Ram 2500 5.9L Cummins Feedback

Dalko43

Explorer
Due to a possible move out west in the near future, I am considering the purchase of a 2005-2007.5 Ram 2500 with the 5.9l Cummins (6 speed manual). I'll be looking to get multiple uses out of my next vehicle (hunting, hauling cargo, exploring 4x4 trails/roads, camping) and while I've thoroughly enjoyed my 4runner, the lack of a cargo bed and the lackluster engine has me reconsidering its usefulness for my future plans. I'm not looking for a dedicated tow rig, but I will need something that can tow when I need it to. If go through with this purchase, this will be my first diesel. And yes I'm aware of the whole argument that "diesels aren't worth it unless you plan to tow all the time." I'm willing to pay a little extra for fuel and maintenance if this truck can meet my needs. I know the diesel 2500's really didn't come with anything in the way of offroading equipment, so I'd plan on getting ARB air lockers, at least 12k winch,and a front bumper at a minimum.

With that said, I'm looking for owner feedback on a few issues:
1) I've read the 5.9L cummins (stock) can get about 18 mpg city, and 22 mpg highway. Is that accurate?

2) Besides possible injector failures, are there any big issues with the 2005-2007 cummins?

3) Will this rig be able to go down most 4x4 trails and roads, despite its size and weight? I'm not looking to turn this into a dedicated rock-crawler, but at the same time, I want to be able to get through/over restrictive terrain.

4) Any issues with this engine starting up in cold weather (-25 C and below) in stock form? I know the engine relies on a block heater instead of glow plugs. Do people in cold climates usually get aftermarket heaters for this engine?

I'm willing to live with the maintenance and reliability of a 10 year old truck. My biggest concern honestly is whether its size and weight (especially the added weight of the cummins) will hinder my ability to explore and drive remote roads and trails. I'm getting this vehicle to explore and camp, among other reasons, so if it can't go where I need it go, then I might have to reconsider.

Edit: I forgot to ask - 5) Is it pretty much a given that I'll need to upgrade/swap out the front suspension and steering components? I've heard that the Ram 2500's prior to 2013 had an issue known as the "death wobble."
 
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Regcabguy

Expedition Leader
Buy it. The 5.9 is unbeatable and along with the 6-speed gets good economy and is strong as an ox. Minor Dodge shortcomings are economically fixed with aftermarket parts. Mine's been to the dealer once in all these years and I bought it new. No cold weather issues whatsoever. No glowplugs,plenty of room to service it yourself.
 

p nut

butter
First question: do you need a 3/4 ton? You should consider a Ecodiesel. Or better yet, just a 5.7 hemi :D

By the way, there are plenty of trails to take full size trucks on out here in the west. Sure there are trails unfit for them but there are more open dirt roads and medium-duty trails to explore than you can in your life time. For more difficult trails, just get yourself a side x side to tow or buy a 1st gen Tacoma to head out solo. My family doesn't want to go on hardcore trails anyway.
 
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Dalko43

Explorer
First question: do you need a 3/4 ton? You should consider a Ecodiesel. Or better yet, just a 5.7 hemi :D
I'm weighing all my options, so I am trying to get feedback on 3/4 ton's, specifically the Ram 2500, for the sake of context. As with all vehicles, there is a need vs want issue to deal with. I don't need a 3/4 ton pickup, but then again I don't need a full-sized or mid-sized pickup either. I could probably continue to drive my current 4runner and accomplish 95% of what I want to do, though it certainly wouldn't be optimal for some of my intended uses.

I want a 3/4 ton pickup, because that is the only category, outside of old imported Land Rovers and Land Cruisers, that offer a combination of diesel engines, body on frame, and front/rear solid axles and I want the utility of a pickup bed. If I were looking to go with an IFS, I'd probably look at a Colorado or Tacoma over a full-sized, and I am considering those options. To be clear, I'm not asking for someone to recommend my next vehicle, I'm asking for someone to provide feedback on the Ram 2500 5.9L Cummins so that I can make a somewhat informed decision.
 

murphy744

Adventurer
I have an 07' with an auto. It gets 22 mpg unloaded, 18-20 depending with my Four Wheel camper. I have 2 friends with the same truck, with 6 speed manual, Doug Thuran 3" with King shocks. We travel into some of the remote places the southwest has to offer.

Buy it and don't look back. 34 gallons of deisel in a 5.9l will get you a long way. Super reliable with basic maintenance.
 

Regcabguy

Expedition Leader
I have an 07' with an auto. It gets 22 mpg unloaded, 18-20 depending with my Four Wheel camper. I have 2 friends with the same truck, with 6 speed manual, Doug Thuran 3" with King shocks. We travel into some of the remote places the southwest has to offer.

Buy it and don't look back. 34 gallons of deisel in a 5.9l will get you a long way. Super reliable with basic maintenance.
Do the fuel tank mod. It relocates the vent higher gaining another 4 gallons.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qubMBsEoX4M
 

Marine

Adventurer
I have a 2003, only real problem I had is the front end, ball joints and bearings. I get 22 to 23 on summer fuel. ( I don't drive that fast I'm old) also put a fass on it, the injectors aren't what they put in the 12v. But all in all I love my cummins, dodge body not so much. No glow plugs, so that's a plus to me. And a six speed is damn near bullet proof. Just my 2 cents
 

damon1272

Observer
With that said, I'm looking for owner feedback on a few issues:
1) I've read the 5.9L cummins (stock) can get about 18 mpg city, and 22 mpg highway. Is that accurate? Yes you can expect this. I have gotten 23 with my 94 and a 1k load.

2) Besides possible injector failures, are there any big issues with the 2005-2007 cummins? The 48re auto transmission is weak. 2007 1/2 trucks had the much better 68rfe transmission. Wheel hop can be an issue. A two link kit will help quite a bit.

3) Will this rig be able to go down most 4x4 trails and roads, despite its size and weight? I'm not looking to turn this into a dedicated rock-crawler, but at the same time, I want to be able to get through/over restrictive terrain. You should have no real problems unless you go with a long wheelbase.

4) Any issues with this engine starting up in cold weather (-25 C and below) in stock form? I know the engine relies on a block heater instead of glow plugs. Do people in cold climates usually get aftermarket heaters for this engine? The engine uses a heater plate in place of glow plugs.

I'm willing to live with the maintenance and reliability of a 10 year old truck. My biggest concern honestly is whether its size and weight (especially the added weight of the cummins) will hinder my ability to explore and drive remote roads and trails. I'm getting this vehicle to explore and camp, among other reasons, so if it can't go where I need it go, then I might have to reconsider.

Edit: I forgot to ask - 5) Is it pretty much a given that I'll need to upgrade/swap out the front suspension and steering components? I've heard that the Ram 2500's prior to 2013 had an issue known as the "death wobble." Death wobble is attributed to worn bushings and front end components. Should not be too much of an issue as long as the steering components and bushings are in good shape.
 

ulyist

New member
I have a 2006 3500 diesel, look at the 3500 because of the extra 1000lbs payload. Still srw short box. 210000 miles. Front end every 100k, drive shafts every 50k. Lots of people claim 20mpg, if you drive 60 you'll get 18. Empty. 24mpg is 800 miles a tank. Maybe 550 to a tank is realistic. So for problems lots of electrical problems, if it's never been chipped the transmission and injectors should be fine. Just the front end wears out and needs a rebuild, same for the front drive shaft.
 

Vegastoy

Observer
I think the issue with the injectors stems from poor filtration. Install a good aftermarket fuel filter setup.

Send an oil sample in to be tested. That will tell you the condition of the injectors and the rest of the motor.

These trucks are easy to work on and very reliable if you keep up on the maintenance.


As far as fuel mileage goes 20 is achievable if you drive it like an old lady.
 

Happykamper

Explorer
If your asking is it a good overland or expo rig the answer is simple NO. It's not built for that it's big and heavy. Maybe some forest service roads but not going to get you off grid. And if it gets stuck lol. Look it's just not made for that. Like I said simple off highway dirt roads to go hunting and camping . But don't try taking it further then that. But for a truck you can't beat that motor
 

Darwin

Explorer
Doubt you will ever see anywhere near 22 mpg if you add larger mud terrain tires. Stock tires, yes, 22 mpg might be possible if you drive at 63 mph on the interstate. I can't comment on how well it will do on the "trail" since that can be kind of vague.
 

Dalko43

Explorer
If your asking is it a good overland or expo rig the answer is simple NO. It's not built for that it's big and heavy. Maybe some forest service roads but not going to get you off grid. And if it gets stuck lol. Look it's just not made for that. Like I said simple off highway dirt roads to go hunting and camping . But don't try taking it further then that. But for a truck you can't beat that motor
Care to clarify this statement?

I'm not looking to run something like the Rubicon. Out of curiosity, have any full-sized rigs gotten through that? As I understand it, vehicle width is a real issue in some places.
I am looking to drive anything and everything in terms of trails/road that fall short of Rubicon-type trails.

Is a 3/4 ton rig going to be too heavy and big to meet those expectations?
 

cliniford

Observer
I've had my 03 for 8 years now. Lots of off-roading. They are very capable rigs with a skilled driver.
Mileage for me on 35" mt's with a 6spd and 4:10 gears is around 21 on the freeway at 65mph. 17 if I am towing heavy. Front end components suck but there are lots of ways to fix that. Manual hub conversion saves lots of wear and tear and also improves fuel economy and turning radius. Injectors are usually good for 100-120k miles. Buy a FASS...... Simple mods like intake and exhaust make a drastic improvement. You can fit 35" tires without a lift if you use your stock wheels. They will rub on your control arms but just a little bit. The G56 is a good tranny but not quite as strong as the earlier NV5600 mostly due to the G56 having an aluminum case rather than the cast iron of the NV.
 

cliniford

Observer
Oh and brakes suck. When you do change the brake pads be prepared to do calipers at the same time because the dodge calipers like to seize after doing just pads. Everyone I know that has a Dodge has had calipers seize after doing brake pads.
 
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