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1,278 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I’ll start in this new “general discussion” area.

Likes:
Simple
No emissions
Real rack and pinion 2wd

Dislikes:
Rough Ride
Loud
Not many creature comforts
Low build quality
 
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Trying to learn
'03 QCLB 2500 305/555 NV5600 3.73 4x4
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7,049 Posts
I like:
The way it sounds straight piped.
All the pulling power I will ever need.
No emissions also.
For a pick-up truck not so rough a ride as the older ones I had owned.

Dislikes:
None that bother me enough to think about.
 
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2,977 Posts
Likes:
  • excellent heavy duty powertrain, Cummins, NV5600 trans, suspension, chassis, huge brakes.
  • easy to work on engine, trans, suspension,
  • excellent 2wd front suspension as mentioned. Dbl A-arms, rack and pinion steering.
  • excellent interior design. Excellent 1st gen SRT-10 Ram front seats!
  • tons of aftermarket support, both hardware and ECM support.
  • grill attached to hood, goes up with the hood.
  • clean smooth tail gate when debadged.



Dislikes:
  • poor interior build quality.
  • poor front seats.
  • cheap black plastic door handles. No options were available in 3rd Gens.
  • poor HVAC build quality, lack of HVAC cabin filter.
  • 6" 3" inch short box. Wish it was 6' 6" or a bit longer.
  • wrap around doors with thin sheet metal at front door hinge attachment points. Dodge fixed this in the 4th Gens.
  • weak 2004.5-07 5.9 pistons.
  • 4 speed auto trans. Not enough gears to tow heavy with.
  • those 07-09 rear tail lights. Good grief! Easy aftermarket fix though.
 

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88 Posts
Likes:
More power- better milage than my 99 dodge V10 had.
On board air suspension controls. (Had to install that though)
Simplicity of the interior. I don't need to feel like I'm driving a space shuttle like the newer trucks out there today.
How it sounds.
Side mirrors.
My 60 gallon fuel tank. (Unless it gets too far under half full)

Dislikes:

Headlights need to put out more light.
Seats should be softer.
Front is SUPER HEAVY. Needs 4 wheel drive with just a little bit of snow on the ground.
Rough ride. (That's what I get for buying a 3500)
Wish it had an 8 speed transmission.
 

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Premium Member
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6,551 Posts
IMHO, Have driven owned chebies, furds, yotas, and nissans, once trans, fuel filtering and front end upgraded maintained properly, best all around pickup truck from that time frame is 3rd gen.
likes
power galore
Very dependable, long lasting if keep below 400hp and maintain!!
low cost per mile
Exhaust and clickity clack engine sound , new ones are too quiet
room to work on engine/trans
no emission bs
simple heavy duty engine design/components.
safe vehicle
good brakes
good axles/transfer case
IMO comfortable for HD pickup.

Dislikes

#1 and very difficult to fix if not electrical wiz is Electrical gremlins that haunt these trucks, most common cause is from poor design, poor quality wiring,ie door and light wiring, and low lead,poor quality soldering for components, ie. cluster/switches eventually causing all kinds of very expensive electrical gremlins.
Stock auto trans even babied, wont last more then 100k off roading.
Front end components issues ,made with mexicanese steel, was bad enough to cause 3 recalls
Junk Fuel filtering
Fake Gauges.
Bed Rust from poor design.
Proprietary protocols for engine and body electronics , thank god for hackers.
Lack of dealership support /parts availability. ;)
 

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‘06 Megacab
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132 Posts
Likes:
  • The Cummins. Nothing beats the sound and reliability.
  • Availability of tuning and aftermarket parts.
Dislikes:
  • The seats are terrible.
  • Air conditioning is garbage. The whole HVAC system is truly unacceptable.
  • 48re. Dodge was/is behind in the transmission department. Same year Ford and GM had 5/6 speed autos.
  • Front end. Steering linkage, steering box. Ball joints. Simply not built to last.
  • short box too short. Need a few more inches to fit sport bikes without smashing the tires.
 

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138 Posts
Sorry I'm late to the game here, but here's my two cents:

Pros:
  • Oh man love that Cummins sound especially when warming up
  • 48re is IMO the best 727 variant ever made when properly built
  • 4 speed gears are far enough apart to let the cummins put the low end grunt into hilly towing without constantly shuttling between a 5th and 6th gear, makes the clutch packs last longer, also, can easily install tapshifter or equivalent to lock in specific gears if need be
  • Good drivetrain, easy to work on
  • Engine is simple as can be while still having modern EFI
  • Find me another pickup truck engine that you can pull the valve cover off on the side of the road and replace injectors or adjust the valves, remove the exhaust manifold/turbo, or even pull the head if you have enough help
  • No emissions (well other than a catalytic converter and in cylinder EGR that both mysteriously disappeared at some point, well let's just say aftermarket camshafts can be good for more than one thing)
  • Like the interior layout, radio area is the perfect size to add an aftermarket double din stereo
  • Best looking truck IMO from any maker in at least a 5-10 year span either way, even better with some aftermarket headlights, etc.
  • Best towing experience of any light-medium duty pickup truck from that era as well IMHO, primarily due to the Cummins platform
  • HUGE modding community and wide variety of options
Cons:
  • HUGE modding community and wide variety of options - GETS EXPENSIVE!
  • Injection system is not exactly what I would call trouble free or reliable - So far I've spent almost as much on the fuel system as I did on the whole engine and transmission rebuild I did
  • 48re needs some sturdy parts added to it to really be reliable, especially input shaft and valve body tweaks, expect to spend good money on the valve body if you want it to work right
  • Rusty rear wheel wells problem
  • Front end steering components basically all need to be upgraded/replaced with any amount of miles on the truck
  • Clunky, heavy dodge doors with crappy plastic trim that eventually breaks
  • Other assorted Dodge problems (Dodge bumper coveritis, wire harness cancer, etc.)
  • 6 cylinder engine can be a bit more vibratey than the 8 cylinder variants, but only in certain conditions
 

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TECH SPECIALIST
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11,790 Posts
Likes:
  • Its paid for
  • Minimal truck, PW, PDL, CC, AC are the only factory features, fewer things to break
  • Huge support base for keeping it on the road
  • Mile for mile against other rides, hands down the most reliable one I've owned... and I've owned a lot
  • The 21.x mpg I can count on tank to tank these days with 448k on it

Dislikes:
  • The fresh hit & run dent in the rear bumper... seriously, my truck has been hit 4 times now back there
  • The AC fan setup - a shop added a relay w/o my consent and did a poor job of it, need to fix it
  • The slipping recliner for the drivers seat, result of rear end hit #3, did not catch it before closing out ins claim
 

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hydraulic lifter crew
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12,448 Posts
all of the good points have been hit. I absolutely loved the big 600 engine with the NV 5600 in my 04.5. no emissions. tunable to whatever hp you "need". tin can build quality. even the laramies were p.o.s. examples.
 

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1,278 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I have a new dislike...

My passenger door catches air near the pillar when driving above 90mph. Starts to shake like it wants to take flight and lets some air in...
 

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57 Posts
I have a new dislike...

My passenger door catches air near the pillar when driving above 90mph. Starts to shake like it wants to take flight and lets some air in...
My driver door does that, where the top portion of it shakes just enough so that the air makes an annoying noise. I can pull on the door handle to silence it, but who wants to do that.
 

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57 Posts
Likes:
  • Paid off.
  • Cummins sound really good.
  • 4x4 (but it needs fixed).
  • Bodyguard is way better and looks much nicer and stronger than Ranch Hand.
  • I'm fairly certain there are endless possibilities for upgrades everywhere.
  • Mileage is better than expected with large rims, tires, and a lift.
  • It's one of the more comfortable vehicles I've sat in.
  • Power.
  • Lots of room in the two center consoles, under and behind the back seat.
Dislikes:
  • Almost no bells and whistles, even for a Laramie edition. Might cause me to look at a newer 4th gen down the road.
  • It's a rough ride at times, even with the Fox shocks, but I'm not looking to spend another $3000 on leaf springs and other things.
  • Shifts really hard, especially into reverse. Not sure if it's just normal (I've read here they shift hard), if it is a byproduct of the rebuilt transmission, or if the transmission needs flushed.
  • HVAC system is garbage.
  • Only a 4 speed transmission.
  • A lot of the interior build quality is lackluster. I have broken overhead console lights and all but one of the window switch bezels is broken.
  • No aux switches...the area below the radio leaves a lot of room they could have utilized without making us have to upgrade that.
 
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I have a new dislike...

My passenger door catches air near the pillar when driving above 90mph. Starts to shake like it wants to take flight and lets some air in...

Chrysler re-designed the 3rd Gen upper door weatherstripping numerous times over the years, including the plastic piece between the windshield and leading edge of the door, improving it each time.

I replaced mine with the redesigned seals many years ago which greatly improved the upper door seal.
Upper door weatherstripping and the plastic piece. It was cheap and took 2 minutes to replace.

Have a look at the door seals on 2007+ truck next time you get a chance.

As I mentioned in my 1st post of dislikes, the 3rd Gen wrap-around doors are lame.
It was a design trend back then for many vehicles, I think they called it "air-craft design" doors.
The goal was to hide the door seam at the top of the doors and at the A-pillars for a clean look.
It does give it a clean look but made for a poor seal. Everyone abandoned that design and went back to traditional doors, including Dodge with the 4th Gen trucks.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Chrysler re-designed the 3rd Gen upper door weatherstripping numerous times over the years, including the plastic piece between the windshield and leading edge of the door, improving it each time.

I replaced mine with the redesigned seals many years ago which greatly improved the upper door seal.
Upper door weatherstripping and the plastic piece. It was cheap and took 2 minutes to replace.

Have a look at the door seals on 2007+ truck next time you get a chance.

As I mentioned in my 1st post of dislikes, the 3rd Gen wrap-around doors are lame.
It was a design trend back then for many vehicles, I think they called it "air-craft design" doors.
The goal was to hide the door seam at the top of the doors and at the A-pillars for a clean look.
It does give it a clean look but made for a poor seal. Everyone abandoned that design and went back to traditional doors, including Dodge with the 4th Gen trucks.
I replaced those long top seals in 2017. In 2017, I also had to unmount and adjust the drivers door and hinges so air wouldn’t seep at the a pillar.

Hell, just a few days ago, I had to dismount and adjust the left rear door as well.

I also recently tightened all the door strikers a bit. That may have fixed the air issue but I have yet to test.

In 2003, they didn’t have the door figment right yet I guess.

I will have to look into the plastic piece though.
 

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133 Posts
Likes:
Many of the same listed AND,
Old enough that most issues have been documented how to diagnose and fix
Forums: Hugh help. Examples: I took folks advice early on and added a 2u fuel filter under the air horn, trans shift kit and other bolt on parts, burn ATF/2SO. 230,000 on 48RE trans and injectors so far.
Great vender support for engine and 48RE/converter
No bells and whistles, narrow list of stuff that goes wrong.
After market and used parts, buyer beware, and some are excellent quality and nice upgrades.
Turbo/CP3 are excellent that complement a rock solid engine
Much easier to work on when comparing to Big Blue and Bowtie
ECU is open, don't have to have it unlocked
Resale value, low depreciation, lower insurance and tag/property tax

Dislikes:
Headlights weak
Front seat until I replaced foam and cover
HVAC until I replace $20 blend door
15 years old sensors and wiring. I've replaced EVERY sensor and amazed how much better it runs!
48RE, one more gear would have been nice.
 

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TECH SPECIALIST
Joined
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11,790 Posts
I have a new dislike...

My passenger door catches air near the pillar when driving above 90mph. Starts to shake like it wants to take flight and lets some air in...
Chrysler re-designed the 3rd Gen upper door weatherstripping numerous times over the years, including the plastic piece between the windshield and leading edge of the door, improving it each time.

I replaced mine with the redesigned seals many years ago which greatly improved the upper door seal.
Upper door weatherstripping and the plastic piece. It was cheap and took 2 minutes to replace.

Have a look at the door seals on 2007+ truck next time you get a chance.

As I mentioned in my 1st post of dislikes, the 3rd Gen wrap-around doors are lame.
It was a design trend back then for many vehicles, I think they called it "air-craft design" doors.
The goal was to hide the door seam at the top of the doors and at the A-pillars for a clean look.
It does give it a clean look but made for a poor seal. Everyone abandoned that design and went back to traditional doors, including Dodge with the 4th Gen trucks.
Mine had that same issue... added a chunk of foam wedged in between the seals in there and it solved the problem. That was 4ish years back, forgot all about it until mentioned here...
 

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glacierdieselpower.com
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1,170 Posts
Just went back down to a 3rd gen. We added a 2005, 72,000 miles cream puff to the line up. You can't go wrong with these trucks. They're easy to work on and reliable. I would have to agree with most everything that was said above.
918600
 

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TECH SPECIALIST
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11,790 Posts
Just went back down to a 3rd gen. We added a 2005, 72,000 miles cream puff to the line up. You can't go wrong with these trucks. They're easy to work on and reliable. I would have to agree with most everything that was said above.
View attachment 918600
Welcome Back!

Nice truck!!!
 

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2005 ram 3500
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156 Posts
Just went back down to a 3rd gen. We added a 2005, 72,000 miles cream puff to the line up. You can't go wrong with these trucks. They're easy to work on and reliable. I would have to agree with most everything that was said above.
View attachment 918600
So I have to ask, I know of several guys that have gone from newer trucks back down to a third gen.

Can I ask your reasons why?
 

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glacierdieselpower.com
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1,170 Posts
Of course. Here is the simple list of reasons why:

1) Up until 2007.5 less restrictive items were added to the truck, which has translated to less areas for mechanical and electrical problems
2) Space in the engine bay to work and add mods, like our fuel filter kits
3) Power
4) Love the engine and exhaust sound. Not as loud as the 2nd gen but not as quiet as the new trucks.
4) Overall, they seem more reliable than a lot of the newer trucks.

Downside:
1) Shameless product plug, we offer some sweet things for the 6.7 that don't work on the early 3rd gens.
2) I do find that I enjoy the bells and whistles inside the cab and the old 3rd gens are pretty basic(very functional, but basic)
 
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