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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey guys... finally selling off my 4.7L Jeep Grand Cherokee and stepping into my first Diesel to pull my rockcrawler, and wakeboard boat. Obviously have a LOT of questions!

I am sold on the Dodge Cummins, and have been looking at the 2002-2004 years. My only real requirements are 4 Door, auto tranny, and Short Bed.

Anything to be aware of in the range of years I am looking at?
Is there any difference in the 4 door bodies? Quad Cab vs. Crew Cab?
I am fairly mechanically inclined, but know nothing about diesels... what are the main things I should be looking for on an inspection and test drive?
I was looking for a 4WD, just because I've always had 4WD vehicles, but not sure if I need it, or what the benefits or drawbacks would be between the two (maintenance, known tcase reliability issues, gas mileage, etc...) All towing would be dry... launching my 21ft boat, would always be on concrete ramps. I do drive in the snow during the winters about 4 times a month.

I did find one locally that peaked my interest. It's at a dealer, but I have a friend that works there who can get me a rock bottom price, and a little inside knowledge about the history of the vehicle. He gave me a factory build sheet for it.. here are a few specs (if any of this stuff matters):

2004 2500 Short Bed with 40k miles
No side air bags (CGS)
8001-9000# GVWR & Hyd. Brake
Quad Cab (Full rear doors)/sport utility 4 Dr.
5.9 I6 CYL High Output Turbo Diesel (ETH)
Assembled in Saltillo, Mexico Feb 2004
4 spd 48RE auto tranny
Preferred Package 2TG and 2UG
Trailer Tow Group
Lock-up convertor
3.73 gears in a 11.50 rear end with "anti-spin diff" (is that a track-lock?)
Power trailer tow mirrors, fold-away
Keyless entry, power locks, windows, driver seat.
Aux tranny cooler
Heavy duty engine cooling, shocks
17" chrome clad steel wheels

Sticker on it is like $24k.. single owner from texas. body looks ok. dealer dropped in a bedliner to cover up bed scratches. other than that, a few dings here and there. it's that pearl maroon color, which I think is horrible, but if I can get a deal on it, I don't care.

Would love to hear some opinions on this specific rig, and some advice on what to look for. Not in a huge hurry, so I can be a little bit picky, and wait around for the perfect rig (4wd vs. 2wd, color, options, etc...)

Availability in SoCal is pretty low, so I may have to travel to find one. These two on eBay are what I think I am looking for as far as options go:
190030182749
230029479340

Can't wait to finally get a Cummins!
 

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02 is the 2nd gen. That 04 you are looking at has the later 325/600 CTD in it. Its the one I would prefer over the 305/555 in the early 04's
 

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3.73 gears in a 11.50 rear end with "anti-spin diff" (is that a track-lock?)
i believe that this would be the trac-rite. they are different from the trac-lock. much better IMO
 

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I didn't notice it in your description, but I'm assuming that truck is a 4x4? If so, anything around $20K would be a great buy. I'm not sure on pricing if it is only a 2wd. Everything you describe on that particular truck sounds good, other than you not liking the color.
I agree with Ram3500Dually. Go for a '04.5 + with the HO motor.
BTW...welcome to Dodgetalk!
 

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Welcome to DT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the welcome and replies... keep em comin!

So, the only difference between the early 04's and later 04's was the motor selection? This had a build date of 02.2004, but according to Ram3500Dually it has the later motor in it.

I just found out a little bit ago that this truck in question was sold to a wholesale house this morning. Not sure who in their right mind would sell off a vehicle when the sales guy knew there was potential interest.

Ah well, probably prevented me from making an impulse buy anyway ;)
I really like those two that I mentioned listed on eBay. I think I'll continue to look for something along those lines. If anyone knows of anything for sale, let me know!

Thanks.

-gvb
 

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Got Diesel is thinking of selling his '03. Has done a bunch of mods to it, and I think he is willing to let it go for a little over $20K. It has the SO motor, but he's done so much to it that it has more HP/TQ than most.
 

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gvb said:
This had a build date of 02.2004, but according to Ram3500Dually it has the later motor in it.

-gvb
You have to remember that the 04's are actually started being built in August 03 to July 04 so that is actually a later 04 model. When there is an 0.5 year it is usually during Christmas shutdown that they change over. The 07.5 with the 6.7 CTD is being changed over from the 07 with the 5.9 CTD over Christmas 06 and will start on Jan 1st 07.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
In my search, I've noticed that the asking price range is extremely wide... not really sure what selling average sale prices are though.

I've come across a few here that I'd like to make offers on, but wanted to get an idea from some others as to what their worth is.

I haven't actually seen any of these three, but if they are as the sellers described them to me, these two were well maintained grocery getters:

2004 Dodge 2500 Ram 4X4 Quad Cab Diesel - $28900
This SLT truck only has 24,500 miles on it. It has all options including; beautiful blue pearl paint, electronic "on the fly" transfer case, tow package, 5.9L Cummins Turbo Diesel.
- I was thinking $27k would be fair for this one.

and

Dodge 2005 Turbo Diesel 4x4 only 10K miles - $34000
2005 mint condition. 10000 miles. bighorn edition. white exterior, dark interior. all power, plus power pedals. this truck is better than new. low miles and the oil has been changed three times. 6 disc cd, factory infinity sound, bed liner, we are moving, and wife wants car...clear title.
- I was thinking about offering $30k for this one.

and this one was used to tow a few times, but is in new condition:

2004 Dodge Ram 2500 Truck - $30,500
2004 DODGE RAM 2500 TRUCK, 10k mi, air bag, abs, ac, ps, cc, tilt, p/seats, p/windows, pdl, p/mirrors, Hard Toneau cover, HO diesel, 4x4, like new,
- Not sure on this one... I spoke with the guy selling it and it's owned by a rich guy that has like 15 cars, two of them are Ram 2500's. This one rarely got used, and sat in a heated garage with a cover most of the time. Maybe $28k?

Essentially, with the two last ones, I am buying a brand new truck without the brand new price. California tax sucks though.. big time.

Would appreciate some feedback... thanks guys.
 

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Those seem to be about the right prices. I just got an 06 and had been looking around at used 03-05 models. Those look like the prices I was seeing.
I ended up with a 06 STD cab. a little cheap with employee price. I have no need for the QC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Edmunds is putting real world used sale prices a lot lower than NADA or KBB values.

Guess I'll have to wait it out on my lower offers for someone who has been sitting on something for awhile.
 

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My personal opinion is stay away from the electronic transfer cases. I would stick with the manual myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
How about the 03' vs. 04'?

Everyone with 03's say it's the best year and everyone with 04.5's say the same thing.

I'll only be towing a 21ft wakeboard boat, and a 95' Jeep Grand Cherokee on a dual axle trailer, so I imagine even the older, less powerful motor will be just fine for me(and from what I've read, give me better gas mileage overall).
 

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03's all depend on the trans. If its an early 03 SO then you have the old 47RE and it was prone to breakage with any HP added.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So, from what I understand, in 03' there was a 250hp/47re combo, a 235hp/47re california combo, and a 305hp/48re combo. Is that correct?

Is it wise to stay way from the 47RE in general, or just a specific time period?
 

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I knew I should have just posted this the first time, LOL. Some guys get sick of seeing it.

2003 S.O. Federal Emissions: 250HP/460lb.ft. Available with NV4500 or 47RE
2003 S.O. Calif. Emissions: 235HP/460lb.ft. Available with NV4500 or 47RE
2003 H.O. Federal Emissions: 305HP/555lb.ft. Only available with NV5600
2003.5 The 47RE was replaced by the 48RE automatic transmission and available with the H.O.

2004 S.O. Calif. Emissions: 235HP/460lb.ft. Available with NV4500 or 48RE
2004 H.O. Federal Emissions: 305HP/555lb.ft. Available with either NV5600 or 48RE

2004.5 (50 state legal) 325HP/600lb.ft. Available with either the 48RE or NV5600

2005 (50 state legal) 325HP/610lb.ft. Available with either the 48RE or NV5600

2005.5 The NV5600 replaced with the G56 6spd manual gearbox.

All 47RE's are the weak link.
 

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as far as price goes have you shoped your new options...I was looking for one like you are with a little bit of the new worn off of it...but I got in a new mega cab for 37K...sticker price was 44.5K....with my trade in I financed 29.5K...with 75 month financing it was lower monthly payments for me...becides that this way I know every mile put on it...
 

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On all 5 or 6 of the dodge forums im on, nobody has reported a problem with the electronic transfer cases. I have one and i love it. very simple operation and i can just turn a dial to be in 4x4.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
If I am trying to stay with the 2003.5 HO/48RE, 2004.5, or 2005, will the 2003.5 give me the best gas mileage? How about 3.73's v.s 4.10's?

As far as power goes, based on what I am towing I assume any of the CTD motors will give me more than enough power, and even with the 3.73's I'll have no problem towing right?
 

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2003 305/555 HO with 3.73's will give the best mileage.

Ive towed with an 03 HO/48RE QC LWB 4x4 with 3.73's up to 17,000lbs without a problem. even had 10 miles worth of 7% grade that i had to climb and it did it just fine. had no problem accellerating after switchbacks.

And if you dont have enough power, safe programmers are cheap.
 
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