I mean it! At the time of this writing I'm 69. I've owned all kinds of vehicles in my time. From '52 Mercury's, several Ford's (which I'll never buy again) 1964 Dodge Dart (bought new as a teen), Toyota's, Datsun (now Nissan), '76 Corvette, Honda's, Kia's, Plymouth, and more. But my 1999 Dodge RAM 2500 SLT Quad Cab 5.9L Cummins diesel with the 8' bed.. wow! Its the best vehicle I've ever owned. Had 1 tranny rebuild about 5 years ago. I towed 19,000 lbs. in a trailer through the Cascade mountains of Washington/Oregon and that was my fault. Diesel mileage? Run it yourself. I recently did 800 miles on 30 gallons of diesel from Reno to SoCal on cruise control (27 mpg).
At 179,000 miles I had no body work but clear coat was starting to peel (probably from the car wash down the street which I no longer use). All the upholstery in the truck was in excellent shape but my drivers side foam was a little tired. I thought about selling it and buying a new one.. then slapped myself and decided on a restoration. One week after I bought it in June of 1999 I had Rhino Lining sprayed on and a hard Tonneau cover put on and Nerf bars. Best thing I ever did. I've put bricks, blocks, lumber, plywood, steel, all kinds of stuff in that big eight foot bed and you can't even tell it. That Rhino Lining doesn't scratch. The Tonneau comes off if I have to carry a high load and after all these years I just replaced the gas struts.1
Okay after I decided to do a bit of restoration.. instead of going to the local Dodge (stealer) (parts sold me a lug nut for $10 once), I went to the Cummins engine repair shop. Asked them to check it out and if I needed a tune-up. About 45 minutes later they came back and told me they only changed the fuel filter and I wouldn't need a tune-up till I hit 350,000 miles! Wow! That settled it for me.
I got estimates for a prime paint job from 5 different shops and settled on a 5-star shop who would do it right. They took 3 weeks to paint it, and they did an excellent, custom job. I kept the same green paint color but the paint is so wonderful I could shave in my reflection! Meanwhile I had an upholstery shop refoam the drivers seat and put back the old seat cover. Its still perfect and comfortable once again. Brought in high powered Euro style "angel eyes" projector style headlights and new LED tail lights. Put on a new RAM badge on the tailgate (same kind as the 2016's have) and another that says "Turbo Diesel" on the lower left of the tailgate. Put back all the rubber door bumpers (which new models don't have). They work really well in tight parking spaces so the paint doesn't get chipped. Oh... new upper console as one of the plastic door hinges had gotten broken. And all these years I had changed my own oil at 7,000 miles including air filter and changed my own fuel filter. I keep my engine clean upper and lower including lower chassis with WD-40. Got my baby back from the paint shop and she looks and drives like a new truck.
The new trucks have a navigation system built in which I don't have... but about 5 or 6 years ago I bought a Garmin GPS from Costco which still works fine stuck on my windshield. Back in '99 I bought the Premium Sound System which has both a cassette player and a CD player w/equalizer and of course the AM/FM radio w/6 speakers surround sound. Sounds great. However, a few weeks ago I started putting all my old Rock 'n Roll albums (Vinyl, Cassette, and CD) onto a 120GB USB drive. Made up several of 'em. One for my wife's car, one for my office, and one for the house. But I had no USB port on my trucks radio. Then I ran across the iKross FM transmitter system which was (is) very inexpensive. Put it into my auxiliary power port... tuned it to 99.9 and tuned my radio to 99.9 FM and it plays all my old music I put in 182 folders (1 folder per artist & sub-folders for that artist's albums). My truck is not up-to-date and better than some of the newer ones with all this California CARB junk hanging on them! If you're not in California, CARB stands for California Air Resource Board and they're completely nuts. But that's another story. ;-)
While I'm bragging... The truck originally came with Michelin tires. I've gone through them a long time ago and went with Costco's Michelin then Bridgestone. Costco does a wonderful job on tires, rotation, warranty, etc. Just put on a new set of Michelin's and the truck now has 185,000 miles (wife and I did a big circle trip to Canada and back) and she rides the rough SoCal freeways smooth as silk.
Bottom line: If you're smart, buy a 1999 ~ 2001 truck like mine and restore it. It will be BETTER than new without all the EPA junk on it and you can add on Gale Banks products if you want more power and all kinds of after market goodies. :-)
Bought this truck new- Brakes are a joke. Had it in repeatedly while it was still under warranty; they never got it right. I've got 100k on it now with the 4th brake job coming up. And the ABS is anti-braking skid system...the rears lock up easily. But it goes through anything (I live on a farm, and this truck works!!)The gas mileage still isn't real good, but is actually better than when it was new. (no, I didn't have the money for the diesel) Since I drive a car to and from work (my real job) the truck only puts on about 10-12k/year now, so I'll probably have this truck another 5 years or so- it does everything I need it to do, which is mostly pulling heavy trailers.
I have two dodge rams 2500. one is a diesel standard and the other is gasoline automatic. The diesel with the manual has never gave me a problem but the gasoline with the automatic transmission is not so good. Ive rebuilt it twice so far. The mopar automatic is junk. Gas or diesel the tranny's are junk. Engines are good auto tranny's aren't.
I had once of these for many years. It was the 4 door 4x4 2500 with the V10 long bed. I think I paid something like $2500 for it at the height of the gas prices a few years ago. The previous owner probably couldn't afford to feed it. I took it everywhere and it was reliable for me. I got it with 100,000 miles and sold it with about 150,000 miles. It was big and heavy. But also very heavy duty with the Dana 60 solid axle in the front and the Dana 70 in the rear. The V10 is has lots of torque down low and can tow just about anything. Going to my hunting camp and driving offroad, this tended to sink due to the weight upfront so I had to fit front and rear lockers to help with traction. On road it was cumbersome, but not too bad. Front seats were great. Back seat was a bit tight, but good for kids to early teens. Center console on these Ram's are epic- big and wide. Mine was pretty jacked up for a stock truck so it was a climb in and a slide out of the cab and because of this hard to get into the bed to get stuff without a step stool. Ride is stiff and rough because to the solid front axle and HD springs. When I got my truck the thermostat was broken and that simple job is a major pain with the accessories getting into the way. Mine seemed to have a coolant leak, but some leak stop tabs seemed to have addressed it. Fuel economy is poor. Single digits around town and maybe as high as 13-14 MPG. Tows well with plenty of low end grunt and I've caught myself towing heavy items at speeds higher than I should have. Brakes average though and worse with a load. Structure and strength was excellent. Looking at the components under the sheet metal is littered with "Made in the USA" labels. Other than that I performed maintenance. and that was it. I sold it for a bit more than I paid for it so I think I got my money's worth even with the fuel bill and considering this truck's capabilities worth it.