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Best 02-03 3/4 ton truck

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Best 02-03 3/4 ton truck

GotDiesel GotDiesel
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 02/08
Posted: 02/20/08
11:06 AM

I am looking at getting my first diesel and only need a 3/4 ton. My requirements are 4x4, good gas mileage towing 4000-8000 pounds and unloaded, low cost of ownership and something that will last me 150,000 miles more that what the 100,000 that it will probably have on it when I buy it. I am looking at the 02-03 due to price. Particularly I am looking at the 03 models for the following reasons.

Dodge 03- Lots of changes that all appear to be solid and made the truck better that the 02.

Chevy/GMC 03- Take advantage of the extended warranty GM offers on injectors

Ford early 03- Has the proven 7.3L that seems to be rock solid.

Since I will be hauling a relatively light trailer to diesel standards and want the best gas mileage, what do you recommend? I have no loyalties to brand. I have had Toyota and Nissan trucks for the past 10 years. I love my 05 Nissan Nismo Frontier, but I know I don't need to be pulling that much weight with it on a regular basis, even though it does it fine.  

Edward A. Sanchez Edward A. Sanchez
Administrator | Posts: 2112 | Joined: 07/06
Posted: 02/20/08
12:03 PM

From what I've read and observed, your best bet for good mileage is probably the Dodge. 7.3 is a good solid powerplant, but all the 'Strokes have a little bit of a reputation as a gas hog.

The '03 Duramaxes should be good. The early LB7s had some injector and turbo issues. I think the '03s should be the LLY, which should be better.

If you're looking at the '03s, I'd probably go with the Dodge. Just my $0.02.  

GotDiesel GotDiesel
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 02/08
Posted: 02/20/08
03:51 PM

I know you guys have opinions on this so chime in. What do you think would be my best bet based on my criteria?  

Racingrancher77 Racingrancher77
New User | Posts: 41 | Joined: 01/08
Posted: 02/20/08
09:57 PM

I have a 2002 F350 7.3 with the 4-speed automatic.  Can't complain about reliability, do a lot of pulling and hay work without a single problem. Just go with the automatic or the 6 speed manual with Ford.  2003 Cummins, go with the 6 speed manual. I can't give you reliable fuel numbers because my truck has a steel Dew-Eze hay bed on the back, kinda destroys fuel mileage. Do not get the 6.0.  
2002 Ford F-350 7.3L Powerstroke 4x4 Supercab Automatic. Regularly grosses at 32,000lbs without breaking a sweat.

Proud member of the Blowin' Smoke Gang.

Enthusiast | Posts: 276 | Joined: 03/07
Posted: 02/20/08
10:12 PM

a 02' ford or 03 ford with a 7.3 would be good. i have typically seen a stock one get 17 ~ mpg. a 03 cummins would have more power and that was the year of the new 48RE which i have heard has been reliable but you cant beat the NV5600 6 spd.  
02 Dodge Cummins. w/ Banks Six Gun w/Speed Loader,K&N Intake,4" exhaust, FASS 150gph,150hsp injectors,

GotDiesel GotDiesel
New User | Posts: 3 | Joined: 02/08
Posted: 02/21/08
12:21 PM

Well, I got on youtube last night and watched some trucks in action. I love the sound of that Cummins! The Duramax is nice too. Ford did not do much for me. I guess I am leaning toward the Dodge and Chevy/GMC. In the 2003 models of each which gets best mileage? What do I have to look out for on each?  

brad101985 brad101985
User | Posts: 93 | Joined: 04/08
Posted: 08/28/08
08:19 AM

I would go with the 03 or early 04 dodge. I have an early 03 with the 47 tranny in it and i love it. I bought it with a little over 150,000. I have now over 185,000. I am a weekend puller and all i have done is a simple turbo upgrade and injectors. I have lift on mine and 35s but my computer tells me i am getting 19-22 without my tires calibrated. I got 175,000 out of the stock tranny before i had to rebuild it. If u go with the dodge u have to get a better fuel filter on them. If u r looking for a truck to last go with the dodge. U don't see many duramaxes running the street with over a 150,000 on them. They just don't last. Just my thought. I have a completely stock internals and my buddy has an 05 chevy and i can run right next to him when we run them down the road and he has 60,000 on his and mine is set up for towin. Dodge is the way to go. Reliable and easy to get more power out off.  
03 Ram 2500, edge juice with attitude and hot unlock code, Smarty, 90 ddp injectors, fass 150, BD air arch, BD super B turbo, ATS manifold, Custom exhaust, K&N intake.

New User | Posts: 4 | Joined: 08/08
Posted: 09/13/08
12:15 AM

When was the last time anyone got gas mileage out of a diesel.  

Dieseldude03 Dieseldude03
Enthusiast | Posts: 357 | Joined: 01/07
Posted: 09/13/08
11:14 AM

When was the last time anyone got gas mileage out of a diesel.

LOL, That's always been a pet peeve of mine, I even wrote the magazine editor last year and complained because his writers were using the term (gas mileage) in the mag. I told him that my 2003 Cummins Ram gets good FUEL mileage, but it's gas mileage sux! If you're getting gas mileage in your diesel rig, you really screwed-up back there at the filling station! Laugh Ranks right up there with people spelling Cummins with a "g".

Personal issues aside, the 2003 Cummins Dodges were the first year to use the quieter High-Pressure Common-Rail(HPCR) injection. You could get a standard output (S.O.) engine rated at 250hp and 505 lb-ft of torque or a high output (H.O.)engine rated at 305hp or 555 lb-ft. There was also a California emissions engine that was rated for something like 235hp and 460 lb-ft, but you rarely come across those outside of the People's Republik of Kalifornia. The S.O. trucks could be mated to either the NV-4500 5spd manual trans or the 47-RE automatic. The H.O. engines could be had with either the NV-5600 6spd manual or the 48-RE auto, a stronger, more refined version of the 47RE. The H.O. trucks with the 6-speed manual trans also came with the AAM 11.5 inch rear axle, while the others came with the AAM 10.5 incher. 3.73 gearing was standard in all with 4.10's being a $50.00 option.

I went on a trip to Fla (from ohio) in june and averaged a little over 22mpg, hand calculated (don't trust the overhead, mine said 24.3 for the trip). With the 4.10 gearing and 6spd manual trans, whose overdrive is lower-geared than that of the automatic, anything over 65mph and the fuel mileage plummets quick. The Cummins has a "sweet spot" of 1600-2000 rpm's for best fuel mileage. At 65, I'm spinning about 2100 rpm with the 33" tires. If I'd run the same trip at 55, my true average would have been 24mpg or better.  
2003 Dodge Ram 2500 Laramie 4x4. H.O. Cummins, 6spd manual trans, 4.10 gearing. Intake, Exhaust, Hot Juice, HTT HTB2 62/12/65, Jake Brake, 305-65R17 (33 x 12.50) Pro-Comp Extreme All Terrains, SBC Con O FE, Fuel Tank Vent Mod,  Various other gizmos.

I-6 Cummins guys are keepin' it straight. Those other boys swing both ways.

overby3 overby3
User | Posts: 69 | Joined: 09/08
Posted: 09/27/08
07:54 AM

I think that chevy is good for pulling but it has
IFS [independent front suspension] you cant beat that solid chevy powerplant but as for you i would say that a 2003 chevy 2500HD with the dmax and tha allison will be good for what your lookin for. glad i could help