I tow weekly but small loads like a 24' Boat. I would be ok with 2nd or 3rd generation dodge. I am trying to stay under 20k and I have found some of both generations at this price. How much HP will a cummins make with the mods I mentioned before. Also how do the dodge trucks hold up?
Honestly, the dodge shell starts to fall apart at about 220K miles but that Cummins will go forever and ever if taken care of. We have a 98 dually with 350K+ on it right now... the dodge is absolutely falling apart around it, but that Cummins still starts on the first click and has as much power as ever lol.
I think most of the problem is because they ride so rough, it just beats the pickup to death.
Granted we're especially hard on our pickups out here on the farm, but with boat towing, you'd be alright with any 3rd gen automatic. The 03's to 04.5 make 285hp/555tq I think where as the newer 5.9's make 310/625 stock. Someone can correct me if that's wrong. The other guys would know more about how much power each thing adds. I know that my '07 tows like a Peterbilt, but it's a 6 speed manual. Either way, you'll like the power that these new CR's make.
EDIT: I haven't had a 3rd gen long enough to see if they hold up past 220K, but that seems to be the experience we've had with our 3-2nd gens and 3-1st gens. I have the first 3rd gen on our farm thus far.
FYI: 3rd gen=03-07
2nd gen = 94-02
1st gen= 89-93
The third gen has an electronic common rail injection system
The 98.5-2002 has a VP44 electronic injection system which is prone to failure without sufficient fuel flow
The 94-98 has the ultimate reliable P7100 mechanical fuel pump and a 12v engine vs. a 24v in all newer engines. This engine will run as long as you can turn it over.
The 89-93 has a rotary mechanical fuel pump that is as reliable as the p7100 but has lower injection pressures. They just aren't capable of making the power that the 94's and up can.