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Discussion Starter #1
Know some of you have asked for an update after my 160,000 experiences with the GMC Duramax. Well, I just returned from a 6,000 mile tow to San Diego and back to Pa. In just over three weeks I now have very close to 10,000 miles on my new Cummins and can make a more experienced comparison.


Power for towing is far better with the Cummins. End of comment.


Comparing an Allison with a manual 6 speed is tough but if you tow, buy the 6 speed. That issue has no close comparison. All that darn shifting of the automatic is horrible to live with. The 6 speed is a joy and only the steepest mountains out West require a downshift. For solo running and any kind of in-town use, the Allison wins.


I towed a 10,000 lb. 40ft. trailer from Pittsburgh to San Diego in 3 1/2 days - effortlessly. The Cummins just eats the headwinds, hills and high-speed interstates up. Flat eats them up like nothing my Duramax ever could do. My overall distances per day have gone up 100 miles. Some of it can be related to higher speeds, especially on hills. Other things are the larger fuel tank, perfect fuel gauge and slightly better fuel economy from the Dodge Cummins.


Ride under tow is far better than the GMC ever was. Sidewinds and road irregularities do not affect the truck much, the seats are comfortable, the ride is quiet and you just feel more stable in the Dodge.


Mentally the Cummins is a joy. At this mileage in my Duramax I had already suffered one "limp mode" shutdown and a $160 repair at a
Chevy dealer in Arizona. Fuel filter plugged and neither I, nor the dealer there, could figure it out. Thanks to forums like this I/we now know about that dreaded "limp". The fuel filter trouble just does not seem to be there with the Cummins. I do not even think there is such a thing as that darn computer shut-down with the Cummins. Peace of mind away from that 'check engine light' is worth it.


No paint chips yet. Just do not believe it. The last couple of Chevy's and GMC chipped all the time. What does Dodge do to have such a quality paint?


Downside.....It is impossible to see the front fenders while driving the truck. Hard to see just where the front and sides are and easy, ask how I know...to run into a fuel stop concrete pole. Good bumper. No scratch.


Time will tell but I feel like I stepped in something and came out smelling like a rose.
 

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Glad to hear you're enjoying your Dodge. If the big three can make trucks and everyone who owns a certain brand is happy with their brand, then life is great. I think that all three make such good trucks it is simply a matter of personal preference. Now, if you would tell us about loading 6+ footers in the back of your quad cab......




BobEdited by: bowtiebob
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Bowtiebob,


You are the second, or maybe the first person twice, who talked about the back seat room. So, since there was a party of friends here to visit, drink my beer and talk motorcycles, we went out to the truck. I put the split seats down (don't use the back seat area for anything but storage) and three of us big, fat slobs got in.


What am I missing? We all sat comfortably. I sat behind the driver's seat that was left in my rearward operater position and had far more legroom than I remember was in my last two GMC extended cabs. All three of us agreed it was larger inside than all but the largest full-sized cars and the whole truck was only three inches longer than my GMC extended cab. It was real easy to enter and move out of with the running boards I installed.


This truck length is not too long to walk around when parked in the garage. It's also much easier to use in parking areas and garages but big enough to be stable while towing large trailers.


Maybe the GM's are larger inside for those carrying lots of adult pasengers? I don't know. I do know they are also longer outside and that's a bad thing for maueuverability.


As for my interest in the comfort of back-seat passengers???... There is no interest. The kind of adult who regularly rides in the back of a vehicle would do better in a small van or bus for the elderly or those with 'special needs'.
 

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captain,

I was serious when I said I was pleased you were happy with your Dodge. My comment about back seat room was added for humor, as it seems this is the most popular retort used by GM guys when someone says they like their Dodge HD QC.

I upgraded from a reg. cab to my current cab, and in all honesty it was totally unneeded. My reg. cab with a toolbox had plenty of room for me, except in the odd occasion when 3 of my buddies and I had to cram together. I am sure an ext. cab could handle 100% of my requirements, as could your QC. I simply like the looks of 4 doors better, thus I have my CC.

I read someplace the QC has three inches more legroom than a GM ext. cab, and three inches less than a GM crew cab. Sounds like a good compromise to me.

Good luck with your truck.



Bob
 

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Hey Captain, did you get that new one with the 325 HP and 600 lbs. torque and I hear it also has a new tranny? If not when is that new one due out?


My Son wants to trade in his '99 Ram Diesel for a new one, but I told him to wait for the new one. He's getting antsy. He just turned 100K and is on his 2rd Tranny and 3rd Torque converter. No other issues.


Enjoy your truck
 

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chevyrus


I was looking into the 2004.5 ym Dodge with the 600 lb/ft torque rating. It will have the same 4 speed auto tranny and will be available around February. They are taking orders now. I would like to try it out except for that POS transmission.
 

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By big 3 do you mean the old big 3 American car companies? Just woundering, because last I checked ford and GM were the only two that still fit the bill. Dodge is now a German company.
 

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It's owned by a German company but that doesn't make the truck an import IMHO.
 

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The RAM is assembled in Mexico. Probably has content from around the world. No different than most other vehicles (content wise). It's is a global economy.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Bowtiebob and others,


Bob I seem to remember that my measurememts are the same as you quote. There was a 3" difference between the models from GM and Dodge. Thanks for the comments and I may have been 'harsh'. It was a stimulation to sit in the back seat so that's a bonus experience from all this.


The 600ft. lb torque model is due early in '04. Same engine with valve seat changes, emissions and ... a guess - ECM or injector plate changes to go up 45 ft. lbs from the one I have.


Last week I spoke with more travel-trailer delivery-drivers running the 555 torque model with 48RE transmissions and all have been pleased so far. Did hear of one 'new-model' lift pump failure so maybe that issue is not over with the new models.
 

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If you go over to TDR and read through the posts for say the last month, there were a couple of people who lost lift pumps on the new generation trucks. Also found several posts on leaking high pressure fuel lines and one where an injector stuck open and filled the crank case with fuel. Sound familiar?


As far as fuel filters plugging up, it will happen on the RAM just as easily as on the DMAX. The trucks use a similar fuel injection system manufactured by Bosch. The fuel filters are both filtering down to the several micron range. A tank of bad fuel and both the filters are history. It's important that you routinely change the filter. Looks like it's about time for you.
 

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I Used to be a 03 Dually dodge owner,The reason why used to be? my 03 cummins had 12k own it and it had a {droan Vibration} at Approx 1900 to 2300 rpm since it was new.DC said the had no other complaints.Did some research on the TDR,and they had started a poll,(Does your 03 have a Vibration). Well sure enough,It was like 40% did. So I made the Change D-Max!!I Like this Truck in Everyway,Ride,Non Tractor like Steering,Sound System, On-Star Heated seats That I can Control from back only to all,Enough said. I did like the Dodge to But the vibration issues s**ked,And I am glad I made the switch.Good Luck on your truck!! We all need It!!http://www.turbodieselregistry.com/...9a1a181fde6c699cc91c4927010710&threadid=84866
 

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Discussion Starter #13
04forme,


I have heard of the vibration. My truck is quite smooth and comfortable so guess I avoided that issue. Heard it had to do with the driveshaft but am not sure. Fellow I tow with just passed 70,000 on his '03 Cummins. So far no problems at all.


I liked my Duramax and think it is better than the Dodge/Cummins "IF YOU DON'T TOW". My problem was the Duramax became "unrepairable" and just did not last. In fact, I know of none that have lasted for towing. NONE. All have required extensive and expensive repairs to keep running. At the end mine needed another Allison, another computer and an injector pump. Yes, all three at a cost of another $7,000. It would have been a $14,000 joke to spend that much in just a few months with no assurance it would not just keep on breaking down. Then I was looking at 'round two' of injector replacements.


Good luck with your Duramax. My advice is to sell it when it gets out of warranty. For me that is just a little over a year and completly unacceptable. Actually, it's outrageous.
 

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Do they offer a stepladder as an option yet? climbing up into that dodge is something..Theres alot i like re the dodge, however i would never live with the noise..even in the new rig.Good luck with your new truck. bob
 

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captain,

We understand that you had problems with your Dmax, and that is very unfortunate. However, your experiences don't mirror those of everyone else. I have heard of many Dodge boys that had nothing but fits with what they called "inferior components". I will keep my Dmax past warranty, as others have, without substantial problems.

Enjoy your truck.



Bob
 

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Hey Capt',


First off, I do agree that the Dodge Cummins motor is better to pull with. However, that one piece hydro-formed frame is strong but... once ya bend it, that's it. The "new trans" is not much better than the last one. {I would just call Sun Coast and have them build it!}


However, I would really like to see a real world teat of the 8.1 Cummins and the 8.1 (I think) ZuZu go head to head. I think that would give us a real Idea of how the designs stack up, apples to apples.





Burner-------->
 

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Hi CaptainMal,
When I hear of injector failures, I always wonder what variables might affect the longevity of the duramax. I was thinking about setting up a webpage to have owners fill out a survey when they experience injector failures. Since you put on so many miles so quickly, you make the perfect guinea pig...

1. Did you use any fuel additive? If yes, which one and how often?

2. How often was the fuel filter replaced?

3. Did you have any secondary filtration installed? If yes, which one? (e.g. Nicktane, Kennedy, etc.)

4. Where do you tend to buy your fuel?

5. How often was tranny fluid and filter changed?

6. How was the vehicle primarily used? In your case, how much did you tow and at what speed?

thanks in advance,
jeff

Edited by: dmax lover
 

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I for one am happy that you've found truck nirvana. Dodge makes a nice package and I hope you have better luck with it than you did with your Chevy. I'm not going to knock your Dodge, more power to you. I hope you stay a member here and keep us up to date!





Burner, I haven't seen a test between the 7.8L d-max vs. the 8.1 Cummins, however, I've compared the Cummins ISC to the Caterpillar C7.. The Cummins was in a Freightliner 5ton with a 24' box, the Cat is in a Peterbilt 5ton with a 16' box. The Cummins felt stronger than the Cat, and Caterpillar is no slouch.. Both were 250hp flavor BTW..


I'd be surprised if Cummins has been outshined in that category by Isuzu. Keep in mind I haven't driven anything with the Isuzu 7.8L in it, nor the Navistar.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
DMAX Lover & Bob,


Answers:


1. Howes. Usually dump 'some' in at each filling.


2. Fuel filters often plugged before 15,000 miles when towing. Otherwise, I changed about every 15K.


3. No secondary filtration. I was already in trouble with over 100K on the truck when the issue of secondary filtration came up. By the time I figured out that might be the cause it was already too late.


4. Flying J truck stops with TA's, Pilot and Loves less frequently. Rarely but a few times, I 'had' to buy fuel at small locations.


5. Tranny spin-on filter was changed faithfully every 30K. The fluid in the pan was also drained and refilled. Never did a complete flush and fill. Transmission failed at 160,000 miles.


6. There was some personal use of the truck. I'm guessing 20% with some towing of a 25ft. boat, 17ft. boat and my motorcycle trailer. Most use was delivering fire safety/police/military instruction trailers for Mobile Concepts out of Mt. Pleasant, PA. Trailer models are all 12'2-4" high, flat fronts, 36 to 43' long two or three axle units. They vary in weight from 7,600# to just over 11,000 #'s. Awful aerodynamics but the customer rarely tows them any distance so that is not an issue for them. It is a major issue for me as it's like pulling a building, or parachute, down the road.


Towing speeds are the speed limits with the exception of the 75 mph zones where I usually cruised no higher than 70mph. There were very infrequent bursts of speed above 75 as wind resistance decreased fuel mileage under 7 mpg at the highest speeds. LOTS of fuel went through the Duramax for the mileage.


-----------------------------------------------------------------


Bob,


I had to put a 'running board' on the truck. It is high to enter compared to the GMC. That was also a problem for me in my PA. garage with getting a custom cap made for the bed that would go into the garage. I had a cap made that tapers down at the back because the bed rises up so much there.


Sure like that seat height while driving. You can look right down into other cars and see ........
.
 

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dmax lover said:
Hi CaptainMal,
When I hear of injector failures, I always wonder what variables might affect the longevity of the duramax. I was thinking about setting up a webpage to have owners fill out a survey when they experience injector failures. Since you put on so many miles so quickly, you make the perfect guinea pig...

1. Did you use any fuel additive? If yes, which one and how often? NO

2. How often was the fuel filter replaced? about every 10k

3. Did you have any secondary filtration installed? If yes, which one? (e.g. Nicktane, Kennedy, etc.) NO

4. Where do you tend to buy your fuel? Truck stops

5. How often was tranny fluid and filter changed? 3 times in 75k miles

6. How was the vehicle primarily used? In your case, how much did you tow and at what speed? Towed all the time at about speed limit

thanks in advance,
jeff

Getting new injectors installed as we speak.


75k miles on the truck.


Been out of commision for 18 days so far.
 
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