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 04-27-2008, 13:10 Post: 153276
BillMullens

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Tractor guys,

I know this is a hotly debated topic. But. I can't make up my mind. I am changing jobs, after 17 years in the consulting engineering business, I am going to work for a coal company. They are paying me a vehicle allowance, and require me to have a 4x4 truck. I will be spending some time on the surface mines, on logging roads, etc; and also driving to other sites and for meetings up to 2 hours each way on interstates. Now, knowing that I don't really need the increased towing and payload capacity of a 2500-series truck, do they offer any advantages in dependability and durability for occasional off-road use?

The typical perception is that the 3/4 ton trucks are more rugged, but is that really true for durability? The 2500 Dodge is almost 1000 pounds heavier than the 1500, but that doesn't necessarily translate into increased reliablity.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Bill






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 04-27-2008, 15:39 Post: 153277
greg_g



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 1500 or 2500

If you're going to spend more than 50% of your time going 70mph on paved roads, go with the half ton. Less than 50%, get the 3/4 ton. The 1500 is a boulevard cruiser; the 2500 is a work truck. That extra 1000# consists of heavy duty components and reinforcing intended to cope with larger payloads and general jobsite stress. The tradeoff is a mpg or two less ON the highway, to be weighed against increased reliability OFF the highway (assuming no HD towing package).

//greg//






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 04-28-2008, 10:03 Post: 153295
Murf



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 1500 or 2500

You may also find other differences between the 1/2 & 3/4 ton tucks too, big differences.

In some cases for instance a diesel is not available in a 1/2 ton truck, and if it is there's a bigger option price than in a 3/4 ton version of basically the same truck.

If you're going to be doing much driving the diesel may make a serious difference in the overall costs.

Best of luck.






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 04-28-2008, 13:08 Post: 153304
yooperpete



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I agree that if you are not hauling heavy loads, going with the 1500 series maybe better for all the highway miles (comfort and mileage). The extra cost of a 3/4 ton along with diesel cost and current fuel prices may not be a long term advantage any longer. You should be getting $.505/mile in addition to your vehicle allowance.

If you will be driving on logging trails, etc., be sure to get an off-road package that has skid plates, taller suspension and mild AT (All Terrain) tires vs: HT (highway). Getting the off-road package may lock you into a specific rear end ratio. If you are doing lots of highway miles you may want something higher than a 3.73:1. You won't want a 3.90:1 or 4.11:1. I believe Dodge offers a 3.55:1 which will give good mileage. If you go to a 3.23:1 you won't have much pulling power on the highway and it will downshift lots going up and down hills.

I've heard the Hemi's are set up to downshift lots. If you get the electronic ignition that shuts down to 4 cylinders that may give you about 2 miles/gallon better fuel economy. Don't know if they only offer the Hemi or if they have the 360 CI yet. Both can be referred to as "Mr. Thursty".

Another feature of the off-road package sometimes has the axle vents connected to tubes that go up into the fender wells. The standard Dodge vents years and years ago were a bump that let water flow over the top. If you stopped or went backward in standing water, you would get water in the differentials.

I once had a Dodge Ramcharger that got stuck on a logging trail. I was driving through water about a foot above the door sills and got stuck going to the hunting property. Got both front and rear pumpkins drained and cleaned after that one.

You may also want to add small mudflaps, so the stones that the tires throw won't chip the paint. A brush guard may also be a good accessory, since some of the route may not be on established roads.






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 04-28-2008, 14:38 Post: 153307
candoarms



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BillMullens,

Yooperpete has things right.

With the heavier truck, you'll also get a drive-train that's geared a bit lower for heavy pulling against the wind, over soft ground, uphill, etc. The heavier trucks also come with bigger and more expensive brakes, which you won't need.

You won't need the heavier truck. For highway use, and those occasional off-road travels, the lighter 4x4 is the one I'd go with.

Good luck with the new job. Let us know how you like it.

Joel






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 04-28-2008, 14:52 Post: 153309
BillMullens

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Most of the trucks that actually travel on the surface mines (as opposed to the guys driving to work, parking, and driving equipment at the mine site) are 3/4 ton trucks.

But I don't know if that is because they hold up better or if because they sometimes do need to tow/haul really heavy stuff.

The prevailing opinion of other guys that have been there/done that is that none of the trucks' front ends hold up when constantly subjected to heavy offroad use. Wheel bearings, u-joints and ball joints are the commonly failed components.

I think the preference for 3/4 ton trucks is that they sit a little higher and thus have a little better entrance/departure angle. And that they just look tougher.

Also, several guys I've talked to have cattle or horses, so they want a 3/4 ton truck for their personal use, not so much because it is better for work.

Truck fever...ugh. Maybe it is an even draw.

I won't be getting the diesel, can't rationalize the $6000 option. So it is a Hemi 5.7 either way. The 1/2 ton truck has better acceleration and is easier to drive, that is for sure.

Thanks.

Bill






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 04-28-2008, 17:03 Post: 153312
yooperpete



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Chevrolet used to sell a heavy Half ton which later was called a 1500HD. It had some of the same drive train as a 3/4 ton. Ford used to do kinda the same (but it was a light duty 3/4 ton), but don't know their current lineup.

If it is a concern, can you get a 1/2 ton Dodge equipped with a snowplow package with the proper rear-end gearing, which has a heavier front end?

Driving through all the mud, rocks, water and ruts does a number on drive components. In my opinion you are better off with a light weight truck with a big front end, large diameter but narrow tires that have good treads on the sides.






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 05-11-2008, 11:44 Post: 153621
BillMullens

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Well, I went with the 1/2 ton truck (1500). I drove a couple examples of each, and I really liked the 1500 the best. Dodge had $7500 in rebates running, and the local dealer had one with the options I wanted, in the color I wanted, and they sell at invoice price. So it was about $10k off sticker price.

I don't think I'll be doing enough offroading or towing to justify a 2500, but maybe next time.

Thanks,
Bill






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 05-11-2008, 12:01 Post: 153624
candoarms



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Bill,

You'll enjoy the softer ride of the 1500 when traveling down the highways. If the truck rides a little too rough for your liking, just throw a few sandbags in the bed. A little extra weight is all it takes to soften the ride on any pickup.

Contrary to popular belief, the extra few hundred pounds of weight in the bed will not decrease your gas mileage enough to make any measurable difference. However, the difference it makes in ride comfort will be GREATLY appreciated.

With about 400 pounds of sand in the bed, your truck will ride like a Cadillac.

Joel






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 05-11-2008, 12:13 Post: 153625
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 1500 or 2500

Extra weight in the bed certainly made a measurable difference in mileage on my Ford Ranger, about 1 mpg. It was only 150 lbs and the difference was repeatable. The first tank after the sand was removed always realized a 1mpg increase. Not a lot, but with today's gas prices it makes a difference. Which reminds me, now that the snow is finally gone the weight needs to be removed from my new Toyota Tacoma. It will be interesting to see if the mileage pops up any and I'll post with my results.






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