DODGE DIESEL RECOMMENDATIONS REQUESTED FOR 2 WHEEL DRIVE...

Hi,
I am interested in buying a Dodge Ram Diesel, 2500 or 3500, single or dually, about 5 years old or so with a manual transmission. I understand there are 5 and 6 speed manuals. I would like a truck that
is nice to drive on a long highway trip, but can also carry a nice load and/or pull say a 6,0000-8,0000 lb. loaded trailer. Does a manual get better fuel economy, and are the automatics reliable?
What models/options/years must be avoided?
Thanks in advance.
Land O'Lakes Fred
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any year truck should work for what your asking. the autos a very reliable as are the standard shifts. if i had a choice between 2 standard shifts one 5 and one 6 i'd go with the 6. the 5 speeds had a problem with the nut holding 5th gear in place backing off over time and then you would loose 5th. its not a big deal to fix it, but its something to keep in mind. anything you get i would recomend making sure its got Limited Slip Diferential (LSD) even the older Cummins engines had enough torque to easily sit and spin a open diff without even trying. as far as fuel milage your biggest consideration there is the power output. the 12v probably get the best (older less power rating) then the older 24v next (i forget the hp on these but they were higher than the 12v) and next was the 325/610hp 24v found in the 3rd gen trucks of course more power still, but to get power you have to burn more fuel. my 05 (3rd gen) still gets around 20 mpg depending on how im driving it. ive heard some with older trucks claim upwards of 25mpg. in my opinion the hp rating of the truck is you biggest factor in fuel milage. by the way your only wanting to pull 8,000lbs according to your post you may find the ride of a 3/4 ton truck (2500 series) softer and more comfrortable than the 1 ton (3500 series) and the 3/4 will be more than enough truck to pull the load your asking as i understand it.
just my 2c
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-Chris
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