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What to look for in used Diesel trucks?

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I have been tossing around the idea of selling my 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 Hemi for a 2004-2008 Dodge Ram 2500 Diesel (5.9L). I won't be pulling a lot, but maybe a 2 horse slant load trailer 3 times a year and 1 dirt bike to the track on the weekends. I know what to look for in a gas truck, engine wise, but when it comes to diesels, it's a new game. What should I look for when shopping around? I do know, like a dirtbike, to stay away from the hopped up trucks w/ large amount of aftermarket parts. lol

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the cummins is awesome. nothing to really worry about regarding that. with the dodge drive line you have to watch the u joints. when the u joints start going out you will get a slight vibration. you have to change them immediately or it cracks the transmission case.

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Personally, I would stay away from anything that has had a programmer, no matter how small. This is a recipe for trouble, looks like in your post though you are aware of it.

If your after the Cummins I would look for the 6 speed, cut out the cat and muffler and throw on an intake.

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make sure the truck is COMPLETELY STOCK!!!!!!!

you DO NOT want ANY modifications!!!!!!!

CRF450XNUT has basically got the rest.

have fun, i would love to get one of those trucks

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I think it was 07.5 they started the 6.7, it has a TON of emissions junk on it. Crazy really. I may be wrong on the start date.

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I think it was 07.5 they started the 6.7, it has a TON of emissions junk on it. Crazy really. I may be wrong on the start date.

I think you are right? But, my budget allows for up to a 2006. :thumbsup:

Thanks for the replies everyone!

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Why do you want to stay away from a diesel that has been programmed? Does it really mess with the engine or put uneeded/unwanted stress on the truck?

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Creates excess exhaust heat, especially if they did not have guages to watch their EGT's. It usually also means that it has been floor boarded more than once most likely. It just screams "I've been abused!"

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I think you are right? But, my budget allows for up to a 2006. :thumbsup:

Thanks for the replies everyone!

No worries, your OP says 2004-2008.

As far as mods, if it just had an exhaust on it I wouldnt worry to much. A tuner in some cases can easily add 250hp or even more depending on other add ons. I would get as close to stock as possible if it were me, stock height too. All kinds of lifted vehicles out there that arent safe to drive, IMO.

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you must remember diesels cost more for maintenance.. more oil, bigger filters, & the fuel filters MUST be changed more often than recomended due to shitty fuel.. you dont want to pay for an injector job.. repairs are very costly.. someone mention about not buying a truck with mods, or a tuner.. thats good & bad advice.. good if you are buying from a younger guy.. my opinion is the younger guys will hot rod them.. i'm 55 yrs. old , i drive a f-350 crewcab 4x4 .. it has a tuner , thats never been used except on the economy setting & to set the speedo to my tire size ..if i tow i reset to stock .. a turbo back tuned exhaust & a cold air intake is smart money spent .. a cummins is a good motor, but each brand is what it is.. a 7.3 powerstroke is the king of the hill , the 6.0 strokes like i have are good , super powerful, but require certain mods , for a long life.. a lil' cash spent now saves you a load later.. so mods arent always bad, sometimes just smart.. i have whats called a bullet proof powerstroke 6.0 .. the 6.4's are just poor on fuel mileage & require certain mods.too after warranty is up also.. dodge & chevy have their downfalls too.. its all in what you want & how you handle caring for it.. most guys who dont pull alot would be better off with a 3/4 ton truck with a gas motor .. diesels just arent for everyone.. the smallest shop bill can be from 1500.00 to 4000.00 on any brand.. a newwer truck bought from a dealership thats still under warrany would be expected to not have any mods. or few at best .. like a gas motor guys will add exhaust & such to diesels also.. so all mods. arent bad.. i would size the previous owner up regardless.. a pure stock truck can be abused too.. a young guy with lifts, tuners, & other mods. strictly for performance i'd beware of.. lifts ruin you tow capacities.. if you run across a guy like myself , its fairly obvious i modified things for the good of my truck.. not to hot rod it.. cummins has massive electric & sensor issues.. like ford issues, its all because of what the manufacturer added on to meet emmissions .. most duramax owner like the duramax , but like most other gm diesels it is what it is.. i'd say not good, but not bad.. cummins has been around forever.. the base motor is very good..

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You want a stock truck. Ones with programmers, exhaust etc you can expect them to be used and abused...Thats just how i feel. I want a duramax some day but when i'm going on craigslist i look for the stock ones...as soon as i see "chip added for fuel mileage"...yeah ill take a stock one.

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You want a stock truck. Ones with programmers, exhaust etc you can expect them to be used and abused...Thats just how i feel. I want a duramax some day but when i'm going on craigslist i look for the stock ones...as soon as i see "chip added for fuel mileage"...yeah ill take a stock one.

most smart sellers will never mention they chipped it.

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I wouldn't be so afraid of a modded truck, as I would a seller who doesn't know the ill effects of the mods he put on. I know you're after a Cummins, and I'm more of a 7.3, so i can't offer any better advice than some of the guys here, but a 12v or CR would have been my 2nd choice to a 7.3.

With that said, bigger injectors, intake, exhaust, tuning, etc. My truck is more powerful, fuel efficient, and due to those and other reliability upgrades makes me feel my truck is more reliable now than when I picked it up bone stock almost two years ago. In other words, if the guy upgrading/modding it does his research and understands the pro's and con's of changing things, then chances are it has been treated better than someone who slaps a stack kit on it, Bullydog crap and lugs the piss out of it to smoke out everyone in sight, a.k.a., an idiot.

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listen to the guys that dont own diesels .. they know far more about them than the 2 of us replying who do own them know.. geeze .. like i said you may want to consider a 3/4 ton gas burner.. diesels dont get better mileage compared to gas as folks think.. the maintennce is more costly.. in genral they arent for everyone.. the replies here attest to that..

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listen to the guys that dont own diesels .. they know far more about them than the 2 of us replying who do own them know.. geeze .. like i said you may want to consider a 3/4 ton gas burner.. diesels dont get better mileage compared to gas as folks think.. the maintennce is more costly.. in genral they arent for everyone.. the replies here attest to that..

are you inferring I don't own diesels?

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No worries, your OP says 2004-2008.

As far as mods, if it just had an exhaust on it I wouldnt worry to much. A tuner in some cases can easily add 250hp or even more depending on other add ons. I would get as close to stock as possible if it were me, stock height too. All kinds of lifted vehicles out there that arent safe to drive, IMO.

This, so many ****ing half assed lifts out there that if they hit a pot hole on the freeway would collapse, hell theres whole threads on serious off roading sites dedicated to those vehicles. Ive been a part of building 2 rangers one of which competed and finished the B1K in the sportsman class and am currently building a second one to get there and actually compete in it. Body lifts and most custom fab job lifts are way too dangerous and Im not sure why they are still legal.

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listen to the guys that dont own diesels .. they know far more about them than the 2 of us replying who do own them know.. geeze .. like i said you may want to consider a 3/4 ton gas burner.. diesels dont get better mileage compared to gas as folks think.. the maintennce is more costly.. in genral they arent for everyone.. the replies here attest to that..

I would say the ratio of dumbass diesel owners would be pretty similar to dumbass gas car owners and there sure are a hell of a lot of those. It is pretty sound advice to tell someone to be cautious of chipped vehicles, just as someone who was looking at a gasser with a turbo or supercharger should also be wary. Chips can add TONS of power for little money but all that power comes at a cost. Parts are going to wear or break sooner, theres just no way around that. While you use yourself as an example of someone who only chipped for mileage I could name of 3 out of 5 diesel owners I know who chipped for power and the other 2 havent even done that yet but occasionally talk about it. Its also a good thing my dad is being smart about it as he does get a little happy with the gas pedal and stopping a 9k pound vehicle is no joke.

I think it bothers him my little Ranger with a 3.0 runs up with him until I finally start getting slowed by the horrible aerodynamics of my truck. If I had a 4.0 it would be no contest.

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you must remember diesels cost more for maintenance.. more oil, bigger filters, & the fuel filters MUST be changed more often than recomended due to shitty fuel.. you dont want to pay for an injector job.. repairs are very costly.. someone mention about not buying a truck with mods, or a tuner.. thats good & bad advice.. good if you are buying from a younger guy.. my opinion is the younger guys will hot rod them.. i'm 55 yrs. old , i drive a f-350 crewcab 4x4 .. it has a tuner , thats never been used except on the economy setting & to set the speedo to my tire size ..if i tow i reset to stock .. a turbo back tuned exhaust & a cold air intake is smart money spent .. a cummins is a good motor, but each brand is what it is.. a 7.3 powerstroke is the king of the hill , the 6.0 strokes like i have are good , super powerful, but require certain mods , for a long life.. a lil' cash spent now saves you a load later.. so mods arent always bad, sometimes just smart.. i have whats called a bullet proof powerstroke 6.0 .. the 6.4's are just poor on fuel mileage & require certain mods.too after warranty is up also.. dodge & chevy have their downfalls too.. its all in what you want & how you handle caring for it.. most guys who dont pull alot would be better off with a 3/4 ton truck with a gas motor .. diesels just arent for everyone.. the smallest shop bill can be from 1500.00 to 4000.00 on any brand.. a newwer truck bought from a dealership thats still under warrany would be expected to not have any mods. or few at best .. like a gas motor guys will add exhaust & such to diesels also.. so all mods. arent bad.. i would size the previous owner up regardless.. a pure stock truck can be abused too.. a young guy with lifts, tuners, & other mods. strictly for performance i'd beware of.. lifts ruin you tow capacities.. if you run across a guy like myself , its fairly obvious i modified things for the good of my truck.. not to hot rod it.. cummins has massive electric & sensor issues.. like ford issues, its all because of what the manufacturer added on to meet emmissions .. most duramax owner like the duramax , but like most other gm diesels it is what it is.. i'd say not good, but not bad.. cummins has been around forever.. the base motor is very good..

Diesels do cost more as far as oil changes, it's a no brainer. I wouldn't hesitate to take a modern day diesel fuel filter up to 20-30K. Fuel in the US is clean, your so well versed that you failed to mention anything about a water seperator!

You want a stock truck. Ones with programmers, exhaust etc you can expect them to be used and abused...Thats just how i feel. I want a duramax some day but when i'm going on craigslist i look for the stock ones...as soon as i see "chip added for fuel mileage"...yeah ill take a stock one.

This ^^^^

most smart sellers will never mention they chipped it.

This too^^ buyer beware

listen to the guys that dont own diesels .. they know far more about them than the 2 of us replying who do own them know.. geeze .. like i said you may want to consider a 3/4 ton gas burner.. diesels dont get better mileage compared to gas as folks think.. the maintennce is more costly.. in genral they arent for everyone.. the replies here attest to that..

Just because you 'own' one doens't mean anything, that's the great thing about the internet everyone is an 'expert'. So now, you have lost any credility you may have had cause of your arrogance. I would guarantee that you drive a 3/4T of like models, one gas and the other diesel that results are gonna show.

are you inferring I don't own diesels?

Yes Sir, I think that is what he was inferring.:thumbsup:

To the expert who knows it all, I've worked on ALCO's, Caterpillar, Cummins, Detroit, Hondas, Yamaha's even an old mans Yanmar, I'm no expert and there is alot of great advice in this forum.

Here are two of my favorites, the 3508 and the 3608

DSC_0059.jpg

DSC_0058.jpg

DSC_0057.jpg

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Diesels do cost more as far as oil changes, it's a no brainer. I wouldn't hesitate to take a modern day diesel fuel filter up to 20-30K. Fuel in the US is clean, your so well versed that you failed to mention anything about a water seperator!

This ^^^^

This too^^ buyer beware

Just because you 'own' one doens't mean anything, that's the great thing about the internet everyone is an 'expert'. So now, you have lost any credility you may have had cause of your arrogance. I would guarantee that you drive a 3/4T of like models, one gas and the other diesel that results are gonna show.

Yes Sir, I think that is what he was inferring.:ride:

To the expert who knows it all, I've worked on ALCO's, Caterpillar, Cummins, Detroit, Hondas, Yamaha's even an old mans Yanmar, I'm no expert and there is alot of great advice in this forum.

Here are two of my favorites, the 3508 and the 3608

DSC_0059.jpg

DSC_0058.jpg

DSC_0057.jpg

Nice. I work on 3508/3512 daily on the oil rigs. I'm an engine mechanic for Nomac Drilling. I used to work on G3516's for Caterpillar. Are the ones you have above running compressors? I was about six months from working on 3600's on a pipeline up here when I left cat. :thumbsup:

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Man they are trainers, the 3508 has about 125hrs and the 3608 has about 100hrs. I love the simplicity of these two engines. They are fantastic to work on, the 3608 has maybe 2 paper gaskets and the rest are o-rings.

How do you like it up there, is there alot of work to be had?

NuT

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