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im still looking to buying a cummins. but i was wondering what year, trans combo, Mileage before not good to buy, was the best to buy. I just need something to pull my 1977 M880 and the chevy 5.3 just doesn't do it very well. I pu this in here instead of the help section because i wanted help from peopl who own a cummins. thanks for the help and insite.
 
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Well, any donor you can get at a good deal on is a start. LOL

Well, if you can get a complete 92/3 you can swap everything including dash, radiator core support etc.

Motor wise and tranny only though, the holy grail seems to be the NV4500 with the 12v 94-98 motor. Of course, MRPeal seems to be the expert on the actual swap- but performance wise, the above is the best- most parts available aftermarket.
 

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i think the 98 12valve is the best motor of course that is with the manual trans as power is higher. i like all of the motors, love the old body style better but the ride is much better. although there is way more power mods for the 94-98 motors i like the 24 valve alot too. i would say it depends on what you can afford. all of them are good although i would say stay away from automatic trans.
 

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CruisingRam said:
Motor wise and tranny only though, the holy grail seems to be the NV4500 with the 12v 94-98 motor ... the above is the best- most parts available aftermarket.
This is what I would like to do on my `77 M880 eventually as well. ;D
 

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If you're just looking to buy a Cummins powered Dodge to tow with, '94+ are better than the pre-'93 for power. Of course the manual trans trucks are usually prefered. The '98 12 valve, 5-speed quad cabs are probably the most desired combination. The 12v's are popular because large amounts of power are easy to extract. 24v's are computer controlled and can be reprogrammed or "chipped" for moderate boosts in power. But if you plan to keep your truck stock, or only add very mild power boosts, get the newest year you can afford, they just seem to put more power in the Cummins every year.
 

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me personally, i like the 92-93's. like TV said easily modified and readily available parts. on 4x4's you got the best front D60 w/internal hubs. some may disagree.
plus, for the clubcabs you could get REAL buckets and console. the LE versions had some really nice interiors.
one of these days i will own a 92-93 dually 4x4. love those trucks.
 

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I was speaking with Columbus Diesel Supply at the Chrysler Classic. As far as durability they told me the 92/93 was the best Cummins to have!

Olly
 

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Are you looking for a swap donor or a truck to buy?

There isn't a bad year for the Cummins, all of them are very capable engines. The first generation engines were the least powerful but like any engine, power can be increased. It all depends on how much you want, and how much you are willing to spend. Second gen engines are the most popular because they offer the most bang for your buck. They are easy to bomb, have no computers to worry about, and are simple to maintain. Third gen engines (24Valve) make the most power from the factory but are more expensive and use a computer.

There are several automatics used behind the Cummins. The first were the 727. It's not desirable because it only has three gears no lock up TC and no overdrive. These are important features to have with a diesel with an automatic. Later trannys such as the 46RE have lock up TCs and OD but had some problems with the TC. The standard trannys are better but keep away from any Getreg tranny if you plan to bomb the engine.

Ed
 

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I have a 94 dually with a 12v. 18cm non wastegate turbo housing, turned up pump, 4" exhaust, etc etc. It'll run 32psi of boost max. I get 20mpg with no load on teh freeway, and around 15 in town. Towing 10,000lbs I'll get around 15 on the highway and 10 in town.

I'd get a 94-98. The pre 94 models have the Getrag transmission which gets a bad wrap. It has EXPENSIVE parts, and is known to blow up the bearing. However, all you have to do is fill it with two extra quarts through teh shifter hole. I changed my tranny fluid this weekend, overfilled it two quarts and added Lucas, now it shifts 10 times better.

The 94-98 have the NV4500, but they are prone to having the nut that holds on fifth gear back off. However, the engine can be modified much better than the pre-94 because of the different style fuel pump.

I love my cummins, and I'll never buy another truck that doesn't have mine. I personally know more than 3 people with over 400k on theirs, one of them put 950,000 on his hotshot rig before an oil change place didn't put the nut back on the drain and the motor blew.
 

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Hey Blake, I thought you had a 93?

As far as the question goes, they are all good :) It is all preferance really. 89-93 has the getrag like mentioned (not the strongest most reliable), and also has the KDP (killer dowel pin). 94-98 does as well (KDP) and has the NV4500 5th gear nut problem. Both of these probs were fixed after 98.5 I believe.

I think the easiest to BOMB are the computer controlled, it just takes a simple plugging in and you can have gobbs of power, no need for any mechanical mods to increase power, although you still can.
 

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Yeah I thought you had a `93 also Blake?
 

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Woooooops, yeah I have a 93. Dang 3 button is right next to 4.

I forgot to mention that the Cummins went with an intercooler in the early 90s, I think 91..... However, the newer style chrome grille usually is a giveaway it is intercooled.

 

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I thought the NV4500 showed up in the later runs of the 91 model year
I wish - would have saved me a bunch. Really, as Sam said, all the years have pros and cons. The '04 600 6-speed I just drove was pretty bitchin, to say the least.

I like the fact that my 93 has an NP 205. It's the last of the leaf spring front, with proper hubs. Doesn't ride as nice as the '94- but it's heavy duty.

I wouldn't consider a non-intercooled truck. You're giving up too much.

The drawback of the pre-94s to me is the Bosch VE pump. The P7100 is needed to really get some power going. It can be swapped in the earlier trucks, but it is not simple or cheap. After that are the electronic pumps, which are simply tuned by swapping chips.

I think the Getrag gets the same rap as the old fulltime hubs on the 1/2 ton trucks - they aren't necessarily any weaker, but they are set up for failure from the factory. If they are run from day 1 with proper lube, and with a proper pilot bearing, I'll bet they will last as long as an NV4500. It's just too late for all of them by now. But I don't think they will ever shift as nice as a 4500.

The main reason I went with a Gen 1 was I just have a soft spot for the older body style. Actually, a Gen 2 engine, in that body, with an NV4500/205, a Gear Vendors, HX-35 turbo, and a straight 4" exhaust would be about just the thing.
 

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FYI on Getrags, aftermarket parts are now available, so you can keep them going pretty cheaply now. Easy box to work on. A lot of times they just burn out one bearing, we've put 3 or 4 back on the road for $20 or so. That said, they may not be up to the abuse of a 4wd truck. In 2wd's they seem okay. Just overfill like mentioned, and make sure they are set up with the proper preload. And if they get noisey, don't keep driving them until they go boom.

I like the "classic" first generation trucks. My friend has four of them for his business. They are simple and they'll tow anything you'd care to tow in stock form. The 2wd's don't ride too bad at all (I've had both.) The main problem is the rest of the trucks are getting old and falling apart. Doesn't help that a lot of the diesels you find have really high mileage on them...


Andy
 
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I bet no one here has a 93 AND a 98 such as myself LOL- methinks the getrag gets no respect unfairly LOL- my Getrag held up fine, only needed to be rebuilt because I wore the syncros clear out LOL- but no broken gears or anything- though 5th was plain wore out too LOL

The 98 definately has more power than the 93, hands down, even though the 93 is manual and the 98 is auto. The 98 has a tad more lag from off the line due to the heavier wieght and auto vs stick.

They are both unbelievable torgue monsters I have pulled way more than I should have behind LOL

AS a donor though, especially for another older dodge truck or RC, especially if the running gear on the recipient truck is not up to snuff, I think the first gen is the way to go- then hot rod it later by swaping out motor or tranny if neccesary.
 

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I got a 91" w/o the intercooler. My getrag Is pretty lound in 4th gear. So I think I will take TexasBlakeWFO's advice. How much of that lucas oil should I put in there? Sorry for changing the subject. I like my 91". Being that it is prolly the most underpowered cummins it still moves just fine for me.
 
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