My 1996 Ram 2500 with the Cummins 5.9L i6 turbo diesel is a great truck. What I've found, though, is that the engine is far better than the truck. The truck has only left me stranded once in 210,000 miles due to a broken clutch. The interior is a good design, but the dashboard is falling apart, knobs stop working, and the A/C is just awful. The engine, on the other hand, is bulletproof. I have never had a problem with the engine; tons of power and torque, and is surprisingly quick for a 2500 truck! This truck will get you from point A to point B every time, but not always in the best comfort. If I had the option, I would most definitely buy this truck again.
We used it as a work horse the first ten years, hauling furniture, sawdust, rocks and etc., but putting very few miles on it as used car for out of town trips. Then with only 20,000 miles and a dozen years old decided to put a camper on it's back. Performs beautifully with a 8.5 camper fully loaded. Makes hills with little effort, as much as diesels do, if we do not lose RPM behind a truck. Never had it in the repair garage until this year, other than normal maintenance. This year have to have A/C fan fixed. Averaging 12-14 mpg with camper.
Best feature is cruise control. We set it at top of the hill and it reduces braking going downhill. Second favorite is great interior design and layout.
Would be nice if it had a pyrometer installed as standard equipment to measure turbo temperature.
Bought this truck new in 96 and have been extremely happy with it. The only real problems I've had have been related to rust after spending 6 long winters in Upstate NY where they use lots of salt. I have quite a bit of rust under the doors and had a fuel line and brake line rust through--not a good feeling having a 7,000 lb vehicle going down the road and finding I had no brakes. Fortunately, the high compression diesel slows you down quite a bit, and having a manual transmission helped too. I bought the truck for towing, but haven't done much (never got my boat), but when I have towed its as if there is nothing behind me--gobs of torque!
Cummins Diesel is a great engine. Lots of torque, easy to work on, and I've averaged about 19 mpg over 125,000 miles which is pretty darn good for a 3- 1/2 ton 4x4. I plan on keeping this truck for another 10 years!
The doors should be assembled with putty filling the folds in the bottom of the doors. This would help prevent the rust. Also, the OEM Goodyear Wrangler tires were troublesome with side walls developing bulges. This happened on two sets.
This is the best pickup I have ever had. It still looks good. It has never missed a beat in all these years. It gets about 17 mpg solo and about 9-10 mpg towing my light weight trailer. Don't tow anymore, but it is rated to haul a 13,500 trailer. It has heavy duty trailer towing pkg from the factory and "D" rated tires. Presently equipped with a 5th wheel hitch and has a factory installed class three hitch as well.
Extended cab. 5 way adjustable driver's seat, good sound system, two color paint job, blue over silver, power - V10. Steering control is excellent, long wheel base makes a better ride.
4 doors. better radio reception, in-cab extendable mirrors, load levelers, pro-active proximity warning alarm, lighter tailgate, factory fog lights, four wheel disc brakes.
My 1996 Dodge RAM diesel pickup was an excellent choice for a full size, 4X4 vehicle. In 9 years (180,000 miles), I replaced a power steering pump (1 time), front brake pads (3 times), an alternator (1 time), a rear seal on the transfer case (1 time), a headlight housing (1 time), and 12 volt batteries twice (it takes two). It is a rugged truck that has required very few repairs over the years. Besides that, I have never paid for an oil change or lube job since I bought the truck in March of 1996. It came with a "Yellow Card" which includes oil changes plus labor (but not the cost of the oil filter).
My truck stands "tall" so it is a pleasure to drive on the highway. One can see. The visibility is so much better than driving a smaller car. Also, the mileage for such a large vehicle is excellent. My best mileage was 25 mpg, and my worst was 14mpg. The average has been 17 to 18 mpg.
An access port to the sender unit (fuel sender for diesel level in fuel tank) would be very helpful. Without a port thru the floorboard, one must drop the entire fuel tank to change the fuel sender.