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Gas Rollbacks, Ram 5500 or F550?


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Does anyone on here have experience with the gas Dodge or Ram 5500's as a rollback?  I'm not going to be running police calls or impounding things, just taking the calls I ALREADY get so I don't have to send them to other companies.  The towing companies around me are going to be upset when I stop giving them free business, but my wife spends enough time on the phone handing out phone numbers that I'd rather we make that money ourselves.  I think we're ready.


So everybody has a Ford.  And a lot of them are sick of the problems with late model diesels and all the exhaust fluid and EGR issues and regeneration and poor performance.  Some of those have switched back to gas.  Then I see horror stories about the V10 engine cam/follower/head issues.  They seem to show up regardless of weight class (F450, F550, F650) and upfitting (rollback, wrecker, service body, dump, etc).  More so on engines that idle a lot and run PTO stuff and that sure sounds like a tow truck duty cycle to me.  I don't have a problem with the fuel mileage they get.  I definitely like the lower cost of maintenance overall.  Less oil, lower cost of parts, shorter labor times for repairs.  Gas is cheaper than diesel at the moment and has been for awhile.  It's enough of a difference that the lower MPG isn't a factor.  This engine has been built since 1998-1999 in these Ford trucks and there are still problems two DECADES later, and THAT worries me.


So the other small gas option without going back to late 90s 3500HD trucks is the Ram 5500 (used to be called Dodge but Ram is it now, so forum name needs an update?)  FCA has been building the RAM 5500 with the 6.4 liter Hemi engine for five years now.  2014 models were the first to be offered with this engine and there are a handful of used ones for sale around the country with a rollback bed that I've found so far and it seems they either hold their value MUCH better than the Ford F550 or people are really proud of them.


I can say just from looking at asking prices today, that Ford F550 rollbacks 2014-2017 are selling for anywhere from $32,000 to $45,000.  The Ram equivalents are fetching $45,000 to $60,000, with similar miles, similar beds, similar condition.  So that makes me think it's worth going with the Hemi.  This will be the first truck for a new company and I want it to be nice and I'm even considering a new one.  That'll be more like $70,000 but if it is RELIABLE I don't care what the cost is.  It would NOT serve me well to get the Ford and then have to put an engine in it within the first year.  Forum posts are saying these issues can start as early as 40,000 miles and that's pretty disgusting to me. Kills me to spend $60,000 or more for a truck and then drink burnt coffee waiting on a TSB or recall to be worked on, or worse yet, waiting for them to total up a $5K repair for something in the design that isn't my fault.


Don't get me wrong, if I can get financing for it, I'll GLADLY buy a 3500HD that's well sorted.  Have plenty bookmarked and watched and saved and I'll be submitting those to the finance company as well.  Just not so sure an old truck is right for a company's FIRST truck.  And that's where something less than 5 years old makes sense.  I couldn't care less for something BRAND new, just looking almost new is good enough, could probably go back to what, 2011 on the Ford and it'll still look like up to 2016.


I have also seen some posts saying Ford is about to do away with the 6.8L gas V10 and replace it and the 6.2L gas V8 with a single engine, a 7.0L gas V8.  I'm going to assume it will be a new design and not related to the old 385 series engines (370/429/460).  I would be concerned about durability on a new design but at least it would be under warranty for awhile.

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Dodge in general and a little bit of the gas engine was discussed recently in a similar thread (in the Ford section) - 


I'll add that recently I know of two Dodge 4500's (self-loaders, not rollbacks) with the 6.4 gas engine that have suffered somewhat expensive engine failure due to lifters or valve problems.  Small sample size but I don't know many people here with Dodge gas trucks, and yet that's a lot of failures considering.  I know of more that ran the Ford gas engine and had about equally bad luck, though.



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  • 9 months later...
  • 2 years later...

I see this is an older topic, but thought I would chime in.

I have a 2016 F550 with 6.8 and 2021 F550 with 7.3 engine. Best thing I ever did was switch from diesel to gas, 0 engine problems.

Edited by Beautiful BC
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