2008 Dodge Ram 1500

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Jun 24, 2004
Top of Virginia
For what it's worth, I internally "traded" my 2006 Ford F-150 4x4 at work for a 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4. The Ford was an extended cab with the rear suicide doors, but the Dodge is a full 4-door cab. Differences are numerous, and I'll try and enumerate them here. The Ford has the 5.4L engine (3-valve 300 hp version I think) and 4-speed automatic. The best part I liked about this truck was the powertrain smoothness and throttle mapping. The electronic throttle would become much less sensitive when in 4-Lo. This was helpful in off-pavement situations. I also liked how you could force a 2nd gear start with the gear selector in 2nd. That pretty much concludes what I liked about this truck. I didn't think it was particularly comfortable (the seats were pretty bad), the ride was very jiggly, the bed was very jiggly, and the engine had a rather coarse sound to it. As much marketing as Ford did on the sturdiness of the F-150's frame, I'm rather unimpressed with how it rides and drives. The bed shake is very telling. The engine isn't all that peppy either, though it probably has a rather tall final drive in the axle. What really drove me nuts was the plastic surround for the floor-mounted transfer case shifter. My right shin would rest against it and begin hurting after 5 minutes in the truck. This is a huge oversight in my opinion. The Dodge has the 4.7L, and I think it's the newer one with about 300 hp. I think it has the 545RFE. Simply put, this powertrain is leaps and bounds better than the Ford's. The exhaust note has a decided bark to it, but you can't really hear the engine in the cab unless you're above around 2000 rpm. It's also decidedly faster than the Ford, which surprised me because the engine is smaller and the truck is likely heavier (with the 4 real doors). The Dodge's 4x4 is activated electronically rather than the Ford's manual lever. I have not had a chance to use this feature yet. The sound system in the Dodge is much nicer than the one in the Ford and the cab is much quieter. The whole truck is more refined, despite both models being "base" or "work truck" models. I like the ergonomics of the Dodge's dash better, though don't really care for the Rubbermaid look to it. The Ford's dash was also hard plastic, but it looked a little nicer. The Dodge has little, if any, bed shake/rattle. It's a very tight truck. I've always liked Ford's Modular engines, and actually never really cared for Dodge's 4.7L, but I must say that my mind has changed based on these two. The 4.7L feels like a very tight little engine, one that revs enthusiastically and responds nearly instantly. The Ford's engine, in comparison, feels rather lethargic and not very energetic. Comments from anyone with "work truck" models of these two? To me, the Dodge clearly has the better truck. I wonder what the cost difference is, provided the same cab/bed length (seems like the Dodge has more sound-deadening materials and creature comforts).
Originally Posted By: Hokiefyd
Dodge clearly has the better truck. .
Surprising to hear, my F150 4.6 has held up great. Let us know how it holds up in the long run
It would seem this thread is about refinement and driving enjoyment, not durability. Sounds like Dodge has spent their money in the right places. The newer 4.7's are a tremendous improvement over the originals, and the whole truck is a very nice package.
Originally Posted By: SteveSRT8
It would seem this thread is about refinement and driving enjoyment, not durability.
Yeah, it's too early to tell about reliability for either. The Ford has a number of NVH issues though. There's a nasty rattle in the front dash area when cold, and only when the engine is at idle and in drive. If you hold the brake and crowd the throttle a little bit, the noise goes away. The seat also squeaks when you sit in it. One of the front door catch mechanisms needs replacing because when you open the front driver door, it catches until it POPS near half open. And as is typical for F-150s of this era, the blue oval on the grille is faded/washed out bad and most of the black writing in the side and rear chrome emblems has scratched off. Overall, the mechanicals seem fine, and the transmission is a very smooth one. But there are lots of small details that require attention in my opinion.
That's interesting. The last 4.7 Ram I drove for any length of time was a 2006 and it really struggled to move the Quad Cab SLT 4x4 truck around. I think that version was in the 235 HP range though. The F-150's manual t-case may have a reliability advantage over the really long term. Electric shift motors can get cranky in old age. Ford's base sound systems are not great, but the optional ones are some of the better ones you can get in a truck IMO. The AM/FM systems usually only come with 2 speakers (at least in the Ranger) and you may as well replace everything if you care about sound quality. Dodge's are not much better in my experience though. My roommate's Liberty got a new headunit when the original (same as in a Ram) decided to display "88:88" all the time. As for NVH, Ford really skimps on insulation and sound deadening in base model pickups. My XL trim Ranger had virtually no insulation anywhere. Lots of noise got transferred to the cab. My current XLT has insulation and sound deadening everywhere, and it's as quiet as most cars on the highway aside from tire noise. The two trucks feel/sound completely different. I'd give the Ram 2 more years and report back. Time can really take a toll on a work truck. 2 more years of day to day wear and tear could have it looking and riding much like the F-150 does now.
I prefer the manual shift lever on the F-150, but the plastic surround was poorly-designed. The one on our previous work truck, a 1997 F-250, was much better. The part where your leg rested was flat and comfortable. The newer F-150's surround is rounded and creates a pressure point on your leg. The F-150 has four speakers, and they sound okay. I don't like how you can't have the radio station and clock displayed at the same time. The Ram will display both. The Ram's base radio also has an MP3 jack. I suspect you are right about the lack of insulation. When I was in college, I worked as an Advance Auto delivery driver, and drove Rangers daily, sometimes for a full 6 or 8 hours. There was NO insulation in those. I preferred the 4-cylinder one. The one V-6 we had sounded like it was lubricated with marbles. Some more about that F-250 we had. It was a '97 model, and was the rounded body style. It had a 4.6L and was treated extremely rough. It was my boss' truck when I got here in 2003. I remember hitting my head on the roof of the truck with him driving, flying off ruts on sand roads. That truck would get air at least once a week. It was a very sturdy vehicle, and could probably go toe-to-toe with any truck for durability. The Ram 1500 feels a lot like that '97 F-250...tight as a drum and solid. The F-150 feels very "light" in comparison, less heavy duty. It would, obviously, compared with an F-250, but it's impressive how tight this Dodge 1500 is. The point of my thread wasn't really to bash the Ford, but to praise the Dodge (see thread title). The Ford is simply used as comparison, because they're two trucks intended for the same market (both 150/1500 series "work truck"/XL models).
I know what you are talking about on the 4x4 shifter, the newer design is more awkward than the old surround which was out of the way. Dodge has made leaps and bounds with their trucks over the last few years. Not that they were horrible before, but it seems like they are making more of an effort to distinguish their trucks in quality and fit/finish. If you look at a 2000 Ram, a 2002 Ram, a 2006 Ram, and a new Ram side by side, you can easily see where quality improvements were made with each generation.
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