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The 3rd Gen Dodge Ram Buyer's/Builder's Guide


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Hello guys,,

 

SUMMARY OF

  • Drive: 4WD chain-driven selectable / electronic operation 4WD

  • Engine: 5.9L, 24V common rail Cummins turbo diesel / 6.7L, 24V CR CTD

  • Suspension: a nearly lost cause (more to come)

  • Features: a LOT of power

Walker Texas Ranger. Bill Harding. Yours truly. Anyone who’s anyone has owned a Dodge Ram at some point. The 3rd iteration of the Ram 2500 saw notable changes from its predecessor. A facelift gave the vehicle a more robust look, while the powerplant was drastically changed as well. The legendary inline six Cummins diesel stuck around, but was now sporting a common rail fuel system that bumped compression up even higher, resulting in over 300 HP, and well over 500 ft/lbs of torque right out of the gate. Later on, EPA regulations mandated things like DPF and EGR, at which point the Ram was again updated with a 6.7L version of its diesel option.

CREATURE COMFORTS

Space has to count for something. Given that you can comfortably fit four grown men who are 6’2”+ in this thing, the Ram has to shoot to the top of the list for group activities. While the seats are basic in design, they handle the weight of the same sized individuals well. A large center console/armrest can hold half your life with room left over for a pistol lockbox, and can fold up to reveal the full, glorious bench seat of yesteryear. There is some decent under-seat storage in the rear as well. While the interior’s blandness is only rivaled by vehicles designed to survive anti-vehicle mines, it’s not ugly or off-putting. It’s actually pretty quiet considering the fact the truck’s intended to pull horse trailers and haul welding equipment around.

Of course, it’s a mid-2000s Chrysler. The wiring is cheap and half-assed. Your windows may stop working at any given moment. The body moulding/clips will undoubtedly break at some point and require a $5/twenty minute Napa venture when they do. The factory stereo is as useful as swim shorts in a Minnesota winter.

OFFROAD CAPABILITY

Most people don’t think of ¾ pickups when they think of offroad vehicles. Imagine their surprise when you go climbing up a 30 degree gravel hill effortlessly. While it may never quite keep up with more common compact options in switchbacks or breakovers, it has tremendous ground clearance, insane power, and the beef to practically ignore the risk of snapping components. A shift into 4LOW with a patient spool of the turbo will make short work of big rocks, steep hills, and anything else stupid enough to stay in your way.

Understand your limitations with regards to maneuverability, don’t get too happy with the atom bomb attached to the right pedal, and you’ll do just fine.

AFTERMARKET OPTIONS

Buy a leveling kit and ARB bumper. Have some sliders made. That is as far as you’re going to get before things really go downhill. You see, the Ram suffers the same fate as virtually every single full size vehicle made post-1994 or so. Lift kits are almost exclusively marketed to the brodozer crowd, and have next to no practical options for the overlander; at least not at a reasonable price point. Carli has the hard-use market cornered at $10K for a 3” lift that has the same kind of components as a $1200 setup for a Jeep XJ. If you insist on getting a “real” lift, your best bet is to do a bespoken kit. Buy some Rancho or Rough Country (I know) springs, an adjustable track bar, your choice of shocks, and some Deaver leafs. Or do a shackle flip/SOA setup. God speed.

EDIT: There are some kit options that aren't brackets and spacers. Your mileage may vary, but these companies are not what the author would personally consider to be on the same level of quality as many others available in other platforms (OME, Rock Krawler, etc.)

In the same vein, the armor is all Iron Cross and Road Armor ChiCom junk outside of a few select companies.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

The combination of the giant fuel tank and 20+ MPG means that this vehicle could be a blessing on those long Utah or BC backcountry trips. And for the local weekends, imagine this: you and three buddies got a quarter cord of wood and two coolers full of beer and meat in the bed, while pulling your hunting camper. You’re going over Berthoud Pass and not even breaking 4K RPM in the process. On the third night, you’ve already burned all your wood, so you wrap up a tow chain and yank a dead tree root right outta the ground. The world is your oyster.

The 5.9L is the author’s preferred pick. Straight pipe, and some basic fuel system upgrades go a looooooooooong way. Also, for a few grand, one can manufacture their own fuel. Take that for what it’s worth.

Now a warning: diesel motors are significantly more expensive to maintain. These things use 3+ gallons of motor oil, diesel costs are inexplicably high (despite being a much more crude fuel than gasoline), and repairs/parts pricing can not be overstated. If you’re expecting to put $50 into it every six months like a ‘92 Toyota pickup, you’re in for a rude awakening. However, those who actually maintain their vehicles properly will find them to be stupidly durable and capable.

WHO IS THE 3RD GEN RAM CTD FOR?

Those seeking a daily driver-oriented option would be well-served with the sheer pragmatism of a full size truck. There’s no flash or pizazz, only business. It can pull a house off its foundation, gets better fuel economy than vehicles that weigh a fraction of it, and gives tremendous return on investment when not being driven around the backcountry. If bolting or welding on all kinds of acoutrements just to go camping seems stupid to you, you’re on the right path here.

ALSO CONSIDER

  • ‘99-’03 Ford F250; Last years of the 7.3L Powerstroke motor, while being housed in a similarly modern platform. Same principles all around.

  • 2nd generation Toyota Tundra; if diesel seems like more trouble than it’s worth, and you’re not stuck on solid axles, this is a great alternative. More modern, with trademark reliability.

  • 9th generation Chevy Suburban; if an affordable domestic full sizer is on your list, but you aren’t committed to a truck bed, this platform offers great opportunity for in-cab sleeping and complete weather immunity..

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On 8/9/2020 at 4:57 AM, AfjalKhan said:

Hello guys,,

 

SUMMARY OF

  • Drive: 4WD chain-driven selectable / electronic operation 4WD

  • Engine: 5.9L, 24V common rail Cummins turbo diesel / 6.7L, 24V CR CTD

  • Suspension: a nearly lost cause (more to come)

  • Features: a LOT of power

Walker Texas Ranger. Bill Harding. Yours truly. Anyone who’s anyone has owned a Dodge Ram at some point. The 3rd iteration of the Ram 2500 saw notable changes from its predecessor. A facelift gave the vehicle a more robust look, while the powerplant was drastically changed as well. The legendary inline six Cummins diesel stuck around, but was now sporting a common rail fuel system that bumped compression up even higher, resulting in over 300 HP, and well over 500 ft/lbs of torque right out of the gate. Later on, EPA regulations mandated things like DPF and EGR, at which point the Ram was again updated with a 6.7L version of its diesel option.

CREATURE COMFORTS

Space has to count for something. Given that you can comfortably fit four grown men who are 6’2”+ in this thing, the Ram has to shoot to the top of the list for group activities. While the seats are basic in design, they handle the weight of the same sized individuals well. A large center console/armrest can hold half your life with room left over for a pistol lockbox, and can fold up to reveal the full, glorious bench seat of yesteryear. There is some decent under-seat storage in the rear as well. While the interior’s blandness is only rivaled by vehicles designed to survive anti-vehicle mines, it’s not ugly or off-putting. It’s actually pretty quiet considering the fact the truck’s intended to pull horse trailers and haul welding equipment around.

Of course, it’s a mid-2000s Chrysler. The wiring is cheap and half-assed. Your windows may stop working at any given moment. The body moulding/clips will undoubtedly break at some point and require a $5/twenty minute Napa venture when they do. The factory stereo is as useful as swim shorts in a Minnesota winter.

OFFROAD CAPABILITY

Most people don’t think of ¾ pickups when they think of offroad vehicles. Imagine their surprise when you go climbing up a 30 degree gravel hill effortlessly. While it may never quite keep up with more common compact options in switchbacks or breakovers, it has tremendous ground clearance, insane power, and the beef to practically ignore the risk of snapping components. A shift into 4LOW with a patient spool of the turbo will make short work of big rocks, steep hills, and anything else stupid enough to stay in your way.

Understand your limitations with regards to maneuverability, don’t get too happy with the atom bomb attached to the right pedal, and you’ll do just fine.

AFTERMARKET OPTIONS

Buy a leveling kit and ARB bumper. Have some sliders made. That is as far as you’re going to get before things really go downhill. You see, the Ram suffers the same fate as virtually every single full size vehicle made post-1994 or so. Lift kits are almost exclusively marketed to the brodozer crowd, and have next to no practical options for the overlander; at least not at a reasonable price point. Carli has the hard-use market cornered at $10K for a 3” lift that has the same kind of components as a $1200 setup for a Jeep XJ. If you insist on getting a “real” lift, your best bet is to do a bespoken kit. Buy some Rancho or Rough Country (I know) springs, an adjustable track bar, your choice of shocks, and some Deaver leafs. Or do a shackle flip/SOA setup. God speed.

EDIT: There are some kit options that aren't brackets and spacers. Your mileage may vary, but these companies are not what the author would personally consider to be on the same level of quality as many others available in other platforms (OME, Rock Krawler, etc.)

In the same vein, the armor is all Iron Cross and Road Armor ChiCom junk outside of a few select companies.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

The combination of the giant fuel tank and 20+ MPG means that this vehicle could be a blessing on those long Utah or BC backcountry trips. And for the local weekends, imagine this: you and three buddies got a quarter cord of wood and two coolers full of beer and meat in the bed, while pulling your hunting camper. You’re going over Berthoud Pass and not even breaking 4K RPM in the process. On the third night, you’ve already burned all your wood, so you wrap up a tow chain and yank a dead tree root right outta the ground. The world is your oyster.

The 5.9L is the author’s preferred pick. Straight pipe, and some basic fuel system upgrades go a looooooooooong way. Also, for a few grand, one can manufacture their own fuel. Take that for what it’s worth.

Now a warning: diesel motors are significantly more expensive to maintain. These things use 3+ gallons of motor oil, diesel costs are inexplicably high (despite being a much more crude fuel than gasoline), and repairs/parts pricing can not be overstated. If you’re expecting to put $50 into it every six months like a ‘92 Toyota pickup, you’re in for a rude awakening. However, those who actually maintain their vehicles properly will find them to be stupidly durable and capable https://trackeasy.fun/usps/ https://showbox.tools/ http://essaywriter.fun/.

WHO IS THE 3RD GEN RAM CTD FOR?

Those seeking a daily driver-oriented option would be well-served with the sheer pragmatism of a full size truck. There’s no flash or pizazz, only business. It can pull a house off its foundation, gets better fuel economy than vehicles that weigh a fraction of it, and gives tremendous return on investment when not being driven around the backcountry. If bolting or welding on all kinds of acoutrements just to go camping seems stupid to you, you’re on the right path here.

ALSO CONSIDER

  • ‘99-’03 Ford F250; Last years of the 7.3L Powerstroke motor, while being housed in a similarly modern platform. Same principles all around.

  • 2nd generation Toyota Tundra; if diesel seems like more trouble than it’s worth, and you’re not stuck on solid axles, this is a great alternative. More modern, with trademark reliability.

  • 9th generation Chevy Suburban; if an affordable domestic full sizer is on your list, but you aren’t committed to a truck bed, this platform offers great opportunity for in-cab sleeping and complete weather immunity..

I couldn't agree more. I've wheeled my 2004 4 door long bed for 15 years now and it is the easiest to drive off road. Enough weight to get tons of traction. You definitely need to know it's limitations, size mostly, not great in mud. It goes for days on a tank of fuel off road. Really comfortable especially compared to my CJ.

 
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