Digger i'm just the man you wanna be talking to, but I'm sure all of my buddies on here will frown on me for this post! But, this is a forum of fact and opinion, and this thread is somewhat for fact but mostly opinion I think. One fact is that the Cummins can hold gobs of power. Just go to a diesel show and watch the truck pulls. The stock/street has about an even mix of psd's, ctd's and dmax's. The super street class seems to be about the same but with a few more cummins trucks.... but the pro/modified class you can see that there are significantly more cummins powered trucks vs psd or dmax. The fastest 7.3 I know of is David Lott's truck, he's got all kinds of goodies on that beast and running I believe low 11's, but there are cummins trucks i've seen run low 10's. The lucas oil dragster runs freakin 7 second quarters and last I heard they were shooting for 6 seconds.
Anyways to the opinion part of my post, lol. I owned a 99 F250 crew cab long bed 7.3. I bought it for 18,500 with 112k in June of 04. It wasn't long until I was sold on Ford trucks. The biggest problem I had was just a cam sensor, which are well known to go out on 7.3's and leave you stranded. Other than that, the only things that failed were things that failed normally on all trucks, like my belt tensioner and power door lock actuators. The truck itself was definitely rock solid. Loaded down it still pulled strong and got decent mileage doing it. Speaking of mileage, I got a best of about 18 a couple of times, and was consistent with a combined highway/city 16 mpg average. The tranny was actually strong, despite people's "weak" claims. Throw a good TC in the auto and you've got a great transmission. My stock TC held up and the truck was chipped the entire time I had it. The crew cab interior is great, very roomy and quite comfortable. The speakers are great too, full blast they never distorted or sounded like crap.
I sold it about a month ago and bought an 03 quad cab long bed Ram 2500 Cummins with a 5 spd manual with 92,500 on the odo. I paid just what you're looking to pay, 22k even. I didn't want the older body style, because Marc is right the truck around the engine for the 02 down isn't too great. However, I just don't see where the "tin can body" idea comes into play on the 03 ups. A week after I got it we had some horrible weather blow through one weekend and one storm brought some pretty good size hail. I was out in the storm and couldn't seek cover for my truck so I had to go through it. Most of the hail was a little less than golf ball size and the sound was deafening as it hit my truck but I looked it over real good the next time I washed it and found NO evidence of hail damage. So for 03 up, throw that tin body talk out. As for the power, it's great stock, but once I chipped it I was like holy crap. I had a 140hp TS chip in my powerstroke, but it didn't pull nearly as hard as my cummins with a 130hp predator fuel module. The module was borrowed, but I bought an ATS xcelerator for it. Max 215hp. The tranny is great, stock clutch doesn't slip with the programmer. It rides a little better than my psd did, I give the credit to the front coil over setup. The quad cab is smaller than ford's crew but still better than a ford or gm and older dodge exteneded cab. The megacab is awesome, but a bit overdone. They should've just done it right to begin with. Overall I am really surprised at how much I like this truck.
For durability i'm going to have to go with my old Ford and the reason why is becasue I have not yet put my dodge under the same conditions that I have my psd. I haven't towed in my dodge or hauled anything more than painting tools, equipment and ladders. When I stuff a crapload of shingles or fill the bed with fresh, wet mulch i'll have a better idea. It really took a lot to get my rear end sagging.
For power hands down my Dodge. I remember what my psd felt like stock, and when I drove my dodge stock they felt much same. While my PSD ran really good and was quick for its size, it wouldn't be able to keep up with my dodge. That's just on free flowing exhaust and chips alone.
I haven't towed in my dodge yet so I can't really give a good comparison on this either. I did tow a pretty light trailer a couple of times in my Ford though. It did pretty well, but with an Auto you gotta be concerned about the tranny temp and all that stuff.
Basically I think it just comes down to what you want to do with the truck. If you wanna go all out and totally bomb the truck I would go with the cummins. If you want mileage go with the cummins. I'm getting slightly over 18 city and almost 24.5 in my cummins right now. Some 7.3 guys will claim over 22 or more and they MIGHT be getting that, I really kind of doubt it but there may be a few out there getting those numbers. Not sure about the 6.0, might be the same or slightly better with less cubes. Anyway, what are you really wanting the truck for? I'm curious.....and tired.....i'm going to bed! :pray: