Bought a New Ram - No Thinking Required

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Ted DuPuis, Sep 15, 2017.

  1. SoonerAviator

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    FWIW, the Edge programmers were big with the F-150 crowd as a base unit. Many upgraded them to a "gryphon" from Power Hungry Performance to add customized tuning. I don't recall anyone having issues with them.
     
  2. Wingsofglass

    Wingsofglass Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Ted what year is your truck? I'm sure it's in this thread somewhere but I could not find it with a quick scan and I'm lazy. I want to make sure I answer your questions correctly. I'm sure I can figure out a way to get you a refund if you are not happy with it as long as you don't buy it from some random eBay guy.
     
  3. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    2017 Ram 3500. Cummins with manual transmission
     
  4. Wingsofglass

    Wingsofglass Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The Juice is a piggyback module in that it sits in between the truck's computer and sensors so yes, if you remove it, there is no way to tell it was there. However that assumes you don't drill and tap your manifold and install the EGT probe. That would leave some evidence. The Juice works fine without the EGT probe but it's nice to see on the monitor and if you do install it, you can set it so that the juice module will de-fuel if EGTs get too high. At a level two or below power setting on the Juice this feature is not important. The other advantage of the piggyback is that you can instantly change power levels on the fly.

    Based on your comments in this thread about moving earth and smashing rocks, you seen to have a platinum man card so removing and installing should be pretty straightforward for you but it does take some time as the harness is complicated.

    An alternative is this. The Amp will change the throttle response but do nothing for power. It's easier to install and remove and costs less than a Juice as well.

    EFI Live is a great tool but it has a few drawbacks. It will leave a trace. It also does not have any custom tunes so you need to bring it to someone that knows what they are doing and once they are done, tunes can't be changed. Diesels are easier to tune than gasoline engines but it takes skill to do really well. Kind of like there a lot of pilots that can take a 172 once around the pattern on a clear day but not that many that can deliver a load of water to a precise spot during a raging forest fire. My experience is that the people who can tune vs. say they can is about the same as the 172 to competent air tanker pilot ratio. Lastly, EFI is a piece of software, it's not a device. A handheld programmer like a Cobb AccessPort (not available for your truck), will reflash your ECU but also save a copy of your stock calibration so it's easy for you to change back to stock when you want. It still leaves a trace though. With EFI, you need to find the guy that tuned your truck and hope he still has your stock calibration on his laptop if you want to go back. At least that's the way it was ten years ago when I was in the industry.

    In order to back up my previous refund claim, I'm going to change my answer to if you buy it from Edge, I can get you a refund if you are not happy with it in the first 30 days. I can probably get you a refund from someone else as well but maybe not.

    I have no economic interest in Edge anymore so there is no financial motivation for me here.
     
  5. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I've been spending the last (very crazy) week or so thinking about this and what's best to do.

    @Wingsofglass I really appreciate you reaching out to your friends at Edge. I've thought about it some and I think I'm going to go with my initial thought process and leave the truck alone until such time as I'm willing to do an emissions delete and then go with an appropriate tune for that. Basically I know I want to delete the truck because I don't like EGR on a diesel and I also want to get rid of the really high exhaust restriction that the setup currently has. Also the components are expensive so when they fail, they're going away anyway. Given that, I'm basically paying twice for tuning - once with it stock and then a second time when I do the deletes. Now granted if I did the Edge then I could resell it and recoup some of that investment, but I've never been a fan of stopgap measures.

    Besides, as another friend of mine pointed out, I'm not exactly hurting for things to be doing. :)
     
  6. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Earlier this week I passed 25,000 miles on the truck, which took almost exactly 16 months, so not too bad. At the current rate I'll run out of my 5 year/100k powertrain warranty at about 5 years and a bit under 100k, so that tracks nicely.

    I'm continuing to like the solid shift lever with the Momo shift knob. The extra transmission noise is a good thing, but it does have a higher frequency almost rattling sound that it transmits as well. It doesn't sound bad but is just slightly annoying. I've gotten used to it and it doesn't bother me now - I suspect it bothers my wife more when she rides in the truck or drives it, but we normally drive her Mercedes places when we're all going someplace so she's not in the truck that much.

    Even though winter hasn't proven that cold, what I do really notice with the cooler temperatures is the harder transmission shifting. With that, I've gotten more into double-clutching the transmission for the 1-2 shift (if I do that) and for downshifts. I'm finding that I'm really liking shifting that way. The transmission just slides into gear that way and it feels a lot easier on the machinery. Of course I've double-clutched other transmissions before (like the semi) but this is the first transmission other than the semi where it's becoming more of a habit.

    I am finding that I wish the transmission had more gears, though. Maybe it's just a result of looking at too many YouTube videos of semi trucks recently, but there seem to be a few holes. Specifically, I'd like for there to be an extra gear between 1 and 2, and it would be nice to have another overdrive above 6th gear for those unloaded higher speed freeway runs. Really, it would be nice if they added a splitter. The 1-2 shift is almost a 50% drop, and the reality is that most of the time I would rather start in a gear in between 1st and 2nd. 1st is too much of a granny gear and 2nd is ok, but just a little too tall if it's a slight uphill. The truck can do it but it's not quite as comfortable as it could be. When towing on an uphill, even if you wind it all the way up to 3,000 RPM before shifting into 2nd, you can find yourself pretty much back down at idle RPM. A 1.5th gear halfway in between 1 and 2 (or even reasonably close to halfway) would be perfect and help with either of these issues.

    GearVendors supposedly makes an overdrive that you can add, but they don't specify compatibility with the 4x4 trucks. They also say don't list 1st-OD as an option, which makes me wonder if there's some torque reason why they don't want you doing that. Oh, it's also $3,000 and I'm still under warranty, making it a low priority. Some people have put in a full on Eaton RoadRanger 10-speed behind their Cummins, but this really doesn't make a lot of sense to do. You're not only adding an immense amount of cost and weight to the truck, it isn't even designed to fit so it requires significant modifications to the truck itself. Yes the torque capacity is much higher, and you get the added cool factor, but it just doesn't seem to be very logical.

    With the colder weather I've also experimented some with seeing how it starts without the grid heater given a chance to warm up. The answer is just fine. You feel the rumble for a couple seconds when one or two of the cylinders haven't yet kicked in, but they've made noticeable improvements even vs. my 2004. I remember once starting that truck when it was 17F out and it smoked and rumbled for a couple minutes. That's still with common rail direct injection. It's impressed me how they took a system that was already really very good and made it significantly better with respect to cold starts.

    My main complaint with the truck continues to be that it's too quiet and that I'd like more throttle response out of it, but that also remains an item that I'm just going to live with, at least for now, while it remains under warranty and all of the emissions items continue to work.

    I haven't rotated the tires on it since purchase and I probably should. The rears are noticeably more worn than the fronts. My guess is that by the time next winter approaches (sometime the end of this year) and I'm in the 35-40k mile range, I'll need to replace them. I might need to replace them sooner, but can probably hold out a bit. Compared to the life of the Michelins I had on my '04 (108k miles on the original tires), this is pretty poor life. However these have much better traction than the Michelins.
     
  7. SoonerAviator

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  8. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    What is disappointing is they say nothing about the manual transmission - just the upgraded 6-speed normal automatic and the Aisin 6-speed.

    This makes me think that I may have made the correct decision, and gotten one of the last remaining manual transmission trucks new from the dealer. :(

    That's also a shame as I do like the 2019 truck styling, they made some nice changes. But I think that puts me right into where I expect to be - keeping this truck for a long, long time.

    And if needed, I'll just upgrade to an Eaton Road-Ranger 10-speed. :D
     
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  9. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I have driven manual all of my driving life, but I have finally found my match. We have a fire truck (brush truck) built on a 1999 F350 with a manual transmission. It is a six speed, but the gears are labeled 'L' 1-4 and 'O'. The shift pattern and gates can be best described as 'pseudo-random'. Good thing it has the 7.3l engine so it doesn't matter what gear you end up in :)
     
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  10. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    When I was in college the school I went to had one of these F-350s. Same body style, not sure what year. Same 7.3L PowerStroke and the 6-speed manual transmission, dually with a flatbed and 4x4 to boot. Crew cab. One thing I really liked about that school was that if you were a student, you got access to basically anything the school had if you had a reason, including the vehicles.

    First time I drove it was when we were building the bonfire towards the start of freshman year - where we stacked railroad ties as high up as we could and got a TFR surrounding the school. So the F-350 was hooked up with what I guess was a 25-30' trailer behind it (I forget now). Building occurred on a Saturday, and my RA was in charge, so they threw him the keys. Now, he was one of them citified folks, up from Chicago (yes I'm aware I was a recent transplant from New York City at that time), drove a Grand Cherokee. To quote a country song, "Ain't never drove a truck." So he walks into my room and says "Hey Ted, you can drive anything right?" "Pretty much." "Can you drive this big truck with a trailer?" "Sure thing" and off we go. I'm never one to turn down an opportunity to drive something that sounds like fun, especially if a trailer is attached. Not much has changed.

    We never left the school grounds so I don't think we ever got out of 4th gear, but I recall the interesting gear labeling you mentioned. Part of the drive included hauling the trailer through a patch cut out in the woods that was probably about 6" narrower than the truck or trailer, and so I did that in L. The L downshift from "1" (really 2nd gear) was interesting and involved a lot of clunking, as I wasn't particularly adept at double-clutching in those days and assumed (I think incorrectly) that 1st synchros in first gear. Anyway, the end consensus from the college kids on the trailer was that I could in fact drive anything and that progressed into a lot of requests for help over the next 4 years.
     
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  11. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Line Up and Wait

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    Even the semi's are mostly automatic these days. Its really getting to be where the only holdouts still buying new manual trans class 8 trucks are specialized very high margin outfits and owner/ops that care more about their manliness than the bottom line.
     
  12. MIFlyer

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    I'm glad you're enjoying it Ted. It seems like it really suits you. Being an engineer, you'll likely always have something you wish were a bit different, even had you built the thing.
     
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  13. CJones

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    My dad's '79-82ish Custom Deluxe 20 had the 'L' with 4-speed and OD on top. When hauling wheat straw with the goose neck, he would put it in 4L and in granny low and sit me in the seat to steer. I didn't need to reach the pedals (I was 5-6 at the time) I just needed to keep it pointed in the right direction and granny low with the diesel would chuck along as my uncles and cousins loaded the trailer up with wheat straw.
     
  14. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    'L' and '4L ' together are good for getting a boat up a ramp or a car out of a ditch. Doesn't do much good on soft ground or gravel as it just breaks traction.
     
  15. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I know that most semis are automatics now, and like anything there are pros and cons to that. I take issue with your last note, though.

    When I bought my Ram in 2017 (the whole reason for this thread) I received a number of questions from people asking me why I didn't get one of the automatics? After all, both automatics came with (insert manly grunt):

    [​IMG]

    Indeed, the manual transmission had the least horsepower and the least torque of the options for that Ram, by something like 20-35 HP and a few hundred lb-ft. Sure, the 0-60 times are better. Fine, it shifts instantly and more smoothly. Yes, I know that the engineers have figured out the optimal RPM for power and efficiency, meaning that the automatic wins the John Henry contest against me. And yes, if I owned a company that had employees paid to drive, I would probably want automatics because it's harder for them to screw that up and fact is - most people can't drive a manual worth a damn.

    I test drove the automatic truck, and I absolutely hated it. It didn't do what I wanted it to when I wanted it to. Yeah, it had a manual mode, but it wasn't very useful of one. It revved the engine too high. I didn't get that visceral satisfaction of clicking the transmission into gear, the transmission whine. There was no driving enjoyment whatsoever. In reality, I liked my 2003 F-350 (which had its own problems, see the other thread) better and probably would've just fixed it up if that was it. I have never liked an automatic, it has only ever served varying levels of dislike for me; the best an automatic has ever placed for me is "acceptable." This one, I did not like at all.

    I'm a holdout. I like the man-machine interaction, where the machine feels like an an extension of me rather than just something that I am an operator of. I want to hear the engine, the turbo, the transmission. On my truck (thanks to the solid shift lever I put in) I can hear the input shaft spinning up if I use the synchros to downshift, but a double-clutch is oh so satisfying to have the shifter just slip into gear.

    I don't reject all technology, but I do reject technology that removes me from the operating experience of a vehicle. I don't begrudge the fact that most people don't share my preferences, but it saddens me that the world is moving in the direction that makes it harder and harder for people like me to get vehicles that we want and enjoy driving. It's been that way since before I started driving (having obtained my learner's permit in 2000) but it's only continued to get harder as cars continue to lose their passion, while improving their numbers on paper.

    To me, the people who are going after their manliness are the ones who care more about what's on paper - the 0-60 time, the horsepower and torque numbers, the maximum towing weight that they'll never use. Sure, all of those have their value, but bragging rights over "my truck has 100 ft-lb more torque!" when you already have a truck with more horsepower than semi trucks used to haul 80,000 lbs back in the day isn't about getting the job done, it's about puffing up your chest and bragging rights.

    Life's about more than numbers.
     
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  16. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    You got that right. I've never bought a vehicle that I just liked the way it was out of the box, and I don't expect I ever will.

    But, I really am enjoying this truck. The fact that it's now in the "forever" truck category is making me rethink timing on some of the changes I want to make a bit, but I'll probably stick to doing nothing on it until the warranty is up.

    Was this a 2-speed rear end in that truck?
     
  17. SoonerAviator

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    We did essentially the same thing with a group of 6 guys in college, but was alfalfa instead of wheat straw. Only we just let the truck idle down the field with no driver and adjusted periodically to stay between the bales. 2 guys on each side of the trailer tossing up bales, 2 guys on the trailer stacking. We actually had a lot of fun with it despite it being hot and alfalfa bales testing our resolve after the first few dozen.
     
  18. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Line Up and Wait

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    Everything you wrote is completely valid. I totally get it, no argument. To be fair, my comment comes from what I see on the commercial side. I haven't read the whole thread, but I suspect you ain't trying to make money with the truck. That really puts things in a whole different category. Any vehicle (or tool of any sort for that matter) I buy for my own pleasure is going to be spec'd using completely different criteria than I would apply if I were buying it to put it to work and make money with it.

    Which kind of speaks right to topic at hand. Dodge likely figures they're going to sell far more of those setups to for-profit ventures than they will to those with expensive taste and desire an old-school driving experience.

    There's an awesome picture in the office of one of my vendors that shows their transportation fleet as it was in the early 1900's. Half the fleet looked like some sort of Model A Ford in the front with flatbeds over the back axle and the other half was horse drawn wagons. I gotta think that when the time came, more than a few of those horse drawn guys resisted going into those new fangled gas powered junkers as long as they possibly could. And then missed running the horses for the rest of their days. To keep it aviation related, the guy that co-owned the school I did my private with was a captain with an airline that was operating DC9's and MD80's. He put off upgrading to the 80 as long as he could. Said the 80 was too automated. He liked that 9 was more old school and the pilot had to 'fly' it more.
     
  19. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I agree that there's a difference between those who are trying to make money with it and not. Like I said, if I was buying a truck that I was going to have other people driving, then it would be different.

    However if I'm driving a truck that I'm planning on making money with and that I am driving (not someone else), I'll spec it the exact same way I spec'd my truck. Why? Because I want to enjoy my work. I see very few instances where some of the ridiculously high towing capacities that go with the extra torque actually help, and most of those people would probably be better off with a semi than a dually Ram. Last I saw the work truck versions had derated engines anyway, and it's mostly the people who are buying the higher end private versions who are getting the extra power.

    Exactly. Every time technology presses forward, there becomes someone who's left behind because of their preferences. I recognize that. I'm not a big fan of autopilots either, but I can control that in my environment (no RVSM for me, so I never HAVE to kick it on) but I recognize their benefits. In the old days, manual transmissions were stronger. Nowadays with people not wanting to drive them (or not caring) and cars having increasing horsepower that make manuals inherently harder to shift and thus operate, there's been enough effort put into automatics to make them stronger in many cases. I get it.

    I'd draw a difference with the horse one, though. In the case of the horses, those people were put out of business because horses couldn't haul as much or as reliably as could be done with trucks. In this case, it's a matter of a company removing an option not because the market will accept it and it helps them achieve their other goals while reducing overhead. It doesn't have to do with being able to inherently do the job less well in a meaningful manner.
     
  20. CJones

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    Nope. Just a good 'ol 3/4 ton farm truck. I think dad ended up blowing up the diesel engine (constant pulling of loaded cotton wagons, goosenecks loaded with fertilizer and seed, and cattle wagons through the river hills will wear on a truck) and they swapped it out for a gasser motor from my Uncle's old car several years later. I remember the day my dad traded that truck in for a minivan after he had gotten out of farming and it was just sitting behind the house undriven for a few years. It was the original 'Ol Blue.
     
  21. SoonerAviator

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    I think the diesel engine probably blew because it was a terrible engine and had crap for power, too, lol. It was really GM's first foray into diesels and wasn't exactly a shining star in the lineup. GM/Dodge were the first into the diesel-market back in the 70's with diesels built off the 350 v8, while Ford didn't get into it until the 80's with the much bigger 6.9L.
     
  22. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I think you mean GM/Chevy, not GM/Dodge.

    For GM you had the 350 diesel, the diesel based off of the gas engine, and that I believe went into Cadillacs and Oldsmobiles. However the 6.2 and later 6.5 (which as I recall were Detroit Diesel designs) were what made their way into trucks starting somewhere around 1980 or so. They were known for being crappy engines, and my 6.5 certainly didn't do well. However you do have some cases of people who took care of the things and managed to get a lot of miles out of them. Still, it was not a great design. It wasn't until the Duramax that GM trucks got a diesel that got (and deserved) some respect.

    When Ford entered with the 6.9 and then 7.3, they were taking engines from International/Navistar, which continued on up through the PowerStroke 6.4. The funny thing a friend pointed out to me was that in the International lineup, those were considered lower end engines that weren't desirable in the medium duty truck segment, but in the Ford pickups were higher end and more desirable. Plus they weren't worked nearly as hard in general, hence the better life. Of course while the PowerStroke 7.3 was a fantastic engine, the 6.0 and 6.4 had a good number of issues that I think just came down to poor execution on International's part of dealing with the emissions regulations for those trucks.

    Dodge entered in the early 90s with the Cummins 5.9L 12-valve engine, which already had a great reputation and history. I heard that Cummins said they'd guarantee the engine to 500,000 miles, and Dodge said "We can't build a truck that will last 500,000 miles." While everyone likes to argue that their diesel is the best, it's generally pretty hard to knock the Cummins. The only complaints I've heard were related to some of the more stringent emissions requirements in the late 2000s and early 2010s.

    I owned a 6.5TD, a PowerStroke 6.0, and then two generations of Cummins (the 5.9 in my 2004.5 and now the 6.7 in my 2017). While I did still enjoy driving my 6.5 and PowerStroke 6.0, there's no doubt that for me the Cummins have provided the most satisfying overall experience, limiting experience to the engine-related aspects. A lot of that has to do with the sound of the engine and some also to the performance. If I'm honest about it the PowerStroke 6.0 I had was faster, but it also had all the emissions deletes on it and I'm pretty certain that when the previous owner had the emissions delete tuning done it got at least some kind of horsepower boost with it. Then again since it was straight pipe post turbo the lack of restriction could've been most of it.
     
  23. SoonerAviator

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    Well my poorly-structured sentence should have made the statement that GM/Dodge had heir entrance into the diesel market at the same time in the late 70's, not that they both used the GM 350 v8 as the basis for their engine (that was just GM). Dodge had a partnership with Mitsubishi or something like that which fizzled out until the Cummins deal in the late-80's/early 90's. Recently, my wife's grandfather had a beautiful '93 Chevy 2500 Silverado 4x4 extended cab Blue/Blue with custom wheels and chrome side rails/tool box/brush guard/etc. It had the 6.2L diesel in it, with less than 50K miles. When he passed on, they were talking about how much money they would get for it ($10K+) and I was trying to explain that even in its outstanding condition, no one was going to pay $10K for 6.2L non-turbo diesel. I don't recall it having any major issues, but I believe they main problems on the 6.2L/6.5L had to do with fuel pump/lift pumps going bad. If the truck had a gasser 350 or 454, I probably would have bought it myself.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019 at 12:21 PM
  24. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    Dodge had their first diesel in 1962 in a half ton. It was a Perkins diesel. I have never seen one. Then in '78 or so Dodge tried a 105 HP Mitsubishi diesel engine. That turned out to be a real dog, the gas burning slant 6 out performed it in every way. I remember a friend of mine had one. When the light turned green everyone would jump out and start pushing to get it through the intersection before the light turned red...:lol::lol:

    http://www.curbsideclassic.com/auto...iesel-pickup-and-the-non-existent-diesel-van/
     
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  25. cgrab

    cgrab Cleared for Takeoff

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    My neighbors truck:
    upload_2019-1-16_12-41-21.jpeg
     
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  26. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    iBanYou
    The fuel pumps were common issues on the 6.2/6.5, but the heads were also weak and prone to cracking. My 6.5 threw a rod at 172k miles, but it had been a construction truck and I'm sure was not taken care of at all when I bought it at 142k miles. Frankly I was surprised with how well it had held up. When it threw a rod, I then bought the 2004 Ram.

    On the whole the reputations of the 6.2/6.5 being that much worse than similar era 350s and 454s I'm not sure is fully valid. I think the thing is that the diesels were less straightforward to fix when they did break, and the diesels weren't bulletproof enough to make their expensive failures be something you could gloss over. Diesels are pretty much always more expensive to fix than gas engines, it's just a question of how often the repairs are.

    Interesting history on the early Dodge diesels - I wasn't aware, and obviously marketing didn't want me to know about anything but the Cummins!