I have a question that I can not find an answer to within this group or googled
on the web.... but, first the background of my question.
I am now retired and my wife and I want to travel. We DO have the funds to
purchase a NEW Dodge w/Cummins to pull a 5th Weel (toy-box to carry my Jeep and
live in...) and have been looking for both units here in California where we
New Dodges in our area go for 38 to 42K and the trailers are in the 20 to 25K
price ranges. I want a manual (hard to find) and a Ram 3500 seems to provide
what I may need.
To save money.... I believe I can purchase a used manual 3500 with 12 valves
(1997 or 98) for under 15K and poke an instant 8 to 10K into it and come out
with a very reliable truck that will last the "X" number of years we have left.
I've been reading within this group the major advantages of the pre 24valve
engines and have been persuaded in this direction. My major question is the
difference between the 1997 and the early 1998 cummins 12 valves? Are the 97
Dodges the same as the 1998's prior to the 24 valve? And, for either the 97 or
98, what is the most effective engine mods to perform?
I plan on purchasing and registering the vehicle outside California because the
Trailer will be located in another state (maybe Missouri). The 5th wheel's
length will be just long enough to carry my Jeep and provided the necessary
space to cook and sleep while on the road (26 to 30 foot max). Once a
destination is reached, the Jeep comes out and will be parked under an attached
awning (like a car port.) Also, I understand that new regs will be governing
the fuel in the near future. Will the mods made to a 12 valve be compatible
with the new fuel regs?
Anything you can help me with will be appreciated. If I'm barking at the wrong
tree..... let me know that too.....
Reliability, strength and economy are the major factors.... speed of the
vehicle is of no major concern..... we will get where we're going when we get
Yes... the 12V's from '94 thru '98 are essentially the exact same engine.
For reliability, or enhanced performance?
On the reliability side, the number 1 problem area on these engines is the
infamous "Killer Dowel Pin". This is an alignment pin located inside the
front gear case that's used during assembly. The problem is, it can work
itself out, and fall into the gear train, often with catastrophic results.
Fortunately, it's also pretty simple to fix. TST Products
(http://www.tstproducts.com ) sells a repair kit to secure the dowel pin, and
prevent it from falling out.
On the performance side, TST also sells kits to increase engine output.
Well, it won't hurt it any more, let's put it that way. All the power mods
do is allow the injection pump to put more fuel into the engine. I think
the jury's still out on what the ULS fuels will do to the 12V's injection
pump (however, it's the toughest of the pumps out there, so it will in all
likelihood be just fine - maybe with the occasional fuel additive for
Yes, I read that article. But, isn't that just with the NV4500? What I was
figuring is if the condition of the truck is less than expected, I would go for
the NV5600 conversion and either a total overhaul or rebuilt engine from the
local Cummins shop here in Bloomington, CA. If the truck is inspected prior to
purchase and is found to be very sound, then the less expensive upgrades would
be in order.
JMC also made a reply to my post, but like I originally stated... I'm in
California and I would NEVER purchase a new vehicle in this state or a used one
for that matter, that was conforming to the 5 state CARB requirements.
We plan to have a second (or what some may call a vacation home) place of
residence out of California (that's the 5th wheeler). We are deeply into
genealogy and will probably register all our vehicles within that state. Here
in California, this massive emigration is being referred to as "White Flight".
Our taxes, gasoline, property, registrations... everything is being over taxed.
Thanks for the reply and just because you only mentioned two faults with the
97/98 12 valve, I believe I'm on the right track.
Researching: Hedlund, Anderson, Nyrén, Jansson,
Heggi, Laszlo, Tako, Taney, Luchinger, Toensing,
Suddenly, without warning, Hobart Duncan exclaimed (4/28/2005 6:20 PM):
Have you considered ordering straight from the factory? I purchased my
2001 Dakota off the internet, and had a truck factory-built to my exact
specifications (I 'built' my truck on the Dodge website, then provided
the printout to the dealer).
It was weird, I had a VIN well before I ever laid eyes on my new truck.
I'm not necessarily saying to buy from the internet - I had a good
experience and saved just over $6k, but not sure it's for everyone - but
I just wanted to suggest that if you're willing to wait, you're not
necessarily stuck with what the dealers have on the lot.
I own both the older(89) and the newer(Y2K), if you are going to do
heavy hauling, go for the newer. My Y2K hase performed absoluetly
flawlessly, it has 72K miles and I tote 4500# of truck camper and tow
a 4000# a toad. I just now replaced the original lift pump as it was
getting a little tired, everthing else is OEM. You do not need to buy
a new truck, there are a lot of good used ones. Don't be afraid of
high milage, these engines will last many hundreds of thousands of
On Thu, 28 Apr 2005 10:20:22 -0700, Hobart Duncan
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