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Looking for some wisdom on longevity of the 5.9 L


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Hello everyone,,

So I've been toying with the idea of getting a 5.9L for a while. My preference is to get something prior to 2003, simply because I like the body style. The tradeoff, however, is most of these trucks are well into the 200k range. One I am looking at in particular has 278xxx on the odometer, with a tranny rebuild at approximately 275k. I know that the Cummins is the "million mile motor," but is it a risky proposition to jump in at almost 300k? Would I be better off saving my pennies for a truck with lower miles?

Thanks!!!

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To start off, this is in the wrong forum, you are looking for a second gen. @Mopar1973Man

 

We would need to know more about the truck to give you a better idea, but in general, mileage isn't a scary prospect so long as the truck hasn't been abused. Still, by 300k, most are going to need some type of moderately expensive work in the near future.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Here I am a forum moderator and can't move this thread to the second Gen forum.:redx: Sheesh!

 

Your question is an important one, but I think the single most important advice I can give is to stay away from anything modified, played with or molested except for the required fuel system modifications, i.e. fuel pressure gauge, aftermarket lift pump, big line kit etc.. Try to find a lower miles original truck with service records that show the owner was faithful to maintaining the truck.If you see anything not tight or right you should walk away. Anything done halfway you should see as a sign to look elsewhere. Large wheels and tires or lifted suspension means that I would also walk away.

 

You can bullet proof these trucks starting with a good tight truck, but you will have some added expense. Being a member of this forum will help and all the articles you will find are gold. Just about everyone here has had to get involved in mods to increase reliability, but it's a good feeling knowing your truck is reliable and will last a long time.

 

BTW, welcome to the forum :thumb1:

 

 

Edited by JAG1
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Moved to 2nd gen. 
 

Multiple members here have several hundred thousand miles on their 2nd gens. Simplicity and lower power output make for long lives. 
 

If the truck has been maintained it shouldn’t be an issue. Look the whole truck over, not just the drivetrain. I’d be more nervous about the Dodge components than the Cummins ones. Frame rot/rust/cracks, etc. Sheet metal and suspension, stuff like that. 

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Million mile motor in a 3 block pickup truck.... Nah I'm joking, I'm in the UK, parts are hard to get not like you guys and mine touch wood is as reliable as it can be at 22 years old, my truck was not maintained here in the uk properly, it is now and yes I've done the required fuel mods, I haven't and won't go down the road of big power as long as it pulls my 5th I'm happy, 1000 mile trip 2 weeks ago with only a fractured fuel return line, easily bodged with silicon sealer (now fixed)

I would advise to drop the most expensive scanner on it you can borrow beg or steal for a few minutes and see what if any codes are present/logged, newer Snap On comes to mind, if any are present  thats a good tool to either get the cost down or walk away, check back here to id any codes in the article section

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Posted (edited)

Like myself I'm in it for a balance of both power and longevity. 

  • 7 x 0.010 injectors (150 HP)
  • Holset HX35/40 Hybrid (60/60/12)
  • Quadzilla Adrenaline

Biggest thing is not do any lift or leveling kits. No over sized tires stay with stock 265's or 245's. I find the 245's are super great for towing trailers putting the truck in the power band for towing. I average about 20-21 MPG for highway running typically. 

 

Longevity wise I highly suggest exhaust brake. Brake pads will last well over 200k miles. Without any lifts or leveling kits I'm getting 200k plus miles from ball joints, tie rod ends, and other suspension parts. Even my last set of Hankook 245/75 R16 tires I got 70k miles from them and two winters. I've got enough power to tow my RV at 65 MPH up most grades without any temp problems. I just done a trip to Mohave Valley AZ and the only thing that got a bit hot was my transmission temp at 190°F to 200°F. Engine coolant stayed at 197°F and EGT's 1,000 to 1,100°F. Maxed out at 14.7 MPG averaged 12.6 MPG with 17,300 pounds gross combined weight. 

 

Follow me you will not go wrong... 418k miles on the clock. Give perspective to that amount of miles. It 238,000 miles to the moon, then its 476k miles to the moon and back home again. I'm almost home from the moon!

 

Hidden in the woods for this weekend...

20200808_145228.jpg

Edited by Mopar1973Man
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 You have come to the right place for advise. I've been a member a short time. Not long ago bought my first dodge Cummins, an '01 with only 139k at the time of purchase. Only mods done was a aftermarket FASS replacement lift pump. Been extremely happy with it and will keep it a very long time. 

 Stay away from the "53" blocks. They had a manufacturing defect that pops up from time to time.

 Other than that, find one that the owner cared about and didn't go crazy with power adders and you'll be good.

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1 hour ago, Mopar1973Man said:

It 238,000 miles to the moon, then its 476k miles to the moon and back home again. I'm almost home from the moon!

I am still holding a seat for ya at the welcome back bar and grill. 510k and counting.

 

To the op I would not let mileage be a deal breake but I would look it over closely and as mentioned earlier put a good scanner on it and see its trying to tell something. Folks are right proud on the prices they ask for these trucks and not all not worthy of said price. It also helps if somewhat handy with a wrench. Things do wear out. Some info on the truck would help any of us help you on an opinion.

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I passed up a 2001 Dodge for $4,000 just needed a heater core and the cruise control fixed. Cummins , 4WD, 3.55 gears, 2 inch leveling kit, etc. Black truck, quad cab, lifted up on 35 inch tires. I could of fixed the few problems and flipped the truck for nearly double. The paint and body were in good to excellent shape from the photos I looked at. 

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On the 98.5- 02 I would see if the wait to start light comes on immediately when the key is turned On. If it does your good. If not the ECM is on its way out or done. Does it fire right up? Or long cranks? Check for blow by through the oil cap. Bump the ignition without starting it but leave the key on does the lift pump run for about 20 seconds? If it doesn’t the injection pump could be short lived. Do all the body lines match up? Check for body repair. IE bondo. Could be hiding a huge rust problem. Are the finders and door gaps equal distance apart from top to bottom? Do the doors close easily?  Check the frame for any kinks. Are the tires all wearing evenly? Test drive. This will give indication of a wreck. Does it shift through all the gears properly? Even under a load?  Is there a goose neck or fifth wheel hitch? Does the body sag anywhere This will tell you if it towed a lot. Check all the fluids. Ask for receipts for service and repairs. Look under the dash for any shady wire repairs. Same under the hood. Those can cause a lot of heartache. They are good trucks and will last a long time. If they were taken care of but that’s with most vehicles. These are just a few things I check when purchasing a vehicle. 

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On 8/9/2020 at 4:55 AM, Kimon said:

Hello everyone,,

So I've been toying with the idea of getting a 5.9L for a while. My preference is to get something prior to 2003, simply because I like the body style. The tradeoff, however, is most of these trucks are well into the 200k range. One I am looking at in particular has 278xxx on the odometer, with a tranny rebuild at approximately 275k. I know that the Cummins is the "million mile motor," but is it a risky proposition to jump in at almost 300k? Would I be better off saving my pennies for a truck with lower miles https://speedtest.vet/ https://vidmate.bid/ https://wordtopdf.ltd/?

Thanks!!!

 

I've specifically been avoiding tow rigs, for that very reason. I saw a 2006 with 533k as a tow rig though. That was impressive.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Kimon said:

 

I've specifically been avoiding tow rigs, for that very reason. I saw a 2006 with 533k as a tow rig though. That was impressive.

 

 

We had a memeber here that towed large boats up and down the east coast who put 1.3 million miles on his 2nd gen with proper care and maintenance. Those last 4 words are the key. Age can take its toll also. 

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GAmes over on CF passed 1.4 mil. on his 12 valve recently. Went through 7 or 8 NV4500's if I remember right, but still original engine and Injector pump as far as I know. He hauls pretty heavy from Texas up through to Canada. And he'll be more than happy to tell you he's never used any fuel additives :lol:.

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