High Mileage 98 RAM Question

slowderslowder Member Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Dodge
I am considering the purchase of a "cherry" '98 Ram 1500 Quad Cab 4x4. It is immaculate, but with 120,000 commuting miles, which is my concern. The truck comes with a C.A.R.S. 3 year, unlimited miles, Value Plus warranty, which covers about anything. Can someone tell me their experience with the Ram trucks with this high of mileage??? I don't necessarily want to be broken down every other week, even with a warranty.


  • bigfurbigfur Member Posts: 649
    of the transmission. Costs bout $2500 to rebuild.
  • dustykdustyk Member Posts: 2,926
    The engines are bullet-proof and are the least likely to consume oil or encounter catastrophic failures. Intake manifold leaks on some mid-nineties engines are occasional. That problem was fixed with a improved intake manifold gasket in 1997.

    The "RE" series automatic transmissions are actually extremely durable. Depending on the engine, the vehicle you're looking at will either have a 45RE or a 46RE. These transmissions did have a marginal fluid-flow problem to the overdrive units in the '89-97 years. This was excerbated by cold weather and was more prone to be a problem on the 360 engines with 4x4, usually from heavy snowplow operation or trailer towing in hilly country.

    All Dodge truck automatics received a major upgrade in 1998, which included increased pump volume and commensurate fluid flow, as well as a change in the vendor-supplier of the shift solenoid packs. These were troublesome, too.

    The $2500 figure for a rebuild is on the high side. Even with clutch pack replacement -- which is not always needed on this transmission series -- the average price in the Rochester, New York area is between $1200-$1600. I've yet to hear of one go over $1800. The good news is that the versions prior to '98 are easily upgraded to post-'97 specs. Still, most of the Dodge automatics have not needed transmission repairs, and after '97 the ATF "black death" problem has been seldom seen. Change fluid and filters regularly and you'll likely never have a problem.

    I don't know what area of the country you're in, but around here Dodge truck bodies hold up real well. I would say they are the least prone to rust, although the F150 series are just about as good in this respect.

    Track bars on the '94-'01 RAMs seem to be short lived. I think this is around $100 repair.

    In all the (now) older RAM series were solid trucks, and component quality seems to have improved through the years.

    Best regards,
  • bigfurbigfur Member Posts: 649
    a 97 2500 tranny...in minnesota was a little under $2500
  • dustykdustyk Member Posts: 2,926
    Well, your 2500 had the 46RE.

    Was that an off-the-shelf (in a box) rebuild? Those are often referred to as "remanufactured" and done by rebuilding companies that sell to general garages. I've never inquired on a Dodge factory rebuild, but I know those are available, too.

    Yeah, around here 45 & 46REs are typically rebuilt for $1000 less. Now, if you're replacing input shafts, full clutch packs, torque converters, etc., the price can go up, of course!

  • bigfurbigfur Member Posts: 649
    nope this was EVERYTHING and i decided to put a shift kit and a few things in too. oh well its gone now so i dont have to worry about it :)
  • gmengineman1gmengineman1 Member Posts: 32
    While the fleet I manage is now all 6.6 Duramax, I have a friend who manages a fleet of 98-99 5.9 ISB Cummins in 3500 Dodges and he has units that already have 200,000 miles on them and have had relatively little trouble with the engines. Some automatic transmission problems though. Keep in mind that the whole unit, chassis, body and all will start to experience problems (door latches, etc) and you might have to contend with some of those problems.
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