About to buy my first pickup

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Peep6543

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1997
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5.2
This weekend looking at a 1997 1500 SLT Laramie 5.2 with 156k. It is a runner and driver, clean title etc. Comes with a canopy. Listed for $2,800.

Anything I should look for specifically that is know to fail? Any areas that commonly leak? Any red flags?

I appreciate your help!
 

bootyendeavor

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Location
Los Angeles
Ram Year
2006
Engine
5.7
This weekend looking at a 1997 1500 SLT Laramie 5.2 with 156k. It is a runner and driver, clean title etc. Comes with a canopy. Listed for $2,800.

Anything I should look for specifically that is know to fail? Any areas that commonly leak? Any red flags?

I appreciate your help!

I’m new to this app and thread, hard to find where and what to post that people will actually give their feedback. Personally I love the 2nd gen but it’s gotta have a 12 valve Cummins. Obviously diesel is preferred for towing and etc, but I regretted not buying a diesel when I purchased my 06 mega cab.


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Peep6543

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1997
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Truck is solid. No leaks in the driveway, starts up strong, pulls well and shifts smooth. Got it for $2,600.

All switches work, and the dash is not cracked. I might be a cover to keep it that way.

I'm pretty excited! I drive a 2020 outback XT and my wife has a BMW, yet here I am excited to wrench on a 25 year old truck. Can't wait for a dump run.
 

tourrider

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NW PA
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2018
Engine
CTD 6.7
The 97 is a good truck. I put 280k on mine with the 5.2. Towed and plowed snow with it. Never had a single drivetrain issue. I did replace normal thinks like brakes, water pump, alternator, idler pulley, and later the radiator.






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Commander 06

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Pasadena
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2012
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4.7
I had a 98 ram 5.9L love that truck when I bought it I knew it had a bad trans. Replace the trans that trans only last a few months. My mistake was buying from an unknown person the seconded trans was from a shop with personal experience with them they do grate work still only got a year out of that trans.. The 2nd gen rams were know for trans problem... With all that said I still loved that truck and it's a grate first truck.. I now have a 4th gen ram 4.7
 

Matt Bell

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Outside of transmission the steering box sucks. Read head steering makes a good aftermarket one.
 
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Peep6543

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Wow, what are the odds? That place is about 2 miles from my house!

I have read up on the loose steering and mine does wander a little. I'll check the usual suspects for play when I have time, also plan to upgrade the steering stabilizer.
 
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Peep6543

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Long story short I finally got to spend some real time in and around the truck, including driving it home about 200 miles. It ran fine but there are absolutely some leaks underneath. I'm pretty sure I see engine oil and trans fluid.

In a couple days I'll clean the entire area thoroughly and then locate the source of the leaks. Really hoping for just valve cover, pan, and drain plug gaskets but it might be more serious.

The steering is really loose. The guy already had replaced the steering box so I'm going to replace the tie rods, sway bar links and bushings, grease about a half dozen fittings and ball joints, and then beef up the steering damper.

Thoughts on adding the Aftermarket steering stabilizer unit between the frame rails? I've seen mixed opinions.

PXL_20210204_223528262~2.jpg
 

rule18

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Long story short I finally got to spend some real time in and around the truck, including driving it home about 200 miles. It ran fine but there are absolutely some leaks underneath. I'm pretty sure I see engine oil and trans fluid.

In a couple days I'll clean the entire area thoroughly and then locate the source of the leaks. Really hoping for just valve cover, pan, and drain plug gaskets but it might be more serious.

The steering is really loose. The guy already had replaced the steering box so I'm going to replace the tie rods, sway bar links and bushings, grease about a half dozen fittings and ball joints, and then beef up the steering damper.

Thoughts on adding the Aftermarket steering stabilizer unit between the frame rails? I've seen mixed opinions.

View attachment 236432
Congrats on the truck, I'm sure you'll have fun wrenching.
 

rule18

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I’m new to this app and thread, hard to find where and what to post that people will actually give their feedback. Personally I love the 2nd gen but it’s gotta have a 12 valve Cummins. Obviously diesel is preferred for towing and etc, but I regretted not buying a diesel when I purchased my 06 mega cab.


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Tapatalk can be challenging. Try going to the Forum website, might work better for you.
 

thkbaron

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yeah anything could start going at that point. if I had to guess I'd check the front main seal. I replaced one on my 2004 dakota. Trans pan gasket etc.
 
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Peep6543

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Pan and plug gaskets are easy, really hoping it isn't a main.

Interestingly I put about 50 miles on it last night and this morning no drips! Still wet underneath so I'm going to degrease and see what comes next. I'm encouraged. Again, this is a dump and gravel hauler, not my commuter
 

thkbaron

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front main seal isn't bad at all. yank the harmonic balancer off with a puller. pretty straight forward.
 
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Peep6543

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Question on the sway bars. Rock Auto shows front bushings mostly at 30mm but my caliper shows mine about 28mm, is there a standard? Also is there a rear sway bar? I see some things listed for rear but mine doesn't appear to have one...
 
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Peep6543

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You're right, front doesn't look bad at all. Let's hope nothing is coming from the rear main seal. That's a different story.
 
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Peep6543

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It is the rear main seal for sure. I found an excellent write-up from another forum and replacement without removing the trans. The seal is a two piece design.

I've got trans fluid leaking between the trans and transfer case. Looks as though I'll need an extension housing seal and the TC input shaft seal.

Looking forward to getting started.
 
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Peep6543

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Been a little bit and I've chipped away on work when I have time. Cleaned throttle body, new plug wires and cap, valve cover gaskets, new steering linkage, sway bar bushings and links, Rancho steering stabilizer, new rotors and brake pads.

It drives way tighter and the brakes don't pulse. Still spongy because it needs a bleed and the brake fluid is the color of old motor oil.

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Peep6543

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Drivers speaker didn't work and the passenger looked like this. The $28 Walmart pair sounds like a pair of Bose. PO put a serviceable single Din Kenwood HU in.

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Bear_Gibson

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Cape Girardeau, MO
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1999
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Drivers speaker didn't work and the passenger looked like this. The $28 Walmart pair sounds like a pair of Bose. PO put a serviceable single Din Kenwood HU in.

View attachment 238310

View attachment 238311
I did the powerstop calipers and 2500 wheel cylinders on the rear. Along with brake hoses it dramatically improved the brakes.

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