Re: Does anyone own a Dodge Ram Diesel?
I also have a 2004 1500 Hemi Ram and love it (especially the sound when you kick it down to pass someone-that V8 rumble just can't be beat), but you're right about having a diesel for towing. The gas engines just don't have the lugging power that a diesel does, especially climbing hills. The heavier chassis and firmer suspension of the 2500 and 3500 is nice when you have a loaded trailer behind you.
My good friend owns a Dodge dealership with a large number of their truck sales being deisels to farmers and ranchers (many of whom usually don't maintain their trucks very well). In all the years of working on the Cummins, they have only to do a complete teardown a handful of times. The transmissions also seem to be quite solid. I guess if they have one complaint about the Cummins (prior to the 2007) is they seem to be quite a bit noisier that the Fords and Chevs. They seem to have rectified this in the 2007s.
My dad runs a 2006 Ford F250 powerstroke for his farming operation and his lumberyard. He routinely pulls a 30' 5th wheel flatdeck loaded with building materials and has had no issues with his truck although I have read publications that the powerstrokes did have a higher warranty work rate than Cummins and Duramax.
Another friend of mine just got back from a snowmobile trip into the Rocky Mountains with 4 snowmobiles on a trailer (averaging probably 550 lbs each plus the trailer) behind his 2006 Duramax, and he doesn't think the transmission downshifted once, even on the 10% inclines you encounter in the mountains.
Although Dodge is closest to my heart, I don't think that you will make a mistake buying any one of the 3 North American diesels. You can usually put a lot more miles on a diesel, and they usually maintain a higher resale value compared to gasoline trucks.