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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been working on my dad to get a diesel for what has to be coming up on a year now and it sounds like we might actually do it. I'm now working at a local diesel magazine (Diesel Tech) as an intern, and from the sounds of it, I could turn this puppy into a project truck and get free, or nearly free parts for the truck. In in the article I'm going to write, I'm pitching it as the Everyman's truck. Something that's not going to break the bank, is reliable, and has plenty of potential to become a decent towing rig. We're not talking 1000 horsepower sled pull truck, just something to tow our snowmobiles and boat well.

So, after considering the options, we're going to sell my truck and buy another 2nd gen, just with a Cummins. Dad wants the quad cab 24 valve so that cuts it down to 1998.5-2002.

Now, I know you can't go too terribly wrong with a Cummins, and I'm fairly new to diesel scene, but that's why I have this website. I'm just trying to get a feel for what years were good or bad from 1998-2002. It would be an automatic too, so if there's a good/bad year for the 4-speed autos?

Thanks all! I know my way around Ram's, but I'm pretty clueless when it comes to diesels.
 

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I like the 12 valve best. You can get a 12 valve in a quad cab in 1998.5 but they're hard to find. 12 valves are very easy to add HP to, either with fuel stops plates or injectors or a combo of the two. You can gain a lot with just the fuel stop plate though. I just sold my 96 that I owned for 13 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's what I was thinking too. The 12's seem to be a solid engine and are relatively cheap. I've found a 1996 with 157K miles that's a couple hours drive. He's got a new front axle, 380 horse injectors, #10 fuel plate, and rebuilt fuel pump. The only problem (and somewhat of a blessing) is that it won't shift out of 2nd. From the sounds of it, the problem is most likely the clutch, but i don't know if the guy went to a shop to find that out or if he's just guessing. So I'm not sure what kind of cash I'm going to have to fork out for that repair. For all i know I might have to replace the who tranny. (If i did I'd put in a newer five-speed. I haven't heard too many good things on the 4-speed Cummins trannies)

With the front axle rebuild, he doesn't have the money to make the repairs, so he's selling it at a reasonable $5500. He's also willing to take offers, so I could probably talk him down a bit if i found that the repair was going to get pricey.
 

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Best thing to do would see if you can get a new tranny subsidized by the magazine and do a install write up on it, there are several aftermarket trannies available for the 2nd gen oil burners. If it's stick, then you can easily do the job yourself and save money, but if it's one of the autos, then I highly recommend getting a new aftermarket one.

I'm a fan of the 24V if you're not willing to step into the 3rd gen body style (you can't beat an '06-'07.5 5.9L IMHO) for their sheer mod-ability and capability of making big numbers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It's an auto, and yes I would get the tranny subsidized by the magazine if I could. Not sure though.

I would go with a 24v, but they're out of my price range. I'm upgrading my current truck and need to keep the price as close to the selling price of my truck as I can. I figured I could get at least 4 grand out of my truck, so paying a grand for a truck that would then get hopped up by the magazine is not a bad deal at all.
 

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There is no "clutch" in an automatic. There are clutch packs that lock up depending on what gear is needed. Usually 1st and reverse share a clutch pack, just reverse engages a band to lock up a drum to cause things to spin in the opposite direction. If you're stuck in 2nd there is either a valvebody issue or a hard part is broken jamming up things.

I personally don't like the 24V, I'd rather hunt more and find a nice 98.5 with a 12V. They're very easy to work and no computers to control the actual engine functions. My brother has a 24V and has sank a lot of money into lift pumps and injector pumps. My 96 with a 12V had way more miles than his and never had any pump issues. Throwing in a fuel stop plate to increase power in a 12V is really a pretty simple job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well. I missed my chance on the 96. School shoved it to the back of my mind, and my dad has been on travel a lot. But what's new . . .

I found a 97 RCLB 12v that looks cleaner than my current truck from the pictures. For having 180K miles, it doesn't show. He's owned it since it was new, and claims to have the original dealer spec sticker on the window.

I've noticed that in my area, people are asking about 2 grand more than what these trucks blue book for. He wants $6,900 for a truck that books at $5,500 in excellent condition, which a truck that old will never be.

The only problem is that it's a regular cab, which will help with the price, but won't help when it comes to fitting the four of us in the family. :(
 
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