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Hey Ram community! New member, but long time reader on the forums! I have an interesting question and I don't know where to turn. I currently have a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500. 2WD, clean from Florida about 4-5 years ago. I live in Western New York where snow does fall. We don't get as much as the Buffalo region but a decent amount on storms. Anyhow, I have owned my truck since I was a Junior in high school. Got a job, paid my truck off in little over a year. I don't have mods wrapped into my truck at the moment but with me getting out of racing dirt bikes, I would like to give ol' red some lovin'.

Truck has a 5.7L Hemi (yeah buddy!) with 120k miles. Transmission shifts just as it walked off the showroom floor.


Its starting to get the typical Dodge wheel well rust, and spreading. Has rust on the cab corners, rockers, and a little starting on the tailgate. Frame is really clean, just a little rust from being in the NY snow.

For the life of me I cannot find a Dodge bed for my truck. I can't get patch panels because the rust is above were they would eliminate the rust and its spreading to the filler neck :sad:

I'm currently 20 years old. I commute to collage and back (20 miles one way) and currently work a full time job as well. I have minimal bills as well.

I was thinking of getting a car, and only bringing my truck out in the Spring/Summer/Fall months. I would get all the rust fixed with new panels, and plan on lifting it a little with bigger tires.

I was also thinking of saving my money, and trading the truck in for a good down payment on a newer 4x4 Dodge.

I know with it only being a 2wd it isn't really worth investing a lot into the truck but I see a lot of 2WD's with money in them and look really good. I don't off-road my truck, I actually baby it to be honest.

I'm just looking for some opinions and thank you guys in advanced!

Here she is!

Hemi.jpg
 

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Thanks for the sites, definitely will look into these sites if I keep my truck!:smileup:
 

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If you do end up getting the rust repaired then I'd get the insides of the panels bedlined or something. I know you guys up North accept rust on body panels as normal but if I had it on mine I'd replace the panels ASAP. Looking around Craigslist I come across many used vehicles that the owner believes to have "minimal rust" but as soon as I see perforation I consider it a rusty bucket of ****
 

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In my humble opinion ;)

Finish school, Save up your $. Sell your '03 yourself just before
you pull the trigger on a newer 4X4.
 

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If you do end up getting the rust repaired then I'd get the insides of the panels bedlined or something. I know you guys up North accept rust on body panels as normal but if I had it on mine I'd replace the panels ASAP. Looking around Craigslist I come across many used vehicles that the owner believes to have "minimal rust" but as soon as I see perforation I consider it a rusty bucket of ****
Yup.....rust is pure evil. I can't find a new bed myself so I have resorted to accepting the fact I will just have to deal with a non-OEM replacement bedside.
 

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Drive it until the wheels fall off and it's worth zero. It's an older truck that you can beat up, put a lot of miles on, and not worry about a nick in the paint. You will always need to haul something, tow something, etc. the rest of your life, it's nice to have an older truck. Those of us that have new expensive trucks worry about every little ding and dent. You have a " I don't worry too much about it" truck, plus you can work on it. New is nice, no doubt about it, but unless you can not feel the purchase financially, wait for a nicer vehicle. You can buy a new car any day of the week but then the monthly payments start. Your truck looks like a keeper BTW.
 

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In my humble opinion ;)

Finish school, Save up your $. Sell your '03 yourself just before
you pull the trigger on a newer 4X4.
Coming from someone who recently went through an intense (financially and time wise) program...This is good advice.

You may even want to consider selling it now and buying a cheaper ride (gas wise) while you're in school. Definitely having a car loan in school is something you DO not want.

Once you're out working for a few months it won't take long full time at a higher salary to buy a much nicer truck than you're in now. :smileup: Your priority should be school, food, and sleep. In that order :)
 

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Drive it until the wheels fall off and it's worth zero. It's an older truck that you can beat up, put a lot of miles on, and not worry about a nick in the paint. You will always need to haul something, tow something, etc. the rest of your life, it's nice to have an older truck. Those of us that have new expensive trucks worry about every little ding and dent. You have a " I don't worry too much about it" truck, plus you can work on it. New is nice, no doubt about it, but unless you can not feel the purchase financially, wait for a nicer vehicle. You can buy a new car any day of the week but then the monthly payments start. Your truck looks like a keeper BTW.
This. You won't get as much money for the truck compared to the value it is giving you now. So any type of replacement will just cost you more in the end. Wrench on it, do some small mods that keep you interested, but pick your battles. Expect in 3-5 years, you may need to move on to something else (and at that time, you may financially be able to look at more options). Also, keep in mind, that you are going through a time in your life where your priorities and focus and interest will change a lot in the next 5 years. Graduation, first job, relocation, possible marriage, mortgage, etc.? Enjoy your truck now and see what's important to you in a few years. Obviously, just my opinion - but in my case, in the span of 4 years, I got married, bought a house, moved across the country, had 3 kids, and changed jobs. Never could have predicted how my life would have changed prior to those 4 years.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Drive it until the wheels fall off and it's worth zero. It's an older truck that you can beat up, put a lot of miles on, and not worry about a nick in the paint. You will always need to haul something, tow something, etc. the rest of your life, it's nice to have an older truck. Those of us that have new expensive trucks worry about every little ding and dent. You have a " I don't worry too much about it" truck, plus you can work on it. New is nice, no doubt about it, but unless you can not feel the purchase financially, wait for a nicer vehicle. You can buy a new car any day of the week but then the monthly payments start. Your truck looks like a keeper BTW.
Thank you for the comment! She's definitely a keeper in my opinion and your opinion is definitely right. I don't really want to buy a car with a loan just yet, with school and everything. I might just save money to buy a cheap car outright for transportation so the hemi can be built to my liking.
 

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If I do decide to keep the truck, I will be getting the panels replaced. I heard of Fiberwerx panels for the fenders and bedsides. With NY and the salt, I really don't want to get steel panels and have the possibility of the rust to begin again.

How do you guys feel about the Fiberwerx panels? I like the look, I think its unique!
Fiberglass has positives and negatives as well.

If I get the OE replacement panels, any recommendations for undercoating (brand, type, frequency, etc.)
 
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