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  #1  
Old 08-27-2013, 09:19 PM
heathmo heathmo is offline
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Default Looking to buy a Ram

I don't officially own a Ram yet but I'm looking to purchase one as my next truck. I have been looking very hard for a new to me truck to replace my 99 Explorer Sport. My family is outgrowing it and it'd be nice to have a truck bed for all the DIY home and lawn repairs.

I tried to post before but I don't know if I didn't save it right or what. My dad has an '04 Ram 2500 Quad Cab Short Bed CTD and it has the AntiSpin (Detroit TrueTrac) and 4x4. The previous owner also looks like he added an extra transmission cooler and oil cooler or an additional radiator (not sure on the second one). He was a construction worker and this was the foreman truck. My dad used it to tow a his friend's 32' Scarab and his Kubota a few times, as well as some loads of dirt and things like that. This truck has 253,000 miles on it right now and I know the CTD can go at least 350,000. My concern is with the rest of the truck.

I've had the transmission rebuilt on my Explorer already at 120,000 miles and I've managed to keep it alive up to 160,000 miles now. It needs work but for the most part mechanically and the important safety parts are all in good shape.

I'm not sure that I NEED a 3/4 ton truck for a family of 4 plus a dog that likes to camp and fish and do our own household repairs and some day go boating, but I wonder if it's a deal I shouldn't pass on since it is below KBB. Or if I should keep my eyes peeled for a low mileage Ram 1500. The thing is that I'm picky and it has to be quad cab, short bed, 4x4 and have at least a limited slip rear. Most of the HEMI Quad Cab 4x4s here have at least 100,000 miles if not more and are going for nearly $15,000. I found a few with less at about 60-70,000 miles and some around 90-120,000 miles. I really want something that won't nickel and dime me to death and I won't be needing to work on every weekend. Reliable daily driver. Work is only about 10 miles from home.

Really looking for some advice from some owners that know more than I do. Thank you in advance for any information.
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  #2  
Old 08-28-2013, 02:44 AM
richmond richmond is offline
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Default Family of 4

Look for a 1500 Hemi in the 80,000 mile range (crew cab has more kid room in the back). I just saw a post tonight of an 03 Hemi that just hit 280,000 miles.

I just picked one up (4wd) for the wife to run back and forth between KY & NC in the 120,000 mile range (05).

I believe you can find one at a reasonable price, but have a good mechanic check it out to give you the thumbs up. R...
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:55 AM
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When I think of a quarter million miles I think Diesel.
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  #4  
Old 08-30-2013, 02:21 PM
Spike Spike is offline
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OK...I have been almost exactly where you are. I ended up buying my uncle's '95 Dodge 1 ton dually, 2wd that towed a BIG travel trailer its whole life. He took care of the truck like a child, but it had 200k on the clock when I bought it from him. To clarify, it was a diesel automatic and I had no use at all for a 1 ton truck. But, I knew the owner, the price was right, and it had a new tranny at 180k.

I have a family of 4 with 2 dogs and go camping and such often. It worked great for that and is the reason why I bought another RAM. Nothing beats a 4 door truck for that stuff.

Here is where I give you advice.
It was a good truck and I put about 50k miles on it before selling BUT, parts for heavy duty, especially diesel trucks are VERY expensive. You will need to replace parts along way such as a lift pump, sensors, bearings, breaks, etc... and they are expensive compared to the 1/2 ton versions. To give you an idea, I had the 12v Cummins and it is much, much more simple than the one in the '04. The lift pump cost me $800 but for the 24v, double that. I had to replace the battery cables from the starter to both batteries because it was just worn though, $140 for parts and I did it all myself. An oil change is $75 and it goes on. So, double the cost of maintenance or more.

So yes, the engine is bullet proof but the parts and accessories are mucho expensive as compared to a gas engine. But, they do tend to outlast the gas versions.

Would I do it again? Well, I think so but only because I knew the owner and got the truck so cheap. If more parts had of failed along the way, it would have very quickly been a terrible mistake.

First off, I would want to know if the transfer case, transmission and / or the diffs had been rebuilt and at what mileage. If they have not, then the choice is clear...don't buy it. Unless, of course, you plan on keeping it for a decade or something and the price is really cheap or you or your brother is a mechanic.
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  #5  
Old 08-30-2013, 11:05 PM
richmond richmond is offline
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Default Interesting

Interesting response. I too still own a 12 valve 2wd and a 24 valve 4x4 and the 24 valve is my main hauler. The expense is much greater on the 24 valve, I just rebuilt the automatic to the tune of $2,400 including torque converter (cheaper in the country, 1 year warranty though).

I decided to tackle a Hemi but without the MDS (05). It is a 4x4 crew
cab and I want the wife to be safe while traveling state to state plus have the option of towing a U-Haul trailer back up the mountains.
I put Firestone Destination AT's on it because of winter driving conditions.

I'd take the diesel anywhere but I don't let her drive the 2500. The 12 valve has 280,000 + miles on it so I keep it close to home. The Hemi 1/2 ton met my needs. As for off roading, I keep old faithful around (a 98 1500 quad 4x4). Best of luck on your purchase. R...

Last edited by richmond; 08-30-2013 at 11:07 PM. Reason: Got to figure out margins
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  #6  
Old 09-03-2013, 09:32 PM
heathmo heathmo is offline
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Default Great advice

Thank you for the advice. I suppose at this point I'm just waiting for tax time to find out for sure what's going to be available to me. I'm going to need the new truck before the baby is born because the 'ol Explorer is rattling away.

Gotta say I loved the room and smoothness to the 2500 Cummins. If I assume correctly the 1500 interior is pretty similar. MPG is something that I'm prepared for but of course it is of concern. My 99 Explorer Sport doesn't really get great mileage and I'm assuming at this point it's averaging approximately 12.5 MPG. So based on what I've seen the RAM would actually be an improvement at what I saw average about 14 MPG for the 1500 HEMI combined. Even though the Explorer was supposed to get 16 combined. And I did stuff to make it better, not worse.

I know for sure I don't want cylinders shutting down in my engine, just don't trust that to be a good thing. Have a mechanic buddy that said it just causes a new set of headaches. Could be wrong but I heard a lot of people end up preventing the engine from doing that and it doesn't really end up that effective unless you're basically coasting.

Spike, what did you get for yourself after the truck from your uncle?
In response to your questions that you would ask. I know that the transmission has not been rebuilt since my dad got it, don't know when he did. He says it's never been rebuilt. He has had to add fluid from the few times where he didn't drive it for a while and the tq converter drained back to the pan. I know it has an extra transmission cooler installed in front of the factory one as well as an additional radiator (I think). The owner before my dad used it as his foreman truck. It also has an extra switch in the dash that neither one of us has figured out yet.

So if 1500 would be a better bet for a do-it-yourself homeowner that only drives 14 miles round trip most days and occasionally uses it for more (camping, fishing, towing a maybe 22' boat tops), I actually have some questions about the 1500 HEMI. How many come with Anti-Spin/Limited Slip and are these more like TrueTrac (worm gear) or standard clutch type?

I ask mostly because of how hard it is to find one that they actually have everything I want - Hemi, 4x4, quad cab and limited slip. Honestly if it's easy and reliable enough I could even deal with adding a lunchbox locker, been using the Aussie locker in my Explorer and can handle the squirminess. Oh yeah, and not have a ridiculous number of miles.
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  #7  
Old 09-03-2013, 09:54 PM
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i will have to agree with spike. i had a similar situation. i found a super nice 2003 f350 king ranch turbo diesel it was lifted 4x4 a killer stereo 4 door long bed the works with 88k miles for $14k. to me the deal was to good to pass up especially since similar ones with more miles and not king ranch were going for $24k. so i bought it the reason it was so cheap was the check engine light was on for this sensor that was easy to replace but ran me $300. i honestly wish it stopped there. about twice a month, and im not joking, i was having to put over $1500 just in parts into it with me doing the work which was not easy. what they say about diesels lasting forever is true especially in the cummins. however i feel as though thats only applied to the block and internals as well as the tranny diff and transfer case. when a part does decide to fail its not cheap nor is it easy, well at least its not easy on the ford, cummins at least are an inline engine so theres more room to work. what i personally would do is if its way below blue book try getting it for the least amount possible then turn around and sell it for more then you paid for it. luckily its a cummins which is a highly desired truck. after you sell it take your profit and put it down on a new hemi ram or slightly used one with a warranty. im not just saying this because i own a new hemi ram. im saying this because after owning two rams i stand behind them 100% on top of that the security you get with having a warranty is second to none. hope my opinion helps.
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Old 09-03-2013, 10:02 PM
heathmo heathmo is offline
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Default

Not a terrible idea Brandon. I'll have to consider that.
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Old 09-03-2013, 10:14 PM
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as far as the hemi ram i avg 17 city and on a long drive ive seen up to 23 highway for a truck the 09+ rams get great mpg in my opinion plus they have tons of balls to pass yahoos going 45 on a 2 lane highway where the speed limit is 60. god i hate those ppl lol.
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Old 09-03-2013, 10:37 PM
richmond richmond is offline
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Default I agree with all

Note if your going to try and flip a diesel 2004/5 are best years and below book is the 3500. The 2500's are at a premium. The 3500's are for the select buyer (IMHO), but seldom turned up for black smoke/hot rodding.
The 3500's don't have many ball joint issues and they're not generally used for off road, nor sled pulling. Additional gauges are usually for tranny and pressure. Dad taught me this one when he first started bidding NC state vehicles. You can pickup fleet service vehicles and sell the utility bed, then take the cab and chassis to a fabricator (there's one in Kentucky called Fabco and they'll do you an aluminum flat bed with a flip up goose neck ball and hole mounts for a 5th wheel).

As for the Hemi Rams listen to your friends and go after a 1500 with low miles and a transferable warranty. Dealer lots in the first quarter are good for bargain hunting also. Got a military friend (try USAA.com classifieds on line, they're free for members). Interesting post.

Note, I don't post photos of my flips. You're just a short holder of the title. Also, my state offers expedited titles for a $25 fee (3 days vs. 6 weeks from state transportation office). Good luck on your endeavor.

R...
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