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Dodge Ram 5.2 or 3.9 which to buy

SMJ7039's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2002
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02-19-04, 07:50 PM   #1  
Dodge Ram 5.2 or 3.9 which to buy

Yes I have got a decision to make and I have been helped out here alot over the last year and thought I could get some help with this. I am going to buy a used truck it is a Dodge Ram 1500. My question I am trying to make up my mind between 2 different ones. The first one is a 1996 Dodge Ram 1500 with a (318) 5.2 A/T with 92,000 on it. The second is a 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 with a 3.9 (V-6) A/T with 72,000 on it. The 98 with the V-6 and less miles is about $300 less. I don't tow anything or drive long distances, I just drive around town and average about 6000 miles a year, so I was thinking the V-6 would be better on gas, but I have had a 318 before and it was great. So if anyone can help me how good are the 3.9 engines and which truck should I buy? Thanks

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mike from nj's Avatar
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02-19-04, 09:23 PM   #2  
mike from nj
everyone in the world will have a different opinion, i'll offer mine.

i would drive the v8---passing power when needed, able to haul stuff when needed, better resale, perhaps?

the v6 idles rough, by design(annoying). the timing chain rattles after a few miles, (the new tensioner fixes that) and seems to be down on power for a full size truck. if you haul heavy loads with this, you can wear out the engine after a while.

the two engines are identical, engineers chopped off two cylinders from the v8 and called it a v6. they made the crankshaft stronger by having a common journal for each pair of cylinders, but it now has uneven firing pulses----causing the choppy idle(and tearing up the timing chain).

keep in mind i've seen engines ruined in 25,000 miles----no maintenance. that's why mileage has NO bearing on what i buy, maintenance history does.

if either truck has a maintenance log book, kept by the owner, i wouldn't be afraid to buy either. i would drive a v6, i just wouldn't be happy.

my 1/2 cents

davo's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2002
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02-20-04, 05:55 PM   #3  
I'd buy the Chevy,oops that wasn't a choice.Well I'd buy the 5.2 v-8 hands down I don't think you will really save much gas with the 6.The little engine has to work a little harder than the 8.Driving habits will affect the mileage more as will stat eof tune or lack there of.Good Luck in your decision.

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02-20-04, 10:23 PM   #4  
I have to agree with the other gentlemen...Opt for the v-8. Do you know the usage history of the 2 trucks? If they were used as "real trucks" then the v-6 is most likely a lot more worn out than the v-8... my cent...

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02-20-04, 10:51 PM   #5  
Agreed. The v8 will probably be more valuable when time to get rid of it, and it should be close in economy. It's nice to have the power when you want/need it too. The 6 does have a rougher idle, but not terribly noticeable except when the a/c is on at idle.

"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

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02-20-04, 11:27 PM   #6  
i like the v8 for the power but if your not hauling a lot that dosent matter. the thing i see is with the 95 and 96 dodge 1500 the transmission arent worth a hoot. id check and see if any difference there myself

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04-11-04, 07:11 PM   #7  
I have a small courier business and my first 2500 van had a 6 cylinder and I got 325,000 miles before I donated it to the VA.
Yeah, the timing chain rattles but I never had a problem with the motor or transmission. I change the oil every 3 to 4,000 miles but put in 5 quarts as opposed to 4. As far as the resale value goes I always donate my used vans but I would imagine with the price of gas what it is the 8 cylinders are not much in demand. I use the Bosch +4 platinum tipped plugs. I get 16.5 mpg and do not lack for power.

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