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Which Diesel Pickup Should I Buy?



  • carrieb1carrieb1 Posts: 3
  • jlcjlc Posts: 30
    Hi folks, I am considering getting into rv ing and would like some advice on a tow vehicle. I'll be towing max gvwr of 12,000 lbs. 5th wheel. Should I go diesel or gas? 4wd or 2x4. Am also thinking new. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


  • codykcodyk Posts: 5
    I currently have a 97 ram 2500 4wd 5.9 magnum xtended cab auto with o/d that gets a whopping 12 unloaded and at best 9mpg pulling a 16 foot steel stock trailer with two to three horses.Guesstimate 6500-7000 pds. and I am probably way overguessing on wt.I'm trying to find ways to improve mpg such as possibly adding lockout front hubs or if the expense of a diesel is the way I should go I have been looking thru posts on mpg and see the old gundeck variants {random mpgs from 12-25 with same brands e.g. dodge,chevy}I need a 4wd so that is a given and as everyone else want the best mpg. I understand that I will want a high geared rearend and o/d tranny. I will be pulling the above mentioned wt. and running empty.I live in oklahoma and will not be pulling in mtns. etc. mostly flat to rolling hills, however one doesn't always know where the road leads. I have also read about the ulsd failures due to the ulsd acting as a solvent. If there is anything else I missed please let me know and also please give advice. any and all is appreciated.I have a friend that has a duramax after his 2500 2wd cummins was totalled ,he recommends the cummins. He got 21-22 empty and16-18 pulling a 22 ft steel gooseneck with 2-3 horses. thanks in advance
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Depends on how long you plan on keeping the truck and how many miles you drive. If you really pound a truck, the diesel will definitely outlast a modified gasoline truck. I'm on my second Cummins Ram (1996 3500 Club Cab 4x4 dually, now a 2005 3500 Quad Cab 4x4 dually). No trouble getting 20+ mpg "empty" if my right foot behaves (I have the standard axle, no need for the 4.10s). Duramaxes and 7.3L Powerstrokes also can get 20+ empty., so it'll come down to what truck you find at what price.

    ULSD has been reported as an issue only on previous-generation engines. I run it in my 05 with no issues at all. Keep your fuel filter fresh until the engine has had a steady diet for a while, and watch your seals and gaskets.

    kcram - Pickups Host
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    Am I understanding you that you just bought a used 1997 Ram with Cummins? If so how many miles does it have? Most newer diesel trucks get 20+ MPG if you don't race every Corvette you are along side of.
  • codykcodyk Posts: 5
    No, I have a97 2500 with a 5.9 magnum
  • blufz1blufz1 Posts: 2,045
    Do a cost comparison of how much gas you will save vs. the cost of a new truck. If you just drive 5000 a year it doesn't matter what you drive.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    Either something is wrong with that engine or you are an aggressive driver. You should have no trouble getting 18-21 MPG empty. Find a good independent diesel shop and have them run a complete test on it.
  • codykcodyk Posts: 5
  • codykcodyk Posts: 5
    I don't mean to confuse you. I currently have a 5.9 gas magnum that I am geting that mileage with. I am trying to get a handle on best mpg in a diesel. Reading posts people are getting between 14-25 mpg even with the same model trucks.
  • malice1malice1 Posts: 3
    I got a Ram 1500 sport Ex-Cab. I want to get a Diesel truck fuel is cheaper and better milage than gas. Im just a daily driver dont tow anything just hall boards and sometimes garbage. Im Thinking of getting a ram 2500 diesel. Im looking to spend around 8 to 9k. What do you guys think? What would you get around that price thats reliabule.
  • blufz1blufz1 Posts: 2,045
    Do the math on how many miles you drive per year to see how much you can save. I would defer purchase 2 or 3 years till you can get a smaller diesel truck like a Tacoma. 8k buys a lot of gas. Hope this helps.
  • malice1malice1 Posts: 3
    Im 6'3 230lbs i dont fit in tacoma's all that well. My uncule has a 92 yota ex-cab v6 and he's getting 13 around town and 23 on high way. With numbers like that getting a diesel seems better. There's also bio-diesel stations starting to go up where im at to.
  • malice1malice1 Posts: 3
  • blufz1blufz1 Posts: 2,045
    Then just wait for a 1/2 ton diesel. The longer you can wait,the better the technology.
  • tent2tttent2tt Posts: 46
    I am trying to find a reliable truck with as good gas mileage as possible that can tow a maximum 5,500 lbs hard sided (not fold-down) travel trailer (that's the GVWR fully loaded up + 2 passengers) without overtaxing the engine going up hill and while still getting decent gas mileage towing and around town (particularly around town). Decent gas mileage to me is at least 20 mpg when not towing. I noticed that several versions of the Tacoma have a GVWR tow rating of 6,500 lbs, but no one seems to be using them for towing trailers--why is that, if the tow rating is that high? Would it overtax the Tacoma? I have seen one posting about using a Tundra for towing loads, but the gas mileage on the Tundra looks awful. Does anyone out there use have a Tundra for towing a travel trailer? If so, how much do you tow, how does it do uphill and what's the towing and non-towing real world mpg? Is it true that I should get a Dodge Ram 2500 with Cummins Turbocharged diesel instead? Which size engine should I get? I have seen numerous posts on travel trailer sites by people saying that they can get 20mpg empty and 11-15 mpg towing (heavier weights than my prospective TT) in their Dodge Ram TCD with the Cummins engine, but the overall reliablility of the Dodge, Ford and Chevys seems very worrisome compared with Toyotas great consumer report ratings and reliability reviews. This is a big purchase for me so I need a truck that will last and won't ned up having a ton of problems. I take very good care of my vehicles and I need a truck (or SUV) that I can take to travel on dirt roads, and that will be reliable, strong and get good gas mileage, especially when I drive it when I am not towing. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
  • If u plan to pull a tt over long distance u need to stay with the big 3 "Ford ,Chevy,Dodge,.
    if u want good mph go diesel. I get 19mph city 20.8 highway and 16 with a 6000# cattle trailer 15mph with a 20000# hay trailer,with a 2006 chevy 2500 6 speed
  • coontie57coontie57 Posts: 128
    I wrote a long message on this post two days back but an electric storm kept it from being sent. Oh well.!!

    Go diesel and you won't be sorry was the summary of my post that didn't make it. My 06 Chevy is great. The seats are very comfortable and the XM radio with Bose speakers are going to be hard to beat. I still have OnStar but will let it go in July.

    I have talked to many , many people/men and lots of them have 300K miles on their diesel pickups with no problem. Fords... Chevy...Dodge I doubt if a GAS Tundra can say that with 300K..

    20+mpg on the road is very doable. My truck now has 13K and I can just now see the MPG going up so the engine must be getting broken in... I still got right at 20 from the start.

    You won't be sorry getting the 6 speed transmission. I really like the way it brakes you on hills/mountains.

    I related a story of a trip I made in January returning from Greenville, NC on I 40 to Asheville, NC... I was crusing with the empty truck about 60-65mph and I had a Tundra pass me pulling a silver bullet camper (can't think of the brand name--Airstream??) all aluminum... When we got to a few little hills around Marion NC before hitting the MTNS of WNC I passed him again... still in cruise.. and we did that for 20-30 miles untill he hit OLD Fort Mtn (10 mile grade of 7%).. I never saw him again. I slowed down to 55-60 there as that's the speed limit.

    The moral of that story is don't buy something without enough punch to pull what you want to pull. Also I don't think its a good idea to pull at or near your MAX CGVW,,,, give your vehicle a break.. I pull a 11.5K camper and the vehicle is rated at 15500 lbs (as I recall).. The chevy handles it really well... 11.6+ mpg..
  • tent2tttent2tt Posts: 46
    Thank you both, coontie57 and farmerbrown for your input--it really helps to get specifics in terms of hill grade and mpg figures to understand how the gas and diesel differ in performance. I definitely do not want to be overtaxing my tow vehicle and crawling up hills when towing.

    I noticed that the Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins is now coming out with an additional component that allows it to meet 2010 emission standards too, which is important to me, so that may be the best choice, though I will certainly consider any of the other American brands that has a good reliability history. I will be doing a number of test drives this weekend! Happy Trails and thanks again!
  • advequityguyadvequityguy Posts: 138
    Dodge and Chevrolet are coming out with altered diesel engines because they have no choice. I wouldn't call either engine new, though.

    As of 1-1-07 (already come and gone), every diesel engine made for use in a pickup truck has to run on the new ultra low sulphur diesel fuel only, and has to have a particulate filter that burns the soot. All 3 manufacturers reacted in different ways.

    Ford went ahead and started manufacturing their new 6.4 diesel engine at the beginning of the year, which is why the 2008 Ford arrived a bit early.

    Chevy produced a large amount of their Isuzu diesels prior to 1-1-07 to be used in the production of their diesels for the forseeable future (manufacture date of the engine is the only thing that matters, not the manufacture date of the actual truck).

    Dodge produced a large amount of the 6 cylinder Cummins to last until they could modify it to meet the new requirements as well. Unlike Chevrolet though, rumor has it that with the required modifictions, Dodge is having power output issues with their modified Cummins.

    Anyhow, that's the story as I heard it.
  • tent2tttent2tt Posts: 46

    Thanks for the update. I hadn't heard about power issues with the new Cummins.

    Have been looking at downsizing our travel trailer size considerably to still be able to use a Nissan Frontier, because the diesel and other 1/2 tons just feel to big for our everyday needs. There are at least some very lightweight and towable TT brands that have excellent reliability ratings.

    For people who really need a huge work truck and greater tow capacity, I can completely understand why the diesels are the best way to go.

    I only hope that the gas engine manufacturers will work harder on increasing mpg--I believe the technology exists, just hasn't been introduced to the market yet.
  • coontie57coontie57 Posts: 128
    I went out car shopping today and went to the Toyota dealer locally to see the hybrid. While I waited for a salesman to show up I saw a nice shiny Tundra so I walked over and took a free look. It had the crew cab with 4 full doors, 4 x 4 and I can't remember what else... Seemed the box in the back was smallish but I didn't actually measure to see if it was 6.5 ft like the Chevy..but I was thinking 4 ft. What I did notice is the 5.7L engine and the window sticker at $42,5000 or so... and the 17 mpg highway.. No wonder they are offering discounts and such.

    As I see it with the Duramax I can beat that any day on the road mpg and I wouldn't consider pulling anything with much size with a 350 Chevy engine and that's what a 5.7L really is.. I should have taken a few extra moments and looked at the towing capacity but I didn't.

    Another real thing to consider is a person really doesn't know what he will be pulling in 3 years... 5 years etc.. My new bass boat is also quite heavy with 2 axles and I am glad I have the power I have. That poor Chevy stays hooked up to something heavy most of the time. It gets no break as they say.
  • blufz1blufz1 Posts: 2,045
    Consider an aluminum bass boat which would require a smaller motor and save weight. There's always somebody in an Allison that's faster. :)
  • nedzelnedzel Posts: 787
    A three-quarter ton truck with a diesel will surely pull a 5500 lb trailer. But that is extreme overkill, given that a Ford F150 will pull a 10,000 lb trailer. The diesel engine upgrade alone will cost you $6000 -- and that's just to go from a gas F250 to a diesel F250. The cost to go from a gas F150 to a diesel F250 is well beyond $6000. You can buy a whole lot of gas for $6000.
  • coontie57coontie57 Posts: 128
    You are right a 1/2 ton Chevy, Ford, or Dodge will certainly pull a 5500 lb trailer. My problem is I can't seem to figure out what I want 5 or so years from today. That and the reliability / longevity of a diesel makes sense to me. I like to think I can drive something for over 300,000 miles. That's what I was going for when I bought the 99 Ford 250 diesel but the transmission let me down. The engine was fine when I sold it at 109,000 but two transmissions later and I just had to go elsewhere..

    I still have my OLD 91 Chevy 1500 4 x 4 but I only got it in a V6... really silly of me.. I had a nice little aluminum boat and couldn't see getting a fiberglass but then a good deal came up and the little 6 cylinder had problems... The old Chevy now has 168,000 on her... I am going to keep it till I turn 200K and then say goodby... I do like the 8 ft bed for hauling sheetrock etc..
  • highndrihighndri Posts: 1
    I have a 01 tundra v8, 2wd and pull a 7200lb travel trailer. get 18mpg around town and hwy-- BUT only around
    6-8 mpgs towing the trailer depending on hills and my i dunnno ..I'm looking at diesels
  • johnminnjohnminn Posts: 52
    My neighbor and his boys have 3 dodge diesels and they have not had ONE single major engine problem.

    The oldest is a 1997. Next is a 2004 and now a 2007

    ALL 3 are still running and none has had a major problem except rust on the 1997 from the tons of salt they use on the highways around here.
    Jim pulls a heavy steel cattle trailer which holds up to 18 head.

    I JUST had to have a Ford (dumb jerk!) F350 with that "Wonderful" 6.0L diesel which has spent so many days in Ford shops that I have lost count. The head gaskets blew at 59,000 miles. They asked me what I wanted to do with it and I said (half joking) burn that pile of Cr__.
    The ABS system has failed from 2000 miles on and they can't seem to get it to work dependably. Now they say it is out of warranty so they won't fix that which they never did fix.

    Now that I have shifted my brain in gear, I am looking for Dodge 1 Ton.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077


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  • I had a 2005 Tundra and pulled a 5500# trailer, got 7 MPG. It really sucked. Now I have a 2007 Dodge Ram 2500 with the 5.9 diesel. I get 14 mpg loaded and it's not even broken in yet. I bought early so I could get the 5.9. They have a 6.4 but it's hasn't been proven yet. It should take a few years to get it tuned just right and to get the "after treatment device" to work properly. I would recommend the 5.9 or wait a couple years.
  • Want a import? Buy a Duramax,Chevy by powered Isuzu!
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