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Thread: Ram 2500 Cummins- 5spd vs 6spd Manual Transmission

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Denver, CO
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    22

    Default Ram 2500 Cummins- 5spd vs 6spd Manual Transmission

    I've begun the process of shopping for a Ram 2500 diesel with a manual transmission and I'm finding both 5 speed and 6 speed transmissions within my budget. I was wondering what advantages/disadvantages either configuration might have regarding durability, usefulness, etc. I live in Denver and will be traveling over mountain passes, so at first thought the 6 speed sounds appealing but these motors have so much torque that I'm wondering if a 5 speed would work well enough for me to allow my search to broaden a bit and include more trucks. I don't plan on towing anything but I may eventually outfit it with a slide in pop-up camper and occasionally wheel it. Any words of wisdom for me?
    1960 Series II 88" SW
    2006 KTM 950 Adventure
    2011 Yeti ASR 5
    2009 Spot Brand single speed

    1994 Defender 90 ST NAS (sold)
    2006 BMW R1200GSA non ABS (sold)
    1963 SIIa SWB (sold)
    1971 SIIa SWB (sold)
    2000 Disco SII (sold)
    1995 RR Classic (sold)
    2007 KTM 640 Adventure (sold)
    2007 BMW R1200GS (sold)
    2001 BMW R1150GS (sold- I shouldn't have!)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Pennsylvania, USA
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    48
    I drove one of the 6-speeds for many miles, and always liked it. It was durable, and I felt it made the vehicle easier to control (especially when towing heavy stuff downhill). My current Dodge 2500 diesel has the 48RE auto with light mods (deep sump pan and Borg Warner solenoid). The auto has been easier to tow with, and I find it much easier to use off-road as well. No problems in 82K, none in sight. I believe if you go with the 5-speed you will be in a second generation Cummins.
    06 Dodge 2500 Quad-cab 4x4 Cummins
    78 CJ5

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Atascadero, CA
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    477
    The 5 speed is the NV4500 transmission, which if you aren't doing a lot of towing is great (the gaps between gears are a bit large for heavy towing hence the 6 speed option). The NV4500 has a slightly larger overdrive gear for better cruising on the highway, and tons of cheap aftermarket support. The 6 speed from 1999-2004 is the NV5600 and is my fave transmission of all time. Great gear ratio spread, not notchy and pretty much bombproof. The disadvantage to this tranny is that it is no longer manufactured and getting parts or a replacement can be tough. The 6 speed from 2005+ is the G56 and is very reliable, lighter weight (aluminum case), but has a very notchy feel and not a very large overdrive ratio. In the end you can't go wrong with a manual trans Cummins. Only one I would stay away from is the early 1st gen trucks with the 5 speed Getrag trans. Had some probs with that one but they are a rare truck anyway so most likely don't have to worry about it.

  4. #4
    I haven't driven a 5 spd, but I love my NV5600 6 spd in my 2004 Ram 2500. It gives me a lot more control in a variety of situations...
    Scott
    2004 Dodge Ram 2500 CTD Long Bed 4x4- Soon to be an Expo Rig.
    Project Land Mass
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    Friends of San Bernardino National Forest

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Whistler BC
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    I've owned NV4500 5 speeds and they work very well with a Cummins. You will be very happy either way. Buy the truck you like best, as long as it has 3 pedals...
    '98 Dodge 3500 4x4 12v NV4500 complete with a crap load of goodies.
    '94 Santa Monica Airlines 36" longboard, Indy 159s, Powell AT wheels
    '11 Rubicon Unlimited OME heavies, 285/75-17 Toyos
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    iowa
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    84
    in the 03-04 trucks the 6-speed came with the high output( 305 hp) cummins and 5 speed came in the standard out put (245hp) cummins

    just fyi

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Seattle WA
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    92
    i had a 5 speed cummins truck and it was great. the gear spread was a little wide but with some power upgrades, it wasn't really a big deal.
    Chevy CCLB Duramax 4x4, just getting started
    Jeep XJ, 5" lift, 32" bfg m/ts, custom bumpers, welded rear, Lock Right front

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Hollister CA
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    I had one of the first ETH HO 6 speeds in an 01.5 3500 reg cab.

    Absolutely loved that truck. Besides having a little extra power over the 5 speed non ho trucks, the gear ratios were much nicer to drive on a day to day basis. Figure the 4500 is a 4 speed with a granny low, whereas the 5600 is a 5 speed with a low.

    If I was shopping 6 speed would be a prerequisite
    87 Syncro


    "One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it" -Oogway

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    San Diego
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patman View Post
    I had one of the first ETH HO 6 speeds in an 01.5 3500 reg cab.

    Absolutely loved that truck. Besides having a little extra power over the 5 speed non ho trucks, the gear ratios were much nicer to drive on a day to day basis. Figure the 4500 is a 4 speed with a granny low, whereas the 5600 is a 5 speed with a low.

    If I was shopping 6 speed would be a prerequisite
    My friend waited almost 8 months to get a NV5600 in his '99 CTD. With coolers and regular fluid changes it shifts like new @ 150K. Stock clutch too,but it's hurtin'.
    2007 Dodge 2500 Regcab 4wd 5.9 CTD. G-56 , TC800 Northstar popup 24/7.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    22
    Thanks for all the helpful replies folks! I think I'm going to try and find a nice 6 speed- unless something really nice presents itself in a 5 speed model.
    1960 Series II 88" SW
    2006 KTM 950 Adventure
    2011 Yeti ASR 5
    2009 Spot Brand single speed

    1994 Defender 90 ST NAS (sold)
    2006 BMW R1200GSA non ABS (sold)
    1963 SIIa SWB (sold)
    1971 SIIa SWB (sold)
    2000 Disco SII (sold)
    1995 RR Classic (sold)
    2007 KTM 640 Adventure (sold)
    2007 BMW R1200GS (sold)
    2001 BMW R1150GS (sold- I shouldn't have!)

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