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You got that right at least on the pre-2001.5 2500 autos. I had lousy luck with my 98.5. A friend bought a '98 Superduty and it's been a great truck. I almost didn't buy another Dodge based on my 24v experience but I really like my '07 5.9. Steers,brakes,accelerates better and is MUCH quieter. However,the 2nd gen trucks are the best looking truck of the bunch.
Still miss my 97
1216161233.jpg
 

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Never Buying Another Truck With a Cummins Engine. #53 Cracked Block (Replaced $9K), Cracked Dash, #3 HVAC, #2 AC Compressor, #2 Water Pump, and Now Have to Install Bosch VP44 Diesel Injection #8. I Need the Truck for Towing and VMAC Underhood™️ Air Compressor.
 

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Hi all, so I own a 2001 Dodge Ram 3500 24v Cummins 4wd. I just wanted to give my opinion on these trucks to benefit someone wanting to buy one. I bought this truck about a year and a half for $10,000. This is my first truck and at the time it was my dream truck. Before I bought it all I heard was good things out of these. “Power house”, “reliable old Cummins”, “can tow anything you put behind it”. I’ll tell you right now this truck has been an absolute nightmare and hasn’t lived up to the hype. That is coming from a guy who has grown up around the trucks their whole life, I’m a Cummins guy through and through. Hell my last name is Dodge. But I will never buy another one of these again. It has been nothing but problems.
When I brought it home for the first time it started blowing white smoke. Took it to the shop...$4k. I get it back and I need to pull a trailer, I was highly unimpressed with the power. I shouldn’t feel a 4,000 lb 20ft trailer with a dual but it struggled. Soon after that I found out it’s a 53 block and that has worried me since. Many more trips to the shop and about $6k later, I’m in for just about what I paid for the truck. I can’t seem to keep this thing running.
Today I got to the store... blow all my transmission fluid out, can’t wait to see how much this is going to cost me.
Again, I’m not trying to bash these trucks, and for all I know I got a lemon. I just wanted to warn anyone looking at buying one. Cause I’ve had a headache for a year and a half and I don’t think it’s going to stop until this truck is sold. Even though I’m going to lose my a** on it.
Couple things I left out, even after all those trips to the shop: steering is terrible, rides worse than our 1988 dump truckOf , I’m in a constant battle with fuel pressure, shifts hard, rattles, And the interior sucks (cracked dash, tear in seat, cheap plastic), along with hundreds of more little things that annoy me on a daily basis.

Some of the good: it sounds good (which most probably don’t care for), a good looking truck... well that’s all I can think of

Thanks for your time
m
Of course a sad story.... but the problem REALLY is..... people pay WAY TOO much for a used Dodge.... 60 yrs ago Dodge was quality.. As long as fools keep the used prices of these worn out trucks well beyond "what they are really worth" considering the frequency of break downs and poor Dodge quality... It will continue. Locally some dude sold his 98 for about 17,000 with about 250,00o miles with 5th and 6th gear missing . Am I jealous... NO since I would never be a fool to pay that much for an "unknown" Even if the owner followed the maintenance schedule to a tee... These trucks fall apart. Hopefully you have learned a painful lesson. God Forbid if the ..owner actually towed something..! Usually if they do... it is WAY over design specs. The front ends are garbage....if you tow. If the jerk put on huge revers mounted tires you are begging for the infamous wobble. Your sad experience was NOT unusual. Some guys seem to love dumping lots of $$$$$$$ in their trucks then brag how reliable they are. Some dudes I notice recommend "that you chip it" ... sure... advance the timing through the roof and over enrichen fuel quantity dumping...... NOW that will really increase reliability SURE it will..! What you experienced is NOT unusual. If you want to learn how to be a diesel mechanic I suppose a used old dodge diesel is a good place to start. But if you want a hands off reliable used truck.... it is not an old Dodge diesel. If you buy another over priced used dodge diesel your experience probably will not change. Also I disagree...... I know of buddies who did have a 53 block that leaked. Cummins had a lot of nerve buying castings from South America. There a little bit of hope, that model is still very popular and advertising correctly might be able to dump it and recoup your costs. One of our non dodge trucks is a 27 year old Cheyenne ..... all diesel engine parts including injection pump and injectors are original. No smoking... No starting problems...only replaced fuel lift pump as a preventive maintenance. The original was still good. Also the injection pump will run on modest power if the pump fails. So... you had a painful lesson but I bet if you talk to me...first you would still believe all the blog and facebook nonsense as to how wonderful an old dodge is..... if you are a part time mechanic and have the necessary tools and jigs. One more thing ... plan on losing defrost or heat... that plastic door usually breaks... another Dodge enhancement.
 

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Hi all, so I own a 2001 Dodge Ram 3500 24v Cummins 4wd. I just wanted to give my opinion on these trucks to benefit someone wanting to buy one. I bought this truck about a year and a half for $10,000. This is my first truck and at the time it was my dream truck. Before I bought it all I heard was good things out of these. “Power house”, “reliable old Cummins”, “can tow anything you put behind it”. I’ll tell you right now this truck has been an absolute nightmare and hasn’t lived up to the hype. That is coming from a guy who has grown up around the trucks their whole life, I’m a Cummins guy through and through. Hell my last name is Dodge. But I will never buy another one of these again. It has been nothing but problems.
When I brought it home for the first time it started blowing white smoke. Took it to the shop...$4k. I get it back and I need to pull a trailer, I was highly unimpressed with the power. I shouldn’t feel a 4,000 lb 20ft trailer with a dual but it struggled. Soon after that I found out it’s a 53 block and that has worried me since. Many more trips to the shop and about $6k later, I’m in for just about what I paid for the truck. I can’t seem to keep this thing running.
Today I got to the store... blow all my transmission fluid out, can’t wait to see how much this is going to cost me.
Again, I’m not trying to bash these trucks, and for all I know I got a lemon. I just wanted to warn anyone looking at buying one. Cause I’ve had a headache for a year and a half and I don’t think it’s going to stop until this truck is sold. Even though I’m going to lose my a** on it.
Couple things I left out, even after all those trips to the shop: steering is terrible, rides worse than our 1988 dump truck, I’m in a constant battle with fuel pressure, shifts hard, rattles, And the interior sucks (cracked dash, tear in seat, cheap plastic), along with hundreds of more little things that annoy me on a daily basis.

Some of the good: it sounds good (which most probably don’t care for), a good looking truck... well that’s all I can think of

Thanks for your time
I have a 01 2500 5.9 for our retirement rig I did some updates and very happy with it for our towing adventures , smarty tuner so3 , upgrade transmission, and a jasper long block, it all depends what you want to do in retirement.
 

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Hi all, so I own a 2001 Dodge Ram 3500 24v Cummins 4wd. I just wanted to give my opinion on these trucks to benefit someone wanting to buy one. I bought this truck about a year and a half for $10,000. This is my first truck and at the time it was my dream truck. Before I bought it all I heard was good things out of these. “Power house”, “reliable old Cummins”, “can tow anything you put behind it”. I’ll tell you right now this truck has been an absolute nightmare and hasn’t lived up to the hype. That is coming from a guy who has grown up around the trucks their whole life, I’m a Cummins guy through and through. Hell my last name is Dodge. But I will never buy another one of these again. It has been nothing but problems.
When I brought it home for the first time it started blowing white smoke. Took it to the shop...$4k. I get it back and I need to pull a trailer, I was highly unimpressed with the power. I shouldn’t feel a 4,000 lb 20ft trailer with a dual but it struggled. Soon after that I found out it’s a 53 block and that has worried me since. Many more trips to the shop and about $6k later, I’m in for just about what I paid for the truck. I can’t seem to keep this thing running.
Today I got to the store... blow all my transmission fluid out, can’t wait to see how much this is going to cost me.
Again, I’m not trying to bash these trucks, and for all I know I got a lemon. I just wanted to warn anyone looking at buying one. Cause I’ve had a headache for a year and a half and I don’t think it’s going to stop until this truck is sold. Even though I’m going to lose my a** on it.
Couple things I left out, even after all those trips to the shop: steering is terrible, rides worse than our 1988 dump truck, I’m in a constant battle with fuel pressure, shifts hard, rattles, And the interior sucks (cracked dash, tear in seat, cheap plastic), along with hundreds of more little things that annoy me on a daily basis.

Some of the good: it sounds good (which most probably don’t care for), a good looking truck... well that’s all I can think of

Thanks for your time
I own 2002 2nd gen 2500 i used for 10 yrs pulling 20,000 around the country and to this day runs perfect .... i did replace the lift pump soon after i bought it and installed jake brake (6 speed manual ) and a chip .... my friends have chev. and fords and cant keep up with this old dodge pulling a good hill .... you must have got a lemon but i have nothing bad to say about mine
 

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Sorry that your experience with your 2nd gen wasn’t that good.

Unfortunately, people think that it being a dodge with a Cummins means it can handle being abused every single day. Aka indestructible.

Theres pro’s and con’s to each generation of truck, I’ve had them all and could ramble about them for hours lol. My personal favorite is still the good ole 2nd gens.

I hope that your next truck turns out to be less of a disaster.
 

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Great info guys. Y’all honestly took this a lot better than I thought and I completely agree with what was said. I’m just trying to warn people interested in buying one of these on what to expect. Not saying it’s going to happen... but it’s not uncommon. These are definitely a project trucks. If you want reliability then go for something newer.

I understand there are a lot of upgrades or replacement parts that fix most of the problems, but that cost money, and it adds up FAST when there’s this many issues.Like I said before, I will sell this truck once I get it fixed. I’m not going to get near what I have in it but at this point I’m going to have to bite the bullet before I dig myself in a deeper hole.

The VP was not the only thing worked on the first time. I do a lot of work on my own but some things are just out of my my comfort zone. Here’s a list of all the parts I’ve replaced within the last 10k miles.

New industrial injection vp44 injection pump
Fairly new Industrial injection lift pump
  • New front seals
  • New axle seals
  • New thermostat
  • New ball joints
  • New Alternator
  • New radiator
  • transmission oil temp sensor
  • ABS module
  • All new brakes (disk, calipers, pads, drums)
  • Banks High Ram intake horn
  • Banks triple pillar gauges (Trans temp, turbo boost, exhaust temp)
  • MaxTow fuel pressure gauge
  • SDT steering stabilizer
  • Rough Country 2.5” leveling kit with shocks
  • 4th gen bumper with sport grill (color matched)
  • custom grill badge
  • husky floor liners
  • New JBL speakers
  • Kenwood head unit
  • Banks 4” turbo back straight pipe
  • MBRP 6” exhaust tip
  • All smoked lights (running lights, clearance lights, tail and headlights)
  • Both batteries replaced
  • New headlight and tail light bulbs
  • A/C recharged
Last service
  • Replaced all fluids (differential, engine, transmission, coolant)
  • Removed radiator and cleaned/flushed
  • Replaced all filters (fuel, oil, transmission)
  • Transmission bands were adjusted
  • Replaced transmission pan gasket
And this doesn’t include whatever it’s in the shop for now...
Reading through this thread and i have to call out your lack of info. You first said the first issue you had was blowing white smoke, but in your extensive list of repairs, not one thing on the engine was touched except the radiator. All the other money you spent was not anything to do with the operation of the truck (except brakes, axle seals, etc.) but that all wearable items you should have anticipated buying a 20 year old vehicle. All your repairs are not even repairs, its money thrown at looks (grill, bumper, speakers). So you really dont have accurate numbers to show here. From this list, im seeing $2k-$3k of repairs, the rest has nothing to do with the "reliability" aspect, but make pretty and sound good.

Im sorry for your bad experience, but it has nothing to do with the Dodge/Cummins brand. It all has to do with the age and mileage of the truck and most importantly how it was treated for 20 year previous to you. If the previous owner had done the brakes, you would not have had those issues.

I admit, my 2001 is a money pit, and will not get any better coming up on 330k. But its fun, it looks good, and no one has one like it (at least around my home). To my trucks defense, its been paid off for years, and all the money i put into her, its still nothing close to the amount my 2018 Ram 3500 cost.

Your complaint about towing is simple to cure. I haul a 16k toy hauler and have power to spare. No hill will slow her down. Stock turbo and injectors, just Edge tuner and Fass lift pump are the main pieces to the puzzle. Your stock truck will be a dog, these truck are not very powerful stock, or in your case just an exhaust and intake horn.

I do agree with the dash issue, Dodge did not make a good dash. But i replaced mine years ago from LMC for under $300. So its not really that big of a deal that people make it out to be. True story, i drove a '08 Duramax for a work truck in '13-'14, and the dash was cracked. So this is not just a Dodge issue.

Injection pumps are another thing people really talk down on these trucks. Its simple, put a quality lift pump, and you will never have an issue. Mine made it 300k with no issues, replaced with a HotRod pump looking for more power. Also pour a 1/2 Qt 2-stroke oil in the tank every fill-up.

Long story short, this should be a truck you learn how to work on, take pride in being able to repair it when something goes wrong. I have only had 2 mechanics touch my truck only because i didn't have the time, 250k head gasket failure. And 325k rear axle pinion bearings.
Other than that, i dont trust no one to touch her.
 

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Reading through this thread and i have to call out your lack of info. You first said the first issue you had was blowing white smoke, but in your extensive list of repairs, not one thing on the engine was touched except the radiator. All the other money you spent was not anything to do with the operation of the truck (except brakes, axle seals, etc.) but that all wearable items you should have anticipated buying a 20 year old vehicle. All your repairs are not even repairs, its money thrown at looks (grill, bumper, speakers). So you really dont have accurate numbers to show here. From this list, im seeing $2k-$3k of repairs, the rest has nothing to do with the "reliability" aspect, but make pretty and sound good.

Im sorry for your bad experience, but it has nothing to do with the Dodge/Cummins brand. It all has to do with the age and mileage of the truck and most importantly how it was treated for 20 year previous to you. If the previous owner had done the brakes, you would not have had those issues.

I admit, my 2001 is a money pit, and will not get any better coming up on 330k. But its fun, it looks good, and no one has one like it (at least around my home). To my trucks defense, its been paid off for years, and all the money i put into her, its still nothing close to the amount my 2018 Ram 3500 cost.

Your complaint about towing is simple to cure. I haul a 16k toy hauler and have power to spare. No hill will slow her down. Stock turbo and injectors, just Edge tuner and Fass lift pump are the main pieces to the puzzle. Your stock truck will be a dog, these truck are not very powerful stock, or in your case just an exhaust and intake horn.

I do agree with the dash issue, Dodge did not make a good dash. But i replaced mine years ago from LMC for under $300. So its not really that big of a deal that people make it out to be. True story, i drove a '08 Duramax for a work truck in '13-'14, and the dash was cracked. So this is not just a Dodge issue.

Injection pumps are another thing people really talk down on these trucks. Its simple, put a quality lift pump, and you will never have an issue. Mine made it 300k with no issues, replaced with a HotRod pump looking for more power. Also pour a 1/2 Qt 2-stroke oil in the tank every fill-up.

Long story short, this should be a truck you learn how to work on, take pride in being able to repair it when something goes wrong. I have only had 2 mechanics touch my truck only because i didn't have the time, 250k head gasket failure. And 325k rear axle pinion bearings.
Other than that, i dont trust no one to touch her.
Well said. How do you buy a 20 year old used pickup and complain about it needing repairs? There isn't a diesel truck on earth that won't need a 2-3k repair at some point in it's life. I think the OP expected to buy it for 10k and never have to touch it. Maybe in a perfect world. My nephew has $90k over 8 or so years in repairs and modifications to his 6.0L Powerstroke. You really want to find out what is expensive to repair, buy one of those "newer" trucks you were talking about. That's really why the 2nd gens are so popular, they are one of the cheapest diesels to own and repair, and easy to work on. Good luck to you Dodge Jr, really, but your point is just way off base.

If you want reliable and cheap, get a 1/2 ton gasser. The diesel world isn't for you.
 

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Every one that I've owned has had its issues, most of them are preventative or they give you a warning before you end up on the side of the road(except for my 98.5's vp. It died on the way home from work) . I think of it this way, how much is a truck payment $500-800 a month? Okay well spending a few hundred bucks on it every other month isn't that bad as long as it's paid for. But you should really look into doing these jobs yourself. Theirs a lot of information out there on these trucks. And with all the "bad luck" you've had its less you have to worry about going wrong.

Side note leaving the stock level is a slippery slope and you need to pick and choose wisely. Transmission and a timing/fueling box is a must. To keep up with most trucks today.
 

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Great info guys. Y’all honestly took this a lot better than I thought and I completely agree with what was said. I’m just trying to warn people interested in buying one of these on what to expect. Not saying it’s going to happen... but it’s not uncommon. These are definitely a project trucks. If you want reliability then go for something newer.

I understand there are a lot of upgrades or replacement parts that fix most of the problems, but that cost money, and it adds up FAST when there’s this many issues.Like I said before, I will sell this truck once I get it fixed. I’m not going to get near what I have in it but at this point I’m going to have to bite the bullet before I dig myself in a deeper hole.

The VP was not the only thing worked on the first time. I do a lot of work on my own but some things are just out of my my comfort zone. Here’s a list of all the parts I’ve replaced within the last 10k miles.

New industrial injection vp44 injection pump
Fairly new Industrial injection lift pump
  • New front seals
  • New axle seals
  • New thermostat
  • New ball joints
  • New Alternator
  • New radiator
  • transmission oil temp sensor
  • ABS module
  • All new brakes (disk, calipers, pads, drums)
  • Banks High Ram intake horn
  • Banks triple pillar gauges (Trans temp, turbo boost, exhaust temp)
  • MaxTow fuel pressure gauge
  • SDT steering stabilizer
  • Rough Country 2.5” leveling kit with shocks
  • 4th gen bumper with sport grill (color matched)
  • custom grill badge
  • husky floor liners
  • New JBL speakers
  • Kenwood head unit
  • Banks 4” turbo back straight pipe
  • MBRP 6” exhaust tip
  • All smoked lights (running lights, clearance lights, tail and headlights)
  • Both batteries replaced
  • New headlight and tail light bulbs
  • A/C recharged
Last service
  • Replaced all fluids (differential, engine, transmission, coolant)
  • Removed radiator and cleaned/flushed
  • Replaced all filters (fuel, oil, transmission)
  • Transmission bands were adjusted
  • Replaced transmission pan gasket
And this doesn’t include whatever it’s in the shop for now...
Unfortunate to hear about your situation. From reading your repair list it seems like you're the one "paying the price" for someone who bought the truck truly believed they are "bullet proof" and then drove it like it was without routine maintenance.
 

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These trucks are all 20ish years old stuff fails and wears out live with it or move on imo ive had mine for 7ish years yeah ive had some breakdowns yeah there slow compared to the newer trucks but you got to remember these only came with 215-245 stock compared to 400+ hp in todays trucks i think there a great learning tool both in mechanical skill and driving skill also common sense and logic go along way with these truck
 

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Unfortunately, based on your posts, it sounds like you bought a worn out problem truck. You have to be very diligent when buying any vehicle "used". Not all Dodge's are bad, I have a 98 Cummins and a 96 gasser, and both have been excellent trucks. But I do all my on work, perform all my own maintenance, and fix anything before it becomes a problem. I am very "proactive" when it comes vehicles. I have always believed, if you take good care of your vehicles, they will take good care of you....I used to be a die hard Chevy truck fan until I bought my first Dodge. Ford, never ever, worked on to many of them, they are junk!
 

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my truck is rough and its vp is probably dying (p0216 timing code and wont rev above 2k) but i feel ok about it, because i got it for less than what the tires are worth

Sounds like mine, rode hard and put away wet.... mine has 400k, it runs but its rough, needs interior done, brake system replaced, mostly the front, trans cooler... then on to the body.... only upside is I paid $1,600 for it and it has a brand new set of tires on it.
 

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Reading through this thread and i have to call out your lack of info. You first said the first issue you had was blowing white smoke, but in your extensive list of repairs, not one thing on the engine was touched except the radiator. All the other money you spent was not anything to do with the operation of the truck (except brakes, axle seals, etc.) but that all wearable items you should have anticipated buying a 20 year old vehicle. All your repairs are not even repairs, its money thrown at looks (grill, bumper, speakers). So you really dont have accurate numbers to show here. From this list, im seeing $2k-$3k of repairs, the rest has nothing to do with the "reliability" aspect, but make pretty and sound good.

Im sorry for your bad experience, but it has nothing to do with the Dodge/Cummins brand. It all has to do with the age and mileage of the truck and most importantly how it was treated for 20 year previous to you. If the previous owner had done the brakes, you would not have had those issues.

I admit, my 2001 is a money pit, and will not get any better coming up on 330k. But its fun, it looks good, and no one has one like it (at least around my home). To my trucks defense, its been paid off for years, and all the money i put into her, its still nothing close to the amount my 2018 Ram 3500 cost.

Your complaint about towing is simple to cure. I haul a 16k toy hauler and have power to spare. No hill will slow her down. Stock turbo and injectors, just Edge tuner and Fass lift pump are the main pieces to the puzzle. Your stock truck will be a dog, these truck are not very powerful stock, or in your case just an exhaust and intake horn.

I do agree with the dash issue, Dodge did not make a good dash. But i replaced mine years ago from LMC for under $300. So its not really that big of a deal that people make it out to be. True story, i drove a '08 Duramax for a work truck in '13-'14, and the dash was cracked. So this is not just a Dodge issue.

Injection pumps are another thing people really talk down on these trucks. Its simple, put a quality lift pump, and you will never have an issue. Mine made it 300k with no issues, replaced with a HotRod pump looking for more power. Also pour a 1/2 Qt 2-stroke oil in the tank every fill-up.

Long story short, this should be a truck you learn how to work on, take pride in being able to repair it when something goes wrong. I have only had 2 mechanics touch my truck only because i didn't have the time, 250k head gasket failure. And 325k rear axle pinion bearings.
Other than that, i dont trust no one to touch her.
Exactly. This is a 21 yr vehicle. ANY will require this much work. The idea of an "indestructible Cummins" is the fact it's still on the road, not that it's going to need work. The OP is confusing two ideas. A lot of people do and expect for a car not to have much maintenance. This is literally why Tesla/EVs are so popular - zero maintenance. None. Long gone are the days where you'll see people fiddle in the driveway on their vehicle. The fact is, being able to work on a car is a dying. This is why shops can charge $120 an hour. The knowledge is being lost and quickly. I still enjoying working on cars, and I have all the tools to do it. I'm 38, I don't see ANY 20 year old doing it. The OP just exemplifies what I already knew.
 

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I have to admit the big downfall of my truck has been the vp$$ but since the lift pump and sump install double filters no issues and 16psi constant soon to a fpr where the fuel canister used to be to keep it at 21psi constant. Only other thing is that my nv is out of business and the transmissions are getting fewer and fewer so at some point I will have to go auto/4500 or g56 but I feel in love with teh 2nd gen look and will try and keep in running until I cannot. Wife is allowing me to finally buy a Mega once her car is paid off. Maybe I will have time to fully overhaul the motor to prime specs or build a new shortblock.
 

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My father put an easy million miles on these trucks when he was a tire salesman. when they got to 300k the company would sell the truck and get a new one, in fact, one of the trucks that he drove 19 years ago is still driving around town, someone bought it from the store and repainted it black and still has the service bed on it. That truck spent a lot of its life offroad running around the gold mines. That alone is proof that these trucks are strong and pretty much bulletproof IF the proper maintenance is done.
 

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I owned my 2000 Dodge 2500 for about 2 years. I really had no problems with it whatsoever. I had to put batteries in it to get it to start in the Spokane winters, but that's not unusual for a diesel. I also put a 3rd Gen track bar on it, and a set of 100HP injectors in it when I first got it. The injectors weren't necessary, other than to give it some much-needed power, but the track bar definitely was. Someone had already put an HX35 turbo on it, which definitely was not enough turbo for that setup, but it worked well enough as long as I didn't push it too hard. I bought the truck to do the R&D on what is now our valve body packages, and it certainly fulfilled its duties there. As such, the transmission problems that many guys deal with were not a part of the mix for me because I was constantly working with it.

BUT, having said all that, I absolutely HATED that truck! It was God-awful noisy, vibrated like the end of the world was coming, the steering was heavy and tiresome, the seats were uncomfortable, the interior was cheap and poorly laid out... It towed halfway decent, but I really couldn't wait to get rid of it. I MUCH prefer the Ford trucks that I've had over the years (and that I currently own). Much more comfortable, not fatiguing to drive, tows unbelievably well, and has SO much more power than that Cummins did, but without all the vibration.
 
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