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Looking at buying a 2003 dodge 2500 4x4 just checking to see what kind of major issues thy had with them an what to look for. thanks
 

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In my opinion everything is a plus over the later models except that a valve seat can be dropped by allowing the EGT to exceed 1200* for any length of time. This is not likely to happen if the engine is all stock and no tuners have are used.
 

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Better mileage is about the only benefit over the later ones. Everything else is a draw really, except the later ones make more power with a simple tune, every time.

No real major "issues" or areas of concern, just standard used pickup stuff to check. Make sure the AC/heat works and changes position when you move the dial; goes to defrost, dash, floor, etc.
 

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I have a diesel problem..
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I like the 03's. Had one last year and put 60k trouble free miles on it. Got great mileage (14-20 depending loaded or not). It was a SO but i grossed over 25k lbs all the time. Only thing i did to that truck was rebuild the front end. If I were going to go back to a 3rd gen I would buy another 03 and not touch a thing on it.
 

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check all u / ball joints on the truck. carrier bearing if its a long bed.
make sure ac is up to snuff. check for any blow by.

otherwise, its really a toss up vs the later 3rd gens, with exception of
the extra hp you get 04.5 and up.
 

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Mark Chappell told me that Cummins tested the 03 CR for 1000 continuous hours at full load and either 1300 or 1350 egt (I don't remember) . I've gone up to the tunnel at 1300 all the way and with the tuner turned up, no problems. Craig
 

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Mountain Man Customs
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Better mileage is about the only benefit over the later ones. Everything else is a draw really, except the later ones make more power with a simple tune, every time.

No real major "issues" or areas of concern, just standard used pickup stuff to check. Make sure the AC/heat works and changes position when you move the dial; goes to defrost, dash, floor, etc.
Curious what your thoughts on piston differences between the 305hp and 325hp engines are.


Personally I prefer the interior of the 03-05 trucks and the tail lights through 06. I used to prefer the 03-05 front end, but these days I appreciate both.

The NV5600 in the early trucks is better than the G56 in the 05.5+ trucks.
 

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TRE Diesel Minion
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I prefer the 03-early04 trucks for a few reasons. Most non CA trucks came with no emissions equipment, no cat & just a blow by tube====full turbo back system, no cat & it's still legal. The 48re tranny can be built to handle almost anything you throw at it. (Which is why we have converted a few 68re 6.7 trucks to 48re). I also prefer the simpler injection architecture of these model years.........now with Smarty UDC.....look out!
 

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Curious what your thoughts on piston differences between the 305hp and 325hp engines are.
Personally I think it's over played. Yes, there was a RASH of piston melting back around '07/'08 timeframe on the forums, and 9 out of 10 where later trucks ('04.5-'07, seems '06/'07 were the largest victims) and everyone pointed and said "look, the pistons suck" and I, personally, feel it's a non-issue especially when running the early/BMS-style nozzles in the later trucks.

Do I have any quantitative data or engineering to back that up? Nope. Wish I did. I mean one can look at the cutaway drawings of each and come up with the '03-style being superior. Maybe tuners or heavy hitters know better, I won't claim to be an expert.

My feeling on the piston failures (of which I was a victim, once with the '07, once with the '03) was more caveman tuning combined with a crappy injection angle. Now with the current tuning it's pretty rare to see someone popping a piston now. But back then, it seemed like every single day a new thread appeared on the forums with yet another truck with melted pistons. Bad days for sure.
 

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Mountain Man Customs
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^^ I was in high school in those days, and WAY too broke to even notice 3rd gens. But even still I seem to remember hearing of the "newest" dodge diesels having engine problems. That's as much as I knew, didn't get into diesels until later.


My (early) '04 is the newest truck I have personally ever owned. But in my days at the diesel performance shop we only ever saw Dodge bottom end problems from 325hp engines. I pulled a couple and replaced them (used replacement was cheaper for the customer than rebuild), but I don't remember asking too many questions. I didn't enjoy talking to my boss any more than necessary haha.




Personally I wouldn't hesitate to buy a 325hp 5.9. There's really not a Dodge diesel I wouldn't enjoy owning to some degree. I pretty much only hold on to manual transmission trucks, but my '90 is an exception there as well.
 

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Yeah, when I popped the pistons in my '07, when I dropped the block off to get machined, the place was packed with Cummins blocks. I pointed a group out and said "those look familiar"...there were like 7 or 8 CR blocks, and one 12v block.

I'm with you, if I could (Jay Leno money) I'd have at least one from every year, some have quirks or "less desirable" attributes compared to others, but they're all good solid trucks. My opinion of course.
 

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Some of the 03's had the 47re vs the 48re. In theory the 48re is better but in the real world, I'm not sure there is a lot of difference.

I have an early 04 and I'm not sure when they changed the headlight design, 06? Either way, the headlights suck. I put in the better bulbs (Silverstars?) and re-aimed them and they went from really crappy to just poor.
 

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Some of the 03's had the 47re vs the 48re. In theory the 48re is better but in the real world, I'm not sure there is a lot of difference.
When one buys an aftermarket 47, it's got many of those upgrades from the 48. There is a difference, like the 5 gear sun shell I think it's called in the 48 vs the 4 gear shell in the previous trans'.

Just a tidbit.

I like the ugly 2003 steering wheel because it is ugly haha. One year only makes it unique.
Don't forget the one year only 5-vent dash too. It's kind cool in a not-really cool way:hehe:

Never did know why they dropped the fifth vent, money maybe?:confused013:
 

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I like the ugly 2003 steering wheel because it is ugly haha. One year only makes it unique. That being said I would rather have my early 04, just because it's an '04 I guess.
the "ugly" steering wheel is one of the main reasons i bought my 03! absolutely love the look over the newer ones:drool2:
 

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now I have to google what the other non ugly steering wheel looks like, I also didn't know I had a rare 5 vent dash... I like strange things... lol...
 

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I have an 03 so I will chime in,

I didn't know EFI live was unavailable for the 03-05 until I bought my truck, owell,
I bought it because it was a solid truck, it was a lot cheaper than an 06/07 truck, and wanted to upgrade from the 2nd gen I had previously.

I do like my black door cards and dash vs the newer ugly grey ones, since we are mentioning ugly stuff lol
 

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I will agree, I much prefer the black interior in my '03 vs the khaki in my '07, but I like the layout/design of the '07 better. Seats are more comfortable for my back in the '07, stiffer and give more support where the '03 seems to "eat you up" more.
 

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I am no fan of 3rd gen seats. Mine were very worn when I got them, I replaced them with brand new seats from a 2012 Ram. Much more comfortable.
 
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