Buying 99 24V Turbo Diesel - advice?

I have never owned a pickup before. I will be mostly driving between 6,000 and 11,000 feet and a turbocharger is definitely an asset at those elevations.
I did a google search of groups on fuel mileage and got some data which did not look too bad. But I have more questions.
After talking to friends I have settled on a 1999 (or newer) 24-Valve Turbo Diesel Dodge 2500.
I want a manual transmission. It seems they make a 5- and 6-speed? What years for those? Should I hold out for the 6-speed?
I do not want the quad cab. Extended (Club cab?) or regular cab.
I want to put a camper on it and tow a (snowmobile) trailer behind that. I think I need the long bed for the camper. Do I?
What kind of fuel mileage should I get? Or should I say, what kind of mileage do you get (and doing what)?
What should I look out for?
Looks like I will be buying from a dealer as I cannot find much in private party sales.
Thanks for any advice,
Charles.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The 6spd (NV5600) first came out in '00 (with the '01 model year) with the HO engines. If you're towing heavy, the 6spd is nicer, because of the closer gear ratios, you don't lose as many RPMs when upshifting. The NV5600 also addressed the one weakness of the NV4500 (the 5spd), and that was the '5th gear nut' problem.... lugging the engine below 1500RPMs in 5th gear would cause a retaining nut to back off, and you'd lose 5th gear. It's not a reason to dismiss the NV4500 outright, but it's just something to be aware of, and the problem is easily avoided.

Club cabs went away shortly after the introduction of the QC (I think there was only a 1-year carry-over - maybe 2 years).

Most likely. I don't think I've ever seen a camper for a short-bed (though I'm sure they do exist... somewhere).

With a late-model 24V engine, manual trans, and loaded down with a camper and a light trailer, I'd guess somewhere in the 13-15MPG range. But that's just a guess.

Two known weaknesses of the engines in the trucks you're looking at are the fuel pump (you should install a fuel pressure gauge and monitor it to detect early signs of fuel pump failure - which could in turn damage the injection pump, leading to a $2,000 repair), and the '53 block' issue (though this is only with the early 24V engines). It would take too long to go into it here, but essentially there was a casting problem with a certain run of engine blocks that results in a greater possibility of cracking. The blocks in question can be identified by the cast '53' in the side. Look on the diesel truck forums (http://www.turbodieselregister.com http://www.dieseltruckresource.com ) in the 2nd Gen forums for discussions about this. In short, don't buy a truck if it has one of these engines in it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Tom Lawrence wrote:

Thanks a lot, Tom!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Detailed info about the "53" block at: http://www.stamey.info/Truck/Cummins53BlockFAQ.htm
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Nosey wrote:

Charles.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 17 Aug 2005 03:51:41 GMT, "Tom Lawrence"
'53 block' issue
Both local Cummins dealers are old friends of mine. I asked what their take on 24v engines. Neither has seen a cracked block, but have changed a good number of pumps and head gaskets. This is in mountainous ranch country where dodge ctds are common.
My 01 with a 53 block has a fp gauge on it, but not losing any sleep over the block. It's been pulled hard up many a pass.
DE

-
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.