Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Craig asks: You said in a past post that ’90s-era Rams were highly desired trucks and you went on to mention the mechanical fuel injection. Has your opinion changed and what else do you have to recommend these vehicles?
My reply: Indeed, I did – and do!
The ’90s-era (and older) Rams with the Cummins engine especially, because it is a brilliant engine. But mechanically injected diesels in general. They are what diesels are supposed to be all about – meaning, simpler and lower maintenance and more durable than gasoline engines. This is no longer true of modern diesels, which are more complicated than gasoline engines and need as much if not more maintenance and are probably not as durable because they are so complex.
Mechanically injected diesels can run on almost any “diesel” fuel, including vegetable oil. Modern diesels may be able to, but only if modified in most cases. They definitely cannot run without an alternator or battery – being electronically injected. Mechanically injected diesels can be roll or jump started and will run as long as you like without an alternator.
They also do not have DEF or particulate traps that require purging. Their maintenance needs are very low, other than oil and filter changes (and making sure you keep water and such out of the diesel). They are very DIY friendly as well, requiring no elaborate electronic diagnostic equipment to troubleshoot.
I also like these older trucks because they are simpler, generally. Very little in the way of replace rather than repair electronics, as in newer trucks. Transmissions with one rather than three (or more) overdrives (and automatics only). Manual/physically engaged 4WD and throttle rather than knobs/buttons and drive-by-wire.
The main worry with these things is rust and frame integrity especially. When you find a candidate, be sure you make sure it’s solid before you agree to buy it.
Otherwise, I doubt you’ll be unhappy. In fact, I think you’ll be the opposite!
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