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Old 10-14-2012, 02:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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2004 Dodge Ram - had to bite the bullet and get a truck

Hello ecomodders. I'm starting this thread preemptively. I had to bite the bullet and get a truck, and I've located an immaculate 2004 dodge ram 1500 that fits my price range. I don't own it yet, but I will this week. I need to carry a payload of 1500 pounds, including four adults and all the gear of a touring funk band. I have been driving a corolla since 2006 which has done me well, but I have to make sacrifices in what I can bring for a show, due to it's capacity. Also, loading and unloading quickly, i have beat the hell out of the interior.

Now I'm faced with at least 30 out of town shows in the next year, and the occasional rental when I need something bigger won't work.

This truck will be driven %90 for this purpose, and then occasionally around the city. I'm keeping the Corolla for my regular driving - as I'm a Realtor in my day job, I can't use a truck for my daily needs - it's just too expensive on gas.

Here's a picture of the truck I'm getting (not the actual one, but the exact same model:

I've done very well with my Corolla just using the driving tricks learned on this forum. My best tank of gas yielded just about 800km (mostly highway).

My first step with the truck will be to take it out and learn how to drive it. I'm not used to the power, and it will have a 5.7 hemi (just rear wheel drive though). The gas pedal is extremely reactive to the slightest touch, so I will have to get used to that first.

I will be driving somewhere in the realm of 20000km in the first year and a half, so a few extra MPG will make a huge difference.

My first thoughts for aero stuff were the simple basics:

1 Front air dam
2 Grill blocking (I'm in Canada and it's almost winter, so I can block a lot).
3 Bed cap - (very important, needs to be secure and watertight - it's carrying instruments, amps, and a PA system - so I don't have much room to mess around with building one) - if someone can recomend the most aerodynamic production model available to me, I would appreciate it.
4 Rear wheel skirts
5 Wheel covers - I still havent seen a method on this forum that is reliable without drilling through the rims. The truck comes with chrome rims, and I need to maintain resale value - so there will be no drilling here.
6 Belly pan (i'm not familiar with the underside of the truck yet to know what needs to be covered, and how to attach it.

EPA is 19 for highway driving (which is all I care about). My first goal is 27mpg


Last edited by non-prophet; 10-14-2012 at 03:01 PM..
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Old 10-14-2012, 03:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I want to make this look good, so I'm planning ahead. Here are some points of inspiration:







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Old 10-14-2012, 03:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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So, the air dam that extends past the width of the truck... any thoughts?
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Old 10-14-2012, 03:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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make sure it has mds, that'll help with mpg.
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Old 10-14-2012, 04:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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From wikipedia " It debuted in 2004 on the 5.7 L modern Hemi V8" The one i have lined up is the 5.7 Hemi v8. How do I confirm it has MDS? It appears that they only added it to the trucks in 2006.

A 2006 is out of my price range still at the moment.
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Old 10-14-2012, 05:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re. Flat wheel covers firmly attached without drilling into rim:
I did it by drilling into the acorn lugnut caps. Epoxied 8x32 stainless nuts inside. That gave something to anchor the wheel covers to.

My first version flat wheel covers were perforated aluminum from home depot but I later had to replace with primed 2.7 mm. Lauan plywood. You may prefer plexiglass or ?? I'm pretty sure I wrote it up in a thread in the DIY forum.
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Old 10-14-2012, 06:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks Bruce, actually, I vaguely remember your thread. I'll probably do it with aluminum or lexan. I'm planning to paint them to match the cap I get for the bed - which won't end up being the colour of the truck, since I need to find deals wherever I can.

I'll give your thread another read though. I think at the time, I had discounted the idea because I didn't have the facilities to drill through the lugnut caps. I do now though...
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Old 10-14-2012, 06:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have nothing good to say about Dodge autos being that I own one. All I could say is maybe an Aero topper that you can lift up like a pop up camper, smaller tires (diameter, not thickness or width from stock) and lowered.

If you have an MT your dodge becomes infinately more usable and usefull, food for thought in the future when the transmission craps out in 45k (sorry but that seems to be the way it goes)

Cheers
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Old 10-14-2012, 06:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks RMAY, this has to last me for about 3 years. It's a 2004 in immaculate condition, owned by a Dodge employee. It has 200,000 km on it. It's the only truck I've seen in my price range that is doable around here. It literally has been kept like a new vehicle.

What is an MT?
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Old 10-14-2012, 06:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by non-prophet View Post
Thanks RMAY, this has to last me for about 3 years. It's a 2004 in immaculate condition, owned by a Dodge employee. It has 200,000 km on it. It's the only truck I've seen in my price range that is doable around here. It literally has been kept like a new vehicle.

What is an MT?
MT = Manual transmission

Dodge slushboxes are very challenging to hypermile and usually end up with electronic problems. (ask me how I know)

My truck as a Manual can easily get 22mpg, as an Auto its a challenge to get the EPA rating.

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