odds of getting a hold of a "bad one?" I am leaning heavily towards the diesel, it will be a 94 or 95, with 150K. I will put a remote start in so that when it gets cold I can just have it run for 20 min. every so often. I think that might solve the short trip and cold starting problems. how much oil do you think that would waste? someone on dodgeram.org said not to just get up early and let it idle for 10 min. before you leave, i think they said it will plug the cat. But i don't think the 94-95 models had a cat, but not for shure. Any thoughts on that? Thanks again for all of your help.:D
  10. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    If it has a cat,get rid of it,or punch it out.Cats have no place on a diesel !!!

    Not much ever goes wrong with the Cummins.The only major thing is the KDP,or killer dowel pin.It is an easy fix,with a jig you use to lock the pin in place.

    P7100 pumps are pricey,but rarely fail.Injectors are cheap too,with many aftermarket options available.I have over 400,000 K on my plow truck,never touched the motor or tranny,except for turning up the power. :D

    I've had many of these trucks,and very few problems.Besides the slightly higher cost for oil changes,they are much cheaper to run long term than a gasser.

    DO NOT let the truck idle for long periods of time,especially cold.They do not get the cyl temps up enough to burn the fuel properly,causing all kinds of problems.Either make a high idle device,or just get in and drive it.It warms up pretty quickly when driving.10 mins of idling will barely make any heat at all.