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1994-2001 Dodge Ram Questions #2833901
10/17/20 02:58 PM
10/17/20 02:58 PM
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RustyMopar01 Offline OP
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Just wondering what is the general opinion on these trucks? What are the best year(s) in these generation of these trucks? I know the Cummins is pretty good but, just wondering about the gas engines especially in the 1500 & 2500 platforms? Anyways, any feedback or opinions greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Re: 1994-2001 Dodge Ram Questions [Re: RustyMopar01] #2833976
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The best truck Dodge has ever made for numerous reasons:

Quiet, large and useful cab in either Regular or Quad Cab. The '99 to 01's have the best options for factory stereos, overhead console with trip computer, heated seats, and are generally just a nicer cab than the '98 and down. The Quad Cabs stay tight and rattle-free.
Very easy to work on. A scan tool and a set of metric and standard sockets/wrenches will fix nearly anything that goes wrong.
Speaking of going wrong, in general, 2 Gens rarely break down. The gas engines are dead reliable.
You can't beat the looks of them. 27 years later they still have an eye-catching style (especially the Sport versions).
The ride is a perfect balance of a smooth, empty ride and ability to carry some weight.
They corner and handle like all Dodges: exceptionally well.


The V6, 318, 360, and the V10 all get around the same fuel mileage. I've had nine 2Gens with the 318 (3), 360 (3), V10 (1), and Cummins (2) and the 360 is my favorite. It gets decent fuel mileage, pulls an open car hauler with a 5500 pound QuadCab 4x4 on it without issue, and it lasts forever. Most common issues is plugs, cap, rotor, wires, water pump, and throttle position sensors. We only had our V10 for 100,000 miles and had not one single issue with it, but I have heard of others going 200,000+. I have over 320,000 miles on my 360 and it runs like new. (photo attached). The Cummins are over-rated, noisy, and expensive to own (repairs, parts, and cost of fuel). I liked mine, but I sure don't miss it. In the trucking business there is a saying: "be loaded both ways" and that directly applies to owning a Cummins as there is no other reason to have one.

Drivetrain wise, the 46re transmission is a power-sucking turd like it's predecessor the 727 and is okay when it works, but they do fail. Unless you can find one under 80,000 miles you will likely wind up with one that the previous owner didn't idle in neutral or keep up on the filter and fluid. Ask this question when buying one. 4wd's are always a crap-shoot. People run them in 4wd on pavement if there's 2 flakes of snow or 10 drops of rain and burn the transfer cases out, have seen it alot. These are a simple 4wd system meant to be used to get out of a mud hole or through a snow bank, not be used as all-wheel-drive. The 9.25 rear diff is nearly indestructible but pinion bearing is a common issue......and a PIA to fix. If you hear any noise from the rear on a test drive, that's probably what it is. The NV3500 5-speeds are good transmissions, but finding one is tough. I have 3 right now but just sold one. A couple of my trucks are 4.10's, one has 3.92's but the 3.55's are the best gear for fuel mileage.

Front outer axle u-joints, ball joints, and axle seals are common fixes in the 4wd's.

The '94 to '97's have the most rust-resistant bodies. I typically still find them without any sign of rust. The '98's are the worst for rusting. The '99 to '01's are okay.

If there any downsides to these trucks it's the 46re automatic and the pinion bearing issue. I've heard of people complaining about "death wobble" replacing track bars, steering boxes, and tie rods but I've never had an issue. 10 times out of 10 it's some Meathead with big tires, lift kits or using their truck for a battering ram smashing it through every curb or hole in the road. If you look at one that has these issues, just leave it. Chances are it had the living daylights beat out of it.

Honest opinion, these are the nicest trucks to own. I'm not saying that because I'm a Mopar Guy, I'm saying it because it's the truth. I've owned the mighty, "greatest for everything" gm half tons and they simply do not compare to the 2 Gen Dodges. I've gotten more compliments on my Dodges than anything else I've ever owned.

Finally, my favorite part of owning one is not having to be at the mercy of a dealership, but still having a truck comparable to a new one........without the gawd-awful looks and massive price.

IMG_20171015_150138.jpg
Re: 1994-2001 Dodge Ram Questions [Re: Grizzly] #2834017
10/17/20 08:32 PM
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Grizzly thank you. To be honest I would look for a stock or near stock one. Not interested in lifts or anything like that. I'm undecided on 2 wheel or 4x4 at this point and stick with a Magnum V8 I suppose. You mention the 94-97 are the most rust resistant is that because didn't use foam in the bodies like they did in the newer trucks? I know the dashboard and intake gaskets are an issue on these as well but, wondering if 303 Protectant would help? I tend to drive my vehicles fairly easy with the exception of a fun run every now and then. I test drove a few of these trucks when new and rode in a few but, that has been 15-20 years ago and my memory is fuzzy.

Re: 1994-2001 Dodge Ram Questions [Re: Grizzly] #2834018
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BTW, nice truck and very clean.

Re: 1994-2001 Dodge Ram Questions [Re: RustyMopar01] #2834081
10/17/20 11:48 PM
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The last couple years of them also have nicer interiors.
It's a matter of opinion. I prefer the 2002-2006s. But I've liked the previous ones since they came out and still have a poster from when they were released on the wall behind me. I wouldn't hesitate to buy one if they weren't all rotted out around here. And that's nothing against them, just about all trucks that age are here.

Re: 1994-2001 Dodge Ram Questions [Re: RustyMopar01] #2834100
10/18/20 01:19 AM
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You're welcome! up It still doesn't have any rust on it, thanks for the compliment!

I have a theory that Dodge may have started to try to save money and maybe used a cheaper, or no primer at all on the inside of the body panels starting in '98. It's all I can come up with as to why they rust quicker. Only a guess because I don't have a '97 or down right now to look at.

Dashboards, yes, they do crack if you don't have a garage and they are left in the sun. Bit of a strategy is to leave it or cover it up until it's time to do a heater core. I'm not familiar with the 303 protectant, but I throw a bath towel over the dash if it has to spend any extended time in the sun.

Intake gaskets, there seems to be a few but have not had to do one?

I picked up a nice 2wd and what a treat it is to drive compared to these big heavy four wheel drives. Just in the process of getting some 20's for it and use it next summer for a cruiser. Less repairs on the 2wd if that helps your decision.

Re: 1994-2001 Dodge Ram Questions [Re: 5thAve] #2834304
10/18/20 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by 5thAve
The last couple years of them also have nicer interiors.
It's a matter of opinion. I prefer the 2002-2006s. But I've liked the previous ones since they came out and still have a poster from when they were released on the wall behind me. I wouldn't hesitate to buy one if they weren't all rotted out around here. And that's nothing against them, just about all trucks that age are here.


I had an 04 but sold it because the 4.7L was getting on its last legs and rust was getting to it especially around the 190k mark among some other issues. I had it for 14 years so I think I did okay. I might be moving to a different or drier climate so that's why I'm considering as well along with a few other choices. I have a car now and miss driving having a truck and the new ones don't appeal to me much. It seems I see more of the 94-01 trucks around here both in gas and diesel form but, they are thinning out where I'm currently at in the rust belt.

Last edited by RustyMopar01; 10/18/20 06:29 PM.
Re: 1994-2001 Dodge Ram Questions [Re: Grizzly] #2834306
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Originally Posted by Grizzly
You're welcome! up It still doesn't have any rust on it, thanks for the compliment!

I have a theory that Dodge may have started to try to save money and maybe used a cheaper, or no primer at all on the inside of the body panels starting in '98. It's all I can come up with as to why they rust quicker. Only a guess because I don't have a '97 or down right now to look at.

Dashboards, yes, they do crack if you don't have a garage and they are left in the sun. Bit of a strategy is to leave it or cover it up until it's time to do a heater core. I'm not familiar with the 303 protectant, but I throw a bath towel over the dash if it has to spend any extended time in the sun.

Intake gaskets, there seems to be a few but have not had to do one?

I picked up a nice 2wd and what a treat it is to drive compared to these big heavy four wheel drives. Just in the process of getting some 20's for it and use it next summer for a cruiser. Less repairs on the 2wd if that helps your decision.


Yes and that's a plus. I could see that happening in 98 consider that's right around the time Diamler and Chrysler Corporation merged at that time. In my vehicles I typically use a shade to put in the windshield. The 4wd might be needed but, I might be able to squeeze by on a 2 wheel drive and it comes down to price. To me these trucks are a blend of school and new school and that's fine by me. Thank you again.

Re: 1994-2001 Dodge Ram Questions [Re: RustyMopar01] #2834426
10/19/20 01:10 AM
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I like the 01.5 and newer due to the rear disc brakes. I’ve had this one since 03. Has 192k on it now.

....and I just replaced the dash about a year ago with a LMC unit. $330 delivered.

Re: 1994-2001 Dodge Ram Questions [Re: J_BODY] #2834515
10/19/20 09:44 AM
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I would happily own another clean example from this era (still miss my '02 Cummins QC/SB/4x4 that was stolen...)

The Magnum engines are hard to beat, and the issues with the bathtub gasket and IAC motor are easy and inexpensive to fix, and are not problems that will leave you stranded.

For the automatic trans, IMHO I'd set aside some $$$ for an eventual rebuild.

Later years had the option of nicer interiors (leather, woodgrain, heated seats etc.) and some other niceties like 4 wheel disc brakes.

'98 was the transitional year with both club cab/quad cab being offered, both 12V and 24V Cummins, and IIRC the dashboard/gauges were a 1-year part.

If you're going for a Cummins, there's a wealth of information out there on common issues & years. e.g. 53 block, killer dowel pin, fuel pumps on the 24V etc.


But as to the other posters, the size, styling, utility and reliability are hard to beat. Even today.

Re: 1994-2001 Dodge Ram Questions [Re: YYZ] #2834538
10/19/20 10:47 AM
10/19/20 10:47 AM
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I like the 01.5 and newer due to the rear disc brakes. I’ve had this one since 03. Has 192k on it now.

....and I just replaced the dash about a year ago with a LMC unit. $330 delivered.

Important note: Rear disc brakes were 2500/3500 only in 2001. 1500 went 4 wheel disc in 2002 with the new body style (DR). 2500/3500 were still old body style (BR) for 2002.

Re: 1994-2001 Dodge Ram Questions [Re: 73MagDuster] #2834549
10/19/20 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by 73MagDuster
I like the 01.5 and newer due to the rear disc brakes. I’ve had this one since 03. Has 192k on it now.

....and I just replaced the dash about a year ago with a LMC unit. $330 delivered.

Important note: Rear disc brakes were 2500/3500 only in 2001. 1500 went 4 wheel disc in 2002 with the new body style (DR). 2500/3500 were still old body style (BR) for 2002.


I had two nearly identical 3500 4x4s, a '96 CC and '01.5 QC The brakes ALONE made the trade worthwhile. The '96 had barely adequate brakes and AWFUL 4 wheel antilock. '96 was the 1st year 4 wheel antilock was available for the 3500 4x4, simply terrible.

IIRC, May 2000 was the first availability of rear discs, when they became standard. My build date was August 23, 2000

I really thought the 1500's got rear discs first?


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'01 3500 4x4 Cummins 6 speed sold
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Re: 1994-2001 Dodge Ram Questions [Re: 3hundred] #2834648
10/19/20 02:16 PM
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I like the Gen 2 a lot. I had a '95 short bed club cab 1500 4x4 that I ordered from the factory and received in April 1995. With the automatic 5.9 gasser, it did everything asked of it. Pulled my dad's '57 Bel Air from NC to southern IL, as well as many other loaded trailers and boats, bed full of gravel, etc. Wrecked ant totaled at 110K, I bought it back and rebuilt it and got another 90K out of it, before the interior, tranny, and motor started going down and I got out of it. Like Griz said, it has some bad points; the transmissions were famous in the early years for needing rebuilds after 50K (mine made it to about 160K before requiring this), the pinion seal and gear, and the dash not being able to take the sun. I wish the '95 had also had the extra doors, but definitely a roomier cab than the '93 club cab I currently have. Also like the interior of the 98+ years. If I found another club cab 5.9 gasser, it would be hard to turn away, especially a +98 model. I like the looks of this gen; the front end is nowhere near as obnoxious as any of these new trucks.

Re: 1994-2001 Dodge Ram Questions [Re: jcruse64] #2834765
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OK, not to hijack, but I have a question. On the extended cab models with the seatbelt in the seat, are new/refurbished parts available to fix the tensioners?

Before I bought my current Dakota, I looked at a number of extended cab trucks of the vintage mentioned, and every one of them the belts were inop. What little I looked into it back then (5 yrs ago) it seemed the only replacements were from the dealer (re:$$$$$$) Still the same way? I passed on a '95 because of this issue.

Just curious.

popcorn


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Re: 1994-2001 Dodge Ram Questions [Re: Satilite73] #2834946
10/20/20 10:39 AM
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The seat belt was locked?

If so, my '98 did that once and it "reset" itself after a couple of days. Just looked on Youtube and a module with ball in it under the center console is the issue. Seems to me if you tap that module to reset the position of the ball, the belt should unlock?

Re: 1994-2001 Dodge Ram Questions [Re: Grizzly] #2835216
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Originally Posted by Grizzly
The seat belt was locked?

If so, my '98 did that once and it "reset" itself after a couple of days. Just looked on Youtube and a module with ball in it under the center console is the issue. Seems to me if you tap that module to reset the position of the ball, the belt should unlock?


All the ones I saw the belt was fully extended, they wouldn't wind back up. Usually just the drivers side, but in some cases, both sides. For me to see it on almost every truck I looked at, I thought it was a more common issue.

(shoulda made that more clear rather than just say 'inop')


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Re: 1994-2001 Dodge Ram Questions [Re: Satilite73] #2835226
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When I get out of my Dakota, or my coupe with Dakota belts, I always untangle the belt that seems to get twisted up every time when its pulled out far enough to go over my fat body. Once untangled, as I'm getting out of the ride, I give the belt between the retract mechanism and the seat back a little tug, and it always recoils very nicely. I don't believe the retract mechanisms have enough power to pull the twisted belt back in. I'm sure once the belts get a fold in them, or they get rolled over and simply don't get pulled back in for a while, the retract coils probably just don't work anymore.

I've seen where people will tie a knot in the belt up by the top anchor at the door post so it doesn't put tension on their shoulders. Can't imagine after a few months like that the belt would ever retract again. Gene

Re: 1994-2001 Dodge Ram Questions [Re: Satilite73] #2835252
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I'll have to leave that to someone else, John, I haven't run into it. shruggy

I do like the design a lot: the tension is light and it sets in a perfect spot. You can't even tell you have the belt on. Coming from First Gen belts that ride on your neck it is a significant improvement.

Re: 1994-2001 Dodge Ram Questions [Re: Grizzly] #2835270
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The belts weren't folded over. and the trucks had various mileage on them. The drivers/sellers were of various girth........ whistling

I was just curious about it, no worries. If I ever get back into a full size, it would probably be one of these.

beer


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Re: 1994-2001 Dodge Ram Questions [Re: Satilite73] #2835540
10/21/20 11:20 AM
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I have an ‘02 2500 cummins quad cab long bed, automatic. Just turned 300,000 miles. The diesel has been flawless, no problems. I haul a 14ft heavy dump trailer with 5 tons of base rock. The automatic and 3.54 gears suck for this purpose. The dashes bust apart if you sneeze on them. I just replaced it last month with a new one from LMC. What a horrible terrible job to do. But it’s done and looks better than ever. It really freshened up the interior! I need a new steering wheel, it’s all rubbed off bare at 12:00.

The harmonic balancer went out, taking out the front crank seal, leaky oily mess under the truck. I’ll fix that next week with a new FluidDampener and new seal, gotta pull the timing cover. It’ll take a weekend.

I did a FreeSpin Warn hub conversion getting rid of the unit bearings on the (CAD Free, 01.5-02 only) front Dana 60, I now have serviceable US made Timken Wheel bearings and selectable Warn Premium hubs, with an Eaton electric locker in the front. That was an expensive ordeal.

The rear Disc brake Dana 70 went out at 200,000 miles. Took out the gears & limited slip. $2500 to fix it like new. I’m now swapping in a Dana 80 that came factory with the manual transmission trucks. They last forever, unlike the 70. Also putting in a Detroit locker.

Speaking of manual transmission, I’m swapping over to an NV5600, I have most of the parts. Maybe next summer. Any automatic transmission sucks.

Oh yea, I love the long bed. I see new trucks all over with a short bed, I just laugh and shake my head every time I see one.


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