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Which Diesel Pickup Should I Buy?

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  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Chrysler is indeed seriously considering the VM diesel (3.0L V6) that will also be used in the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Hooked to the ZF 8-speed, the Ram 1500 diesel should get amazing fuel economy for a full-size truck.

    While the Allison is certainly an excellent transmission, GM has the 6.6L Duramax pretty much at its upper limits, and will likely have to introduce a new one soon to meet future regs.

    The Cummins was re-engineered in 2007 when it went from 5.9L to 6.7L, and with a 350,000-mile-to-overhaul rating, it's pretty much bulletproof. The Chrysler 68RFE transmission behind the Cummins in the 2500 has actually been a very durable transmission since its introduction.

    Since your window is up to 18 months, my advice would be to wait until the redesigned Silverado/Sierra is introduced, then compare to what Ram is offering before you make your final decision.

    kcram - Pickups/Wagons/Vans+Minivans Host
  • Thought I would share insight. The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is supposed to be getting a 3.0L VM with the ZF 8-speed which will be out before Summer most likely. Currently the closest relative in fuel economy is the BlueTec MB's on the market, but those are without 8-speed. So they are using the same combo in the truck and will be a late available with crazy fuel economy. Then for the 2013 Ram HD 2500 and 3500 6.7L Cummins, you can opt for a heavy duty Aisin Transmission that puts out 850 Torque but not sure if it can be ordered right away from factory. Currently they are not offering them as builds until about January/February. VM has been around for a little while, not sure about the serious longevity like the Cummins, but they have been producing for a quite some time and use in a lot of their products around the world. Then with Aisin now on board from the heavy duty, it should probably be a no-brainer on which one to go with. They just announced the HD Trucks a few weeks ago with all of this info.
  • Both are great trucks. The Alison transmission is a force to be reckoned with. But if it came down to it, Cummins is the way to go. Cummins has a longer track record. While the Duramax engine may outperform the 6.7 Cummins in most areas, the reliability and the longevity of the Cummins has time and time again proven to be far greater than the Duramax. One thing the Dmax falls short of is towing up a steep grade. The Cummins will go and go and go until it runs out of fuel. Also, the transmission behind the 6.7 Cummins has proven to be a pretty durable transmission as well. Fuel milage I have found to be about the same between both trucks. Now, the Cummins is noisier, but you are driving a diesel truck. Hope this helps.
  • I know that this is an older thread, and the OP probably has already bought a truck, maybe 2 by now, but just wanted to add my 2 cents for someone else trying to decide on a diesel truck. When it comes to work trucks there are only 3 to consider Ford, Chevy, and Dodge. All three are great trucks, however there are some things to consider:

    Of the three Dodge has the best engine. Made by Cummins the engine is itself is very impressive. Ford I would say has the second best engine in the Powerstroke (very stout and powerful diesel). The trick to the Powerstroke is LEAVE IT ALONE, everyone who is complaining about the engine needing constant repairs has also chipped it and modified it. If you leave it stock you will have all the power you need and won't have nearly the repair bills (guys who chip a truck so they can drag race it need to be horse whipped for ruining a fine truck). Chevy Duramax is a nice engine, has long lasting service, but under load generally doesn't have the power of a Cummins or Powerstroke.

    Now if we all rode around on top of the engine block Dodge would be the way to go, however we need a frame, axles, transmission, ect... Of the three Chevy has the best transmission hands down. Ford transmissions usually don't have too many issues and are stout. Dodge transmissions are dog crap plain and simple. You want to quote "I got 500K out of my Cummins engine in my Dodge" -- how many transmissions did it take to get you there? Replacing a tranny for a diesel engine isn't cheap- a buddy of mine almost went bankrupt trying to keep his RAM 3500 on the road.

    Frame wise in my experience Dodge trucks have weaker frames than Chevy or Ford. Seen a lot of Dodge 2500 and 3500 trucks with bent/straightened frames. Both Chevy and Ford have strong frames.

    So the break down is buy a Chevy or a Ford. I personally have a 1999 F250 Super Duty with a 7.3 Powerstroke Turbo Diesel (stock) and have put 450K miles on it hauling everything from horses to tractors to sawdust (I got mine used with 150K on it, but jumped at it as it had never been modified). It is still running super strong and doesn't blow a ton of black sh*t into the air whenever stressed. A buddy of mine bought a '09 3500 Cummins Turbo Diesel dually and people can praise the Cummins engine all they want to, but if the truck is in the garage because the drive-train is crap that engine isn't doing the truck owner any good. He sold it after only having it for 3 years, but in that three year span he put 5 transmissions in it, 3 transfer cases, and 6 rear differentials. He never had that trouble with his old Chevy 3500, so its not his driving, and his old Chevy never had any problems with the loads we haul. Due to his truck being in the shop so much my truck had to do a lot of double duty and took it in stride.

    The Cummins is a really good engine, but Dodge stocks their trucks with crap drive-train and a weaker frame. Dodge has the worse dog crap transmissions in the industry, so what good is that awesome Cummins engine if the truck is broke down? I highly recommend Ford F250 and F350 Super Duty or Chevy 2500 or 3500. Both are great trucks that you can work for many, many years and and many, many miles.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,976
    A reporter is looking to talk with a Texas resident who's in the market for a new pickup truck. If you're able to help, please contact pr@edmunds.com with your preferred contact info by Thursday, September 26, 2013.

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • Didn't Dodge upgrade the frame and suspension for 2013?
  • All 3 manufactures are constantly upgrading their trucks. Every year there are frame, suspension, engine tweaks. Heck the new 6.7 Cummins, 6.7 Powerstroke, and new Chevy all make my '99 7.3 Powerstroke look weak (Horsepower and Torque ratio ratings). When it comes down to it though under load, while pulling 14-16K lbs the extra "power" of the new engines feels the same as my 7.3. Those trucks can take off faster and accelerate better empty, but under load the old 7.3 still can't be beat. FYI you try to accelerate fast with 16K lbs load your going to take lots of years off your truck, no matter what brand you are driving.

    As far as Dodge upgrading their frames, every year Dodge claims best in class this and best in class that, and every year when they are all rated head to head Dodge comes up last. The Cummins is a great engine, but Dodge still hasn't gotten their trucks up to par overall. Did they correct all the problems of past years with their upgrades in 2013 and new 2014 line? Enough time hasn't past to give a definitive answer yet. I can tell you that the 2013 Ram Cummins turbo diesel still has transmission (and overall trans-axle ie: transmission, transfer case, front and rear differentials, drive shaft) problems (more so than Chevy and Ford combined- just look up the raw numbers online), but haven't heard much about the newer frames yet.

    I guess it also depends what you want to use your truck for. If its just going to be jacked up to the point you can't fifth wheel hitch it and can't work it anymore heck you don't need anything bigger than a 1500 or 150 and any of the "power three" will suit your needs. If you want to take it to county fairs and drag race it, and enter short distance heavy pull competitions I would actually recommend a Dodge for that. You chip a 3500 Cummins turbo diesel, they will roll coal more than any other diesel, and take off faster than darn near anything else. For short distance pulls a chipped Cummins is going to win more than it looses. Where Dodge looses their reputation is you take that same county fair truck-pull winning chipped Dodge, put it on the through way with a 15-19K lbs load and tell it to travel a few thousand miles (say east coast to west coast) and its not going to fair well at all, will probably have some trans-axle problems, not to mention your going to be rolling so much coal your only going to get 4 or 5 mpg (when a diesel rolls coal its nothing more than unburnt diesel fuel going straight out your exhaust). You want a workhorse for hauling the heavy loads long distance there really is only 2 choices Chevy or Ford.

    A little long winded but I hope it helps. You can never know too much about the trucks your looking at buying. It is also important to know what you want to use your truck for and not do something to it that is going to make its primary function useless. If you want to tow don't lift it, and don't chip it. You can't pull the heavy loads with a TT and no goose neck is going to hitch to a super lifted truck. Keep in mind too when your looking a a lift kit - how high are you going to want to lift something to put it in your truck's bed? Regardless of what make truck you buy if you want maximum life and want maximum dependability while towing DON'T CHIP YOUR TRUCK. Chipping adds lots of HP, torque, ect.. But no chipped truck is going to tow long distance better than a non chipped factory truck. And chipping is going to make your engine run harder and put extra strain on it and your whole trans-axle assembly causing decreased life expectancy. You want tire burn-outs, rolling coal, big short distance pulling power (ie truck tug of wars) then by all means chip and mod the heck out of it. Just don't expect it to last very long.
  • So I'm to understand that your friend's Dodge went thru 1.6 transmissions per year, 2 differential per year, and a transfer case every year? Pardon me sir, but that sound like a tall story. But I've heard it all from the Ferd 7.3 nut jobs that are convinced it's the greatest engine ever made. Now a little about me: I actually drive my Dodge 6.7 Cummins hooked up to a heavy object. I actually go down the road with this heavy trailer, the way the truck was designed to be operated, within the specifications, and imagine this, I've never bent, broke, or even had a single thing go wrong with the truck. I guess I was lucky and they gave me a Dodge that was actually built in the Ford factory...
  • Just a few myths to dispel here. Both the Ford and the Dodge trucks come equipped with Dana live axels. The Dodge 3500's have a Dana 80 vs. the Fords Dana 70. So I doubt the rolling stock on either truck is more or less dependable. As far as the Dodge transmission problems: the Dodge transmission has manual adjustments that need to be serviced at certain intervals. Most owners neglect this very easy and quick item of maintenance and the tranny suffers. In fact, most Dodge dealers are unaware of this service requirement, so the service is neglected. IF properly serviced the tranny will last just as long as any Ford tranny of equal duty. Now, the newer 6 speed tranny that is coupled to the 6.7 Cummins is self adjusting. This tranny has been problem free from introduction in 2007. Keep in mind also that even the mythical Allison tranny is not problem free! AND the Allison is far more expensive WHEN it falls prey to abuse and mishandling. Ford Engines: I'd like to point out the fact that Ford has had 4 different diesel engines in 10 years. The 6.0 was a terrible failure AND Ford refused to stand behind the engine, placing blame on Navistar. The next failure was the 6.4 which ultimately ended the relationship with Navistar. The Newer 6.7 (Ford Made) hasn't been in service long enough to have established any real record, but I will say it looks better than the last two. Thousands of Ford guys go to considerable effort to install Cummins engines in their Ford trucks. If there has EVER been a Ford engine installed in a Dodge truck, it has escaped my attention... I expect the same could be said with regard to the Duramax.
    I'm former GM fan, but my last two experiences left me swearing to never go there again. Interiors seem to lag about 5 years behind Dodge and Ford in both quality as well as features.
    My opinion: All three trucks are fairly dependable, each having abilities and features that vary slightly. Yes, the GM and Ford will out drag race the Dodge... But I have never drag raced my trucks, so I guess I really don't care about that. I'll say this: Nothing pulls like a Cummins, and IF you have really ever pulled with these trucks (and trust me I have!) you will come to the same conclusion. An in-line 6 cylinder diesel makes torque in a way that a v-8 just cannot match. Ever seen a v-8 in a semi truck?
    In the end, each of us has to make a decision that matches up with our unique mission requirement for the truck. Yes, I own a Dodge and I could not be happier. I wouldn't buy either of the other two options even if they were half the money. I refuse to believe that the Dodge has any problems that are any different than the other two. They are all machines, and machines are never perfect. I refuse to believe that the Dodge isn't up to the challenge of cross country pulling. Our Dodge has pulled our 14,000 pound Fifth Wheel all over the country flawlessly!!
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    As a 2005 Ram 3500 owner, I can tell you with no doubt that they have not had Dana axles since 2002. They began using AAM axles with the 2003 models, same as GM... American Axle & Manufacturing is the former GM axle division which was spun off as an independent company.

    KCRam - Pickups/Wagons/Vans+Minivans Host
  • Thank you for pointing that out. It is a fact that Ram no longer uses Dana axles on the Heavy trucks. They did off and on for years and so did Ford. I was attempting to point out that many of the drive line component suppliers to the big three are the same, and to single out Dodge and say that their drive line components are crap is silly. The new Ram Trucks are equipped with transfers cases made by Borg Warner, but New Process cases were used in GM, Ford, and Dodge through the 70's behind auto and manual transmissions.
    My opinion is that some people are too quick to throw stones at the competition when in fact the quality is often times very similar. Sure, we have our preferences... But to run down the others based on a "my buddy said he had one and it went thru 6 transmissions in three years" is nonsense. I just don't believe that a truck could be that undependable unless it was being abused pure and simple. I could push all three of the "big three" trucks to failure, and there is no clear winner because they could ALL be built better! I garentee you that all three manafactures have taken back a considerable amount of trucks on the lemon law...
  • Funny how so many dodge cummins owners claim they have more towing power than the duramax. I own a 2006 chevy duramax with 300,000 miles on original transmission and engine. I never had a problem towing and this trucks life has been hauling weight. I happen to be a ASE Master mechanic and one thing I dont want to do is repairs on my truck, so I keep it maintained. My truck now has EFI Live, 5 inch exhaust, Air Dog lift pump, Swepco Engine and gear oil and a K&N Air filter. I always use Wix oil and transmission filters. I can get 23 mpg haul a car trailer loaded.

    I recommend anyone looking to buy a new diesel to google "dodge ford chevy king of the hill"

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,976
    edited April 30

    "We wanted to be one of the first owners of a Ram with the new diesel, so we searched far and wide to find a truck that worked for us."

    2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Long-Term Road Test

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516

    @weknowdiesels said: My truck now has EFI Live, 5 inch exhaust, Air Dog lift pump, Swepco Engine and gear oil and a K&N Air filter. I always use Wix oil and transmission filters. I can get 23 mpg haul a car trailer loaded.

    The appropriate question is, what was your mileage before all the mods, as the majority of people leave their powertrain, fuel system, and exhaust stock. Axle ratio also has a large effect on diesel fuel economy for heavy-duty pickups... that 4.10 feels great when you stomp on the go pedal, but you'll be stopping way more often to fill the tank.

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