Dodge Dilemma

desertrose1desertrose1 Member Posts: 3
edited March 2014 in Dodge
I have a buying problem that maybe some of the wise sages here could help with. I am considering purchasing a Dodge Ram. I have two I am considering and both have good and bad.
  One is a 99 Ram 1500, 2 whl. drive, extended cab, 5.27L V-8 with 53272 miles. It has the basic accessories, but nothing fancy(pwr windows, pwr.locks, etc). The body is in great shape except a dent in the back fender. They are asking $13995.00. If I bought this one, I would get 4.7% financing for 4 of 4.5 years. It has a 50/50 1 month warranty from the dealer.
  The second one is a 97 Ram 1500 SLT 4X4, extended cab with a 5.9L V-8. It has all the bells and whistles (pwr. widows, locks and seats, am/fm-cd, alloy wheels, ac, cruise, tilt wheel, bed liner). The body is flawless except a small flaw in the chrome bumper. It has 66000 miles and comes with 100/100 3 month warranty from the dealer. They are asking $12888.00 for it, but I would pay 5.9% interest for the same time period.
  Which should I go for? I am torn both ways. Any advice from present Dodge truck owners would help in this decision.
Thanks for help.


  • h0udinih0udini Member Posts: 118
    owned a Dodge (and never will), I have been around enough of them to know that the words Dodge and transmission failure are synonomous. Just this past two months, I've witnessed a Durango with 32K miles have to have its transmission replaced. Thankfully, this vehicle was just a hundred miles or so shy of its warranty cut-off, so the owner didn't pay the expense. Then, another Durango had to have its transmission replaced, but in all fairness, this one went to 60K miles. Even in Dodge cars, the magazines like Car & Driver slam them for having what have to be the worst-performing transmissions around, even when new.

    I have heard you may do alright if you go with a manual transmission. If one of these trucks comes with a manual, that would be my deciding factor. If a manual can't be had, I would look at something else.

    BTW, have you looked at any new trucks? Especially with the economy right now, and this being the time of the year to buy a 2003, you may be surprised how easily you could slide into something new. Those prices for the Dodges seem awfully high to me. Do some research before you buy.

    Just my $.02
  • jcmdiejcmdie Member Posts: 594
    The '99 is the better deal. If you don't need 4 wheel drive, you should not get it because it reduces fuel mileage, raises insurance premiums, and increases maintainence costs. The 5.2 engine will do just fine in that '99. In '98 there were additional upgrades to the transmissions that are worthwhile. The main thing with the Dodge transmissions are that they require more frequent fluid and filter changes than the others. Do the maintainence and you will be fine. A transmission cooler will add some additional protection for peace of mind. My '98 Ram has 84,000 miles and not even a hint of trans problems. Right now the used market is flooded with vehicles. It is a buyers market new or used. I believe that with the market as it is you probably can negotiate a better deal. Look up what they are seeling for in the paper and on autotrader to get a realistic value. Good luck.
  • iowabigguyiowabigguy Member Posts: 552
    Personally I would look at NEW Dodge Rams. I don't know what the new rebates will be since they end today but you can get into a base model Ram 1500 regular cab ST for about $15,000. This to me would be the better choice. You would have a new truck, financing should be similar to what you had on used with GOOD credit. The base model comes with a V6 and a 5 speed manual. Add a 4.7V8 and an automatic for about $1,600 more.
    Dodge has had problems with automatic transmissions in the past but a large portion of the problem was lack of maintenance or use of the wrong type of transmission fluid. I have had 7 Dodge vehicles over the years and NEVER had a transmission problem! I do routine maintenance according to the owners manual for severe service.
  • dustykdustyk Member Posts: 2,926
    I could give you anecdotal evidence of transmission failures for any make and model. If you are really interested, visit a few transmission repair establishments and see what is on their lot needing repair. It may surprise you. My company operates a fleet of pick-ups and in our experience the GM drivetrain platforms have always exceeded Ford and Dodge in auto transmission failures.

    (When someone dislikes a particular brand any example of a problem serves as reinforcement of their biased beliefs. Since the majority of people in my family own GM and Ford products, I can tell you that transmission failures are most certainly not unique to Dodge.)

    My experience is that automatic transmission problems are most often linked to the type of service, use, and/or maintenance specific to that vehicle. It is true that from about 1989 to 1997 Dodge truck transmission failure rates were higher than industry average. This was due to two major areas: a component quality issue with shift solenoid packs, and marginal fluid flow to the overdrive unit in the transmission.

    The basic "RE" series of Dodge trannsmissions are based on the A904 (smaller version) and the A727 (larger version) of the 1960s, both extremely rugged and reliable designs. When Dodge modified this series to incorporate overdrive in the late "80s, they did experience higher failures when used for towing and snowplowing, and exacerbated by conditions of low temperature operation. As noted above by another contributor, a fairly large portion of the failures in Dodge truck (RE) series was the result of incorrect automatic transmission fluid being used. Mercon should not be used in Dodge truck transmissions.

    In 1998 the "RE" series received a number of fairly significant upgrades to the design which resolved any reliability issues. The "RE" series now has a lower repair rate that their competition.

    The 545RFE transmission which was introduced in '00 (2001 in Dodge RAMs)is totally new and has proven to be a solid and extremely reliable design. There are very few reported problems with this transmission, and even fewer failures.

    Best regards,
  • desertrose1desertrose1 Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for all the input and insight. I made the decision to go with the 99. I got it for a good price (asking: 13990.00, paid: 12500.00) I will also be getting a 3 year bumper to bumper warranty from my bank at a very reasonable price. Picking it up Saturday, can't wait! Test drove it before buying, road really good. Personal mechanic gave it the thumbs up. It was traded by the original owner(an older couple) for a 4X4. Looks like God smiled on me in this deal.
    Thanks again for your replies,
    Happy truckin,
    Mike M.
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