Have owned a 1996 Dodge Ram 4x4 since it came off the mfr floor. It's sort of like the energizer bunny. 179,000 miles and counting. And I run it hard, haul stuff, get it stuck and pull people out with my winch. I won't sell it because I am emotionally attached.
Returned it the day after purchase because the security system was installed improperly. Two weeks later it went back in because the transmission failed. A week after that it went back because the vehicle would lunge when cold - supposedly because of modification made by Chrylser to the program on the engine's chip. Anti- lock brakes locked up when stopping. 1,000 miles out of warranty, third gear "disappeared". Chrylser's engineer said the valve was designed to wear out at about that point (I have his testimony on tape) and said it would happen again.
I bought this truck 7 months ago and it has been all around a good truck. The power is ample and the 4 wheel drive works great. The ride isn't overly good and neither is the gas mileage, about 400 km for a tank (98L). Automatic transmission sucks. It is poorly designed, shifts very sloppily, and kicks in and out of OD when it feels like it. Reverse is starting to go on it as well. The interior is simple and easy to to read and use the controls, but is very cheap looking although my dash hasn't cracked yet. Cups fall out of cup holders and are in an inconvenient location (blocks radio controls). As far as I can see the styling and engine are about the only thing this truck has going for it.
Why do Dodge trucks spend so much time at junk yards? Picking up parts that are unavailable from the manufacturer and taking these parts off relatively low-mile junk-yard carcasses. BTW just because the new trucks have a Hemi emblem doesn't mean it has anything to do with the Hemi of the 60-70's. It ought to say Lemi. So my Dodge, 176k miles currently on second engine and transmission. Actually not bad considering it's a Dodge. I wouldn't be happy with that low of a performance out of a quality automobile like Nissan or Toyota, but it's just a Dodge. So, now that it isn't American anymore why would anyone buy one? I guess the next 12 months will gives the answer to that.
This is compared to other old beater trucks I have bought for under $2000. I bought this truck 3 years ago with 142K on it for $1700. I put a $400 set of tires and $40 set of rear shocks on it the first week I had it. I replaced a $120 alternator a year ago and have changed the oil religiously using only Mobil 1 high mileage since I got it. It had a broken cruise control that was just a vacuum hose off. It needs u-joints in the drive shaft now-$20, 2 hrs. A window switch went bad after I left the window down in the rain...$5 at u-pull junkyard and 1 hr. 168K miles on the truck now. Not a bad list for an old beater truck in 3 years of daily use. Get the SLT Laramie package!! This truck has the most comfortable interior out of all the trucks I have ever spent any time in. The 40/20/40 split bench cloth reclining seats are very comfortable for big people. I'm 6'2" and don't have to slide the seat all the way back, nice for a regular cab truck. The moveable cargo tray system behind the seat is very useful. The Chrysler Infinity sound system is amazing! The head unit in my truck is aftermarket, but all the Infinity speakers are still installed and sound great. The sound deadening is good for a truck. The Bad: The clearcoat has baked off long ago and the truck needs paint but, no one knew how to paint cars in the 90's. Chevy's, and Fords are the same. Something to do with regulations and V.O.C.'s or something like that is what an auto painter told me once.