1999 Dodge 3500 Oil Burner w/ 24-V TD

mister_hApril 5, 2007

A guy is selling for $10,000 that has 120K miles. Truck is 1-ton, 2WD, A/T, Ext Cab, Dually, and it is in an average cosmetic condtion. Straight body. Runs good. No leak and just usual diesel smoke when accelerated hard. I just want to use it to tow by boat/trailer once a month, not a daily driver. Anything I should be careful about '99 Cummins? Would this be a good tow vehicle for 5000 lbs? Should I look for a 4x4 since there are some slippery ramps? Let me know if you have any input about my possible purchase of this truck. Thanks.

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kalining

Very bloody expensive tow vehicle for once a month. Diesels
don't smoke on " hard acceleration " if they are running
right. Get the proper tires if you have slippery ramps.
what is the book value on this vehicle ? A little over kill
for 5000 pounds. i tow my 2500 lb. boat - trailor combination with my 6 cyl. taurus. Not the best idea in the world but it works. Remember one thing. When a diesel
breaks down it breaks down BIG TIME. Do what you think is
best.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 7:51PM
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mister_h

Interesting...
I had a Mercury Sable V6 (3.8L?) wagon that I used to tow my old 16'boat/trailer and the transmission went out on me with only 70K miles on it. I did all the right thing for the transmission like installing the cooler, changing fluid/filter once a year. Also, the boat/trailer almost pulled the Sable into water at the ramp that was partially covered with alge... I had my kids sit on the hood of the Sable so that front wheels could have more traction.

Back to the Dodge Ram 3500.
The Kelly Blue book value Good=$13K, Avg=$12K, and Poor=$11K. So this guy is not really asking too much. On local newspaper, similar diesel trucks are selling at even higher prices $13K and up. The asking price $10K is not much of concern as long as this particular brand/year/model truck doesn't have some kind of known problems. Also, I might be getting a 7000-lb toy hauler trailer, so I'd rather get a truck that's over rated than under rated.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 9:46PM
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gary__

I've known several guys who've had a dodge with a cumins. Engine seems to be bullet proof. The comments I've heard over the years are they get much better fuel economy than a similar vehicle running gas. Excellent power when loaded. The down side is noise, and the extra service costs like extra filters for fuel, oil, and a much greater engine oil capacity. Can't remember what they said the volume was, but it sounded like a lot to me at the time.

**I had a Mercury Sable V6 (3.8L?) wagon that I used to tow my old 16'boat/trailer and the transmission went out on me with only 70K miles on it. I did all the right thing for the transmission like installing the cooler, changing fluid/filter once a year.**

LOL, that's what going small gets you alright. In all fairness, if your sable was around '93, the trannies often failed around 90k anyway. Something was the matter with them. Still, I wouldn't use such a car to tow anything. They're really not built for it at all.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 8:17AM
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steve_o

Diesels don't smoke on " hard acceleration " if they are running right.

I beg to differ. :-) Before ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD), it was easy for me to generate a smokescreen: put the transmission in a high (numerical) gear and floor it. Instant fog. Probably easier on a diesel truck since they didn't have to meet the same emissions requirements as cars.

Remember one thing. When a diesel breaks down it breaks down BIG TIME.

Yeah, I suppose that's why all the big rigs and construction equipment are diesel. Or why the only mid-70s VW Rabbits still floating around are the diesel ones. Diesel engines certainly can suffer some catastrophic failures, but, if designed properly (that is, not a converted gasoline-engine design), they'll last a loooooooooong time. I'd be far more concerned about the turbo, which is relatively easy to mistreat.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 9:55AM
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kalining

Yah steveo, typical moronic response. Pull out your wallet
and pay for a diesel rebuild compared to a gas engine.
I have done that. $1200. for a complete rebuild and engine
hot tank. new frost plugs. line bored and shaved and they
installed the rings and bearings on a 3.8 ford. My 4 cylindar jeta is $3000.00 for the small block kit and the block rebuild is extra and no cam repairs. I have a 6.2 diesel that pulls a 5000 pound trailor with a car on it. It doesn't smoke. You might want to get your engine fixed.
Your injector bypass returns are plugged or the water separator in the fuel filter is plugged.Diesels don't smoke
unless it is an old MAC. they smoked because the injectors were crap and they leaked. don't know what your expertise
is but i've worked in rebuild shops rebuilding flat head fords maybe we can swap info.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 10:52PM
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steve_o

Yah steveo, typical moronic response. Pull out your wallet
and pay for a diesel rebuild compared to a gas engine.

Thanks for the thoughtful comment ... *rolls eyes*

I gotta figure that if diesels really were all that fragile and all that expensive to maintain, you wouldn't see them in heavy-duty pickups, construction equipment, tractor-trailers, locomotives, steamships, and emergency generators.

In commercial applications, money talks. If diesels were as problem-prone as you say, especially in such long-term or critical duty, they'd be in the dustbin of engine history by now. Funny thing -- they're not. Sure, a diesel can break. Sure, repair can be expensive. You don't put Band-Aids on surgical incisions, either. You spend the money so it lasts. And you take care of it to start with.

Oh, and BTW, the smoke from diesels is soot, a byproduct of normal diesel combustion. Even a new, properly-broken-in diesel will smoke if you feed it crappy fuel or give it "wide open throttle" in a high gear. My diesel does not smoke under normal circumstances and now, with ULSD, it almost never does.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 7:03AM
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mister_h

I agree with what steve says.
Diesels can be more expensive to fix but they are generally more durable and last longer than gas engines in the "SAME" condition of usage and maintenance. I bet you will see more diesel powered trucks and cars than ever in coming years. This wouldn't happen if diesels are so problematic. I've heard that even Honda cars will be at least 30% all diesel powered by 2010 or so.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 10:58AM
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