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2005 Ford or Dodge Diesel only??

pickupwbbpickupwbb Posts: 10
edited March 2014 in Dodge
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.



  • pickupwbb,

    I just went through the same selection a little over a month ago. I had previously had a Chevy Diesel and was not going to go with GM again because of all the problems with the engine (in addition to alternators and other components). The selection method I finally decided to use was to first do some serious research on the diesel engines (Cummins - Dodge and International - Ford)and then select the best engine with whatever truck it was wrapped in.

    Based on two or three months of research of many hundreds of Web log messages by owners, reading many articles, and talking to multiple diesel mechanics (Ford dealers, Dodge dealers and independents) I came to the conclusion that the Cummins was absolutely the longest lasting and more trouble free of the two engines. I ordered a 2005 Dodge 3/4 ton 4x4 Quad short bed with Cummins, 4.10 gearing and many other goodies (it will be here in a couple of weeks).

    Like you I really wanted a Extended Cab but did need more room that a single cab. The best compromise was the Dodge Quad short bed. I did consider the long bed Quad but felt that I really did not need the extra bed length versus the increased overall truck length.

    I am also going to be towing a lot of weight but in the form of a big boat. Also, like yourself, the looks of the truck was important and in my opinion the Dodge Ram is certainly the best looking full-size truck on the market.

    I hope this helps.
  • I agree with James. Both are excellent engines and are designed to go at least 300k before an overhaul can be expected. However, I believe the Cummins is the better engine (and I'm a Ford owner). I happened to like the Ford better than the Dodge that was offered in '99.

    You mentioned the length of the Dodge Quad Cab being too long. You may have the numbers to prove it, but from looking at it, the Quad Cab just doesn't LOOK very much longer than the Ford Super Cab. Now the Ford Crew Cab is ONE LONG TRUCK!
  • j,

    Thanks for taking the time to respond it certainly helps and there is no question that the amount of information out there is tremendous.

    Thanks again
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,086
    "in my opinion the Dodge Ram is certainly the best looking full-size truck on the market."

    I agree the Cummins is a great engine. My stepson upgraded his 2001 7.3 PS to a 2003 6.0 PS. He claims it pulls his big fifth wheel 10 miles per hour faster up the long grade on Interstate 8.

    I have to disagree on the looks of the Dodge vs other PUs. I blame Dodge for the current ugly look of all the pickup trucks. Ford followed with what was referred to as the "Fodge look" and now GM has the ugliest headlights. I'll keep my old Chevy until one of the majors build a decent looking truck.
  • I own a 2004 cummins and just love it. I did not consider the Ford for the obvious problems they were having. Personally, I'd only consider the Chevy or the Dodge.
    Even though I love my dodge, I really think Chevy has a great diesel engine and tranny right now. Dodge and Chevy both have the edge on torque, which is what u want if ur pulling something.
  • Actually GM has the edge on torque, but Ford has the edge on torque over Dodge (590, 560, 555 respectively). Ford has the edge on horsepower over Dodge and Dodge over GM (325, 305, 300 respectively). But at these high numbers for HP/Torque, you aren't going to notice much of a difference. As far as Max towing, Ford has the edge over Dodge and Dodge over GM (16000 lbs, 15850, 12000 respectively 5th wheel). Standard towing (off the hitch) Dodge has an edge over Ford and Ford over GM (13850, 12500, 12000 respectively).

    I have an 03 F350 KR CrewCab 6.0L and haven't had any problems out of it. I had ruled the Dodge out when I was looking because of two things (1) all of the transmission troubles, Chrysler has had a long history of transmission troubles across all of their lines so I wasn't surprised to find them in the 3/4 and 1 tons as well....and (2) The Quad Cab doen't have the room of the Ford and GM Crew Cab, nowhere near the room, and I wanted to be able to fit "full sized" adults in the back seat. To put it in perspective, the Ford and GM extended cabs have as much room in the Back seat as did the Dodge Quad Cab. The Crew Cabs have much much more room.

    I was on the fence about the GM brands and the Ford, and not being brand specific, or having any preference towards one brand over another, I bought the first one that fit all the criteria for me. I had a certain set of options I wanted....crew cab, leather, etc.

    I have been very pleased with the Ford, and can average 18mpg in city driving to boot (not pulling a travel trailer of course).

    I think had I purchased a GMC model truck (or Chevy) I think I would have been just as happy. Just drive'em all and go with what feels best, because they will each have their own set of history problems. Hopefully Chrysler has worked out the bugs in the transmissions of the large trucks, I know Ford worked out the problems with the 6.0L (it was a software flash for the computer), and I think GM is working out the problems with the fuel mileage on the Duramaxs.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    the Dodge/Cummins was at 600 lb-ft as of Jan 2004, and is 610 for 2005. The Cummins is also rated at 325 hp since Jan 2004. The 305/555 rating was discontinued in December 2003. The Duramax was 310/590 in Jan 2004, and is now 310/605 for 2005. Ford is dead last in torque, well below the others at 570 for 2005.

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,086
    "Ford is dead last in torque, well below the others at 570 for 2005."

    I'm not sure if it makes any difference. My stepson has a 2004 6.0 that runs 10 mph faster Than his 2001 7.3 PSD pulling a 36 foot 5th wheel. This is going up Interstate 8 coming out of the desert headed toward San Diego. I think that any of the big 3 truck diesels are so far ahead of the gas engines it is a waste to buy the gas version.
  • Would you look at learn something new everyday. I was going off of what was listed for the 04 Models (since that was what was out when I was doing my research). I didn't realize that they all had "significant" engine modifications done for the 05 model. But once again, at these high levels, you aren't going to notice much of a difference, unless you are pulling maximum towing loads, and even then I don't know that you'd see much of a difference.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    >>>1) all of the transmission troubles, Chrysler has had a long history of transmission troubles across all of their lines so I wasn't surprised to find them in the 3/4 and 1 tons as well...<<<

    First, Chrysler's 3-speed automatics have not been a problem. Ever. In fact, they are the most robust automatic on the market.

    Chrysler had problems with the FWD A-604 4-speed electronic version at introduction. Those issues have long since been addressed. With respect to RWD trucks, the problems encountered included many that used the incorrect ATF in Chrysler-built transmissions. Dodge trucks have specified ATF+ for many years (ATF+, ATF+2, ATF+3, and now ATF+4). The AFT+ series contains pour-point depressants and friction modifiers as part of the overall design. Dexron-Mercon does not.

    When Dodge added a overdrive to their three-speed automatic in the early eighties (A-500, 518 & A-999), people operating in colder climates, towing heavy loads or snow-plowing, the overdrive unit would become damaged due to insufficient fluid flow. There was also a problem with the anti-drain back valve becoming clogged from dirty fluid and stop all fluid flow in extremely cold temperatures. These issues have long been addressed.

    When the automatic transmission series went from hydraulic control ("RH" series) to electronic shift control ("RE" series) there were component quality issues with the shift solenoid packs and electrical terminals. It was found that after many miles the solenoid plungers would become partially magnetized and operate intermittently. This problem was corrected in '98. Electrical connectors have long since been upgraded to improve sealing against moisture. There were also some random shift software problems that required computer reflashes as well.

    The current series built on the old A-904 and A-727 are very robust and extremely durable (42, 44, 45, 46, and 47REs). They remain the only truck transmission to use three full planetary gear sets. If correctly maintained and the correct fluid is used, these transmissions will likely out live a competitors transmission.

    The new 545FRE transmission is a new design that is fully electronic and adaptive. It is a six-speed (uses two second gears) and has an extremely reliable reputation. This transmission is used on the 4.7 and Hemi.

    Dodge introduced a 48RE for the Cummins diesel to handle the increased torque and load. These versions, too, have been virtually trouble-free.

    Failures of truck transmissions are not unique to Dodge. Those with 4L series GMs, or EOD versions of the Ford have had a high failure rate as well. Even the Tundra is proving to have a population of "early" failures. When you hear of a failed transmission you seldom know how that transmission was treated. I have seen many Dodge truck transmissions go 130,000 and more miles without ever having been apart. Don't change the fluid or filter as often as you should and I'll bet there will be a problem.

    Best regards,

  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Moreso than the load being moved, you also have to take tire size, transmission and axle gearing, curb weight, and aerodynamics all into account. The truck with a lower torque rating may also have lower trans gearing to make up the difference.

    But "we" like numbers, and in the marketing game, that's what sells and wins.

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  • intresting- thats probably why the cummins had been de-rated for Automatic trans use for years. Funny enough, the General has lower MT numbers- most likely because of the IFS design (CV joints, aluminum diff housing), rather than the rest of it (GM and Ford use the same ZF trans, NVG Tcase, all have rear axles that are plenty stout) What does the Dodge have for a MT now? Used to be a NVG5600, but NV transmissions went away last year. ZF? Gettag? Tremec???
    And by the way- 130k isnt any claim to fame- NO transmission should fail before that under ANY circumstances.
    If only you could get a Ford Cab with a Cummins and Allison, you might be onto something...
    Till then, Im gonna hold out for the Tundra HD
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Dodge is switching to Getrag manuals (the G56 specifically) after Jan 1 in the Ram HD trucks; it will be used with both the Cummins and Hemi. Early 2005 Cummins trucks still have the NV. Part of the reason for switching from the NV is weight... the 5600 has a cast-iron case which is so heavy, the 48RE automatic actually has a higher payload/tow rating.

    As far as the ZF sticks, they can't handle the torque that Dodge is offering in the Cummins *currebtly 610 lb-ft and will climb again), plus GM claims almost all of their Duramax trucks are sold with the Allison anyway.

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  • I just traded my '03 Duramax/Allison truck for a Dodge with the 48re. Don't buy into the hype of the Allison tranny. On my '01 Chev I actually had a rep from Allison come out and ride in my truck and take readings with his laptop. They devised a software update based on that. It wouldn't tow heavy and stay in fifth gear. Then my '03 had burnt fluid at 25k miles. I am not impressed, not one bit. I have 2 '03 Dodges with HO Cummins engines and 48re trannys. These are work trucks pulling 15k lb trailers daily. They are up over 120k combined miles now with no problems at all. I just bought an '05 for myself and love it.

    As for the decision between a Ford and a Dodge, tough call, both are good trucks. I went Dodge for the quieter more powerful, and certainly less problem prone Cummins. I also found that the Quad cab long box 3500 Dodge was smoother riding than even the new '05 CC LB Ford F350. The GM trucks have the nicest interiors but the Dodge and Ford are a wash IMO. I had poor luck with the quality on my last two Chevy trucks. I have done well with a 99 Ford and the new Dodges seem to be extremely well put together, a nice package.
  • Hi Folks, Yesterday I test drove a 05 Ram 3500 SLT Quad cab 4X4 diesel with the 5 speed automatic. My question is, in regards to dependability and durability, is there any advantage of the manual 6 speed over the 5 speed automatic tranny for 05 Dodge HD trucks? I will be puting a heavy load on this truck, and making long hauls. Thanks for your help, this is a great forum!
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    If you drove a diesel, then you had a 4-speed automatic (48RE). The 5-speed auto (545RFE) is only used with the Hemi.


    As far as durability, both transmissions are of equal durability for the most part. If you are ordering, you will get the G56 6-speed manual (built by the Mercedes commercial vehicle division, not Getrag as early rumors had mentioned) instead of the NV5600 that has been used for the last 5 years. The G56 is a true medium duty tranny that will actually be overkill for the Ram application.


    As far as which to order, it depends on you and how frequently you maintain your truck. If you need a truck that punches a time clock daily for a hard day's work, go with the 6-speed. If you're more diligent on maintenance and are willing to get the 48RE serviced regularly, then the automatic will be just fine.



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  • Thanks for the automatic tranny clarification, that's what I get for asking a salesperson what I thought was a simple question. Thanks for answering my question, I will be going with the manual 6-speed when its time to order.
  • I want to know where you got the info on the new dodge transmission. I have looked at all of the brands and have decided on a ram 2500 diesel. I want to purchase a truck this month. There is a teaser about the wonderful new transmission in the 2005 brocher but is says late availability. I told my dealer I wanted the new transmission and he said that was a misprint and buy the truck on the lot. Please let me know where I can get this info to take to the dealer. It I am going to spend 40K on a truck I should get the best Transmission???
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Will, all dealers get regular communication from DaimlerChrysler on what options are restricted or cancelled. (A dealer staff member I know passes on such information regularly - the report is issued several times a week as restrictions change at the various DC factories.) If your salesperson tries to order a Ram diesel with the 6-speed (option code DEE) right now, it will be rejected. The new 6-speed (option code DEJ) will be available soon after the calendar year change. The previous 6-speed is wither on the lot or in the pipeline; the remaining supply has all been accounted for.


    Sounds like he'd rather sell you one on the lot to get his sale in before the end of the month and end of the year. An ordered vehicle doesn't count as a sale until it's delivered.


    If you want the new transmission, stand firm and wait for it. When you're spending as much as these trucks cost, you should certainly get the truck you want the way you want it.



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  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    >>>If you drove a diesel, then you had a 4-speed automatic (48RE). The 5-speed auto (545RFE) is only used with the Hemi.<<<


        I'm pretty sure the 545RFE is also the only automatic for the 4.7 motor, as well. Bests, Dusty
  • Hey Dusty,

    How often should the auto tranny be serviced and also the oil changed on the 2500 Cummins under normal use ie. back and forth to work and occasional towing, some stop annd go? Thanks, Hemidudeaz.
  • bigfurbigfur Posts: 649
    are completely ugly i agree. That leaves my question at if GM has a very good engine and tranny combo....why not look at a GMC??? Same drivetrain but much less ugly. My two cents for you.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    Hemi, I don't have the maintenance schedules for a RAM diesel. My guess would be that the transmission (47 or 48RE) would be 25,000 miles under heavy use, 36,000 under light or occasional heavy use. This is only a guess.


    I think the engine oil change is 7500 miles on the Cummins. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.



This discussion has been closed.