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Tractor Transporting Discussion Forum

Dodge 3500

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J Bouchard

08-27-2011 08:15:43

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Am looking for opinions and experience with a Dodge 3500 diesel pick-up with a 6 speed manuel transmission as a tow vehicle and daily driver. I currently use a 2500 dodge diesel for these functions that is an automatic transmission.What kind of mileage can I expect, will I need a performance chip for towing a trailer and payload of 15000 lbs?

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4010 puller

08-31-2011 18:04:56

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 Re: Dodge 3500 in reply to J Bouchard, 08-27-2011 08:15:43  
What year? Im currently running an 04 duramax 4 door shortbed and a pro trak gooseneck trailer. Truck and trailer with me in it weighs 13140 empty.

I have owned 3 dodges. a 92 5 speed (stock then hopped up) an 01.5 auto very mildly worked on, then an 01 6 speed extended cab. All had 3.54 gears and that hurt them a little towing but helped as far as fuel mileage. In 03 or 04 they went to the g56 tranny over the nv5600. The nv5600 can have more problems than more people think and are expensive to work on.

If you are towing real heavy id get an 04/05 with 4.10 gears and 6 speed. I dont think new auto (7 speed tranny) came out till a year or two ago in select trucks. Then put a set of gauges in it and a edge box.

How much weight do you put behind the truck normally?

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08-31-2011 13:33:07

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 Re: Dodge 3500 in reply to J Bouchard, 08-27-2011 08:15:43  
Hi J, I have an 04.5/Cummins 5.9l/NV5600, 6 spd./3.73 rear/4wd/Quad cab/long bed/dually. Bought it new, now at ~168K mi.; 90% daily rural/urban driving (10% towing)/about 8300# normal, gets 18.2 mpg hand calculated/same pump and station. Very limited interstate use.
With equipment trailer at about 16k# (combined), same roads gets ~15.2. In mountains at 16k, gets ~13. I think it"s plenty of truck stock, the one and only mod. I"d have is an exhaust brake for heavy/mountain use. Dodge ratings: 12.2k# truck, 21.2k# combined; add 2k# to combined for 4.10 rear. See for more. HTH.

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08-30-2011 07:45:22

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 Re: Dodge 3500 in reply to J Bouchard, 08-27-2011 08:15:43  
I chipped my 02 awhile back. Didn't see any increase in mpg but definitely makes more horses. I suppose if you consider the extra hp you are making without the loss of mileage, then you can say you are getting better mileage. As far as finding nice old Dodges, they are out there. My son looked a long time but found a 98, 12 valve, 4x4 with the " four doors" recently. Had 118,000 on it and it was in great shape yet. No rust on the frame or underside, minor scratches on body but after he buffed and polished it looks like new. Rides and steers well also. He is getting 21 to 22 mpg running empty. That is calculated with the gals pumped, not the computer read out as you drive thing.

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08-30-2011 05:14:46

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 Re: Dodge 3500 in reply to J Bouchard, 08-27-2011 08:15:43  
The Cummins 5.9L diesel is the best of the pickup engines.

My only thing is, in two years of looking at used Dodge pickups, is that they all appeared to be BEAT. Didn't matter what price range I looked at, they all looked like they'd been used for hardcore off-roading, had been rolled a few times, and had been worked over with a baseball bat. Couldn't find a Dodge that didn't need a LOT of Bondo.

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Scotty HOMEy

08-29-2011 22:21:10

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 Re: Dodge 3500 in reply to J Bouchard, 08-27-2011 08:15:43  
Mine's an '03, long cab, long bed 4WD, SRW with the NV 6-speed stick. Only mods are an exhaust brake and a BW hitch, makes it about 8K with me in it. Running around bareback I get 19-20 mpg in mixed driving but without a lot of stop-and-go. Hauling a small car on a car-hauler, I lost mebbe a mile-per-gallon over the highway. A 7k rated box trailer pulls it down to about 14-15 (more a wind-drag factor than the weight). With the deckover gooseneck loaded to add 13k to the mix I can expect about 12mpg.

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08-28-2011 07:07:54

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 Re: Dodge 3500 in reply to J Bouchard, 08-27-2011 08:15:43  
my experience was with a '06 extended cab pulling a 36 foot rv from western az to southern nm, trailer weight was 18500, truck got 12 to 17 with that trailer depending upon the teraine we were in, had everything from desert running to mountain passes, this truck did have a exhaust brake also , after having used a chevy and an older '94 dodge to pull this trailer in the past, i wouldnt pull it with anything else, the 6 speed had the gears where it needed them in the rpm band to keep the engine in its tourque band and the truck rode nice even though it was loaded to the max, truck was a 2 wheel drive, never hooked it to a ford, so i couldnt say how they compared, chevy was definatly a little down from the dodge on torque, but the dodge was certainly up for the task, if you've ever run texas canyon in az on i10, you know what a roller coaster that is, the dodge was actually up to passing a few motorhomes on those hills

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08-27-2011 19:26:19

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 Re: Dodge 3500 in reply to J Bouchard, 08-27-2011 08:15:43  
What years are they? In 02 or 03 the power jumped, and in 03 (or was it 06?) they went to the 6 speed auto. When they did that they rated it for more power in the auto than in the stick. If it's the 6.7, ditch the DPF and throttle blade. That is the best thing you can do for them for longevity and economy.

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bobs old iron

08-27-2011 09:54:10

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 Re: Dodge 3500 in reply to J Bouchard, 08-27-2011 08:15:43  
check into the info about towing, i think the auto is rated for more weight than the manual shift, as far as chipping it up, depending if 4x4, 2x4, you can tear apart gears if chipped up to much and flooring it at the start to get going.i have p/stroke 2x4, never chipped,auto,pulls just fine, yes i think of chipping up for more power, maybe a couple mpg, figure it does OK the way it is....

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