What Dodge pickup should I buy?


Well, personally, if your going the Dakota route, I would try to find Quadcab with a 5.9 engine. Mileage will suck, but you'll have more power on tap. As for towing, well, there is an elderly couple in my area who tow a 28" 5th wheel travel trailer with a quadcab Dakota. It's a 2000 model, I seen cruising down the interstate many times. My 2000 Quadcab (124K miles) is rated to 6,200 lbs towing properly equipped. One area where you will have a problem is that lack of aftermarket love and support for the Dakota. The front end sadly won't handle to weight of a plow. The reason so many people will knock a Dakota is lack of aftermarket support. BUt, by comparison, a quadcab Dakota vs. Frontier vs. Colorado vs. Tacoma, until about '07 the Dakota was the largest interior wise, since then, they are tied with the Tacoma but still larger than the other two. Co-worker just bought a '08 Frontier 4-dr, doesn't have the space of the Dakota and entry/exit is tighter.

Towing with the 1500, again, properly equipped they can handle 6,000 lbs to 7,000 lbs easily. BUt a comparison, best friend has a 2000 1500, 318 v8 and 5 spd and tow package. The weak link is the 318 and the manual, he is only rated to 5,600 lbs. He recently upgraded to a NV4500 trans and some other engine mods, he tows a 5,000 lbs travel trailer and feels more confident now with these upgrades.

If you got the diesel route, find one that is pre-DPF emissions, hence a 5.9.
The more I learn about these, the more it looks like I need an early 2500 with a 5.9
With that said, what should I look for? How many miles is too many?

It seems there are two wheel bases in the 2500 and a couple bed and cab combos. I think the shorter wheel base and maybe a quad cab might work best for my needs. I will put a contractor style cap on it and maybe pull the rear window and seal the gap up between the cap and the cab.


Spend a g and add some really nice seats and gadgets. =)

But for real I would love to see someone on expo pick this up.


American Adventurist
The longer the wheelbase the better it tows, that being said, both my 04 2500 and 06 power wagon are quad cab short beds, and tow no problems. The 5.9 cummins will run forever if you do oil changes. On the dodges you need to have the trannys checked, that seams to be the weak point, and on anything with mileage check the front suspension. but all in all, they are solid trucks


dido on checking the front end and the tranny. Mileage won't affect the engine as much as the rest of the truck.


Are you serious? A 28 foot 5TH WHEEL with a Dakota? Driven by an elderly couple? That is a bad accident waiting to happen.
kind of ironic I posted this today. Happened to see them heading up I-76 this morning on their way to Nebraska, same Dakota, same trailer. Had no problem holding 70 mph on the interstate. Actually got a chance to talk them as well when they stopped for gas. The Dakota has 197,000 miles. The engine is orginal, the trans was rebuilt at 80K and replaced at 170K. 4.11 gears front/rear, air assist springs in the rear. The 5th wheel trailer is specifically designed to be towed by a 1/2 ton pickup (google this and there are many of them), weighs 6,300 lbs wet.


The more I learn about these, the more it looks like I need an early 2500 with a 5.9
With that said, what should I look for? How many miles is too many?

It seems there are two wheel bases in the 2500 and a couple bed and cab combos. I think the shorter wheel base and maybe a quad cab might work best for my needs. I will put a contractor style cap on it and maybe pull the rear window and seal the gap up between the cap and the cab.
In the 2500, the 5.9 we are talking about is the diesel not gas engine.


Viking with a Hammer
I've seen elderly RV'ers do all kinds of crazy things. Usually because they have irrational needs, or unrealistic expectations.

-"Truck has to sit low and have tripping boards so grandma can get in. " Too bad only 1/2 tons sit that low. Get grandma a nice stepping stool or those majik steps that retract when you close the door.

-"has to have a smooth ride." Then why even get into RV'ing? There is nothing "smooth" about cooking over fire in the rain, using a public shower that hasn't been cleaned in a week or seven, and dumping your own sewage tank.

-"...has to be small so it's easy to park. " This makes no sense at all with that RV back there.
-"I like Turtles." Still not a good excuse for a E150 with 12,000 pounds behind it.
-"I don't need a big truck, that's what weight distributiing hitches are for". Oh sure. There is a reason why none of the pro truck drivers use such a contraption.

True story: A while back when I was in Florida, I used to do contract work for a certain company. They had heavy short trailers filled with all kinds of nasty stuff. They were all tall and wobbly. They were in such bad shape that it took a mechanic just to get them to the road. Even after that they were so bad on the roads that noone wanted to tow them anymore.

So I started getting calls to move trailers for them since I'm handy at fixing trailers. These things towed terrible. E350 vans didn't stand a chance. All over the road. But my F350 DRW towed them excellent.

I was in a windy spot on I-75 and noticed it was getting really hard to control my truck so I started to slow down. A second later a Chevy Tahoe with the 22-25' travel trailer went flying off the road. A gust of wind got a hold of that trailer and lifted it right up! The trailer took that little SUV with it. The trailer was totaled.

I allways thought that a regular 2 5/16" hitch on the trailer would just bend and release the ball under such loads during an accident. Amazing to see it survive a wreck.

Even with that rusty junk trailer behind me, I made it ok. I've seen about a dozen RV'ers in the ditch over the past few years.

It's not that a truck can't tow something. It is, can that truck tow that trailer when something isn't right? Like:
-on a windy day
-with a tire going flat
-when the trailers leak spring snaps in half and the axle goes nuts and sends the tire into the fender. Nice loud boom, pop, then insane shakeing. (Not so rare, Happened to me twice so far)
-after the trailer hits a pot hole and is now bent crooked.
-when your trailer brake controller goes bad.

RV'ers often set themselfs up with equipment that can barely handle thier load under perfect condidtions. They're a ton of fun under bad conditions. A few bad things can really make a trailer hard to tow safely. And those bad things aren't exactly rare.

Just look at the Dakota's or 1500 trucks GVWR, GCWR, and GAWR's. It's really easy to go over those numbers. And an offroad Jeep plus gear isn't exactly am light as we often think it is.

Even people like me with F250/2500's etc have to watch or #'s. As long as I watch my rear GAWR and GVWR, I'm good to go towing just about anything. I have to be careful what I toss in the bed or the trailers tongue weight. My GCWR is cake.

Your average RV'er can't get closer than 100 yards to a Cat scale without bursting into flames. Those normal 6000 pound trailers designed for 1/2 ton trucks often weigh over 8000, sometimes even 10,000+. All those plates, multiple stoves, added microwave, TV or 3, and enough clothes to put on your own Broadway show really adds up weight. Then we got multiple bikes, fishing boats, and who knows what in the bed of the poor truck.

You wouldn't think that all those simple little things would add up to so much.....but they sure do. I don't know how someone could stuff 4000 pounds extra into a 6000 pound GVWR trailer. But it's happened. My grandparents had a 25 trailler that was well over 12,000 pounds. They sure had everything though.

Most seem really overloaded lately.
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and your point is? I drive a semi for a living, I see my fellow truck drivers do stupid and irrational things.
Are there limitations, sure, but, from a realistic standpoint, 90% of the Expo vehicles on here should be off the road and replaced by Unimogs or similar following your comments.

But hey, if you want to talk irrational, explain that to the bumble bee, technically it can't fly, or the ant that can carry hundreds of times it's own weight.


Viking with a Hammer
My point was that it's far better to have too much truck than too little. And that it's best to not set goals or needs that aren't really that important, but can weigh in the favor of a little truck when you're making your decision.

Especially when Murphy is chasing you.

Too many RV'ers don't seem to get that, and eventually I get tired of weaving through what's left of them scattered across the highway.
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Dakota = no way.
3rd gen 1500 = maybe. My 2nd gen can tow that, but I don't like to.
My vote would be the 3rd gen 2500...wait for it...GAS version, not the diesel. I think my father-in-law's '95 Cummins is a great engine, but here in Cali you now pay a premium for diesel. He just had some repairs done on his engine...can you say cha-ching? And for the towing needs you're describing you probably don't need the stump pulling torque of that Cummins. The Hemis have better mpg figures than my 5.9 Magnum and way more ponies and torque.

At the risk of turning your thread into another gas vs. diesel debate :ar15: I'll just shut up and wait for the rotten fruit to come flying my way!


96-98 Dodge Ram 2500/3500 Cummins 12-Valves are #1 on my list. The 89-95's are fine too, but the 96-98's have a little more power, especially the manual trans trucks.


New member
have 03 1500 crew cab dodge with hemi, 4x4. Towed a 59 f500 grain truck on my trailer. did it fine, not lacking in power. Needs stronger rear springs for long distance. If I had a do over it would be a 2500, hemi or diesel, def 02 and up crew cab


Expedition Leader
My 07 1500 I had was getting 19 or so on the freeway. I also towed a 92 trooper on a trailer fine and flat towed a ram charger all the way cross country. It was getting around 15 mpg or so.

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