2001 Dodge vs. Chevy 1-ton -- Which is better for towing?

dgb2dgb2 Member Posts: 3
edited March 2014 in Chevrolet
I own an auto dealership in the Midwest. We sell a large percentage of our cars to out-of-state buyers and I've decided to start transporting some of these vehicles. We've finally got all the equipment, permits, insurance, etc. in place and have a driver hired. The only decision left to make is which truck is best for our purposes.

I have a 3-car Kaufman auto transport trailer with a gooseneck hitch that we'll be using to transport the cars. Curb weight of the trailer is about 7,000 pounds. It has three 6,000 pound axles and is rated to carry 18,000 pounds.

Recently I've gotten a hold of two different trucks--a 2001 Dodge Ram 3500 SLT Ext Cab and a 2001 Chevy K3500 LS Crew Cab. Both have duallies and diesel engines. The Chevy is a 6-speed manual trans. The Dodge has 58,000 miles and the Chevy has 39,000. I plan to keep one for our purposes and will sell the other. Problem is, I can't quite decide which one to keep. We've taken the Dodge on a couple test runs with the trailer fully loaded and it handled the load well. We haven't taken the Chevy yet because it isn't equipped with a gooseneck hitch, and I don't want to put the money into it unless I know for sure we're going to be keeping that one.

Any advice?


  • dustykdustyk Member Posts: 2,926
    In my opinion the hands-down winner in the engine department is the Dodge.

    In the case of the transmission Dodge and Chevrolet manuals are brothers: both are made by New Process Gear. I've heard both sides of the argument about whether the six-speed is better. Some say yes, some say behind the Cummins diesel the six speed isn't required.

    Both use Dana axles in the one-ton series.

    There are enough GM parts in the Dodge of that vintage to make it almost draw as far as the platform*. The Dodge has two things going for it there, however. The Dodges are more rust resistant and the frames are torsionally stiffer. Dodge started getting away from Delphi motors and electrical components in 2000. That helps, but electric window regulators are common to both for that year, I think. In a one-ton GM be prepared for rattles, buzzes, and squeaks galore after they get some mileage.

    *Radiators, heater cores & condensers (Harrison), steering gear boxes, power steering pumps & steering columns (Saginaw), wiper motors, pivot assemblies, window regulators, body hardware (Delphi).

    Best regards,
  • dgb2dgb2 Member Posts: 3
    The Dodge is actually an automatic, while the Chevy is a 6-speed manual.
  • dgb2dgb2 Member Posts: 3
    I'm also curious why the Dodge engine is your preference... The 2001 Chevy is rated for more horsepower, more torque, and more displacement. You think the Dodge engine will perform better though?
  • dustykdustyk Member Posts: 2,926
    The GM diesel is okay, but the Cummins is more durable and less costly to maintain. Since it has the automatic, your truck is not the HO version.

    The Dodge of that year will have the 47RE automatic. It is a strong unit with the mechanicals from the A-727 Torqueflite, only beefier. The solenoid control pack is probably the most troublesome area of this design. The valve bodies are susceptible to problems caused by dirty ATF. Keep the transmission maintenanced per the recommended schedule (fluid flushes and filter changes). Do not use Dexron-Mercon ATF in this unit. Use only ATF+4. Use of Dexron is the largest cause for premature repairs to this transmission. If you don't exceed the tow rating on that truck and you keep the transmission maintenanced correctly, you should never have a problem with it.

    Never use Dexron-Mercon ATF in this unit. Use only ATF+4.

    I cannot comment about performance since I have not driven a GM LD pick-up diesel in that year.

  • catamcatam Member Posts: 331
    The rest of the story: don't believe for a second that the auto tranny in the Dodge will be anywhere close to the manual in terms of reliabilty. The auto trannies from Dodge have been notoriously problematic. There is big reason 18 wheelers use manual trannies, RELIABILITY.

    As far as the engine goes, many diesel guys prefer the Cummins for its inline 6 design. This design is naturally balanced and simplistic which can easily be argued produces better long term reliability. So far the Duramax has proved to be reliable, so this may be a non issue. As a rule diesels are very reliable engines when properly maintained.

    The other issue you need to consider though is the actual weight you are towing is going to be well above the tow rating and GCVWR of either one of these vehicles. I know they are both capable of towing the weight, but they are not rated for it. Thus you put yourself at risk of tickets, impounding, and in the worst case a terrible lawsuit in the event of an accident.

    Because you plan on using this for business, you may want to consider looking at something like an F450 or F550 Ford, or the equivalent from GM.
    Also most medium duty trucks would be rated for this amount of weight. Besides thanks to King George and his giveaway to the wealthy, you can deduct the entire price of the vehicle anyway.
  • jcmdiejcmdie Member Posts: 594
    Being able to "write-off" company equipment was in place long before George took office. Business equipment is an expense and taking depreciation on on a depreciating asset is fair.
  • catamcatam Member Posts: 331
    Correct, but now thanks to King George you can write off the total purchase price the year you buy it instead of depreciating the value over the life of the vehicle.
    I am not criticizing the legitimate small business owner like DGB2.
    I do have a problem with taxpayers subsidizing the purchase of a Mercedes SUV so that a lawyer can drive it to work.
  • jcmdiejcmdie Member Posts: 594
    I understand. The tax laws are a little messed up when it comes to writing off luxury sport utility vehicles. They do have to have a 6,000# GVWR to qualify as a "work truck". If the business opts to take all the write-off in one year, it may hurt his other write-offs. You can only do this with one piece of equipment a year. Also, if the businessman decides to sell or trade at any time in the future, that value is considered a gain or profit. Very few businessmen write the whole thing off in one year. Unfortunately the luxury SUV loophole does exist and is exploited.
  • tomhallock1tomhallock1 Member Posts: 1
    I'm looking at replacing my 96 Chevy 3/4 ton as it's getting a little long in the tooth an the repair bills are adding up. Also I tow a 30' fifth wheel that max's me out. I need a bigger truck to handle that rig an my next one which will probably be around 12 to 13,000# an maybe more. So, what am I looking for; USED that is? Not ready or able to put out $42 to $45000+ for a new rig. and I prefer to stay away form Ford's
    I like the Duramax with the Allison tranny but also have read some great things about Dodges.
    I'm looking somewhere between 2001 an maybe a 2003. If you ask a dealer or a used truck salesman they inevitably will tell me that their trucks will pull almost anything with the right equipment of course. But, what I'm really interested in is safely towing an staying within its limits. And of course reliability.
    Many thanks.
    Tom Hallock
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