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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all I'm new to the forum and need some guidance.

So I know there are plenty of threads on this topic but I feel I need to specify my situation and get opinions from others.

I'm a senior in HS and looking for a truck. The biggest thing I'm looking for is longevity. I'm looking for a ram that's gonna last me out of college. I plan to buy something decent off the bat. So currently I have a 8,000 budget.

So my question is this; do I buy used a 1995-00 2nd Gen Cummins 2500 OR a used 03-08 hemi 2500.
The reason the Cummins is a thought is just the crazy life span the things have.
I'm also looking at hemis because they nicer and newer...I'm just concerned about how long the engine will last in those...mileage life. I plan to be religious with oil changes and taking care of the truck in general. So am I gonna get 100...200...300 thousand miles?
I do pull a trailer every now and then...maybe 1 time every 3 months. Typical a bobcat skid steer or scissor lifts.

Another aspect will be rust. I'm from Chicago so we have salt in the winter. So rusted will be more pervailent on the older 2nd gen trucks than the newer hemis.

So do I go for the Cummins or the hemi keeping mileage life and general truck life in mind.

Thank you in advance!!!
 

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I think you should go with the hemi. Unless you're going to be pulling heavy loads or doing lots of highway driving the diesel isn't the right choice. You can get good life out of either engine if you take care of it properly. Diesel engines are more expensive to maintain and repair. You can go to the parts store and compare prices of oil and fuel filters between the two engines. I was surprised when my brother told me how much he pays just for an oil change. His new deisel uses $60 oil filters plus 15 quarts of oil. My last truck was running strong with over 200k miles on it before I got a new one. I've heard of properly maintained gas engines going 3 times as far. Just find a good truck and take care of it.
 

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Since you said 5.9 its going to be a pre-emissions Cummins, which IMHO is the only diesel to buy. It will also deliver better mileage, however you'll probably break even on maintenance costs. Cummins has a million mile club for Ram owners; it will effectively last forever.


That said, there are 5.7 Hemis that have gone over 400,000 miles on the original transmission and over 500,000 miles on the original engine without a rebuild.

http://www.allpar.com/cotm/13/caldwell-ram.html

I prefer the simplicity of gas, so I would recommend the Hemi, but the 2nd gens are also one of my favorite trucks ever. IMHO you can't go wrong as long as everything checks out mechanically.

I would eventually like to add a 2nd gen 2500 with the 488 V10 to my garage-ideally an ext cab Sport in Intense Blue.
 

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Since you said 5.9 its going to be a pre-emissions Cummins, which IMHO is the only diesel to buy. It will also deliver better mileage, however you'll probably break even on maintenance costs. Cummins has a million mile club for Ram owners; it will effectively last forever.


That said, there are 5.7 Hemis that have gone over 400,000 miles on the original transmission and over 500,000 miles on the original engine without a rebuild.

http://www.allpar.com/cotm/13/caldwell-ram.html

I prefer the simplicity of gas, so I would recommend the Hemi, but the 2nd gens are also one of my favorite trucks ever. IMHO you can't go wrong as long as everything checks out mechanically.

I would eventually like to add a 2nd gen 2500 with the 488 V10 to my garage-ideally an ext cab Sport in Intense Blue.
Woah now, one second. Diesel is more simple than gas technically speaking, just saying....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for the input thus far! Something that's been mentioned is that it's more expensive to maintain a Diesel engine. Will it go down as often as the hemi or is this not able to be determined? Also I'll have to worry about more rust with the 2nd Gen. My huge thing on the purchase of a new truck is going to be longevity. I'd like to find something that I can be sure will last me at least 250,000. Thank you guys!!
 

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In my opinion, rust is your concern, not engines. You said you want it last you out of college - does that mean you only need it go 4-5 years until you are done college or you want to run it for 10 years post college? Makes a difference depending on the mileage you are talking about, because you won't be putting on 60,000mi a year while in college. But the body will keep rusting during that time. No matter what you do, you're buying a used vehicle that will have some rust to start with and it will only get worse.

Life changes a lot after college (read: wife, kids, moving, etc.). You may find that there are other drivers that steer you to getting something different. Just saying.

So buy the truck that is in the best shape. The power plant will undoubted last you as long as you need, regardless of your situation, but you won't want to drive a truck that looks like dog crap in 8 years. Also, if you want to sell in the future, value will be mostly based on looks at that point when it is 15+ years old.

Most guys like to work on engines and things mechanical and can put the time and effort into keeping a truck on the road. But they don't often get into repainting, replacing panels, body work, etc., as the value proposition just isn't there on a old truck that you only spent $8000 for in the first place. So start in a good place with the body and as long as the rest of the mechanicals check out - you're good to go.
 

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I see you are from Chicago, come out west and buy a relatively rust free truck. I grew up in Northern Ohio and couldn't see myself buying a $35,000 truck if I still lived in the Rustbelt. Living in Idaho, we have 40 year old trucks regularly seen as daily drivers.I would go with the Hemi. Diesels of that era have an unusually high pricetag for what you get.
 

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Honestly,....I don't think there is a bad choice. The older diesel hasn't been molested by the epa and they are the ones to own. The Hemi is strong and better off road power delivery. It's also easier to live with as a every day truck (warms up quicker, etc..) As mentioned, the Hemi will last a long time. The question is.....Do you want your truck to sound like a school bus or muscle car??? it's a win....win choice.
 

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Looking at Hemi 03 in that price still in decent shape.
 

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So I will add my two cents.

Lets just assume that you need/want/are going to buy a truck vs car. My opinion is to get the Hemi. How many miles would you have to drive to make up for the additional cost of the cummins to break even on the fuel savings? Whats the cost of maintenance and how does that effect a limited college budget? Repair cost outside of maintenance? etc...

Bottom line in my opinion, is the Hemi will be the better value over the long run with decreased maintenance and repair cost. As stated earlier the both trucks have the potential to go well over 300-500k if maintained well.
 

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The diesel is known for more longevity if that is your main concern and rust can be avoided if you can find a clean truck, and then maintain it. hauling the occasional trailer would be fine for either truck, but it sounds like those loads are going to be quite heavy, again in favor of the diesel. IMO the diesel would be the better choice for you. I would also look into what the price of fuel vs gas in your area, unless that is not a concern
 

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The truth is, your budget is pretty low to get a decent truck that is going to last you 6-8 years reliably. The second gen Cummins trucks have issues. Front suspensions need regular attention to avoid death wobble, the quad cabs develop sagging doors and transmissions are a major concern. Finding a good one around $8000 is going to be nearly impossible.

Getting into a third gen hemi truck is probably a little more feasible. I have found the quality of the third gens to be much better than the older trucks, it is a MUCH improved design. I had an '03 hemi 2500 for a while. I traded it back to the dealer 6-7 years ago with over 100k miles on it and they made it into a lot truck/snowplow/parts runner. I see it on the road to this day. The hemi is pretty gutless in 3rd gen 5.7 2500 form. It will do occasional work just fine but is not the best choice as a workhorse. Probably a better choice than a ratted out cummins 2nd gen though.

Both will seriously strain most college students budgets. Trying to maintain a budget HD truck while going to school seems like a mistake to me. The words Honda and Toyota come to mind as better college rides but I don't know the whole situation. Good Luck.
 

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The words Honda and Toyota come to mind as better college rides but I don't know the whole situation. Good Luck.

Unless you are looking for a truck
 

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Unless you are looking for a truck
I have 19 yr old twins. My daughter wants/needs a truck because she trains horses. Unfortunately she doesn't make the money to get a good reliable truck. My son is in a similar situation in the Marines, limited income at low rank. He would love a Cummins but that is a risky game in the $8000 price range.

Why do you NEED a truck. It is a luxury unless you make a living with it. It is an expensive luxury at that. Old trucks require repairs. Do you have $1200 to do the front ball joints handy? About the same for set of tires. If you lose a transmission it is a lot more than that.

My advice to my kids is to suck it up and drive whatever hoopdie you can afford until you build a little income and credit and afford something truly capable and reliable. I do not think an $8000 2nd gen cummins is a good bet. The $8000 3rd gen hemi is better but could still leave you will any and or all of the repairs listed and then some. If you are a good wrench with tools and a garage you stand a better chance but few college kids have that handy.

$6000 Tacoma? It isn't pulling a bobcat but almost a truck... Get a car. Rent a truck on weekends for paying jobs.
 

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I have 19 yr old twins. My daughter wants/needs a truck because she trains horses. Unfortunately she doesn't make the money to get a good reliable truck. My son is in a similar situation in the Marines, limited income at low rank. He would love a Cummins but that is a risky game in the $8000 price range.

Why do you NEED a truck. It is a luxury unless you make a living with it. It is an expensive luxury at that. Old trucks require repairs. Do you have $1200 to do the front ball joints handy? About the same for set of tires. If you lose a transmission it is a lot more than that.

My advice to my kids is to suck it up and drive whatever hoopdie you can afford until you build a little income and credit and afford something truly capable and reliable. I do not think an $8000 2nd gen cummins is a good bet. The $8000 3rd gen hemi is better but could still leave you will any and or all of the repairs listed and then some. If you are a good wrench with tools and a garage you stand a better chance but few college kids have that handy.

$6000 Tacoma? It isn't pulling a bobcat but almosdt a truck... Get a car. Rent a truck on weekends for paying jobs.
Yes to all the above 100%, truck parts are 3-4x the cost of even something like my jeep to buy and unless you know how to fix everything yourself the labor times are far worse than other vehicles. Even knowing how to do all repairs yourself you will be shocked how much just the parts cost.
 

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Power train doesn't matter...

Power train aside, buy the 3rd generation truck. Dodge pickups have always been known to have stout power trains as reliable as the competition, but the rest of the truck was crap. I have 2000 Ram 2500 with the Cummins at work with ~75K on the odometer, it's become too much of a rattle trap for me to recommend someone buying a similar used one. Steering is awful, more like herding than driving. Foam is about shot in the seats. The 3rd generation Ram was Daimler's first attempt at producing a truck with the fit, finish and overall build quality approaching Ford and GM. In the long run, I think you'll be happier with the 3rd generation for the years you plan on keeping it.
 

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in the 8000.00 price range, i think most of the cummins would be past the 250000 mile mark. imho, repairs throughout the truck are likely.
 
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