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The "New - Used" Dodge Ram 2500

At some point in my life, I hope that I'm financially stable enough to just go buy a new vehicle, brand new, not worry about the cost, just lay down some astronomical amount of money and drive it off a showroom floor.

Unfortunately that point in my life is no where near now.  I've also come to terms with the fact that this point in my life may never happen.

Recently when my 1995 Dodge Ram 3500 dually with just under 350,000 miles lost 3rd gear, I decided it was time to stop dumping money into a 15 year old truck (and quite frankly I was tired of working on the thing) and go buy a new one.

Calling a fellow drag racer who also happens to be a car salesman at Pinckney Chrysler Dodge and Jeep, I realized that a new vehicle (even with my fathers employee discount) was something that I was not ready to pay for.  I hit the used car circuit, and began kicking the tires on 2004 and newer Dodge Ram 2500 pickups.  I looked at several both Hemi's and Cummins diesels, and when it was all said and done, I settled on a Red 2005 diesel, quad cab, 4x4.  A few more miles than I would have liked, but the truck and the price was right.

After three weeks, and just under 1000 miles, the truck looked more like this:

Now this doesn't speak well to my tire kicking abalities that less than 1000 miles into my ownership of this vehicle, and it is already a hoist potato.  Seems the right side axle joint was bad.  Now in my defense, I did know that axle joints are a known problem on these trucks, especially the diesels, and I did specifically check the axle joints on each and every truck that I looked at.  On this particular model, I checked them twice, once during the initial look, and once when we got it home, and they were fine, but I guess that was 1000 miles ago!

So it ended up on the hoist and the tear apart began.  Any of you who have worked on your own vehicles know it can be "fun and challenging" at times.  It seems to be worse on these larger trucks.  This project was no different, and required all the normal tools for such a job...BFH (Big F--kin Hammer), torches and a good sized prybar. 

Not pictured is the cursing wrench, which suprisingly wasn't used much on this particular job.  The cursing wrench is when you swear at something (a bolt or a pin, or a wheel bearing/hub assembly in this case) until it finally comes off.  It sounds (and is) childish, but it works almost every time.

The other thing that always happens, is that one thing leads to another.  For example on this project, the one thing...the bad axle joint, allowed me to see that the brake pads were shot and the truck needed new front brakes...this would be the other.  This other thing...the bad brakes...leads to yet another, which is that if I'm going to do brakes, I might as well change BOTH front axle joints, which I did.  I bypassed the final "other" and decided not to replace the wheel bearing/hub assemblies.  I may one day regret this as all the labor was done to replace them, but the cost of these parts convinced me they could wait til another day.  That day will probably the next time I have to replace an axle joint.

So after 3 days on the hoist, a few trips to the auto parts store, a few more to the dealership for parts (side note...when doing axle joints on any Dodge truck, DO NOT get the cheap replacement joints from any auto parts store, spend the money and get the OE MOPAR parts from your dealership.  Otherwise, you will be doing them again before you know it), the truck was now as good as new with the following:

Changed front and rear differential lube, change trasnfer case lube, change transmission fluid and filter, lube outer tie rod ends, change oil and filter, change fuel filter, replace right and left hand axle joints, replace front brakes (new pads, turned rotors).

Now it is on to working on race cars!  That blog will be up in a few.

Thanks for stopping by...Dan


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