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Thought that would get some attention. Yes, I own a 1996 7.3 liter and I love the truck because it has served me well. I do have a problem. I want to upgrade to a newer truck and I don't trust the 6.0 liter engines. The 6.4's are out of the question, too new and too expensive. I am looking at Dodge and GM. I want to know from guys that love thier trucks what to look out for in a used Cummins and what year models are better than others for reliability. All input will be appreciated.
If you want to avoid the uncertainty of the new particulate exhaust filters, then avoiding the Ford 6.4 and Cummins 6.7 are good moves. Any 5.9 Cummins, even the 2007 models, do not have the particulate exhaust filters.
If you are going slightly used, I'd go with 2004 or newer. Those are good 3rd generation trucks. 2003 was the first year of the common rail injected 3rd gens, and I personally tend to try and avoid the first year of any model run. That's why I got an '02. It was the last year of the 2nd gen 24 valves.
1998.5 to 2002 saw the 2nd generation body style with the newer 24 valve head and VP44 injection. These trucks are very tunable and can be adjusted on the fly with aftermarket power mods. The only thing that really plagues 1998.5 to 2002 24 valve 2nd gen trucks is the lift pumps. The factory lift pumps tend to fail, which in turn can damage/destroy the VP44 injector pump, which is $$$$$. On these trucks, a fuel pressure gauge in the cab is essential, and usually that means getting an aftermarket lift pump like a Walbro or FASS or any other reputable lift pump. All that said, I love my '02 and have a FASS and am on my 2nd VP44. Best truck I've ever owned, and I too came from a long line of Fords.
Going back further, 1994 to 1998 2nd generation trucks were the 12 valve mechanical injected P7100 engines. These babies are just good old tractor engines that are bulletproof for the most part. The P7100 pump is oiled lubricated, whereas the VP44 is cooled and lubricated strictly by fuel (hence when the LP dies, the VP44 also goes downhill fast). P7100 12 valve engines don't have much in the was of electronic mods that can be done (except for a "valet" switch and torque converter lock-up switch). They are mechanically adjusted and capable of huge power. The power is pretty affordable, since some mods can be done with a screwdriver. The crown jewel of 12 valve trucks (if you can find one) would be a 1998 12 valve. These trucks were produced during the switchover to the new 24 valve engines. The '98 12 valve has the new dash, new seats, quad cab doors on the extended cab, but still retains that awesome 12 valve engine. Find a 1998 12 valve if you can.
And one more step back takes us to the 1989 to 1993 trucks. These were the First generation body style. The old boxy ones. These were good solid trucks, made the way trucks should be made. All greasable joints, no cheap sealed ball joints, etc. Good old tech. These 12 valve engines had a mechanical rotary VE pump. Like all 12 valve engines, they have a mechanical, cam driven lift pump that is much more reliable than the 24 valve's electronic lift pump. 1989 trucks had smaller frames than the 1991 and up trucks. When looking at a first gen, look at the driver's side frame rail in the front by the steering box. Examine the frame for cracks. This is still a rare failure, but they've been known to crack, especially on trucks that were used for snow plow service. 1991 or 1992 (not sure) saw the 5.9 get an intercooler for the charged air. Earlier first gen trucks had no intercooler and just ran the charge air over the valve cover and in the engine. Keep in mind that while the Cummins got an intercooler by 1992, it took Ford until 1998 to finally put an intercooler in front of their 7.3 Powerstroke. Side note: 1994 to 1997 Ford Powerstrokes were directed injected, but no intercooler. Prior to 1994, the Ford 7.3 was indirect injected. The Cummins has always been direct injected.
Hope that helps. The reason that the 24 valve trucks went to electronic lift pumps was mostly due to the fact that the VP44 and CP3 common rail pump cannot handle the pulses in fuel delivery from a mechanical, cam-driven lift pump. Unfortunately these lift pumps were sourced by the bean counters rather than people who were concerned about longevity. FedEx even had huge issues with VP44 failures on their trucks. Keep an eye on fuel pressure and they seem to do fine. But drive around with no lift pump, and down goes the VP44.
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How expensive a job is the liftpump? I don't do much more than regular P.M. on my truck, but hear the cummins is easyer to work on because of the design.
You can buy an aftermarket lift pump relocation kit with bigger fuel supply line and a FASS or similar pump and install it all in 4 hours or so. Everybody works at a different speed and level of confidence, but it'll take around a half day. Only requires basic plumbing skills, 12 volt wiring and simple hand tools.
- Mine: '09 GMC Sierra LTX ECSB 2WD - Deletes, 4" Exhaust, AEM CAI, DP LMM 2.6 Stg 1.5 Drag Turbo, BD Manifold, Diamond Eye Downpipe, All Season Diesel Performance EGR/Grid Heater delete, PPE Race Valve, Edge Insight, '08 Hummer Wheels, DSP5 - EFI Live tuning by Mark Broviak @ Danville Performance.
I don't realy like the look of the mega cab. Maybe it will grow on me. I agree with Chuck on the 1st year model rule, so I guess 04 to 07 is where to look. How is the aftermarket for the 3rd generation Cummins? I want towing power not speed. I will gladly let the other guy get the ticket. Allthough a thick cloud of black smoke could be usefull on occasion.
Howdy, I own a mega cab truck. It did not strike my fancy as a looker at first either. I needed the room and after having it close to a year, i am very impressed with it. The room inside is awsum and man is it good to travel in. The are many power upgrades available. Every year they step up the power and this truck was a beast of power out of the box. I put a 10,000 lb trailer on the rear bumper with 5 big adults in the cab and drove for 6 hours before the first stop. I 16.5 mpg on that 1000 mile trip at 70 mph. Every one has been very inpressed with the ride. My 1 ton truck rides better than my go to town car, I got rid of it because the truck rides better and gets better mileage. good luck.
2006 MAGACAB / EDGE WITH ATTITUDE/ Quadzilla Xcellerator / DDP STAGE 2 INJECTORS / S&B INTAKE / SMARTY/ FBD 5" Exhaust/ Air Dog II / Banks Intake / Transgo Shift Kit, trip disc / Superlift traction bars / 285/75/18 Toyo's on XD Revolvers / 8.22 and 86.65in 1/8 mile / 13.41 and 102.56 in the 1/4 mile at Byron. 589HP,1365TQ last dyno run
Yeh, I know you have to mod to get smoke, still cool to have.
How are the transmissions on the 04 to 07 trucks? I have heard that they are weak but that could be a biased opinion. I will need an automatic, wife won't learn to drive stick.
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