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So school me on a 2004 Dodge Diesel pickup

Posted: Nov 23, 2021 10:32 PM
by Mike W.
Many of you might read the title and think, that doesn't sound like Mike. And you're right. But as the know it all for the extended family, cars, computers, buildings etc, I've heard rumor the Grandson is eyeballing one and my input is likely to be sought. At 21 and just now away from home going to college his parents want to replace the 2003 Toyota Tacoma that was recently hit in the rocker panel, bottom of the doors, it's a 4 door with 260K on it and they're worried about reliability with him a couple of hundred miles away. Now he needs a diesel pickkup like a hole in the head, but we don't need BMWs that were the fastest 4 door sedan when current. My initial reaction is somewhere between no and hell no, but I'll try to present at least a somewhat balanced and fact based point of view.

So... what's good and what's bad about a 2004 Dodge diesel? Reliability, expense, running and repair, and anything else.

Re: So school me on a 2004 Dodge Diesel pickup

Posted: Nov 24, 2021 1:09 AM
by mitch5
Assuming it's a 24v 5.9 cummins then I have heard the drivetrain will long outlast the cab and frame. Personally a diesel truck sounds completely useless for someone going to college, where parking is tight and repairs are expensive. Maybe ask him what 10,000lb load he plans to tow that requires such torque. Maybe show what an injector service costs? 260k is nothing for a taco(probably the cheapest truck to own/maintain). Cars owned by college kids live a rough life, id wait till after school to get anything nice.

Re: So school me on a 2004 Dodge Diesel pickup

Posted: Nov 24, 2021 2:24 AM
by Mike W.
Trust me, you're preaching to the choir. He has absolutely no need for a big diesel truck, except to theoretically look cool. But I'll bite, what does an injector service run? Help me here, what are the potentially expensive repairs he (actually his parents) might be facing?

Re: So school me on a 2004 Dodge Diesel pickup

Posted: Nov 24, 2021 6:59 AM
by athayer187
The injector service will run him $2-4k at least if he's having someone else do it. It's $1500 or so in parts alone.

Re: So school me on a 2004 Dodge Diesel pickup

Posted: Nov 24, 2021 9:37 AM
by Jasco1
Mike, in addition to what athayer said the most common issues are lift and injection pump issues along with front steering problems. The term death wobble is very common when talking about older Dodge Rams. I’ve had three of these trucks over the years and all of them had steering issues dealing with the steering linkages and ball joints. Carli makes a very nice ball joint upgrade for about $900 (parts). The motors themselves will last 400k-500k miles. The last one I had was a 3500 dually that also had HVAC blend door issues where AC on drivers side and full heat on passenger at all times. The fix was a dashboard removal. Fun stuff.


https://dieseliq.com/4-most-common-cumm ... -problems/


https://www.cumminsforum.com/threads/wh ... 9.1487882/

https://www.motortrend.com/features/10- ... mins-5-9l/

Re: So school me on a 2004 Dodge Diesel pickup

Posted: Nov 25, 2021 4:18 AM
by Kenny Blankenship
Tell him to get a 1st gen Tundra. You're welcome...

Re: So school me on a 2004 Dodge Diesel pickup

Posted: Nov 25, 2021 11:47 AM
by Nosis
I owned a 2004 Ram 2500 for 40k miles (bought at 215k sold at 255k). We towed our travel trailer for around 10k of those miles and it did a great job. The injectors went at 235k, indicated by a no-start on a cold morning. I did the R&R with reman units for around $1,000 and they worked great - what I thought was normal starting was likely hard starting because, after the injectors, it never took more than 1 or 2 revolutions to start no matter how cold.

The manual trans (NV5600) seized in 2nd gear at around 225k while towing an empty car hauler (on my way to retrieve an e28). This was a nightmare and resulted in a $4k rebuild w/new clutch. I sought out a 6 speed truck because I wanted the HO engine and I like shifting. This was a regret: I found the cummins useful daily rpm range is 1000 to 2000 (redline at 3000 if I recall), so, starting in 2nd as you do, you row 4 gears by the time you are going 45… I often just used 2nd, 4th, 6th. I would only consider autos…

The HVAC door issue is a total pain, which i had to deal with after discovering my defrost was inop the first time I needed it… The repair kit i used required cutting a piece of the dash structure and hacking into the side of the plastic HVAC box.

These are huge, heavy, ponderous beasts that can definitely be great for certain tasks. College is not one. In fact, it sounds like he already has the perfect vehicle, especially now that its damaged.
YMMV…
Cyp