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2003, 2004, 2005 or 2006 Dodge


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Good morning everyone,

 

Been gone from the forum for just over a year.  Life got crazy busy (moved from NY to TN recently).

 

Looking to get back into a Cummins powered truck. I know truck prices are high right now, but my 04 GMC 6.0 is a gas pig and has no power compared to my old 99 24v.   Did some research online, but I'd figured I'd ask the best forum for advice on a 3rd gen.   Which year is better?? Looking to get a 2003-07.5 5.9l.   

 

Looking forward to being apart of the diesel world again.

 

Tim

Edited by Collinst15
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I'll say I'm not doing too bad on the 3rd Gen 2006 Dodge 3500 SRW I've got. It's not a power house by any means but it does haul the tools to the job on a daily basis. The only upgrade I've done on Thor is +50 HP DAP injectors. Eventually I need to do a tuner that would help a bunch being the timing on stock engine is pretty retarded. Been able to hit about 18 MPG the way it is. 

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Thanks Moparman for the reply!  If love to 18mpg again, my 6.0 gmc gets 13 if it's unloaded and I'm light on the pedal.  

 

Any years to stay away from or are all the 5.9l common rails good regarding reliability?    Not looking for crazy power, but something that gets better than 6mpg towing our camper during vacations.  

 

Tim

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No matter what if there is 100k to 150k miles on the injectors they should be replaced. Fuel filtration is the second part most of these trucks are still in stock form like mine so like a good AirDog 150 with 3um filters would be a good addition. Check for blow by unscrew the oil cap and see if it sits in the hole without blowing out. I hate to say it but CR engines just don't live as long as the older 24V 2nd Gens. Reason being is too many people continue to run bad injectors which wash out the rings and cylinder walls. Since it is Common Rail that means that if any injector isn't closing completely you will be spray fuel 100% of the time in the cylinder. There is no real change in exhaust smoke but you may notice a reduction in MPG's and possibly a gain in engine oil. Kind of like Thor with stock injectors managed to gain oil in 15 mile trip to town and back. Hence the change of injectors instantly. So if you keep good filters in the fuel system and change injectors before they are wore out you'll be able to have a long life out of tha truck.

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I've heard lots about the 5.9l common rail and how the motors can be ruined due to cylinder wash.   Just wondering if the later years 5.9l CRs are better than the earlier ones.

 

I'm looking for a truck with obviously as low mileage I can find that is not way overpriced.   I've found a few trucks around 180k-220k miles for $20k+.  High mileage does not scare me, I know it's a matter of not if, but when to replace fueling parts and the added cost of CR fueling components. 

 

I know with the market I'm going to pay more, but have to keep it in budget.  I'd like to find a truck that is a keeper for a long time (moving south I am looking forward to missing all the rust that NY winters bring) 

 

Glad to be back on the forum!

 

Tim

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11 hours ago, Collinst15 said:

I've heard lots about the 5.9l common rail and how the motors can be ruined due to cylinder wash.   Just wondering if the later years 5.9l CRs are better than the earlier ones.

No. Again if the injectors are not changed in the 100k to 150k you take a risk of cylinder wash. More the injectors wear out you can litterially drive the truck till it no longer runs because the rail pressure is bleeding out through multiple injectors. I've seen at least 6 vehicles unable to start because of wasted injectors most times the cylinders are washed out as well with high blow by.

 

So my advise is if the previous owner hasn't done injectors (all six) then you can bet it will be due when you buy the truck. That's another thing I fight with people just replacing the worn injectors maybe 1 or 2 to save money but the other 4 are ready to fail. Then wonder why it always having issues.

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Thanks again Moparman.  Obviously I am new to CR engines and have not fully researched them.  That's why I asked here to get any input or any years to stay away from.   I'll keep the information on hand regarding replacing injectors if they have never been done before.   

 

Tim

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Yeah I'll admit I'm in the learning curve of 3rd Gen trucks. As for working on them I've had some practice on replacing injectors. Done 2014 4th Gen, 2004 3rd Gen, etc. In most cases the truck would not start or if it did MPG is low and performance is a bit off at least to me.

 

Just like tonight I heard a Ford 7.3L pull into a fuel station and notice the off beat lope. I ask the owner he had 200k plus. I told him he might consider replacing all 8 injectors. Yup I've done 2 sets of 7.3L Ford Injectors in this last year.

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Aside from the injection event differences the 03–04 also have a stronger piston design, which is often used on 04.5-07 rebuilds to improve the motor. That likely equals out the cost of rebuild. 
 

I have some time in an 05 and an 06. I preferred the layout of the 05 dash more, and also thought the seats were quite a bit more comfortable. I did have to replace the seat cushion on my 05, but the upgraded cushion from Geno’s was a great investment. 
 

Injectors can go much longer than 100-150K miles on a common rail, with proper filtration. There are a couple aftermarket filtration kits to help there, just be sure to pick a good filter for the kit. Not all filters are created equal. Companies love to sell the Cat 1R-0750 as the best filter out there, but it’s not and hasn’t been for a decade or more. It’s not bad, but it’s not the best. Use a Baldwin PF7977 in the OEM canister. 
 

That being said if you find a truck with more than 150K miles on the stock injectors, especially an early CR, I’d budget replacement into the cost. CR injectors have come a long ways since 03. 
 

03-04 had 3 different Ho ratings. Cali, SO, and HO. Early 03 Cali/SO motors might have the smaller rear end and 47RE vs 48RE. If you plan to tow or add power avoid those. The HO is what I’s shop for. 
 

Are you planning to keep it stock?

 

What trans are you looking for? 
 

The differences between a 2500 and 3500 in that generation were so small it doesn’t really matter what you get (aside from the previously mentioned early 03 SO’s), unless you live somewhere that GVWR is important, which was painfully low on either model. 
 

If I were getting back into a 3rd Gen I’d be looking for a 03-04 HO 6 speed NV5600. I’d then put a slightly larger turbo on it, injectors and tune it for 375-400 rwhp and call it a day. Great work/tow setup and great fuel economy. I’d also snag a 04.5-05 that had been rebuilt with 03-04 style pistons, assuming the quality of the rebuild could be verified. 

Edited by AH64ID
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1 hour ago, AH64ID said:

 

Injectors can go much longer than 100-150K miles on a common rail, with proper filtration.

 

All I'll say is 99% of the trucks I work on don't have upgraded filtration, most don't even know to change the filter. With that said 100k to 150k miles on injectors.

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1 minute ago, Mopar1973Man said:

 

All I'll say is 99% of the trucks I work on don't have upgraded filtration, most don't even know to change the filter. With that said 100k to 150k miles on injectors.


That would be why the service interval is so short, can’t blame the injectors for neglect. 
 

Another issue is there are plenty of filters that don’t even meet the minimum filtration requirements for CR injectors. Some of them big names, like NAPA/WIX. Which I know you like to use them, but when they don’t meet spec it’s hard to justify their use. 

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That might be true but again 99% of the trucks I work on are not even maintained to my level that I think is at least OK.

 

Again not my truck, not my money, it all the customer choice of what I do for a job on there trucks. 

 

2004 did this last summer only had 140k miles wouldn't start injectors were washed out. Won't build rail pressure (stuck open)

2014 did this last summer only had 190k miles barely start and ran roughly really low MPG and growing a bit of oil.

 

Past time...

I seen a 2005 Dodge that melted down cylinders 5 and 6 both with 112k miles on the injectors.... I can keep going. 

 

Currently... Up coming job.

I got 2004 Dodge that is way gone now and owner is still driving on it and listening to it run. Wow! 

 

Remember 99% of the world doesn't keep up as well as you do. So the what I quote is real world experience. 

Edited by Mopar1973Man
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 All I can say I too embarrassed to even post photos of some of the stuff I work on. Its that rough and beat up. Ranchers and farmers are extremely rough on there vehicles out here and no where near you level of maintenance.

 

Now like Doug's truck sitting in my yard he's a cargo hauler that is a very nice truck that is modified. He's taken really good care of his truck. Extra fuel filters. Upgraded injectors +100 HP and EFI tuner. Very nice. But this is rare out here for me. Again 99% are pretty rough shape and well used. Again this is rare for me to see nice vehicles around here that are already has the proper mod and care. Just done a new transmission and clutch on this truck.

 

20220123_084107.jpg

 

 

Edited by Mopar1973Man
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Truck would be a daily and a camper hauler when going on vacation.    I'd like to get a manual truck, but they are hard to find and not have 300k miles.   I'd like to find a truck less than 200k miles at a reasonable price (I know some what a needle in hay stack in today's market).   

 

I hope to start really looking in the next month as I am still in transition with moving.

 

Tim

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Don’t get in a hurry to buy if you don’t have to. In my experience, low mileage doesn’t necessarily mean it’s been well maintained. Example, my cousin has a 2001 (Cummins) bone stock with 129K miles. Stock as in, original lift pump, trans, ball joints, everything…he rags that farm truck, doesn’t give a crap. I bet he hasn’t changed the oil in 5 years. My 2000 truck is coming up on 300K and I’ve done over $20,000 worth of maintenance/reliability upgrades over the past 8 years. Point is, if you can find a high mileage truck that’s been maintained by someone who loves the truck you’ll be much better off. Another consideration, don’t be scared of a truck with a good upgraded automatic transmission. My 4th Gen has a 6 speed manual. It’s awesome, but honestly I drive my auto 2nd Gen more these days. Rowing gears can get kinda old, especially in Tennessee where the hills mean you’re constantly shifting to the right gear when towing. Towing with an auto, for me, is much more relaxing on long trips.

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On 1/23/2022 at 8:14 AM, AH64ID said:

Baldwin PF7977

An internet search to learn more, and I find a July 14, 2008 post from you advocating this filter, ha ha! I also succeeded in learning more than I ever wanted to 😆

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