11th Feb 2004, 13:01
I also have a 1997 Dodge Ram 2500/Cummins/Extended Cab/LWB.
I love the dang thing and will NEVER go back to a gasser. I've got about 130K on my truck. I use it for a daily driver and to pull my 33' travel trailer. Plenty of power, even dead-stock. I have the automatic tranny and have not had a single problem with it.
The 4WD has proven plenty strong the few times I've had to engage it. I don't think you'll find much the truck can't lug its way out of.
There are no rattles in the truck, and it doesn't leak a drop of fluid. (Other than the slight seepage I mention below)
At about 120K the bell-housing developed a small crack & had to be replaced.
Currently my front axle seals are seeping, and at some point will have to be replaced.
I've had to adjust the steering gearbox a couple times to get rid of the "wander". I will soon install an after-market steering stabilizer & that should be the end of it.
Twice the threaded adjustment rod on the throttle linkage broke! The first time it stranded me briefly on I-75, until I jammed the broken ends into a section of windshield washer hose and drove home. The second time I was RV-ing up in Pine Mountain, GA, and it broke while I was wandering around Columbus one day. That time I couldn't fix it, so it had to go the dealer, and I had to waste a weekend waiting for the part to show up. This particular threaded adjustment rod is notorious for breaking, and if I can track down whoever it was I saw advertising a stainless steel version, I'll definitely buy one.