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Old 02-19-2017, 07:05 AM   #11 (permalink)
Master EcoModder
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
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2004 CTD - '04 DODGE RAM 2500 SLT
Team Cummins
90 day: 19.36 mpg (US)
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Okay, shifting. These are light duty trucks by classification. We were lucky Dodge chose both a medium duty engine and transmission. Rated above 30,000-lbs duty.

Tradeoff is that it's a slow revving engine and the transmission, though synchronized, is also slow.

The operators manual will tell you --and I fully agree -- every gear every time. First is not a granny when one has stock tire sizing and 3.73 gears. It's set up for a highway working range of 55-65/mph.

It shifts slowly. There is the barest pause across the Neutral gate that you'll learn to anticipate. Done right the shifter will LITERALLY fall into the next gear. If you can fingertip the NV5600 into next gear, you're getting it.

Driving one of these is not about throttle opening. The throttle only exists to move between gears. It is gear choice that matters. Around town, as these are hard to stop, a lower gear that allows only 37 in a 45 is what I'm talking about. Safety first.

As to what rpm: slightly above 2k makes shifts easiest (solo). Just above 1500 is adequate for economy, it one is pushing ones luck in some situations.

The truck is very happy with town rpms and and shifts 16-1800. Use that as template. Can't go wrong.

Don't skip First. Bad habit. It's about getting truck rolling easily and that's all about gearing. First is short, but it's a matter if being good at shifting. That'll take about 10k miles as with other muscle memory problems to solve. Make an exception for downhill and turning left across broad open six lane with suicide center.

Keeping up with traffic is irrelevant. One wants the morons far ahead for maximum space. And space is the magic that produces best results.

In the big truck I'm already into the High side of the transmission and going from 6th to 7th gear at about 20-mph.

In the pickup I'm looking to ease my way up. Let the engine be as natural and unstrained as is reasonable. Light load. Not, no load.

Conversely, with my 35' TT, my shifts are up above 2500-rpm and I'm looking to keep manifold pressure high. From shift to shift. Learn to read gauges. Read on "progressive shifting" if you want to learn how the old hands got a million miles from a Big Cam Cummins of yesteryear.

These trucks are grossly overpowered when solo. A 10-12k trailer is a nice little workout. Lives longer due to a good load. When I ran these in the oilfield, the trailers were often above 20k. We worked them hard. Time constraints. Still lasted over 300k.

One of the best things you could do for you and truck is to hook up a low height 10k trailer and really learn how to get it rolling and get it stopped. Run it hard. Very smoothly. (This is about average speed. I have to run WV Turnpike today. It's a workout to keep average speed "up").

These engines don't like featherfoot / no load. Meant to work. Need to fit that in once in a while.

2004.0 DODGE Ram QC/LB 2500 2WD/NV-5600 305/555 ISB. 7,940-lb. Stock. 200,000 miles/5000-hrs @ 40-mph average.
1990 35' Silver Streak TT 7,900-lb.
11-cpm solo & 19-cpm towing; 21-mpg average past 54k-miles
Sold: 1983 Silver Streak 3411

Last edited by slowmover; 02-19-2017 at 07:17 AM..
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