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Old 08-27-2006, 12:30 PM   #1
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I have a 96 Dodge with 35K on it. V-10, Auto
but I only get 6.5 mpg when towing the 5er.

We are going to travel quite a bit in 2 yrs when I retire and I was wondering if I should get a 2WD 6.0 Diesel for better MPG?
I heard I could expect 15-20 mpg.

Im not sure if I should buy a used truck or bite the bullet and get a new one.....

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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Old 08-27-2006, 12:30 PM   #2
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I have a 96 Dodge with 35K on it. V-10, Auto
but I only get 6.5 mpg when towing the 5er.

We are going to travel quite a bit in 2 yrs when I retire and I was wondering if I should get a 2WD 6.0 Diesel for better MPG?
I heard I could expect 15-20 mpg.

Im not sure if I should buy a used truck or bite the bullet and get a new one.....

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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Old 08-27-2006, 01:06 PM   #3
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You might get 15-20 mpg downhill and with a strong tailwind provided you aren't towing anything. My diesel and the three I had preceding it would only get that sort of mileage when not towing. The new ones are closer to the 15 mpg number than to the 20 mpg.

Add a trailer with a large frontal area, some significant weight to it and a late model light duty diesel be in the 9-12 range. If your '96 Dodge is in great shape and will handle the loads you're contemplating, hang on to it and buy the extra gas it'll take to run it.

You can buy a lot of gas for what one of these new diesels sell for these days.
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Old 08-27-2006, 02:00 PM   #4
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I agree with Richard. My 4.10 axle 7.3L get 10 to 11 mpg towing and maybe 15 to 16 mpg solo.

My brother has a Dodge Cummins with a 5 speed stick and he gets 22 to 23 mpg solo at 75 mph.

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Old 08-27-2006, 03:08 PM   #5
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On the highway, solo at 70 I get 22 mpg. Pulling my 5er loaded (~11500 lbs.), 62 mph avg I get ~ 13 mpg. Around town with a lot of stop and go, expect 13 or 14 mpg. I had a gas F350 and this is my 2nd diesel. I would never go back to gas. I've been over the hills in New England and up to the top of the Rockies while pulling and I love the performance and power of the diesel. If you intend to travel a lot, and to go over the mountains, go with diesel.
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Old 08-27-2006, 06:27 PM   #6
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I'd have to say that I really love my diesel (Cummins). If I keep it around 65 or under, solo, it will return over 20.

Pulling the 5th wheel fully loaded at 65 and faster, or over steep, winding road I will get about 12. Lower speed with less weight in the 5th wheel I averaged 14 on a trip to the coast and back.

I've talked to people towing similar loads with gas trucks that barely got half my fuel milage. Also there are bunches of diesel pickups with several hundred thousand miles, all towing, with no problems. Though today's gas engines are good, I think diesels generally have a longer life with that kind of load.

Though there is a significant investment up front, if you go to kelly blue book and compare the value of a 5 year old gas truck to the value of a 5 year old otherwise identical diesel, you are likely to get nearly all of that price back when it comes time to sell.

Also important to me is that it's just fun to drive. I like the way it runs better than a gas engine, especially towing.

Lastly, just my personal opinion, but I'd avoid the early 6.0's, and either go mid 05 or later 6.0 or one of the later 7.3's if you go Ford.
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Old 08-28-2006, 03:26 AM   #7
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Towing our previous 5th wheel with a 1996 Dodge 3500 V-10/47RE automatic with 3.54 axle ratio, we got the same 6.5 MPG you're seeing. Changing out to our current Cummins HO/6-speed with the 4.10 axle ratio (see signature) and pulling the same 5th wheel over the same route, mileage increased to 10.5 to 11.5 MPG. The hills that had the V-10 in 2nd gear at 3500 RPM to hold 55 MPH were easy prey for the Cummins in 6th gear at 70 MPH.

As far as ease of towing and fuel economy, my experience says the diesel is a hands down winner. Having said that, if you're willing to live with its limitations, our V-10 never left us stranded or failed to do the job.

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Old 08-28-2006, 03:55 AM   #8
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towing our creek
70ish we get a strong 11 mpg. very pleased and great power, leave it in cruise until we get in very hilly terrain.
empty 75 -80 i get 15
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Old 08-28-2006, 08:31 AM   #9
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Yes. It is. Had both. Will only buy desiel now.
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Old 08-28-2006, 01:20 PM   #10
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I have to agree with Jeff in the DAlles....if you go with the Ford go with the later 6.0. My understanding is they had quite a bit of trouble with the earlier 6.0 -- I heard over 70 tsb's (technical service bulletins) on that engine. Compared to Chevy's Duramax (which came out in '00 or '01 & has only had a total of about a dozen) and the new Cummins (which I believe came out in 03 or 04) which only had 3 or 4 tsb's.
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Old 08-28-2006, 02:53 PM   #11
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With my 7.3L ford PSD towing my 5th I get 8.5-9.5, if and only if there is a strong tailwind going down hill will I ever see over 10 MPG.

IMHO, you can buy a lot of gas for what you are going to shell out to upgrade to a turbo diesel.

The diesel does pull better, but it come with a price, diesel around here is approx 20-30 cents more than premium and oil changes are gallons vs. quarts.

Oh ya, my empty MPG are 14.5-18 depending on travel, town vs. open road.
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Old 08-28-2006, 05:22 PM   #12
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I feel about the same as gearman concerning gas vs diesel. I drive/tow with a Chevy D/A dually and really like it. I've seen diesel fuel prices go from 30cents less that regular to now 33 cents more than regular gas. My estimates of per mile fuel cost is: gasoline @ $2.87 today divided by 6.5mpg= 44 cents per mile; diesel fuel @ $3.14 today divided by 9.5mpg=33 cents per mile. Divide the option cost of a diesel engine by this 11 cents per mile difference to calculate the break-even point. This is only one segment of the diesel vs gasser debate. There is so much more to consider before making a decision on which one to buy, percentage of time towing vs daily driver, where you plan to tow,some find the diesel fuel smell and noise objectonable, etc. Driving a diesel engine in cold weather requires more driving time between start-up and operating temperature. Driving a diesel powered vehicle requires learning new procedures vs gas engine.
I will not trade my diesel for a gasser in spite of my opinions. You'll find out for yourself if you buy one. Your first mountain grade will cause such a smile it takes days to get out the wrinkles.
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Old 08-29-2006, 03:09 PM   #13
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Pontihack I have a 04 Gmc 2500 4wd with 4in magnaflow exhaust,some fancy intake with a k&n filter tuned up with a flashpaque tuner. Also a cooling bar in front of the radiator. Towing a case 570 4wd skiploader on a 27ft. gooseneck trailer, total weight of tractor & trailer is 15644lbs. Driving for economy in hilly and flat country rodes at 1000 ft, to 2500ft. elevation I can get an honest 13.62 mpg. Unloaded in LA. freeway madman mode about 14.70mpg. Freeway heading for northern Ca. on interstate 5 at 70mph 22.32 mpg. I own 3 Duramax 6.6 rigs. 2 internationals with Dt466 and alison trans. 2 ford L9000 and a series 60 detroit powered volvo. All of these trucks have electronic tuners so we can modify how the power is delivered, I suggest you educate your self about all the after engine tuners and find one that will best suite your application. Take your time and read read read then doubt most of it.
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Old 08-29-2006, 04:09 PM   #14
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Hey Guys thanks for the input so far. I can see it isn't as easy a decision as I had hoped.
There seems to be alot to consider and you all opened my eyes a bit. Thanks!

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