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dekingkdekingk Posts: 44
edited March 2014 in Dodge
Has anyone figured out the cost break even point
for the Cummins diesel vs the V10? I plan to tow a
10,000 lb 5th wheel about 100,000 to 150,000 miles
over the next 10 years. My thought is the V10 will
tow as well as the diesel and it will take at least
100,000 miles to recover the extra cost of the
diesel. If I'm wrong about this I will stand
corrected. Also what about the cost of maintaining
each choice?


  • You might want to check the "Diesel vs Gasoline" topics (the original topic is in the archived section). My opinion (and this comes from someone who knows jack about towing) is that diesels are loud, stinky and slow to accelerate. They're worse for the environment (despite the better gas mileage, they have more emissions), and you have to worry about finding a gas station with diesel. I'm not sure there really is a break-even point. I know they get significantly better mileage, but they cost a lot more to maintain and that $4500 upfront cost could instead be put in a mutual fund growing at a modest 10% per year to give you $11,670 after 10 years. I'd just go with the big V10.
  • I tend to agree with you on almost every point you make. The new 24 valve Cummins is pretty quiet inside the cab, (for a diesel). I still hear from friends that diesels require less maintainence but I don't buy that. When it takes 16 quarts of oil per change and the fuel filters and air filters cost so much it seems to me the costs will be more.
    Anyone else have any words of wisdom for me?
  • First, only 10 quarts of oil, mine took 11 to completely fill. Filters are the same cost as the V10. Both the Cummins and V10 should be using a K&N air filter, with a 100k life. Fuel filter ~$15 for the Diesel, the V10s filter is in the fuel tank, granded it should last the life of the pump, but you must drop the tank to change, or check it. This is no small job with anything over 5 gallons in it. The V10 will get ~ half the fuel mileage of the Diesel. As for power and acceleration, I've driven new V10s that could not pull a sick whore of the pot FACT, almost got rear-ended pulling into traffic, because it would not accelerate. Granted not all V10s are that puny, but you need to drive a cummins not a PS. I delight in having someone pull along side of me at a stoplight, and out accelerate them, towing a 26' terry. I love the way their eyes bug and jaw goes slack when they relize the cannot our run a Diesel thats pulling a trailer. Granted, they catch-up about 55-60, thats the posted limit, and it takes longer to stop 13K+ pounds at the speed. The V10 and Diesel are about a push on power, the question is, do you want to pay up front, or keep paying all the way? The Cummins is a 400K engine, I get 14 mpg pulling. A friend at work has a V10 and does not even get that empty. We both had 360 gas till this year. We both pull trailers, his is 22'. He has great power pulling, but pays for it in gas mileage. Our cummins has great power, pull almost souly in OD. If you want to be comfortable with a heavy load, I think the Cummins is the only way to go. After my friend got his V10, we though about a V10, but after driving a few, and checking on mileage, we found it would not be long before the V10 ate us alive in fuel. I've talked to allot of people who have the cummins and tow, but was not fully convinced until we got a 99, man what a monster. For us there is no question, the Cummins.

  • lvstanglvstang Posts: 150
    You have a valid point if you keep the truck the 400,000 miles you claim the Cummins will last. I can not comment on that claim because I honestly don't know what a Cummins will last. I do know, however, that the rest of the truck won't come close to lasting that long. Your point on the fuel economy eating you alive is a two way street, if you finance your truck that $4000 + for the diesel is going to be $80 to $100 a month more in payments. I'll be completely blunt on your next point. There is no way a diesel will out accelerate a V10. I'll accept a diesel may be able to maintain a load up a given grade better, but from a standing start I don't believe it. While comparing the Ford V10 to the Powerstroke the V10 was much quicker and everyone knows the Powerstroke is quicker than the Cummins even if you don't agree. The original question had to do with break even point. Even if you forget the added cost of oil changes and filters(gas engines do have a filter between the tank and the injectors plus the filter in the tank which is nothing more than a sock to keep debris out of the pump)and you use $1 a gallon for gas and diesel(I'm trying to make this easy)using your double the fuel economy (20 vs. 10 )in 80,000 miles you've spent $4000 in fuel for the diesel and $8,000 for the V10. So I say AT LEAST 80,000 miles just to break even and I'm being conservative. Gas all the way.
  • markcordmarkcord Posts: 113
    lvstang is quite right. You might as well use a calendar to time a diesel accelerating. Afine engine indeed but no way will it out-accelerate a V10. Mine with the 3.54 and auto will smoke the tires easily. As far as double the fuel mileage goes, I get 9.5 in stop and go city driving and 14 on the highway at 65 mph. If the diesel gets 28 then I guess I'll pipe down. I am in no way diesel-bashing btw. For me, gas is the only choice since I make a lot of short trips and don't tow long distances. If this were not the case I would take a very hard look at the diesel even if it does cost considerably more.
  • I don't claim, Cummins claims. Dodge moved the filter to the tank in 94 to try and keep junk out of the pump for longjevity. It is before the pump, if you have on the line to the engine, then I wonder what it is for? The dodge trucks I have worked on only have the one filter, in the tank.
    Sorry, apparenly everybody does not know that a PS is faster than a cummins, anyway not around here.

    I don't believe I said it would out-run a V10, besides you can't go any faster than I can, some about a computer limit on speed. I don't belive the V10 is the only one that can smoke the tires, ours starts about 20 feet on the line, and keeps smokin if you don't lift. You need to know these same engines put out over 600 hp and 800 ft lbs of toque in real trucks. The V10 (Dodge) is a good engine, better the the Ford powerwise, but it is not the Viper engine. The PS in not a bad engine, but it is a medium duty engine. Talk to some of the ford mecs who work on the PS, most say if you get 80K on the injector pump, you have done good. Mileage... 17 city, 23 hiway, not bad for 6,860 pound pickup.

  • lvstanglvstang Posts: 150
    I'll digress. Ford's have a sock on the fuel pump in the tank to keep large debris out. Mounted on the frame is a high pressure fuel filter down to 8?? microns to keep smaller debris out of the injectors. Just got off the phone to Integrity Dodge in Las Vegas and the service guy on the phone(Terry I think) said the gas Dodges are the same. Fords I know. The Dodge I called a dealer for whatever that is worth. I will also admit my statement on stock performance of the two diesels is based on magazine tests where the powerstroke always is quicker in the timed events. My friends Cummins was destroyed by my '85 460 a couple years back in an impromptu drag race. He loved his motor but traded the truck after 2 trannys, front end problems and not being able to keep brake pads from wearing out. All this in under 50,000 miles. Have heard the injector pump story on the Fords but it is warranted for 100,000 miles now. Anyway, glad you love your truck , sounds like a good one.
  • I really appreciate the input from all of you. Now let me tell you of my own experiences. I now drive a 98 Quad cab 1500 5.9 and tow a 7000 lb fifth wheel with it. I also drive an ambulance for our local volunteer corp with a PS Ford in it. I can out accelerate that Ford with the 5.9 and the trailer in tow. I agree the PS is a strong engine compared to our older ambulance with the normally asperated Ford diesel, but it still will not out pull a strong gas engine. The only reason I'm asking for this input is because we are planning to buy a fifth wheel that is too heavy for my present truck. If that were not the case I would stick with what I have, it's a great truck with a great engine.
  • gwmooregwmoore Posts: 230
    I have said this before (and you're stuck with hearing it again), if you want the BEST engine for towing and hauling and can afford it, BUY THE CUMMINS. I guarantee you that you will be happy you did. Don't worry about break even points. That is not the point. The Cummins is just plain BETTER. Better mileage, range, torque, and dependability (this is both quantitative and a "feeling" thing with me and most other diesel owners). I "feel" a much higher degree of confidence listening to the diesel humm away effortlessly up hills, it's a feeling that the rig will just plain get you there. Once you have owned one, you will know what I am talking about.
    The range can be a HUGE factor, depending on where you travel. If you go to isolated areas with that big trailer, the diesel will probably give you over 100 miles more range. In my part of the woods, nearly every service station not supplies diesel these days, too.

    As far as accelleration, Wildman could have put it simpler, the newer Cummins has PLENTY of get up and go. The old ones were a little sluggish. But the new ones take off the line plenty fast to blow by anyone that isn't peeling out (really comfortable for passengers and tough to avoid "Exhibition of Speed" tickets). Highway passing accelleration is great too (I'm guessing better than the v-10 when towing the trailer, although I could be wrong). So how fast do you NEED to accellerate in a pickup anyway.

    your comment about the diesel being worse for the environment is WRONG. First, the much higher efficiency of the diesel greatly reduces CO2 and Ozone emmissions. Secondly, the soot produced by diesels is heavy and falls to the ground quickly, where natural enzymes and other forces in nature quickly break it down to a benign state in the soil. Sure, it is more visible in the air, but that shows that the soot particles are large and heavy, and once they fall out of the air, you are no-longer breathing it. Sure, the diesels are louder and put out that soot, but when you are driving one, you are not exposed to it. Get out of the truck at McDonalds instead of using the drive-through (which you can't go through with a trailer anyway).

    As for short range driving. I always hear people say the diesel is not good for short range driving. I understand all the engineering reasons for this theory. But in reality, I have seen no specific problems with standard everyday driving.

    Your buddy's tranny/front end problems sound bad, but I have been around lots of Ram/Cummins, and have not seen any of these problems. Our old '89 Ram/Cummins did have crummy brakes, but no other problems. My dad's '97 Ram/Cummins (over 50,000 miles) has had no problems. Just goes to show that there are lemons out there, no matter how good the product is. But if someone is overly concerned by the tranny, wait until early 2000 when the Cummins is coupled with a new Allison tranny (if rumors are correct).
  • gwmooregwmoore Posts: 230
    Sorry, I meant to say "In my part of the woods, nearly every service station now (not "not") supplies diesel these days, too."
  • RichinKsRichinKs Posts: 416
    We all have our needs and wants for diesel vs V10. I have a V10 on order for the following reasons. One, I don't plan on keeping my new Dodge (if it ever arrives) for more than three years, so the V10 will cost less overall. But do remember you get more for the diesel when it comes time to trade. Two, I make a lot of short little trips around town that don't hardly get the engine warmed up. Grocery and bank are within 1/2 mile. This is not sutible for the diesel and isn't the greatest for a gas either, but the gas I feel is better for this. Also I don't have to tunr off the gas engine to be heard at the drive thru for banks and fast food. Three, I have talked to both diesel and V10 owners at many campgrounds around the country and they seem equally please with the towing of their engines. so thats a wash to me. It doesn't matter to me that the diesel has a greater range as I don't drive more than 150 miles between pit stops. Just saw on the news today that the average person stops every 158 miles so I guess I'm not alone. Four, the diesel is not as quiet as some say. Its not tolerable if you enjoy talking to your partner or lisening to music. The Ford Powerstroke is tolerable to me, barely. Its interesting that the new cummins big truck engines seem more quiet than the one's Dodge uses. So bottom line it comes down to what's important to the individual and how you will use your truck. My current 5th wheel is small enough for the 5.9 engine but I want extra capacity to get a bigger 5th wheel if we choose. ..... Rich
  • gwmooregwmoore Posts: 230
    Your reasoning for the V-10 sounds good enough to me, in your case. I hope it works out great.

    I do have to say, however, that you are just plain WRONG about the noise of the diesel noise in the Cummins. I have done plenty of driving in a '97 Ram/Cummins. Have had NO problem talking or listening to music (although, really I mainly listen to news radio). You have to remember that the Ram has very good insulation that muffles the engine noise to a subtle background rumble. Just enought to let you monitor the engine with your ears and give you the constant confidence that all is well under the hood. I can't see how you could have any experience in one of the current Ram/Cummins if you say that the noise is so bad you can't converse or listen to music. The older models were definitely worse (I had an '89).

    Outside the truck, or with the windows down, I will admit, now that is a different story. Not a big deal to me, though.
  • RichinKsRichinKs Posts: 416
    I must say I only drove one 1999 cummins diesel. Perhaps it was worse than normal. But in anycase it was a problem for me. It reminded me of when I was younger and had glass packs on my GTO. I loved it. But after a while it got old. Thats how I think the cummins would be for me. Fine for a few months but then.... By the way, I was in the small town of Severy Kansas this afternoon getting a tractor tire repaired. Of the 20 odd farm trucks that rumbled by, 80% were Dodge Cummins. Mostly stick shift. Mostly one tons.
  • gwmooregwmoore Posts: 230
    Up here in the farm/ranch country of Eastern Oregon, Ram/Cummins far out number the Dodge pickup share nationwide. I work with farmers and ranchers, and it seems in this area about 1/3 to 1/2 of the pickups on farms and ranches are Ram/Cummins. Chevy seems to be next, and Ford third. I think the Cummins is the favorite of the Diesel guys and the Chevy is the favorite of the gas guys. You won't find a single Tundra on a farm or ranch around here.
  • We were in San Pedro Sula, Honduras a couple of years ago and that's where I fell in love with the Dodge/Cummins. My niece married a Honduran cattle rancher whose whole operation had switched
    from ford power strokes to Dodge Cummins, and they could not have been happier. The conditions in Honduras are extremely tough on vehicles and I was told the Fords were junk before 100K while the Dodges were just like new after 250K. We rode all over the country in one of those trucks and it was a joy to ride in.
    San Pedro Sula is in a valley surrounded by mountains, Kinda like Phoenix, and in the morning the skies are clear but by mid afternoon there is a black haze over the entire city and you can't even see the mountains. This is because almost every truck or car in Honduras is a diesel. The black diesel dust is everywhere, and you can't sit down without getting it on you. So the agrument that diesels don't pollute doesn't hold water.
    I still like that Cummins though. Uhh, Uhh, Uhh.
  • lariat1lariat1 Posts: 461
    As an owner of a diesel then a V-10 and now a diesel again I can honestly say that if you are going to be towing or making long trips or even short trips that the diesel is an easy winner hands down. I own a 26 foot boat and the diesel will pull it up mountain passes just as fast as you want to go. The V-10 on the other hand starts to shift down grunt groan rev high enough to scare a nascar driver and oh yeah drain the gas tank. I got between 5 and 7 mpg towing the boat with the V-10 thats not good in any way especialy since I tow the boat 700 miles round trip. The diesel on the other hand gets 14-16 mpg and it doesnt sound like it is going to scatter. Those people who say a diesel is louder than a gas engine well its true unloaded but sit in the cab of a truck with a V-10 @ 3500 rpm and tell me whats louder.
    You people who are talking about acceleration between V-10 and diesel, what does it matter out of all the 3/4 ton trucks I have owned I have never wanted to drag race one of them no matter how hard you try 75% of the vehicles out there will out accelerate a nearly 6000# truck.
  • RichinKsRichinKs Posts: 416
    Of course diesels gain an advantage in the mountains with the turbo charger. But that is one advantage that doesn't matter on the flat. I'm assuming your poor mileage is due to moutains also. Of the v10 owners who tow that I've talked to at campgrounds I keep hearing 8.5 towing with 5th wheels that have much more wind resistance than your boat. I also hear mileage for the diesel much better than your getting. The v10 will rarely have the thin air problems you face for me. But I talked to two guys who towed accross the mountains with triple slides and they had nary a problem. So I guess its back to how you plan to use your vehicle as to which is the best for each of us.
  • On some of these posts I hear people talking about fuel economy and acceleration in the same breath. You can't have both. I am an easy driver with fuel economy (and power if needed)in mind rather than how quick it is asay from the stop signs. What is the BEST mileage anyone has been able to get with the Ram V10 with economy in mind? Also, any comments on diesel engines in cold (minnesota cold) weather?
  • gwmooregwmoore Posts: 230
    I've been to San Pedro Sula several times (on the way to Roatan and Guanaja). You can not blame the air pollution on diesels any more than you could in Los Angeles. They are both big towns surrounded by mountains that can develop inversion layers that trap the air. If the same towns had good air circulation, you would not be talking about them, no matter the pollution sources.

    Ozone & carbon monoxide (which turn into the brown smog familiar to those in Los Angeles and other polluted cities) are the biggest pollutants from all cars (gas & diesel). But cars are generally a small portion of the pollution, especially in third world cities where automobiles per capita are way less than in the US. In general, the poorer the nation, the less cars per capita, the more polluted. Industrial pollution (petroleum electricity generating facilities, refineries, steel plants, etc.), domestic heating, trash burning, . . . are the biggest contributors to air pollution.

    So don't start blaming diesels for being bigger polluters without the facts, especially when, in fact, they are probably polluting less due to their greater efficiency. They certainly pump out less ozone and carbon monoxide. Oh, and by the way, third world countries have never been known for their well-tuned cars (most I saw in Honduras looked like diesels because they were pumping out so much smoke).

    I don't understand where you were coming from with the following statement related to the efficiency difference, "But that is one advantage that doesn't matter on the flat." It seems to me the difference on the flat between loaded/towing gas (about 9 MPG) and Diesel (+15 MPG), is rather significant (roughly 2/3 increase in mileage). Oh well, if you guys don't want to listen to someone (lariat1) who has had both the diesel and V-10, and is unquestionably happier with the diesel, go ahead.
  • RichinKsRichinKs Posts: 416
    I wasn't very clear I admit. Instead of flat I should have said flatlands at a more lower altitude. A non turbo charged engine is not gasping for air at the altitudes I drive. ....... I can tell your pro diesel or you would realise some have told me they prefer the V10 over the diesel who have towed 5th wheels with both. .... Some reasons, overall cost is less for the V10(this depends on how long you plan to own. If you plan to keep your truck till the fenders rust out the diesel is better. But the diesel has higher purchase cost and maintanance vs better fuel economy). The V10 has more torque with the auto tranny. You can check Dodges own charts. At any RPM from 600 to 3000 the v10 has higher torque. Easier to find fuel. Don't have to shut off repeatedly through drive thrus. Not only for your own needs but to be courtious to the folks in line ahead of you. ..... Now there are good reasons to have a diesel too. The diesel can be abused more, gets better fuel economy. works well at all altitudes. Is a status symbol, folks hear you coming. ...... Rich
  • RichinKsRichinKs Posts: 416
    Oh and lariat1 seems suspeciously like a Ford owner. He did not specifically say Dodge diesel and V10 or Ford. I guess I'm caught up on the Lariat name. I won't argue the difference of the Ford V10 vs Diesel. Don't know much about them nor done any research. But the Ford Diesel is quieter inside and outside the cab than the Dodge. .... Rich
  • lariat1lariat1 Posts: 461
    Hey jerryg5 I live in Alaska so I know all about your type of cold. Diesels work good in cold weather as long as you winterize them. You can use the same oil that you use in summer all you have to do is get a cold front that blocks the radiator mix you antifreeze to -60 install a block heater, an oil pan heater and a tranny heater then plug it in when it is below -10 and you should be good to go.
  • lariat1lariat1 Posts: 461
    No I do not own a Ford I own a 98 dodge with the 24 valve cummins. And I do agree with you in some places a gas engine is better. I can tell you one thing though a 5th wheel is easier to tow than a 26 foot ocean boat my boat is about 13 feet tall.
  • You can believe anything you want to but the fact is 95% of the vehicles in Honduras ARE diesels. If you don't believe that, next time you're there take notice of the service stations, most of them don't even sell gasoline, and if they do the gas pumps are off to the side like many diesel pumps are in this country. I didn't invent the idea that diesels are so popular there, it was my relatives that pointed it out to me.
    Also, gas pollution does not leave a heavy black oily film on everything like diesel does.
    By the way, I'm still leaning toward the diesel.
  • There you have it, from a owner who has had both a V-10 and a Cummins. Its easy to say fuel mileage does't matter, until you are 70 miles from the nearest fuel port, and the low fuel light comes on steady. When you are towing, this is not a goood feeling. I am just more comfortable towing with the cummins that with the gas engine we had. My biggest problem is staying below the posted speed limit, as it will climb very easely, even when towing.
    I have to admit, the PS is quieter when idling, but when you accelerate, they get much noiser inside the cab. I have driven several PSs since we got the 99 Quad Cab, just to be sure we did not make a mistake. I don't know if the PS gets quieter when towing (no dealer will let me test tow their trucks) or not, but ours does. Even though the measurements of the Ford HDs are bigger than the Dodge, I could reach around and open the rear slider from the drivers seat with the belt on, in the extended cab. Cannot even get close to reaching the rear window in ours, thats why we have a power slider. After driving the PS and getting back into ours, it was like getting into a rocket ship. Hey, Dodge should be paying me for this.

  • RichinKsRichinKs Posts: 416
    well I just been told that after 9 weeks of waiting my 2500 (and all 2500's) are on hold indefinately. The 800 person did not know why, just all 2500's are on hold. So I guess it doesn't matter if I ordered a gas or diesel.

    Laramie, I bet your boat weights more than most 5th wheels, but I sure hope it has less wind resistance or you really have a hard tow and poor performance in the water(G).

  • gwmooregwmoore Posts: 230
    To tell you the truth, I wasn't paying attention to whether the cars were gas or diesel. I did notice lots of little cars (mostly japanese). I also noticed japanese minivans, etc. I don't know how many diesels japanese manufacturers put in those kinds of cars.

    I do know a fair amount about pollution (kinda my major in college - Environmental Studies). If you have VERY heavy concentrations of 'smokers' (diesel, coal, wood, and yes, even gasoline burners (especially the poorly tuned cars and oil burners down there); cleaners, processors, etc.) you will get oily buildup. I'm just saying, I wouldn't start blaming the pollution in places like that on diesel autos, especially the relatively very efficient and clean burning engines like Powerstrokes and Cummins. At any rate, the mountains and lack of trade winds compound the pollution problem.

    Hey, I just don't want you to feel guilty with that new Cummins.

    Funniest thing I saw in San Pedro Sula was a group of us in a mini-van taxi going from the airport to some suburb southwest of the airport and we passed a firetruck on its way to a fire. I guess the "manana" attitude prevails, even in emergencies. I was there on my Honeymoon last year (Guanaja Island), just one week before Hurricane Mitch ripped through the place.

    I guess Dodge and GM are trying to hand over the entire 3/4 & 1-ton market to Ford. You can't even order a GM 2500 until March, and will have to wait until nearly the new year for ordering a Dodge. Economy is just too good, I guess. Maybe we could keep Slick Willy for a 3rd term (he he he, just kiddin').
  • lariat1lariat1 Posts: 461
    Actually I dont know how aerodynamic my boat is all I know is that when you look in the rear view mirror all you can see is the blue bottom paint on the boat. The bottom of the boat is very aerodynamic it is the top that provides the wind resistance the boat is not a speed boat it is made for long trips on the ocean top speed is about 25 knots.
    Hey everybody dont get me wrong the V-10 is a great engine, I just didnt like it for towing for a long distance like I do up here in Alaska I have to tow at least 350 mile to get my boat to the ocean and diesel is at every service station up here so for me the diesel is the way to go, if I lived somewhere that diesel was not so easy to come by I would own a V-10 in a heartbeat.
  • gwmooregwmoore Posts: 230
    Since I first started driving Cummins in '89, the availability has jumped dramatically, to the point where almost every station has it, and generally every isolated station on rural highways has it. The popularity of Cummins and Powerstroke has done much for the availability of diesel.
  • I hate to stray too far from the subjest, since I brought it up in the first place, but... One of the things that sticks in my mind about Honduras is the guys you see everywhere with their assault rifles. Outside the banks, inside the banks, outside the (super?)market, and just riding around in the back of little beat up diesel datsun and toyota trucks. At first it's kind of scarey but you get used to it. What a beautiful country, too bad it's so dirt poor.
This discussion has been closed.