dodge dually

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normeller

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Joined
Feb 19, 2006
Posts
53
I am considering purchasing a new truck to pull 5th wheel trailer. I like what I see in the Dodge truck 3500, however, I have heard that they have the weakest transmission of the big 3 trucks. Has any one had any experience, good or bad, with the Dodge 3500 diesel.
 

GEJim

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Nov 8, 2006
Posts
25
I have a 2005 2500 Quad Cab diesel. As far as I know it is the same drive line as the 3500. I pull a 10,000 lbs dry weight 5th wheel and the truck does everything I ask of it. I pulled through northern Arkansas twice last summer and the the truck pulled every hill with the cruise set at 65 and the trans in tow mode. There was no noticeable increase in engine or trans temp. 12.8 MPG both trips.  Its just my 2 cents. I have owned six pickups of every make so I'm not bias torwards any truck. I am just an honest working man who looks for the best bang for the buck and Dodge happened to fill that requirement.
 

wanderlost

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Apr 5, 2006
Posts
7
I had a '04 Ram 2500 Hemi 5 spd auto 4X4 pulling a 21' TT. The engine was great except for fuel milage. The transmission I hated. It was the first auto I had had in 25 years and even in tow/haul mode and reflashing the chips it would or could not pick a gear and lock into it. This TT has a GW of 5000 lbs. Loved the truck hated the transmission... it even felt spongy once. I traded for a '06 4x4 2500 Cummins w/6spd manual tranny. Great combination. I believe the auto w/cummins is a 4spd. and I don't know much about it and don't really care since the manual works great for me. The engine has so much torque that all I have to do to back up my steep driveway is to get it rolling and rest my foot on the fuel and steer...it will walk itself up the drive.

Greg
 

Yak

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Dec 11, 2006
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On the Road full time
I have the 04 3500 Diesel Dually with the auto.  I have 82,000 miles on her with no trouble but I would wait for the new six speed to come out and see how she does.  Braking going down hills is really a consideration.  The new six speed might improve this problem.

Art
 

radialmech

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Mar 6, 2007
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7
Location
Billings, MT
From what I have read, the folks who had the most problem with the Dodge automatic trannys were those who "chipped" their engines to make more horsepower and torque than the tranny was designed to handle.
My son has had a couple of Dodge 3/4 ton trucks with autos, and had no problems at all.  He towed a 32 foot triple slide 5er with one of those trucks.
Personally, I would never have a truck with an automatic for heavy hauling or towing, as long as I am capable of shifting gears for myself.  My Dodge 3500 CTD dually with 5 speed does everthing I ask it to, with no worries about cooking the tranny.  For a couple years while full timing, it was our daily driver.  It did the job just fine.
 

Paul10-4

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Joined
Aug 29, 2005
Posts
6
Location
Oregon
I have an 06 3500 dually with the 48re trans. No Problems. 7000 miles. It has tow haul mode and  an od switch.
I love it.
 

okiejoe

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May 28, 2007
Posts
42
If you haven't bought a rig yet I have an 06 dodge 3500 dually cummins with a manual 6 speed and just love it. It does all I need it to do and more, its stock too no chip. I pull a 34ft Jayco with 3 slides. If I were you I would seriously look at the manual tyranny, less to worry about and if you do chip it you won't have any problems, I have noticed that most of the people who chipped their trucks with automatics have problems with shift points changing in the computer for the tyranny. I had a flip chip in a ford 1 ton that had four positions and when I would move it to the 3 or fourth postion the tyranny would not shift right then when I would move it back to the stock or second position it would shift right. I have driven semi truck all my life and think about it most heavytrucks use manuals or the Alison but the majority of the large trucking companies use manuals because they are so bullet proof and cheaper to fix. If you have the big bucks you could get the allison which is a great auto but if it breaks be ready to pay big bucks to fix it.

Just a thought
 

motojavaphil

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Jan 22, 2006
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667
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Rio Rancho, New Mexico
I have had three Dodge's with the cummins, 01, 04, and 07.  In the first two I had the manuals and in the 07 I have the AT.  The AT does the job but I would suggest the manual.  Over the years the AT has been considered the weakest link in the driveline.  When you consider the quality of the driveline, cummins and all, the weak link can be pretty good.  I'd get a good quality AT cooler, maintain it well and not abuse it while towing.  I look at Ford's AT's and have heard a lot of concerns there so you are looking at an industry standard with the exception of the Allison IMHO.  Gear Vendors might be a good accessory if you really want an AT and have significant concerns.  I like the Dodge as well and you do get a lot of truck for the buck. 
Phil
 

sfjefe

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Jan 25, 2007
Posts
11
Location
Southern Pines, NC
I have four Dodges, two with the Cummins.  My latest is a 2007 3500 Mega Cab dually with the 48 RE and I pull a 36 RLTS Cedar Creek (38.5 ft.) fiver with it and have no problems, even at 65 mph.  I also pulled the"Creek" with my 01 2500 Club Cab with the 47 RE auto and had no problems.  The autos will last you just fine as long as they are properly serviced and not abused.  Face it, if you abuse a manual that means clutches and they aren't cheap to replace either.  An additional cooler will always benefit an auto as heat is the killer.  Ane....remember this....on any drive train the weakest link is always the transmission, whether it is a manual or an auto. 
 

Carl L

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Mar 14, 2005
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7,239
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west Los Angeles
Autos can be very good.  The M1 Abrams tank uses an automatic transmission.  That  with a 1500 hp engine on a 70 ton vehicle. 
 

okiejoe

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Joined
May 28, 2007
Posts
42
Automatic vs Manual its really the drivers own preference, I just know this, when the clutch goes out I know it, if a mechanic does a tear down and shows me chipped teeth on gears I can see that even with my lack of tyranny repair knowledge, But when a mechanic tears down an automatic and shows me clutch plates and springs little ball bearing and valves and all those million parts in an auto I am at his mercy when he says it needs a complete rebuild Torque converter etc. so choose what you like but I do know from my trucking experience all of the major trucking company's logging millions of miles use manuals for a reason.

Good luck in you choice

Joe
 

Chet18013

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Mar 5, 2005
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Full time in RV. Home is where we are parked
I had a Dodge diesel with automatic pulling a 40' Teton. 14,500 pounds CGVW. Absolutely hated it. Performance was so bad that after only 5000 miles I went back to the dealer and swapped the truck for a manual. What a difference! The Cummins with a stick beats the stock automatic, without question. Never once wished for an automatic when towing after the switch.

Now if Dodge would only offer an Ailison automatic.

Chet18013
 

okiejoe

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May 28, 2007
Posts
42
Thats what I am talking about, autos are good to a certain degree but when you get into the heavy weights its just a matter of time something will give. automatics start you moving with fluid and at a certain speed and RPM the torque converter will Lock in but when your rpms drop the converter unlocks and your are back to pulling 14,000 lbs with fluid which that is when an automatic builds heat. Also you lose Horse power with an auto as it is your weak point and when its pulling on fluid. An Allison works on the same Principal but is just beefed up with higher pressures which makes them so much better but I still would take a stick over an allison anyday strictly because of dependability and the ability to have complete control of the tyranny especially in the mountains.Don't get me wrong, the new allisons are great but from an old trucker I want control of my rig.
 

DavidM49

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Jan 28, 2007
Posts
47
Location
Bartonville, IL
I have the new 2008 F350 and although I looked at the Dodges, they did not have the ratings to pull my 38' Raptor and the only capable config on the Ford was with an auto tranny.  I did not experience any issues with gear selection on our first trip and I am scheduled to pull it down to St. Joe State Park in Missouri next weekend and I am anxious to see how it does on a 4.5 hour drive.  I also was not impressed with the interiors of the Dodges and I am very impressed with the Crew Cab size of my Ford.  We have plenty of room for my two sons in the back and the fit and finish is impressive.  I have also now pulled one Dodge 3500  out of a river bank as well!  Never exceeded 1800 RPM!!  Just a little fuel for the fire!!!!! ;)

I think again that good maintenance and low abuse is a key no matter what.  I have a co-worker that drives is F250 diesel like it is a Corvette while I on the other hand soft pedal mine whenever possible.  good luck!
 

Marsha/CA

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Mar 9, 2005
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Home base-Kernville, CA
Not to get into a Dodge, Ford or Chevy discussion.  But we just bought a 2007 Chevy Crew Cab Diesel.  These things aren't cheap. This truck drives like a dream.  It has the tow haul mode, which is fabulous and is great going downhill.  The thing is so quiet.

I haven't followed truck stuff for several years; so Chevy and other manufacturers may have offered this before; but the 2007 has a manual selection offered to manipulate through all 6 gears.  On Wednesday I pulled a 3 horse steel trailer fully loaded with horses and equipment in our move from Bonsall, CA to Kernville, Ca and pulled some stiff uphill grades.  I could not believe how this truck did...great.  I may be a bit naive because my old truck was a '93 Chevy with a 454 and a 4.10 so anything would seem better than my old one.  The old '93 would do the job, just not very fast and only got 5-6 mpg.  I would also keep an eye on my temps as they would go all over the place.  The new one's temp guage just sat and never moved.  The new Chevy also has a scroll dash feature which lets you check transmission temps.

Now I need to read the manual and see when to use the manual transmission choices.  On the trip on Wednesday, I just let it stay in auto 'cause the thing was doing such a great job.

Marsha~
 

Yak

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Dec 11, 2006
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On the Road full time
Kernville Hugh!  That's quite a grade.  I have pulled it at 52 ft long but I would hate to come down without an exhaust brake.  You can also come in from the backside on 178.  Allot easier pull.



 

Marsha/CA

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Yak,

We've been coming up to Kernville since '91 and have done both the 178 over Walker Pass and the Kern Canyon drive.  I've done it with the Chevy truck full of horses and we've done it with our 35' diesel pusher.  The Kern Canyon drive is the most direct route down to Bakersfield.

Marsha~
 
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