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Discussion Starter #1
I've been shopping for a used long bed truck for some time now. There almost impossible to find now since everyone is buying those four door short beds that are built for people who never buy lumber or rocks. I just need it to make material runs to the box store & to the landscape yard. I won't be driving it every day & I doubt that I will even put two thousand miles on it in a year.

So here is my situation. By chance, I passed one of these little independent used car dealers in a town about twenty miles from my house. I spotted what look like a long bed so I pulled in & it tuned out to be a 2005 Ram 1500 (wishing it was a Ford F150). The salesman/lot owner came out & opened the door for me. Took a look inside. It was a little rough but overall still had service life left. It had a few dents & dings as you would expect on a truck that's ten years old. It started right up. I noticed it had new hoses & a new belt on it. I could hear what sounded like a sticky valve lifter, but not really loud & in about a minute, it was gone. My wife noticed that it had smoke out the tailpipe, but I think it was just condensation. The salesman also said it was condensation because its been sitting for about a week without a startup, but after all, he is a used car salesman.:mocking:

Now here's the thing about it. They are asking for a starting price of $4,500. The price is lower than what I thought it would be, but its at that price because the mileage is up there. The Od is showing 213,000 miles. The salesman said its at $4,500 because the miles are high. He said if it had around 140 or 150K it would price out around $10,000. And he did ad that we could talk price if I really want to buy it otherwise it would just be conversation. I asked him if we could somehow arrange for me to take it to my mechanic for a lookover. I told him I'm twenty miles away & I told him which town I'm in. He said no problem. He would let me take it down to my mechanic for a look over because he was confident there was nothing wrong with it.

Kelly Blue Book show that avg. miles on a 2005 Ram is 111,000. miles. So this truck is at 213,000 miles. Based on KBB values, the dealer is in the zone on what it's worth. He is asking $4,500 but the KBB fair value is $4,158. So there may be some room here for negotiation on price.
I've seen 2004 & 2005-6 trucks with as high as 250 to 310,000 miles on the od at car auctions. Its really hard for me to believe that anything over 150K is not a worn out engine. My mechanic says that "yes 213K is high, but he's seen truck engines go beyond 300K with no major issues. The question always becomes what is going to fail internally-and when. There's just no way of knowing, so all you can do is give it a general mechanical inspection & either accept or reject the risk, but no one really knows what will happen.

So would I be nuts to buy this truck, even if my mechanic says it looks good & if I can get it down closer to $4,000. And I need a truck right now to pick up lumber, bags of concrete, landscaping materials. Yes I can pay home delivery charges, but on some of these small amounts, the delivery fees will be higher than the material. Has anyone else been in this situation & what would you do. Really 213,000 miles. Should I worry about high miles. And the other thing is- what about the transmission & rear end. We always focus on the engine, but I think the tranny is usually the weak link. Thanks.
 

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The only reason I'd take a vehicle to my own mechanic would be because I'd trust him (as well as pay him) to give me his honest opinion. Your's gave you his. So I guess my question would be "Do you trust your own mechanic or not?".

Around here, any truck that runs and will pass inspection will fetch $2000-$2500 minimum. And I've seen some pretty rough trucks that have sold for that. I wouldn't even blink at $4K for a truck in decent condition.
 

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Worked 8 yrs at a Dodge dealership. I drive Chevy/GMC. The only reason I'd EVER buy a Dodge would be if I desperately needed a Cummins Diesel for some unworldly reason. I'm not trying to start a fight with anybody, just giving you MY opinion as a lifelong mechanic. Take it any way you want.
 

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Just before moving from Georgia to Ohio this year, my neighbor sold me her 2002 Ford F150 XLT with 197k miles for $2,500. Since July, I've added 2,000 miles and my only investment has been four new tires and gasoline. She owned it about five years and drove it less than 1,500 miles the entire time. There is not an once of rust anywhere, the body and paint are nearly perfect and the interior looks brand new. Nobody would believe this truck has nearly 200k on the clock! The only drawback is that it's 2WD so it will be my "fair weather barn truck" and not driven much in the snow. I happen to own two other 4WD trucks that are better suited to Ohio winters.

Here's my view- as long as the body is in good shape, there's evidence the truck has been well maintained and the price is right, don't be concerned about high mileage. I'd almost consider investing in an engine rebuild (or crate motor), transmission rebuild, etc. if anything major happened.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Worked 8 yrs at a Dodge dealership. I drive Chevy/GMC. The only reason I'd EVER buy a Dodge would be if I desperately needed a Cummins Diesel for some unworldly reason. I'm not trying to start a fight with anybody, just giving you MY opinion as a lifelong mechanic. Take it any way you want.
The truck I'm looking at is a Ram 1500 with a V8 engine. Are you saying that the Dodge V8 is not a good motor? Can you explain that a little better to me. Thanks
 

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The truck I'm looking at is a Ram 1500 with a V8 engine. Are you saying that the Dodge V8 is not a good motor? Can you explain that a little better to me. Thanks
MD,

The main complaints about the Rams are rusty doors, weird wiring issues and a steering design defect that fiat is fixing on a recall. The 5.9 gas engines do have a tendency to detonate on 87 regular. The 5.2's not so much.

It all depends what kind of driving racked up the miles, 65 mph on the highway is a lot less engine hours than 15 mph in the city. I would not be scared of 210k on a highway truck, my W250 Dodge has 321k + and the odometer stopped working 4 years ago
 
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It sounds like you plan on using the truck as a beater. If you're having trouble finding a truck with a long bed, then this may be what you're looking for.

A buddy of mine has a '91 Chevy 2500 4x4 long bed that he bought as a beater for around the house. Even with repairs, he's gotten his money's worth out of it as it was beat to schitt when he bought it. Every time he repairs the thing, we joke that he's doubled or tripled the value of the truck.

I guess you could offer the dealer $3,500 and if he wants to clear his books of inventory, he'll take the offer. Maybe go $4,000 tops. I guess it all depends on what you want it to do, how much you trust your mechanic, how badly you want or need a work truck, etc.
 

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I would go over the truck very carefully on your own as well as turn it over to a mechanic. See if your mechanic will even walk you through his inspection and show you what he finds. Whether the truck was well maintained or it was over worked, it will be obvious. IMHO, mileage doesn't matter as much any more as does how well a vehicle was taken care of by previous owners.

Either way, you have to accept that all machines are effectively time-bombs with a typically unknown expiration date... It might be next week, maybe it will be 10 years from now. It may die a slow death over a period of nearly a decade like my 30 year old F150, or it may spectacularly shred itself and catch fire like my brother's five year old Explorer. But that's the fun part of buying and owning a high-mileage truck! :lol: Every time you turn the key is like playing a round of Russian roulette!

Another few tips:
Pull back the weather stripping around the doors and windows to check for paint seams indicating body work. You can also check the fenders and cab corners with a magnet; a magnet won't stick to bondo.
Look up the build codes on the door to make sure it has the axle and suspension packages that will work with what you want to use the truck for.
A worn brake petal is a good sign of lots of stop and go driving.

Good luck!
 

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The truck I'm looking at is a Ram 1500 with a V8 engine. Are you saying that the Dodge V8 is not a good motor? Can you explain that a little better to me. Thanks
I actually said nothing about the engines, other than insinuating the Cummins is the only thing that has saved them from extinction. The older design Dodge gas engines (318, 360, etc in the late 80's/early 90's-NOT the later hemi or V10) were actually pretty tough. Many of the later engines had extensive valve train noise/failure problems due to the push rod design angle etc. You did mention hearing some valve train noise if I recall correctly.

I am giving you my honest opinion here. The Dodge trucks are junk from the get-go. Not necessarily due to the engines except in later gas-burners. It's the REST of the vehicle that is junk. Here in La it is extremely rare to even see an older body style Dodge in the wild (pre-94). Most of the newer models I see with any miles on them at all seem to be 3/4 or 1-tons with the Cummins. That engine tends to make people overlook the rest of the shortcomings of the vehicle it seems. And HOPEfully the newer drivetrains are better than the junk they used in the earlier years of the Cummins. The truck you asked about doesn't have the Cummins, therefore the 1 and only ray of hope it may have had doesn't exist.

Just hold out for something better. Ford or Chevy. In Chevy, something "88 and up. In those years, 88-90, the ext cab and long bed seemed to be pretty popular. I have an 88 ext cab w/long bed that has somewhere around 285k on it and the only reason it's not in use today is the cab got FUBAR'd in a wreck and not worth fixing. And talk about simple to work on.......
 

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From my own experience with Dodge, the 318 is a solid motor, but really lacks power compared to the size of the vehicle. On the highway, my '01 RAM 1500 would constantly "hunt" through the gears in its attempt to maintain speed. In the end, the motor working much harder significantly dropped the MPG to where it would have been in line with the 360.

The 360 used to have an issue with oil leaks. It was an issue at the time I bought my '01 - no idea if it was resolved by the '05 year.

We also have no idea WHICH motor is in this particular truck.

Here's your ultimate dilemma: What you WANT in a truck is about impossible to find. The one you've found is a decade old with fairly high miles.

Here's what -I- would do: Go back to your mechanic and ask him for a total cost on doing a crate motor swap into that truck, including incidental additional repairs and such that are common, and then add 20% to what he tells you. Go back to the dealer and talk cash. Add together the final cost of the truck and the total repair estimate you got. This is your final number.

Ask yourself this: Is the final number acceptable to get the truck you need? Then the second question is whether or not you're just going to start swearing at it the first time any little thing goes wrong because "it's a Dodge and not an F-150".
 

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meburdick hit a valid point in how I assess a purchase like this -

In summary while not trying to repeat what was already said - figure the cost of the worst case scenario repair, then deduct that cost from the most you would be willing to pay for the truck, then use that ending price as a guide. Now figuring in a motor and transmission may not work in this case as that would bring the price of the truck much lower than the dealer is probably willing to take, but make some compromises - maybe take the cost of the engine and trans and cut it in half and use that. To me that is figuring on a 50% chance of either of those repairs being needed in the next 2 years.

Since this type of truck is hard to find you might have to make some compromises. But with your intended usage I would not be afraid of that mileage at all. Now if it were to be a daily driver that was needed everyday to get myself to work it would be a different story.
 

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Maddog, here's an alternate suggestion, if it's not feasible feel free to ignore.

Don't know what you drive now, but if it is capable of towing, why not consider a utility trailer? For no more than you said you plan to use the truck, this would be a cheaper alternative, and without another engine and drive-train to up-keep.

Just FWIW, good luck with whatever you decide.
 

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I'd like to butt in here to point out that the LA series motors (318 & 360 aka 5.2L and 5.9L respectively) were phased out of Rams in 2002. A 2005 Ram will either have either the 4.7 penta-star or 5.7 Hemi if it has a V8. Gone are the old push-rods in favor of overhead cams.

I don't mean to insult anyone, just want to make sure nobody is getting the wrong info.
 
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I've had dodges, from the 1974 4X4 snow commander, fords, and GMC pickups, all commercial usage, all my life, and from what I have experienced, the motors, tyranny's etc. they are about the same, they all wear our (depends on care and usage). Dodge transfer cases suck, the front ends are not built to withstand a plow and the transmissions all of a sudden don't back up, Cheap in my opinion. Fords have a main bearing issue with a lot of noise on start up, happens but doesn't kill the motor, Ford clutches blow up too be careful, they also have nylon gears for reverse! I actually had a spark plug blow right thru the wheel well from a rotted head!! I have seen heads in the ocean used for a mooring anchor in better shape than a ford head!, GMC's rust like all of them do. GMC's also have issues with frame rot. I used to spray my under body's with used motor oil to protect from rot! The small thing I would worry about with this truck hasn't been mentioned;; Wheel bearings, brakes, emergency brakes for sure, pumps, like power steering, emissions, A/C etc.. They can add up to big bucks if they go bad. You know darned well there will be issues and you need to expect it, it has mileage and years on it. You have no idea how it was driven so you take a chance,,, Some kid may have had this lately and went thru 18 sets of rear ties from burnouts, its a pickup, you can light them up with no problem it's making sure the axle doesn't come thru the body with the wheel slap!!.. ?? Who knows.. I would offer 3 grand and see where that goes.. it's worth the three in My opinion,, and I used to beat on all my trucks and I didn't mention the real commercial equipment! And I ask you this; Would you tow an 18 thousand pound triaxle trailer with a 16 thousand pound dozer strapped to it behind a one ton gas ford F350 super duty dump when you have a ten wheeler Autocar sitting at home???? That's how I drove my trucks,, hard... I used to pity the person who bought my trade ins! Good luck, I would go for it.. just don't offer what he is asking. How far you want to go over three is up to you... but think about what I stated... My 2 cents..
 
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I'd like to butt in here to point out that the LA series motors (318 & 360 aka 5.2L and 5.9L respectively) were phased out of Rams in 2002. A 2005 Ram will either have either the 4.7 penta-star or 5.7 Hemi if it has a V8. Gone are the old push-rods in favor of overhead cams.

I don't mean to insult anyone, just want to make sure nobody is getting the wrong info.
Yep, your right, I didn't notice the year was '05, I mis-read it as '02. The new Hemi's are Mexican but seem to be holding up well. The 4.7's were rock solid, a little weird with 2 plugs per cylinder but it's all good.

Oh, just re-read your post, the 5.7 HEMI is a pushrod engine, (they raised the cam centerline to fix the stupid long intake and the ridiculously long exhaust pushrods in the 426 Elephant) not an overhead cam like the 4.7.
 

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Oh, just re-read your post, the 5.7 HEMI is a pushrod engine, (they raised the cam centerline to fix the stupid long intake and the ridiculously long exhaust pushrods in the 426 Elephant) not an overhead cam like the 4.7.
Wow... I guess I assumed that because it had been designed in this century, the 5.7 Hemi featured modern engine architecture. :mocking:

I just looked up photos of a Hemi cutaway and all I can think of now is how goofy that looks. Chrysler does some funny things.
 

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I agree with the trailer part as it is only tires, wheel bearings, brakes and lights then to worry about. On a beater truck it is all that plus more. Found my 97 Dodge 1/2 ton 5.9L 4X4 extended cab along the road. Guy at around $850 on it. Wife called and he dropped to $650 without even talking price. I called and when said and done I paid $480. Only saw it forsale as it was a black body someone had taken a hammer to the sides so it look like bullet holes from the white primer underneith. A truck like that gets nicknames so it is dimples. He was selling due to poor MPG. I painted the dents black again. Fixed the leaking front axle for a few hundred $$ (bad seal caused plastic bushings on right side to wear). Have since replaced all the steering parts. I have one of those trucks that I just doubled the value. Sometimes it really stinks to keep the thing running so you have to brake with your left foot and keep a little on the throttle or it dies. Broke the right mirror backing up so the housing was screwed back together with new glass. Tire fell off driving so 1 of the rims is stell the others aluminum. Lights are so poor that you NEED to keep the fog lights on to see at night (even after polishing them). Have a Saturn SUV side aluminum step rails I added to it. Rear brakes went out a while back (didn't realize it) so I had to bypass the old like as it crumbled in my hand.

I think the truck I discribed is what you are looking for. They all are ticking time bombs. New from the dealer they can have issues and blow something up-that is why they have things like warranties on everything like cars and parts. Vehicles are built to last longer then before and 300K is possible on drivetrains. 4X4 will likely have more issues with that milage. But even if you have an issue-why not through a used motor or tranny back into it? If it is still structurally safe to drive so what if you replace a few parts. Parts are cheaper then a whole new one often.
 
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One thing nobody's mentioned as a potential issue. Has this truck got a BIG heavy receiver hitch on the back? If so, continue to look. Towing stresses transmissions most, then engines, then axles & brakes.

And I hope the OP's mechanic checked the brakes. Just replacing disk brake pads is expensive now days. If you have to replace rotors it gets worse fast.

If this truck has rust on brake lines, fuel lines, I'd pass on it too. In the last 4-5 years I've blown a power steering line, two fuel lines, and have leaking brake lines from corrosion on my '96 F-250.
 

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One thing nobody's mentioned as a potential issue. Has this truck got a BIG heavy receiver hitch on the back? If so, continue to look. Towing stresses transmissions most, then engines, then axles & brakes.

And I hope the OP's mechanic checked the brakes. Just replacing disk brake pads is expensive now days. If you have to replace rotors it gets worse fast.

If this truck has rust on brake lines, fuel lines, I'd pass on it too. In the last 4-5 years I've blown a power steering line, two fuel lines, and have leaking brake lines from corrosion on my '96 F-250.
This is a very good point. Back some years ago I was shopping for a used pick-up hoping to find something ~4-6 years old. A lot of used car lots have a lot of pick-ups around here as there are more on the road than cars. After living on an 8 mile long dirt road (read mud - no stone) I knew what to look for - the mud will just eat everything away underneath. All it took was a quick glimpse at the underside of many pick-ups to rule them out as it was obvious they spent a lot of time on local dirt roads. Finally did find what I wanted with a clean underside (now that I had moved off the dirt road).
 
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