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Getting A 94-98 3/4 ton Dodge w/ a Cummins...Problems?

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by LawnSmith, Sep 21, 2001.

  1. LawnSmith

    LawnSmith LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 389

    i am getting ready to purchase another truck. it will be a 94-98 3/4 ton dodge w/ the 12 valve cummins. it will also have a manual transmission and be basically as plain as possible.

    what should i expect to be replacing besides the obvious things? please, any input would be greatly appreciated. thanks!
  2. Randy J

    Randy J LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,124

    I just bought a '97 5 speed, and am trying to sell my '98 24 valve. The things I know about on the 12 valve - 96/97 are the best years. Check the throttle cable as they tend to fray and can stick the throttle open - not good. Also, the fuel return line can be a problem. They have paint on them, and as the paint weathers, the line cracks. This will allow air into the system. If it is hard to start after sitting for a while, this is the 1st place I'd look. The throttle cable end is easy to see. Other than that, check out www.turbodieselregister.com. You'll get a lot of good information there. And, if I don't sell my 24 valve soon, I may be selling the 12 valve instead...
  3. landscaper3

    landscaper3 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,354

    Im a Cumming man by heart had a few but run Powerstrokes at this time!! We had a 95 Dodge 4wd cummings and a 92 4wd cummings both automatics, No problems but the injector pump went on the 92 at the cost of $1600.00) otherwise bullit proof. We also installed a Banks kit on it for lots more power. On the 95 we put a fuel block off from tst that gave us 350hp and 650lbs torque and only costed $500.00! The 96-97 have more updated parts on them but take the truck to a diesel shop for a thorough going over first.
  4. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,555

    Engine wise,if it was maintained,expect zero trouble.Chassis wise,expect a track bar on the 4x4's,and possibly ball joints,and U joints,depending on how hard it was run.If its a 2wd,then none of these things apply.Randy J is right on the money with his post.The 96-98 12 valves 5 speeds are the most desirable,they often have over 215hp/440 ft lbs at the wheel ,stock.Very underrated.One other thing,the 5speed trucks that pull a lot of weight will have 5th gear trouble at high miles,especially with turned up power.There are updated mainshafts and this problem is totally fixable,but it can happen,and wont be cheap to fix.Lugging the engine(below 1500) in 5th,when towing/hauling seems to aggravate this condition,those who wind it out in 4th,then shift have no troubles for the most part.
  5. LawnSmith

    LawnSmith LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 389

    man, these are some pretty informative replys! much better than i had ecpected or hoped for. thanks a lot for the great input! yes, the truck will be going to the dodge dealer nearby to get checked out. i am lucky to have a good friend that is the diesel tech at the dealer.
  6. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Messages: 1,625

    My "office" is a 97 2500 club cab 4x4 with 182K miles on it, figure it will go another 200K with out a problem. front end work at 165K, replaced fuel sending unit at 40K, check the Front brake discs. and upgrade the drum brakes with one ton brake cylinders.
  7. Flex-Deck

    Flex-Deck LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,845

    I have a 97 2500 club cab with the V10 - which likes gas by the way - but the truck has been great! 84K - Takes 9000 miles to use a quart of oil. (Auto Trans - Has pulled a 24' van trailer all over the USA - No Problems)

    ERIC ROBERGE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 59

    I used to work for the local gas company that ran a lot of dodge 1 ton trucks, all with the 5.9 cummins. They were loaded pretty heavy,(8000 to 10,000 lbs). We had quite a bit of suspension problems. Upper control arm bushings, ball joints and strut bushings.
    Other than the front end problems they ran great. However, we ran them on natural gas. that made them run like a scalded dog. On acceleration you could feel the driveline vibrate a little.

    If it starts to pull only while your braking either torque the strut bushings evenly ( i think the factory torque is 50 ftlbs) or, replace them.
    And also on the older ones if you speedo starts going crazy in park while you rev the engine look at the wiring harness where it rubs the brake booster. The brown wire in the haraness will probably be rubbed through.
  9. LJ lawn

    LJ lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 356

    common problem is the fuel sending unit goes bad.mine has been out for over a year now. also polish and lube the brake caliper pins as they tend to stick and prevent the caliper from fully retracting.also read every post and back post on the 12 valvers as you can on that turbo diesel website.put on a nice 4" exhaust,trash that restrictive stock air box,get a cam plate from TST,a boost and a pyro gauge and you'll be happy.
  10. luckylawnboy

    luckylawnboy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 431

    Hey I just picked up a 94 Cummins 5-speed my self. I live in mid Indiana and had to go down to below Nashville tenn. to find a 5-speed straight cab with power window and locks. Well it is really a 4-speed with L cause I never use low. I must say I love the truck. It has 130,000 but runs and drive like new. I don't think the quality and craftmanship is a good as a chevy, but the drivetrain is far better for working conditions. It puts out alot of black smoke when you lug down or rev it up. I guess this is normal. Also the front end seem to be about 3 inches lower than the rear is there a way to raise the front only 2 inches.

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