Got a new(?) truck.


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My '95 Dodge one ton dually has begun to use oil, well lose oil is more like it, to the point it needs a quart every five hundred miles or so. I'm not fond of the replenishment system of oil changes so it goes in the shop where they have to lift the engine to replace the oil pan seal. 350 K miles on the clock, I'm not surprised by the oil leak but the engine should be sound. And the body shop is anxious to get started on the restoration/repaint. About 10 weeks in their shop.
On the way to the shop the engine light came on. So I have no idea what that means in terms of keeping the truck. Meanwhile, I have a 310 JD construction tractor in southern Indiana and a host of projects where I need my big truck. Add to that the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee keeps having BS issues with electronics and drive train, I'm just gonna sell it.

So I picked up this 96 off E-bay for about $8 grand. It has some cosmetic issues but appears to be mechanically sound. It's an automatic, I hate them, but with this one at least my wife can drive it.

1997 Dodge Ram 3500

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1997 Dodge Ram 3500
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I always say "real trucks have dually wheels, manual transmissions and say CUMMINS on the side." But replacing the Jeep means the wife has to have the auto. And, temporarily, I need a big truck. So at least for the interim, whilst my good ole' boy I've owned since new, is in the shop getting fixed and a paint job, I'll have a truck.

These '95 to 2001 series Dodge trucks with the Cummins are in high demand right now. I've seen models like mine, with a new paint job and interior ,is fetching over $15K. This one needs about $1,000 worth of body work, some new seat upholstery, and a super clean up.


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Drove to South Beloit/Rockford IL in the minivan. Picked up the '96 Dodge 3500 we bought off E-Bay.
190Kmiles and some minor body damage to the left rear fender. A work truck with a kinda trashed interior with some things that don't work. All easy stuff to fix. Needs a rear bumper and some small damage repairs to the after market running boards
Driver's seat is torn. Everything else was just dirty.

Dash was unbroken and immaculate. Unheard of in these trucks when that old. Drove south to St louis at 70 to 75 MPH. No rattles or complaints. Minor high speed vibrations when we left S Beloit, but smooth and silky by the time we go home. I 'm thinking flat spots on tires from storage. Mechanically flawless. Auto tranny shifted as it should. Engine was smooth and silky. Plenty of power. No smoke even when cold. Outside was zero this morning. Cummins diesel was cold yet started right up.

Nice trip home to St louis. I think we got a diamond in the rough.

Tomorrow, I will change the oil and all the filters. It needs a safety inspection to get State plates. Randy, my body guy, can do the bumper and pull the dent out of the rear fender. I'll do the interior cleanup and have the driver's seat rebuilt and reupholstered, Headliner is starting to fall. Typical of this model. Easy repair.

Cruise control works but seems sluggish. It does respond to inputs but takes some time for them to engage. I suspect a gummed up linkage. If so, easy fix.
Radio works but two of four speakers are shot. Also, volume control doesn't work. I have a new in box radio and speakers are an easy find.
Headlight switch doesn't adjust dash light intensity. This switch was a factory recall. I'm betting that was never done.

Interior lights don't come on when the driver door is opened. Simple button switch in the door jam is missing.

I think a lot of these faults are just things that quit working and the employees using the truck didn't care to get them corrected.

This one is set up for fifth wheel. That means I can get a bigger trailer for my recently acquired JD backhoe /front dump tractor.

The Dodge pickup line of 1995 to 2001 series was a landmark milestone in light trucks. Very durable and currently sought after over later models. Particularly the 2500 and 3500 with the Cummins option. Once corrected and the body work completed, this relatively low mileage Dodge/Cummins will be marketable any where from $12 K to $16K these days.

However, I'm not selling it. This one is for the wife who just doesn't like manual transmissions.

Why not?
We have his and hers minivans, his and hers Chrysler Crossfires and now, his and hers one ton Dodge trucks.

Her minivan is bigger, a customized limo version. Her Crossfire is faster, a supercharged SRT. And her truck is prettier than mine . Just like she is prettier than me.
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So, we got the truck home without issue. The reported vibration at 70MPH faded as we drove the 400 Mile journey home.
I took it in for safety clearance so I could get plates. It passed with a minor tail light repair issue. Replaced every filter and changed all the fluids except the rear end carrier box.
The ball joints on these models fail because they cannot handle the weight of the Cummins. Only one lower was questionable /bad. Changed all of them out, upper and lower.
Put new rotors on even thought the originals passed. They had been turned down so with the heavy trailer loads I plan to pull, it made sense to renew them whilst the wheels were off for inspection.

Tires are new on the front and rears are acceptable. Pilot shaft carrier bearing is fairly new and tight.

Got it done and back home last Friday. The wife drove it three blocks and said it "kinda vibrated." Went to drive it today and yes, after about three blocks it started to vibrate. Not "kinda' but ferociously.

So I limped back to the shop and, after checking the U-Joints, we pulled the rear wheels. Our clue was the passenger side rear wheels would not turn going forward. So we backed into the bay and tore into it.

How did they miss this on inspection? Driver's side, the one they pulled to inspect, fine. Passenger side was locked up.. No pad on the brake frame thus seizing the drum to the metal brake shoe bracket. So we don't have it to drive for a few days. At least the weather warmed up so we can work on it.