What to look for with 2nd Gen Cummins trucks - Diesel Bombers



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Old 06-12-2017, 10:34 PM
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Default What to look for with 2nd Gen Cummins trucks

Hi, I am new to this site and not currently a diesel owner. I have always loved 2nd gen dodges, and would really like to buy a 24V truck with a manual trans, 4x4, short bed/ext. cab. I am willing to wait until I find exactly what I'm looking for, and I would rather find an all stock original truck and then upgrade it myself. I am curious of what to look for on these trucks (Issues, certain things to avoid, certain years better than others)

Also, I drive about 30,000 miles a year mostly interstate, and I want to know if it would be wise to keep my current work car, (2005 impala) or if a cummins is suitable for that many miles (fuel mileage, wear and tear, etc.)

Hopefully I am not asking too much, thanks for any input.

-Nathan
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Old 08-12-2017, 09:50 PM
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The 94-98 2nd gen trucks are still powered by the 12v cummins and do not have the quad cab(4 opening doors). About midyear 98.5 they changed over to the quad cab with the newer interior and you could still get a 12v cummins. These are often referred to as holy grail trucks. In 99-02 they switched to the 24v cummins.

The 12v trucks are easier to work on, mechanically controlled so little computer interference.

The main issues with the 99-02 2nd gen 24v trucks are the fuel system, steering, crappy plastic interiors and automatic transmissions.

The fuel systems are terribly inadequate on these trucks, the OEM lift pumps do not maintain very good pressure which causes the injection pump to work harder and overheat shortening it's life span. Plan to spend $500-$1000 upgrading to a decent fuel pump. The FASS and Airdog pumps are both pretty popular.

The steering is weak, and very few people seem to be able to get it to work properly. I have replaced my gear box(3 times), pump, and all associated linkage and suspension parts. I still have play in the wheel and every now and then in a parking lot it's like I have no power steering at all. The best advice is to make sure you are moving while trying to turn.

The plastic is these trucks is garbage. The dealership I got my truck from was kind enough to install a hard plastic cover for me. I still need to replace the dash bezel as the plastic is just brittle and fall apart. It seems to mostly affect trucks with light gray interior, the black and dark gray interiors don't seem to suffer as often.

If you find a manual transmission, this won't be much of a concern, but if you do bump up the power, the stock clutches in the manuals don't hold for long.

I bought my truck stock with 178k miles on it, I drive it daily and in just over 2 years I have 212k miles on it. The only thing I HAD to replace was the starter. It was getting about 17mpg when I first got it, stepping up to larger tires brought it down to 16mpg. With all the mods I have done now, I am just under 19mpg daily driving. I've done lots of maintenance and upgrades to remove weak links for my own peace of mind. I do have a 2nd car but it's a classic so I really only use it on nice days. It's not a bad idea to have an alternate vehicle, especially while you are still getting to know your new truck.
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