97 F350 vs. Dodge 3500

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tncattle

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I currently have a 97 F-350 7.3 dually that is in good condition, it's not a 4wd. My complaints are: it gets stuck if it even sees mud or wet grass, it doesn't seem to have the grunt that I need on the farm when pulling heavy loads of hay or cattle. I'm looking at buying a 97-98 Dodge dually 4x4 with the 12 valve Cummins for better traction and that grunt when pulling heavy loads off road. Any input or suggestions?
 

chh

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98 was the first year for the 24 valve cummins. I owned a 97 3/4 ton diesel for 10 years and traded it for a new F350. Biggest problems I had with the Dodge was the front end and 4 wd. 3 set of tie rods, 2 of those set in warranty. 4 wd was non functional when traded and the diesel engine is heavy enough it will get stuck very easily without 4wd. Body integrety is not that great either. The drivers side door was about to fall off after 10 years as a ranch truck. The 5 speed trans was prone to have a nut back off in the 5th gear. Most of those should have been fixed by now. 60,000 miles seemed to be the magic number for that.

The good part is that the 12 valve engine is bulletproof. It has a full mechanical fuel pump(no screwy electronics) and is fairly easy to have worked on and would outpull any truck I have every owned. My fuel mileage with 4.10 gears was about 16 on the road and I averaged 10 to 12 feeding in the winter.
 

rusty

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I may be wrong but I think that was around dodge trouble years.They had alot of problems with trans and front ends.Buddy has a garage and he had to borrow my trans jack to work on 2 dodge trans from around that year got another one he has to work on front end.Speaking of dually trucks do most have going trouble?Reason for ? is I just bought a 95 chevy 3500 last week and was kinda pleased with it.It's 4wd so I had to try it out and made it farther in 2wd than thought I would.
 

cfpinz

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Pretty much every diesel truck I've ever owned has sucked in the mud. Only one that's worth a darn is an old '86 F350 with a 6.9 and a deweze on it. But maybe that's because all of the fenders and doors are caved in from running into stuff and I don't give a crap anymore.
 

rusty

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Everyone needs a beater truck.I've got a F-150 that the wife is ashamed to ride in but as long as I can get a sticker on it I don't care what it looks like.86 model ,351W,5speed manual ,410 gears,long wheel base it'll climb a tree and then throw rocks at you.
 

Cowdirt

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rusty":2ycrcayv said:
I may be wrong but I think that was around dodge trouble years.They had alot of problems with trans and front ends.Buddy has a garage and he had to borrow my trans jack to work on 2 dodge trans from around that year got another one he has to work on front end.Speaking of dually trucks do most have going trouble?Reason for ? is I just bought a 95 chevy 3500 last week and was kinda pleased with it.It's 4wd so I had to try it out and made it farther in 2wd than thought I would.

I owned a 97 Dodge, Cummins, 5 speed. It was low mileage, still under warranty, I was the second owner. The problem I had was the slack in the rear end. If you set the cruise, every time it accelerated and let off it would give you whiplash. Tried 2 service depts. they worked on everything but the rear end where the problem was. Finally traded it for a new 2000 same specs. It is now 9 yrs old and no problems.
 

dieselbeef

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it could be a 12 or 24 v being a 98. id do it in a second vene tho i do like the ford look anyone can work on the cummins and parts arew way cheaper. the truks themselves hold up okay. mines got 200000 on it and the one i had befor this was a 95 w/289000 when i traded it on this one. i also wanted 4x4. the fronts heavy due to the engine wt but it is a diesel so...

id say if the deal is right buy it..if the deal is right ill buy it.esp if it is a 12v truk..i want one of those in a 4x4 dually reeaaaal bad
 

jasrnch

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I have a 95 2500 with a flat bed 365000 miles. the engine is great not any problems but the Dodge part sucks. always having to fix something. Can't keep the 4x4 actuator working on the front end. Vacuum actuator is dumb idea. what was wrong with lock in hubs? Too many city folks driving pickups :D . the body is cracking out in a number of places. And It takes two outriders just to herd this thing down the road. Just bought a 2006 F-350 Dually Felt good to be able to drive a Ford again.
 

Aaron

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jasrnch":jnijnnr3 said:
I have a 95 2500 with a flat bed 365000 miles. the engine is great not any problems but the Dodge part sucks. always having to fix something. Can't keep the 4x4 actuator working on the front end. Vacuum actuator is dumb idea. what was wrong with lock in hubs? Too many city folks driving pickups :D . the body is cracking out in a number of places. And It takes two outriders just to herd this thing down the road. Just bought a 2006 F-350 Dually Felt good to be able to drive a Ford again.

Ford has vacuum actuators as well. It is actually a great idea, one that Dodge and Chevy decided were stupid...electric is much better :???: :roll: :lol: . Very simple system when everything is linked to a vacuum. I am not familiar with the design of the Dodge actuator, but....if it continues to fail, it is telling you that it is not the problem. Check your vacuum solenoids and lines. Could easily have a small leak in one of them.
 

DiamondSCattleCo

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Dodge doesn't use electric 4 wheel drive actuators. Never have. Up to 2002, they used the same vacuum actuated CAD system that Ford uses (the reason for this is that Ford and Dodge both used the exact same Dana axles until Dodge switched to Corporates in 05). In 2001, Dodge switched to full time axles, which is a MUCH better idea than either vacuum or electric CAD systems. In 2002, Dodge also switched to full Dana 80s on the cab and chassis models. They were the only manufacturer to use a full 80, versus the hybrid 70/80 back in those years.

Back to the original question. A 97 or 98 12 valve will easily outpull your 7.3, especially when overloaded or in hills. Many consider the 96 - 98 12 valve/5 speed Dodge to be the best truck Dodge ever built for economy and power. The Bosch P-pump injection pump is second to none for reliability and they used some really nice injectors that were perfectly matched to the piston bowls, especially after bumping timing up to around 15 degrees advance. For around 130 bucks, you can replace the fuel plate, boost timing to 17 degrees and add 120 - 130HP to the stock truck without losing fuel economy (unless you use the power with a heavy foot)

Make sure the transmission had the 5th gear nut change up done. They solved that issue many, many years ago, so I suspect most will have it done. For longer life front ends, go with Moog high quality replacements. They'll outlast factory stuff 5 to 1, putting the Dodge front end back on the same ground as either a Chevy or a Ford.

On the sheet metal side, every truck has to have its issues, and Dodge no doubt has the weakest body of any of them. Given that you get a superior powertrain toughness, economy, power and rough road handling, I'd give up a little on the body side ;)

Onto the issues that have been posted, dunno if you guys still have the trucks or not, but heres some advice:
1) For the slack rear gears - Hire new mechanics. The Dana hybrid is an amazing set of gears, thats why Ford, Dodge and Chevy have run them or still run them. The slack is due either to u-joints (probable) or inadequate lash when installing the gearset.

2) For the door issue. If its the hinges themselves, replacement are available at NAPA right along side the Chevy replacements. If its the actual weak metal along the door edges, pop the inside door panel off and get a welder to toss two pieces of channel iron inside where the hinge sits. 1/2 hour and you're on your way.

3) For the 4x4 actuator - Fix the vacuum lines. They've probably cracked. 50 cents and you've got reliable 4WD again. You can buy a manual locking hub kit, if you really want to go back to them. City folks don't like getting their toes muddy when they go somewhere they shouldn't have been, so full time, vaccum CADs and electric hubs are the norm. :lol2: I used to miss manual locking hubs, until I realized that the CAD systems (and full time) are tougher than the old locking hubs. The straight electric hubs that Chev uses are pretty good, the electric over gas were poor. Vacuum CAD is a decent solution, although slower to engage than the electrics. I personally prefer full time.

Rod
 

Aaron

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DiamondSCattleCo":26lyghng said:
Dodge doesn't use electric 4 wheel drive actuators. Never have. Up to 2001, they used the same vacuum actuated CAD system that Ford uses (the reason for this is that Ford and Dodge both used the exact same Dana axles until Dodge switched to Corporates in 05). In 2001, Dodge switched to full time axles, which is a MUCH better idea than either vacuum or electric CAD systems. In 2001, Dodge also switched to full Dana 80s on the cab and chassis models. They were the only manufacturer to use a full 80, versus the hybrid 70/80 back in those years.

Rod

I'll try to remember this. Good info. :cowboy:
 

Cowdirt

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DiamondSCattleCo":d167wwfq said:
Dodge doesn't use electric 4 wheel drive actuators. Never have. Up to 2001, they used the same vacuum actuated CAD system that Ford uses (the reason for this is that Ford and Dodge both used the exact same Dana axles until Dodge switched to Corporates in 05). In 2001, Dodge switched to full time axles, which is a MUCH better idea than either vacuum or electric CAD systems. In 2001, Dodge also switched to full Dana 80s on the cab and chassis models. They were the only manufacturer to use a full 80, versus the hybrid 70/80 back in those years.

Back to the original question. A 97 or 98 12 valve will easily outpull your 7.3, especially when overloaded or in hills. Many consider the 96 - 98 12 valve/5 speed Dodge to be the best truck Dodge ever built for economy and power. The Bosch P-pump injection pump is second to none for reliability and they used some really nice injectors that were perfectly matched to the piston bowls, especially after bumping timing up to around 15 degrees advance. For around 130 bucks, you can replace the fuel plate, boost timing to 17 degrees and add 120 - 130HP to the stock truck without losing fuel economy (unless you use the power with a heavy foot)

Make sure the transmission had the 5th gear nut change up done. They solved that issue many, many years ago, so I suspect most will have it done. For longer life front ends, go with Moog high quality replacements. They'll outlast factory stuff 5 to 1, putting the Dodge front end back on the same ground as either a Chevy or a Ford.

On the sheet metal side, every truck has to have its issues, and Dodge no doubt has the weakest body of any of them. Given that you get a superior powertrain toughness, economy, power and rough road handling, I'd give up a little on the body side ;)

Onto the issues that have been posted, dunno if you guys still have the trucks or not, but heres some advice:
1) For the slack rear gears - Hire new mechanics. The Dana hybrid is an amazing set of gears, thats why Ford, Dodge and Chevy have run them or still run them. The slack is due either to u-joints (probable) or inadequate lash when installing the gearset.

2) For the door issue. If its the hinges themselves, replacement are available at NAPA right along side the Chevy replacements. If its the actual weak metal along the door edges, pop the inside door panel off and get a welder to toss two pieces of channel iron inside where the hinge sits. 1/2 hour and you're on your way.

3) For the 4x4 actuator - Fix the vacuum lines. They've probably cracked. 50 cents and you've got reliable 4WD again. You can buy a manual locking hub kit, if you really want to go back to them. City folks don't like getting their toes muddy when they go somewhere they shouldn't have been, so full time, vaccum CADs and electric hubs are the norm. :lol2: I used to miss manual locking hubs, until I realized that the CAD systems (and full time) are tougher than the old locking hubs. The straight electric hubs that Chev uses are pretty good, the electric over gas were poor. Vacuum CAD is a decent solution, although slower to engage than the electrics. I personally prefer full time.

Rod

Rod, I wish I would have had your this post when I was getting the run-around from two Dodge dealerships in 2000. I would have copied it and shown it to them. Better still if you had been near enough to fix it. Thanks.
 

DiamondSCattleCo

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Correction to my original post: In 2002 (not 2001), Dodge switched to the full time axles. The last year of 2nd Gen Cummins truck.

Clarification to my original post: Dodge never used electric hubs on 15/25/35/45 or 5500 series trucks. I don't know what they use on their On-Demand systems, although I suspect it would be full time or electrics.
 

DiamondSCattleCo

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Cowdirt":5cbk2esh said:
Rod, I wish I would have had your this post when I was getting the run-around from two Dodge dealerships in 2000. I would have copied it and shown it to them. Better still if you had been near enough to fix it. Thanks.

I dunno what it is, but I don't think they teach shimming and setting lash on gearsets in schools anymore. I bought a 98 Dodge that ended up shipping with the wrong gearset, so my dealer swapped it for the right one. They didn't check the shims, and the diff went out after 20K. Ditto the second one. By this time I was getting tired of replacing diffs, so I grabbed the mechanic that was working on my truck, opened his service book to right page, and asked "Did you do this procedure?". The blank look I got was all I needed. :lol2:

I hear the occasional guy dis'ing Dana sets, but they're obviously guys who have had bad service experience. We used to run 650HP/1900 lbft through Dana hybrids and 70s and I don't ever remember anyone scrambling a set, even Noah who ran drag slicks and hooked up HARD. Tough, tough sets. Although Dodge is getting decent service out of the Corporates, I don't think they should have ever switched.

Rod
 

gertman

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TNCattle, why do you and others think a 97-98 Cummins will give you more pulling power than a 97 Powerstroke? The 97 Ford has 225hp and I think 460 ft./lbs. of torque, the 97 Cummins did not make those numbers. If you want an older Dodge I'd look at 2002 when they had the high output Cummins with the 6 speed (something that will keep you in view of the Ford's tailights at least ;-) . If you didn't need 4wd you should have a good mechanic check your Powerstroke to see if its making the power it should. And yes I own a Powerstroke.
 

jasrnch

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The older dodges with a 5 speed can't keep up with a powerstroke, way to big a step between gears. I've got close to 100,000 towing miles on my old dodge. Good old engine but it can't keep up with any powerstrokes I've pulled with. My old dodge gets about 18 mpg, my powerstroke gets about 16.5. When I'm towing the cummins gets about 14 mpg, the Powerstroke gets 10 to 14 mpg depending on the load.
 

DiamondSCattleCo

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gertman":bksze54l said:
TNCattle, why do you and others think a 97-98 Cummins will give you more pulling power than a 97 Powerstroke? The 97 Ford has 225hp and I think 460 ft./lbs. of torque, the 97 Cummins did not make those numbers.

The 96-98 Cummins were 215/440 rated, however pulling is more than the raw numbers. If you'll look at the Powerstroke's torque curve, you'll see that it doesn't start making more torque than the Cummins until well past 2000 RPM (IIRC, the Powerstroke doesn't make more until 2300 RPM). Thats why a heavily loaded 96-98 Cummins will easily outpull a loaded 97 Powerstroke from a dead pull or when you're into the hills. Actually, the 96-98 Cummins would pull with 2001 HO Cummins rated at 245HP, simply because of its low end.

jasrnch, if your 97 Powerstroke is outpulling your Cummins, you've got Cummins issues. Unless you're talking very light loads or empty, in which case the V8 was a little revvier due to shorter stroke. The steps between gears on a 97 Cummins and a 97 Powerstroke were pretty much identical.

Rod
 

jasrnch

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Of course I'm not giving a good comparison 95 dodge, 06 poswerstroke. 5 speed vs. 6 speed. No the loads aren't light 24 foot gn trailer I generally haul 11 large frame beef cows, 25 foot dually flatbed usually haul 12 4x4x8 bales. Hauling cows I usually gross out at 29000 lbs. Hay I gross out at 38000 lbs.
 

gertman

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DiamondSCattle, I know about Cummins making alot of low rpm torque in the 1400-1600 range, that's great for starting a heavy load, but you want torque at higher rpm's also to maintain pulling power at highway speeds. Either way they are both good engines though.
 

gertman

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DiamondSCattle, I know about Cummins making alot of low rpm torque in the 1400-1600 range, that's great for starting a heavy load, but you want torque at higher rpm's also to maintain pulling power at highway speeds. Either way they are both good engines though.
 

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