Test drove a few trucks. Ram Pentstar V6?

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1,215
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Greenville, SC via Chicago, IL
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I'm considering the purchase a newer preowned truck next year. My main uses will be towing my 3000lb boat w/ the family. I currently have two car seats so a crew cab is a must have. I drove a new Frontier SV 4x4. I drove better than I expected and didn't have any qualms with it. I liked it and its road manners. I drove a new Tacoma as well and preferred the Frontier. I was quoted 27k OTD for the Frontier, and 32K OTD for the Tacoma. Both were cramped with the car seats that I carried around to stick in the trucks during the test drives. The Tacoma had a nicer interior and s neat slow drop lift gate. I then drove a Ram 1500 classic crew cab w/ Pentstar v6, 4x4. It's longer, wider, tows slightly more, gets better gas mileage. Under the hood was roomy with ample space to work on in the future. I've located a few 2019 Ram 1500 classics, 4x4, V6, with under 20k miles for $22k-23k, which is the SAME price as a slightly used Frontier. With that said, my focus and research has shifted to the Ram as it is a better value on paper. Anyone have first hand experience with the Pentstar platform and ZF 8 speed? I'll be keeping this truck for 10+ years.
 
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1,901
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WY
The ZF 8 speed is supposedly the best torque converter style transmission being built right now. The Pentastar has a few known issues from the past that have probably been worked out by the '19 model year. There were a slew of not hard enough valve train components early on and an oil leak issue with the oil filter adapter/cooler assembly. Probably a good choice if it has the remaining drivetrain warranty and it's low mileage,.
 

JC1

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Oshawa, Ontario Canada
Pentastar motor has been around since 2011. It's a great motor. I don't know if I'd want to do a ton of towing with the Pentastar, but for occasion towing I'm sure it will be fine. There was engine leaks with the oil filter housing previously. If you change your own oil make sure you don't tighten the capoke a gorilla. I use the Fram Ultra on my caravan and leave it on for two OCI. I don't know enough about the 8 SPD tranny, just whatever you do with the tranny male sire you use the correct fluid in it. Do the Rams come with an external transmission cooler for towing?
 
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MI
My co-worker recently had a pleasant experience buying a GMC truck through Car Max, but his desire for single cab, minimal upgrades resulted in a spectacular deal. I cannot help with your specific request, only to say that you have to really dig deep to overcome internet bias and determine if any particular Achilles heel that EVERY truck brand has now is a legitimate deal breaker. My input: determine if FCA has eliminated the premature rust causing body insulation of the 2013+ generation: https://www.ramforumz.com/threads/check-your-fenders-rust-bubble.240109/ Best of luck finding your dream machine.
 
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On another site
Originally Posted by dja4260
Anyone have first hand experience with the Pentastar platform and ZF 8 speed? I'll be keeping this truck for 10+ years.
Not first hand, but secondhand and from this site. The Pentastar is a solid engine with the kinks worked out. The 8 speed is a very good unit and I would think the combo will be good to go. (FWIW use 5w-30 in the Pentastar, it was the original specification and nothing in the oiling system has changed)
 
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missouri
Everyone is horsepower crazy right now. I used to pull a 3000 lb boat just fine with 120 HP V6 in a S10 5 speed.. You might have to actually think to pass and merge. You will not hit 80 on an uphill merge. You can still outrun every semi so you are good. If you have any long uphills you probably want to manually down shift and let the engine wind a bit. It is gas and 4000 RPM for 5 minutes will not hurt it. It circulates the water and oil better. I assume the transmission has a trailer tow mode, you should use it. If you have hills or stout headwinds I would get some premium in there so the timing will not retard and you keep power. Use a Dexos or other high quality oil to help fight low speed preigintion. Rod
 
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2,217
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utah
If you have car seats that makes a full size they way to go. I was set to buy a ZR2 until the reality of what space was left after the big car seat was installed. Ended up finding a perfectly equipped for me used repo deal on a gmc 1500 slt 6.2. Not exactly the same as a pentastar ram, but it was only 31k and the interior didnt show wear. Sometimes a used truck makes sense but often you can get better deals brand new with a good haggle.
 
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The Midwest
I test drove new full size trucks last year. Yep, the Ram has the best automatic transmission compared to Chevy and Ford. Oddly, the 10 speed automatic seemed to do a better job in a 2019 Ranger than a 2019 F150. The Ram has the best ride of any truck. Full size Ford, Chevy/GMC and Ram trucks have huge discounts off the sticker when bought new. It's not uncommon to see 1-2 year old ones sell for what a new one is because there are enough buyers out there that don't know any better.
 

JC1

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Oshawa, Ontario Canada
To the OP check your local high volume ram dealer. You might be able to get a brand new Ram with excellent rebates. That was the case in September 2015 when I was buying my caravan.
 
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Southern NJ
In your case I'd lean towards the Ram. If I were after a full size, I'd likely be getting the Ram. My uncle has the V6 in his Ram Warlock. It's a nice truck. I get a kick out of how many people are surprised the dated Frontier still drives very well. The Tacoma is the worst driving vehicle I've ever driven. Frontier SV is a solid value. I love my truck in the mid-size segment. Gas mileage is horrendous though. It's built well, has a smooth shifting 5spd automatic, torquey V6 engine and reliable.
 
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3,021
Location
Ca.
Originally Posted by dja4260
I'm considering the purchase a newer preowned truck next year. My main uses will be towing my 3000lb boat w/ the family. I currently have two car seats so a crew cab is a must have. I drove a new Frontier SV 4x4. I drove better than I expected and didn't have any qualms with it. I liked it and its road manners. I drove a new Tacoma as well and preferred the Frontier. I was quoted 27k OTD for the Frontier, and 32K OTD for the Tacoma. Both were cramped with the car seats that I carried around to stick in the trucks during the test drives. The Tacoma had a nicer interior and s neat slow drop lift gate. I then drove a Ram 1500 classic crew cab w/ Pentstar v6, 4x4. It's longer, wider, tows slightly more, gets better gas mileage. Under the hood was roomy with ample space to work on in the future. I've located a few 2019 Ram 1500 classics, 4x4, V6, with under 20k miles for $22k-23k, which is the SAME price as a slightly used Frontier. With that said, my focus and research has shifted to the Ram as it is a better value on paper. Anyone have first hand experience with the Pentstar platform and ZF 8 speed? I'll be keeping this truck for 10+ years.
3K? - its going to be fine. Nice truck. The late model pentastars are pretty nice and the ZF late tunes are also nice - early ones not so much As ragtop is right - People have been towing more for decades with comparatively v8 weak mills and rigs. Take care of your fluids and keep them fresh and clean and you'll be fine. Bitog is a car focused site and sayings like you'll wear the car out before the motor/ engine d thats by and large true for cars. Trucks not so much - Especially naturally aspirated towing rigs that rev and stay revved up for long periods of time. You rolling along in the hills at 3K for hours while the sedan following you is at about 2K is a 40% difference to the engines rotating assembly I do everything I can to keep the particle count down and use top tier filters, I put mags everywhere, and do regular drain and fills to the trans after hot towing seasons. Keeping that thing chain as clean as is reasonable won't hurt. Enjoy your new to you truck. UD
 
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Ca.
Originally Posted by buster
In your case I'd lean towards the Ram. If I were after a full size, I'd likely be getting the Ram. My uncle has the V6 in his Ram Warlock. It's a nice truck. I get a kick out of how many people are surprised the dated Frontier still drives very well. The Tacoma is the worst driving vehicle I've ever driven. Frontier SV is a solid value. I love my truck in the mid-size segment. Gas mileage is horrendous though. It's built well, has a smooth shifting 5spd automatic, torquey V6 engine and reliable.
Agreed. Ive got guys at work with both frontiers and tacos and canyons - Im the odd man out with a ridgeline Frontier is a solid choice and a stout midsized truck The 4.0 6 is a great mill- it does drink though. Is 4WD drive works great in the Sierra Nevadas Totally agreed on the ride of the tacos - driving long distance on our lousy highways is a bone jarring experience.
 
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4WD

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13,169
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Texas
Friend just traded in his 2018 RAM … too much time at the dealership between problems, recalls and TSB's … Oh, and MPG/range while towing He's not the first at our office to switch back to prior brand. I normally stay out of these things … but if you are buying over that interior, maybe get an SUV …
 
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3,201
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Northern Ontario, Canada
I work at a Ram store. For your towing and space needs, the V6 crew is a great combo. Had a co-worker that traded up to a hemi from the V6 - he was towing about 5,500 lbs. and wanted the extra capability of the hemi.
 
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Texas
I have owned 2 Hemi Ram V8's and 2 Jeep Wranglers with the 3.6 Pentastar. I have to say the 3.6 is a weak motor that is stressed just pushing around a 4000 pound Jeep. I don't care what it says on paper, this thing is always revving and shifting up and down. I'm sure it is a tough LITTLE motor but why not run with the big dogs and get the 5.7 V8 hemi for a few hundred dollars more? I'm getting 18MPG overall.
 
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1,786
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Pennsylvania
Nothing wrong with the V6 in a Ram 1500. Be sure to get one with 3.55 gears vs the standard 3.21. 3.55's give around 7,000 pounds towing capacity.
 
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pa
first off there are NO hemi's for several years, its only advertising. anything with DI ONLY will see carbon issues in the long run + torque which is power at lower rpm rules NOT hp ratings. the 10 spds ARE having issues. having the 4.0 frontier i can vouch for its better torque in its class + its still port injected a plus in my book. lots of options for sure + IMO simple is better in the long run. ALL pickups are OVERPRICED especially 4 WD hence the overloaded crew cabs with 10G off. i wish you luck as MANY of todays vehicles can be LESS than reliable + cost as much as a simple older house in many areas!!! although trucks hold value better the more you spend the more $$$ you loose in the end!!!
 

JTK

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12,861
Location
Buffalo, NY
I absolutely love my 2017 Ram 1500 4x4 quad cab with the pentastar. I bought it used in 2018 with 12K miles on it for $23K. I'm currently at 43K trouble free miles. It's got more power than I need and is a pleasure to drive and be in. Amazing fuel economy as well. I don't get less than 19-20mpg in the dead of winter with all kinds of 4x4 use and 22-23 in the warmer months tank to tank. The pentastar and 8HP45 is a real gem IMO. If towing is a concern, find a classic with the 3.55 gears. They can tow something like 6700lbs, where the standard 3.21's is pretty low. 4700? This is in pentastar quad cab, 4x4 format. I highly recommend this particular truck. We also have a 2017 Frontier 4.0L, 4x4 crew cab long bed in the family. FIL bought it as an ex rental with 8K miles on it for $24. It's a nice truck, but I like mine better in terms of driving it, it's ride and much better fuel economy.
 
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1,215
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Greenville, SC via Chicago, IL
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Originally Posted by nickaluch
The V6 will work just fine for you just don't test drive one with the hemi because you won't purchase one with the V6.
I have zero desire for the bigger power options. I'm simple, I only require power windows, cruise control, and keyless entry. If I had an option, I'd opt for the steel, plain wheels. I'm simple. I would tow 10-12 times per boating season, and drive it to work 1.8 miles away, 205 days a year. I prefer the smaller Frontier but the cost is the same. It's not the better value....
 
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