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Best Diesel? Ford,Chevy or Dodge?

undecided2undecided2 Posts: 1
edited June 2015 in Chevrolet
I am considering buying a crew cab diesel to tow a toy hauler. The Chevy 6.6, Dodge 5.9 and Ford 6.0 all have good/bad points. The Chevys from what I have read have the best transmission (Allison)& best mileage (acording to MotorTrend). Negatives are lowest tow rating (w/3.73 gear) and somewhat dated look. Dodge is the loudest at idle, has a harsh ride, tightest back seat and only a four speed trans w/questionable reliability. It has the best maneuverability, towing rating and lower pricing. The Ford seems to have the best ride (will even be better with the new front suspension), towing acceleration and roomiest cab. Its the least maneuverable (at least until the new suspension) and gets the worst mileage (a full 2 mpg less unloaded at highway speed than Chevy, .7 less than Dodge according to MotorTrend). The mileage is a big concern for me since 90% of my driving will not involve towing. Any input will be appreciated, especially about the milage.

See Also
Edmunds Diesel Center


  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Just a few comments:

    There are a growing number of Allison transmission owners that might disagree with the comment about reliability. Although probably durable enough there are a fair number of owners reporting excessive noise and inconsistent or irratic shifts. Then there's the GM driveline clunk which is more germane to the platform than the transmission.

    The new 48RE transmission in the Dodge is so far every bit as reliable as the competition.

    The Cummins engine is bullet proof and in my opinion the best of the three choices.

    Good luck with your decision.

  • we have 2 f350's at work they good but they shake a lot then we have a newer f450 and gmc cherry picker there very good and don't shake a lot.
  • The Chevy/GMC is the quietest, and with the new emissions on the '04/'05 you don't have any of that diesel smell from the exhaust. As far as maneuverability goes you could order up the quadrasteer option, but that again drops the max towing by a few hundred pounds. I guess the towing capacity is dependant on what you have or plan on getting in the future. A friend a work has a '03 and a 27' Sea Ray that weighs in at around 10,000 pounds and tows it around like it's not even there!
  • Members, I have a huge dilemma and it is a good one to have I guess. I have owned 2 Dodge diesel trucks 94 3/4 ton put 150k on it and sold it and bought a 99 extended cab 3/4 ton to replace it. Loved them both. The 99 had a cracked block and Dodge ponied up most of the cost (all but 3K) to replace the engine even though the warranty had expired by 3k miles. I am looking to replace the 99 with a 2005. Dodge does not make the extended cab any longer and the 4 door is too long. I drove the Ford last weekend and it drove pretty well. I am not considering a Chevy because I can not get past the look of the headlights. Assuming that each manufacturer will have a number of bad vehicles how reliable has the PowerStroke been recently the last year or two. I will be towing a horse trailer, and a utility trailer with a tractor on it occasionally 4 to 6 times per month less than 50 miles round trip. Lots of Highway driving mostly. I am also getting about 22 to 23 MPG with the 99 on the highway.

    While I am comfortable with the reliability of the Dodge I do not know much about the Powerstroke. I have no plans on tricking out the engine but want a vehicle that will last. Any thoughts about the electronic switch for putting the truck into 4 wheel drive vs the manual lever?

    Any thoughts or perspectives would be welcome - sure wish Dodge would come back with the extended/super cab again.

    In addition I have been adding a diesel treatment to my fuel every other tank - advice form the mechanic who replaced injectors on the 94 any one else doing this or am I being taken - he said it was due to lower sulfer in fuel thus I need the additives.

  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Dodge considers the Quad Cab as an extended cab, not a crew cab. In longbed form, the new QC is exactly 6 inches longer than the previous design's extended cab long bed, the length of a dollar bill. As a shortbed, the new Quad is only 2 inches longer. The Quad Cab is really an optical illusion: the front door is actually smaller than the regular cab's door - this allows for the conventionally sized rear door instead of the small "half-doors" normally seen on extended cabs.

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  • phkckphkck Posts: 185
    What are thoughts on using a diesel 3/4 ton truck for daily commuting? Would like to tow a large travel trailer but would need to use the truck for my work commute during the week(27 miles one way, mostly highway).
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    ph, I do it daily with a 96 Ram 3500 dually - 36 miles each way, 34 of it interstate highway, the rest mountain two-lane. Keep the tach below 2000 and you'll see mpg in the 20s with no problem.

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  • phkckphkck Posts: 185
    Pretty good mileage for a one-ton dually!
  • I recently read that in the next couple of years more vehicles will have diesel engines. Anyone have any info on 1/2 ton pick ups going diesel? I want to get a truck, but don't have the need for a 3/4 or 1 ton. I think diesel is the way to go- fuel efficiency, power etc.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    I doubt you will see one until the 2007 EPA diesel regs are in place, and ultra-low-sulphur diesel fuel is nationally required. Detroit Diesel, Cummins, and International (Navistar) all have engines for half-tons and the larger compacts (Dakota, etc.) either ready or in final development, but no pickup manufacturer has bit yet.

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  • Thanks for the info. If I were to get a 3/4 ton diesel (Dodge w/ Cummins/6 spd Man) would it be possible to chip it or detune it to reduce power/increase MPG? Like I said, I don't do heavy towing and don't need 600 ft/lbs of torque, but want a diesel for the efficiency and reliability. What type of kits are available? Also, does it void the warranty? What type of MPG could I expect if I were to do that?
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    The rpm is a bigger cause of good or bad mpg than the torque output. For a Cummins Ram, you want to keep the tach around 1600-1700 for maximum efficiency. In addition to a chip, you could look into an auxiliary overdrive unit to keep the rpm down.

    My 96 Cummins (3500 club cab 4x4 dually) has gotten a documented 24 mpg highway at a dead-red 57 mph when the tach was at 1700 or so. At 70 mph/2000 rpm, that drops to around 18 mpg.

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  • You really wouldn't want to detune a diesel, especially not for fuel economy reasons. Diesel mileage is more a function of driving habits, as kcram mentioned. If you'll keep the rpm's down and your right foot off the floorboard, then you should get 20mpg or better outta that rig. I know of some Dodge 2500 Cummins owners that all report over 20mpg.

    There are several performance enhancing chips/tuners available for that Cummins that actually claim to increase fuel economy. I can't comment on their claims, but I can tell you my experience. I have an F-350 Powerstroke Dually. I have a Western Diesel chip good for an extra 75hp and 125ftlbs of torque, putting me at 325hp and 625ftlbs of torque. I did not notice an increase in mileage after the chip, but didn't see any decrease either(I keep very detailed fuel mileage records). However, I suspect I would see an increase in mileage if the darn thing weren't soooo much fun to drive now. I routinely surprise so called sports cars at stoplights. Granted I can't beat them from one light to the next, but they never get more than a couple of car links ahead either. And the roll-on acceleration from 70mph is phenominal.

    As far as voiding the warranty, the Magnusson-Moss Act takes care of that. Basically they have to prove that the chip/tuner actually caused the problem. However, I'd say that's something left up to you and how good of a relationship you have with your dealer.
  • Thanks for the info. You know, living out west, driving 55 MPH is non existent. You are either doing 30-40 in town or 80 on the highway. So to keep a 3/4 ton diesel at 1700-1800 RPMs is not going to happen.
    The big 3 need to start selling 1/2 ton diesels and SUVs that get in the mid 20's or better MPG wise at highway speeds.
    I think I'll wait and see what happens in the next couple of years.
  • I made a trip from Western Kentucky to the Colorado/Utah border back in the summer. I drove my truck out there empty, then pulled a mobile lab trailer back. The trip was approximately 1,300 miles each way. I drive right at 75mph all the way, which is around 2,200rpm's. I got around 16.5mpg running empty, with the exception of one tank that was burnt running into a 30-40mph headwind, that one only got 13mpg! Coming back pulling that trailer, appr. 8k-9k pounds, and running the same 75mph, I averaged around 13mpg.

    Around here, where most of my driving is back and forth to work, I average around 18.5mpg. When I load the Jeep onto the flatbed and spend a day off-roading, that tank will average around 16.5mpg. Any 3/4 ton diesel should get you 20 or better.

    But you're right, a 1/2 ton diesel pickup would get in the mid to upper 20's.
  • hwyhobohwyhobo Posts: 265
    wheels1, I completely agree with you. I would love to buy a Ram 1500 with a 2.7 TD engine and a stick. That should get me upper 20s to 30 mpg on the highway, and it would fill my needs exactly. I asked Chrysler about it and was told they have no plans to do it at this time. I think they are missing a potentially big market.
  • I noticed a post stating that the GM diesel is the quietest?? Since I just traded a Duramax for an '05 Dodge I have to take issue with that. The Dodge is much quieter than the Duramax, no question. The Ford 6.0 is by far the loudest of the three.

    I don't think that there is much question as to which is the best of the three engines. The Duramax has known injector issues. An estimated 20% in a poll on a pro GM diesel site have had failures. GM has extended the warranty on injectors for '01-'02 Durmax trucks to 200k miles. Ford might have the issues resolved for '05 finally. Prior to that the 6.0 has been problematic, lots of computer related issues and engine oil leaks. The Cummins on the other hand doesn't seem to have a single weakness. In addition it gives the best milage of the three and the most power.

    The thing to really consider is the total package and how you will use it. The GM trucks are the most comfortable by far. They ride the smoothest and they have the nicest interiors with the most comfortable seats. I also found my last two Chev D/A trucks to be the most troublesome when compared to my Ford and Dodge trucks. If you need four door room the Dodge runs a little short. The crew cabs from GM and Ford are bigger. My kids are only 7 so the Dodge will work for years to come for me. I also found the ride and handling superior on the Dodge 3500 vs the F350, yes, even the new '05 version.

    So since I have little faith in either the GM or Ford diesels living for the long haul, I bought a Dodge with the Cummins and love it. I now have two '03s at work that have been flawless and a new '05 at home. Nice trucks.

    As to the milage, I have seen 19mpg cruising at 85-90 mph in a Cummins. My D-max gets about 13 mpg run the same way. The best I could ever coax out of a D-max was about 15 average, and I have owned two of them. The Cummins is easily capable of nearly 20 average with my heavy foot.

    Good Luck choosing!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,178
    Thanks for the info. I was sure the Cummins was the best of the three. My brother-in-law concurs on the Dodge being the quietest. I wish I liked the looks of any of the three. It did make it easier when Chevy came out with new uglier look in 2003. I will probably buy the Dodge. My neighbor has a 6.0 Ford and it is noisy from outside the vehicle.
  • I really like the look of the Dodge in quad cab short box form. If you decide on a GM truck the GMC is better looking than the Chevys squinty eyed look. I never minded the look of the Ford. The new BIG CHROME GRILLE might be a little much but, they definately look like TRUCKS.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,152
    Cummins is definitely the best engine. It's really too bad they are imprisoned within Dodges.

    What was the Powerstroke in the '97 F350s? 7.3L? Those, despite the excessive noise, are darn good workhorses. I help my grandfather move his 32' cabincruiser once or twice a year and he hauls it on a quad-axle gooseneck with his F350 auto crew. This truck pulls that boat (all 8? tons) at 65-70 mph all the way from Chugiak to Seward.

    I guess we'll see about the long-term reliability of the engine, but we do not have to worry about the rest of the truck.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • That 7.3 liter, the Powerstroke, was used from '94 to I think '02. A very similar 7.3 liter, sans turbo, first appeared somewhere around '91. Prior to that they were a 6.9 liter.

    I have to agree about the Cummins engine being trapped in the Dodge truck. I bought the Ford because I think Ford has the best total package going.
  • The Dodge truck itself USED to be an issue. Since the third generation was introduced in '03, the "package" is tough to beat. The only thing lacking is the full four door cab Chev and Ford offer. The Dodge now has the most reliable auto tranny, it has the only fully hydroformed(boxed) frame, it has an updated front suspension on 4x4 models. It is far from the leper it once was.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,152
    I can't argue with you because I haven't looked twice at Dodge since my past experiences with a '91 and '94 left a permanently fouled taste in my mouth. They were good trucks except for their unreliability, and I doubt it was a fluke because I don't see many Dodges out there with more than a few years on them. Perhaps by the time I am seriously looking at a newer full-size, time will have told a different Dodge story and if your assessment holds true, it will.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,178
    My brother in law has wanted a new Dodge 3/4 ton with a Cummins for the last 3 years. He finally went to make the deal at Carl Burger Dodge in San Diego. He looked at them all and the best he could do on a 2005 diesel was right at $10,000 over the same 3/4 ton crewcab with a Hemi, 2004 model. He tried his best to justify the extra money. There was no way he would use that much gas the rest of his life. He tows a car trailer maybe 20 times a year and not for long distances. The cold hard facts are diesels sell first off the lot, and the gassers that don't get sold in that MY are a bargain. He loves the Hemi and got 19.2 mpg on his trip to Bonneville for Speed Week.
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