If you’re in the market for a used heavy-duty truck and live in North America, there are plenty of options on offer — Chevy’s Silverado & GMC’s Sierra HD, Ford’s Super Duty, and Ram’s 2500. However, when it comes to seeking a heavy-duty truck offering the best value for money, we think the 2003-2009 Dodge Ram 2500 is by far your best bet.
Indeed, the third-gen Ram 2500 was (and still is) one of the most popular workhorses in America. It’s dashingly spacious and convenient, and its legendary Cummins turbodiesel engine is powerful while still being as efficient as can be. Even better, you can now find great deals on this truck on the used market. As a result, I’m here to tell you why this Dodge built almost two decades ago is still worth purchasing in 2022 and why it’s one of the easiest trucks to work on when using a good Dodge Ram 2500 repair manual.
So, without further ado, let’s jump right into it.
World Class Diesel Engines
Before I say anything about the diesel power units, let me lay the Dodge Ram 2500 specs out for you here. There were two diesel variants, with the base one being a turbocharged 5.9-liter (360 cu. in.) inline-6 producing 325 hp and 610 lb-ft of torque. Meanwhile, the larger and more powerful turbocharged 6.7-liter (408 cu. in.) inline-6 with 350 hp and 650 lb-ft joined the lineup in 2007 as the flagship diesel offering. Both powertrains boast impressive power numbers, but it’s really the torque that counts here, as it will help you to tow some huge trailers.
These Cummins units were known as some of the best diesel engines in the business. They were significantly torquier and more economical than the or Magnum V10 planted in the gasoline variants. They also beat Ford’s PowerStroke and GM’s Duramax by matching their power output despite the smaller displacement and two cylinders less.
Moreover, people adored the third-gen Cummins for its high torque output, million-mile durability, and virtually unkillable trait. And with tons of available aftermarket parts and tuning setups, there’s a vast performance potential to unlock.
5.9L vs. 6.7L: Which Cummins is Better?
But, if you’re wondering which Cummins is better between the 5.9- and 6.7-liter, there are a few things to note. Both engines share most of their internals, but their power and emission control components differ. The newer 6.7-liter Cummins has emissions control devices absent in its 5.9-liter counterparts, such as the exhaust gas recirculation system and diesel particulate filter.
Nonetheless, the third-gen Dodge Ram 2500 fuel tank capacity was 34 gallons, meaning the 6.7-liter would empty it faster than the 5.9-liter. Moreover, when problems occur within the emission components, the 6.7-liter trucks are somewhat more complicated to work on due to the complexity of the newer post-emissions setup. Hence, if it’s my money on the line, I’d go for the 5.9-liter for the better economy and more reliable pre-emissions control components.
But regardless of which Cummins you choose, you’ll be satisfied with either. Both engines constantly supply a ton of power, even by today’s standard. Besides, when encountering any issue with these motors, the Dodge Ram 2500 repair manual can guide you on how to fix your truck. Besides, this manual can also help you do proper check-ups and maintenance to keep your truck running smoothly.
Not sure where to get one for your truck? Have a look at eManualOnline — you’ll thank me later!
Versatility at Your Disposal
While the third-gen Ram 2500 is a big truck, you’ll quickly get used to its versatility. It works marvelously on and off the road and seats up to six people when you need a suitable passenger carrier. Furthermore, although it’s a hardcore pickup truck at heart, its interior is still reasonably comfortable for daily use, especially with plenty of storage compartments, air conditioning, and a lively sound system. It even has leather seats with electrical adjustment and an in-dash on the higher trims like SLT and Laramie.
Additionally, instead of a trunk, you’ll get a convenient cargo bed in the size of your choice, with a payload capacity of over 3,000 lbs. It’ll handle anything from dirt bikes to loads of building/farming materials without a sweat. Need to carry more? Its towing capacity goes up to a whopping 15,000 lbs., ready to pull a caravan, tractor, yacht — you name it.
That said, it’s worth noting that pushing this truck to its limit by loading and towing heavy items does make the engine burn more oil. Thus if you often use your truck this way, you wouldn’t want to miss out on its following scheduled oil change. Use the recommended Dodge Ram 2500 oil type, like the 15W-40 if you live in a warm/hot area or 5W-40 for wintery climates.
Great Value for Money
These days, a used 2003-2009 Ram 2500 would set you back from $5,000-50,000, depending on the truck’s year, trim, mileage, and overall condition. Despite being on par with its rivals like the and Chevrolet Silverado, it still represents a good value, especially when you’re getting a superbly capable HD truck with arguably the best engine lineup.
While you can’t go wrong with any model year, you’d still want to seek a low-mileage unit (under 100,000 miles) and a well-maintained one, preferably with a clear and routinely updated service record. Remember that although it’s an incredibly rugged truck, a heavily used unit with no history of proper maintenance could cost a lot more when it’s your turn to take care of it.
Nonetheless, the wise move is to get a repair manual with the purchase because the Dodge Ram 2500 owner’s manual only gives you simple information, like the oil you need. A repair manual is the same handbook professionals use when repairing your truck. It contains detailed instructions on every repair, including step-by-step illustrated guides, torque specs, wiring diagrams, and more!
You can find several stories on the internet about people who bought the 2003-2009 diesel Ram 2500 and drove it for over a , which proves just how durable these trucks are. Thus, if you’re seeking to buy a superbly capable truck that’s powerful, economical, easy to maintain, and doesn’t break the bank, consider the third-gen diesel Dodge Ram 2500. Trust me, a well-maintained unit that’s running under 100,000 miles and offered at a fair price would be an excellent investment, especially since it still has a long service life ahead of it.