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Old 01-10-2013, 10:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
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2005 Dodge Ram 2500 diesel, whats reasonably attainable?

Hi all,

I have a 2500 Dodge Ram 2500, quad cab, 4x4, auto with 3.73 rear gearing. The good news, its paid off! The bad news, its super expensive to use (the way I use it). I need to either find a way to get some more MPG from it, or I need to sell it and get a more fuel efficient but towing capable vehicle. I have a 21ft RV (5000lbs) that I tow a few times a year. So mostly the truck sits in the yard, ironic because its also the most expensive car we own, but the worst on cost per mile to drive.

I dont know what kind of options I have with this truck and driving techniques. My drive is mostly 2 lane (per side) highway, with 65/70 mph speed limits.

Where do I start, the truck is stock. Should I look at some affordable mods and adopting some mild hyper milling techniques? Or is it hopeless

I need a vehicle that is reasonable affordable to commute in but can also tow the RV on occasion...right now, thats two cars, and I would rather not have to have two.

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Old 01-10-2013, 10:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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2004 CTD - '04 DODGE RAM 2500 SLT
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There are a good number of threads to read around here, some CTD specific (such as those by Diesel_Dave) and anything on trucks in general, second. Aero and gearing for changes, and improvements to driver skill (which links truck use/ownership to cars).

As to goals, one has to set them. I'd say an '05 CTD is capable of 20-mpg both for city and highway. I've done higher for both with my '04.

There is no magic . . one has to be willing to make changes in how one drives: how often, how far, etc, to accomplish the same work.

I see it this way: fewer trips to accomplish the same ends. And then driving those fewer miles/trips with greater skill.

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2004.0 DODGE Ram QC/LB 2500 2WD/NV-5600 305/555 ISB. 7,940-lb. Stock. 192,000 miles/4,900-hrs @ 39-mph average. 35' 9k GVWR TT. 14.6-cpm solo & 25-cpm towing; 21-mpg average past 44k-miles

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Old 01-10-2013, 10:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks! I have read Dave's thread, no way I could ever approach that!

The number of trips is fixed, to work and back, 5 days a week. That's my goal, to make it a viable work commuter. I rarely go anywhere on the way to or from work, just door to door.
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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2004 CTD - '04 DODGE RAM 2500 SLT
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Fixed routing is the easiest to work with. Use block heater year-round, investigate right-turn-only routing (as UPS and FED-EX do) or routing that is longer but is non-stop, etc. Where & how to park . . ton's of details that we learn to integrate and make from them new habits.

Start with records. What matters is any change to baseline mpg, so record all miles and all gallons. The percentage change to that base is the road to improvment.

Second is mechanical baseline. 4WD CTD's tend to have sloppy steering and front end looseness. Fix these things. Bring all book maintenance to date. No CAC leaks, etc. New shocks, etc.

When it's time for tires, consider better quality that also lends mpg help. Tread design is the big thing. Rolling resistance is the big thing for around town + commuting once warm-up time has been shortened / addressed.
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2004.0 DODGE Ram QC/LB 2500 2WD/NV-5600 305/555 ISB. 7,940-lb. Stock. 192,000 miles/4,900-hrs @ 39-mph average. 35' 9k GVWR TT. 14.6-cpm solo & 25-cpm towing; 21-mpg average past 44k-miles

Fuel Log
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:02 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Excellent! I think I could use a tune up, new tires (and maybe shocks), a bed cover, and then start with that as a base line.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:59 AM   #6 (permalink)
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How long is the drive to work? If it is fairly short, do what you can to get the best mpg out of the cummins. If it is a long drive, you need to seriously consider a third vehicle.
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Some MPG numbers for the stock vehicle and/or the way you drive it would help because the EPA did not test 2500's or diesels. Usually automatics can put up 30% or so better fuel economy than the EPA's ratings, while manuals can get as much as you put in (I've hit 87% over EPA).

A trailer complicates things and with low MPG numbers your improvements will not be as apparent in the gas log. But I do think the way to go for you is aero (and route planning, as others suggested).

The main aero things I'd go after would be gap fillers between the truck and trailer as well as a rear-end boat tail on the trailer if you're willing to lengthen it a few feet. An air dam under the front bumper couldn't hurt either, and could be made with $20 and an hour.
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I drive 25 miles each way, highway per day. Then about 5 miles each way, at slower speed. I dont tow the trailer daily, I just drive to work.

If I cant get a substantial improvement in MPG, I will probably sell the truck and find something that can tow but is better on fuel.

I need to start tracking it in the truck, I have no idea what I am getting, I just know its too low

I would say my goal is mid 20s on diesel.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Finding something that will do a decent job of towing a 5K trailer and get decent mileage will be tough.

Keep the truck and buy a cheap small beater. Something like an old escort or saturn. These are decent cars that will get great mileage. Civics and corollas will too, but, you'll pay for them.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Okay, here are two suggestions:

1. You could buy a beater then set up a deal with your insurance agent to only put the truck on when you're traveling. This would make it financially sensible through both lower insurance rates and lower gas prices.

2. Or you could do this:


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Last edited by Sven7; 01-10-2013 at 08:00 PM..
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