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tdub2112 12-03-2011 08:41 PM

Lookin' at a pair of 2003's
So now that we got our 1800 mile trek down to California out of the way in our POS Yukon XL, truck talks are back on in the house. The only problem is that my dad wants a 3rd gen Cummins for around 15K.

I've found one in the area that is right in the price ball park. 2003 QC short box with 120K miles, bone stock 5.9 24v with an auto tranny (don't know if it's a five or a six speed) the seller wants $15,500.

So I'm not a diesel nut, but do know a bit about them, just not what engine prefers what tranny or programmer and all that good stuff. But that's why I have you guys.

Did the 2003's come with a 5 or a 6 speed AUTO tranny? My friend has a 4-speed Manual in their '99 and they don't like the stock shift points. He says the five speeds are the best. I can't tell what the trucks have just from the pics and descriptions. Is there any way to tell at all?

Anything i should be worried about the 2003's, or if the truck is reaching 150K miles like this one?

I have a feeling that it's going to take some easing into this on my dad's part, so mods are going to be down the road, and this truck seems like a great place to start.

Thanks all!

06rammer 12-05-2011 08:49 PM

yep got your ball buster right here. 2003 was the worst year for the third gen commonrail automatic transmissions. they slip, the valve bodies have problems, torque converters are bad, yeaaa etc. and the autos I think are 4-speeds, but I'm not sure. sense you said it has 150k, that thing has been threw maybe 1-3 trannys.:str:

Old Dodger 12-05-2011 10:25 PM

Welcome to the forum. If it has been through "1to3" tranies, hopefully the payer choose by now to upgrade to a stronger unit before forking out anymore dough. JM2C

Stangshcky12 12-06-2011 12:22 AM

Auto trannies and stick front end components were th down fall of that year
My buddy has an 03 3500 CTD with a 6 speed manual with 265k miles on it. Hasn't had many problems with it past general maintenance

06rammer 12-08-2011 01:03 AM

yea some people are real stupid and just keep putting stock trannies there cause there the "cheapest"

tdub2112 12-08-2011 10:26 PM

Hahaha wow. Sounds like it's a good thing It's only 15 grand. Well I'll have to talk with the dad, and then get the approval of mom. Mom's going to be the real trouble in this. hahaha I still love her though.

dodge man 12-09-2011 01:55 PM

Yeah, all 4 speed autos that year. At some point, they switched to the 48RE which was a better tranny. I thought that was during the 2003 model year, but I can't tell you when that happened.

06rammer 12-10-2011 02:50 PM

well I know in 2004.5 the boosted the engine to 325hp from 305hp, and from 555tq to 610tq so the transmissions have been upgraded. still didnt know the 03's where 4 speeds. but I know the 48re's are 5-speed automatics. good luck with the trucks

GTyankee 12-10-2011 04:38 PM
2003 cummings diesel according to SAM

2003 options
Three variations of the venerable 5.9-liter I-6 Cummins turbodiesel motivate the HD. A standard output model produces 250 horsepower/460 lb-ft of torque through an NV4500 HD five-speed manual or 47RE or 48RE four-speed automatic. Next up is the High Output, common-rail-injected 305-horsepower packing 555 lb-ft of mammoth torque. It boasts a 350K miles-to-overhaul interval. To harness that much power, Dodge pairs this engine with the NV5600 six-speed manual, replete with a 5.71:1 granny first gear (a heavy-duty version of the four-speed automatic will see its way to the HO diesel by mid-2003). With California's stricter diesel-emission requirements, residents of the Golden State have a right to feel neglected, as they're offered only the leftovers from last year: the 235-horse 460 lb-ft version of the low-pressure

Read more:

The 2004 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty now offered a new 48RE automatic tranmission, expanding the capability of the Cummins High Output Turbo Diesel. Built to a durability test aimed directly at commercial customer use, the Ram Heavy Duty was tested in conditions ranging from -40F to +50F and running the equivalent of 150,000 miles at 95 percent of their on-the-job abuse level.

350,000 miles is what the Cummings engine can do before a rebuild, if it was properly maintained.
after rebuilding it a couple times, it can be re-sleeved & start all over again

tdub2112 12-11-2011 07:32 PM

Well i found a couple Cummins in at the 15K mark that are 04's and sounds like they have the beefier 48RFE in them (i thought they did that upgrade in 03, but I've been wrong before)

One of them is that yummy flame red color too. Me likey.

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