Cummins 8-Speed: 1992 Dodge Ram 250 LE

Cummins-powered Dodge Rams are among the increasingly collectible models of the late 80s and early 90s. They’ve been simmering for a while, but with the cool factor of 1980s cars and trucks continuing to grow, it was only a matter of time before the Ram pickup of this era began to heat up. Throw in the legendary reputation of the Cummins diesel powerplant and it’s of little surprise to see this extended cab pickup already cresting $10,000. The truck belonged to the seller’s father who can no longer drive, so it’s up for grabs here on eBay and located in Paonia, Colorado, with just over 165,000 miles on the clock.

The 12-valve Cummins is a desirable machine, for a multitude of reasons. The reliability factor is one, but also the prodigious amounts of torque available at a very low RPM is another. This example is even equipped with the rarely-seen five-speed manual transmission, which should make the rich torque curve even more enjoyable to dig into. The seller notes that the truck drives quite well, but is cosmetically challenged. That’s not a concern to the large pool of potential buyers, as this truck is bought to work, not for looking pretty. The bodywork, though dinged, dented, and scratched, is not rusty, thanks to the dry Colorado climate.

The interior features surprisingly deep-bolstered bucket seats and a large center console. These trucks were high on comfort as well, with plenty of space to spread out in. The Dodge is loaded up with power features, including locks, windows, mirrors, steering, and brakes, along with air conditioning, a tilt steering wheel, and AM/FM radio with CD player. The interior isn’t in perfect condition and does display signs of wear and tear commensurate with the mileage, but it’s nothing a decent upholstery specialist couldn’t repair. The seller notes his father installed a “…. Gear Venders Under/Overdrive installed so now there are between gears from 3rd thru 5th. This is really nice on the highway.”

The 2500 12-Valve Cummins turbo diesel is a stout inline-six design that generates an astounding 400 lb.-ft. of torque and respectable 160 b.h.p. The engine is a testament to the benefit of using over-engineered components with heavy duty construction, as all manners of normal wear-and-tear parts were seemingly upgraded when this engine was designed. Connecting rods, six bolt per cylinder design, forged components – it all adds up to an engine that can tolerate an impressive amount of abuse while also being tuned for huge power if you so desire. The truck seen here isn’t a trailer queen, but it needn’t be – its most attractive components are beneath the skin. What do you think this increasingly valuable Ram will be bid up to?

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  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    I’m surprised that it hasn’t been bid higher than that.
    I thought that these were highly sought after as tow vehicles.

    Like 5
    • Doug

      The one downside to look for on the Diesel trucks of this body style is that they had so much torque that the frame rails could bend under heavy loads. One of my co-workers had that happen to him hauling a fully loaded.4 horse trailer. The pickup bed was no longer level side to side with the cab after that.

      Like 1
  2. MH

    Why does it say 8 speed?

    Like 1
    • Blyndgesser

      5-speed transmission plus the Gear Vendors overdrive (operable in 3rd, 4th, and 5th) gives 8 usable gear ratios.

      Like 14
  3. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Perfect donor for a ‘40’s/‘50’s Power Wagon transplant.

    Like 1
  4. Car Nut Tacoma

    Awesome looking truck! I remember when the Ram Truck looked like this. I must ask. How the hell does one make an 8 spd. out of what was originally a 5 spd gearbox? That’s awesome!

    • BR

      All one needs to do is read the write-up. It was clearly explained. Although the title is very misleading, one could easily assume a 8-speed 8-LL Fuller Roadranger was installed.

      Like 5
  5. Tort Member

    No nothing about the particulars of the 8 speed transmission but bought a brand new 1992 Dodge 3/4 ton 4 wheel drive 5 speed trans behind a Cummins diesel. Bought new Chevy and Ford pickups over the years but none compared to that Dodge. Lots of power, started on the coldest days and pulling a tandem loaded trailer got well over 20 mpg. if I didn’t push too far over the speed limit. Best truck I ever owned!

    Like 5
  6. Chester

    Wonder what this will sell for? If the price is not too bad, would be a good addition for my son to use on the farm. He has been looking for a cheap second work truck. Modern trucks are sissies, not good for work at all and way over priced. I wish they would start making trucks like this again for the real men out there, not just the posers.

    Like 10
    • Dcor

      Chester….bet the name fits too.

      Like 2
      • Mr.BZ


        Like 1
  7. John Szugda

    I sold my 92 with 635000 miles on it and still running strong. I would have to replace the cab for the third time. Great truck!

  8. Howard A Member

    Not sure anyone cares, truck is sold, but this is NOT an “8 speed”, it’s merely a 5 speed with an aftermarket O/D. While technically, you could have 8 forward speeds ( and 2 reverse)I don’t think it was ever intended to be “split shifted”, like a 2 speed rear axle or Roadranger. Even though, an electric 2 speed control was used, and that’s another thing, how do those red knobs get a edge chipped like that? Shifting with a pliers? Anyway, while I’m a big fan of O/D, not in this case. A diesel engine operates efficiently at a narrow rpm, say, on this motor, 1500-2400 rpms. Let’s say, it turns 1800@65, an O/D would drop the rpms, to almost lugging the motor, doing more harm than good. I know, O/D generally means, less rpms, better savings, but not in this case. Old trucker, 10-10, on the side,,,

    Like 5
    • BR

      Hi Howard.
      I quit the trucking game many years ago because I wasn’t home very much, so I became a Merchant Mariner. (Ha!) And I still need to be corrected at times due to failing memory and outright stubbornness.
      The Gear Vendors box is U/D-D/D-O/D. They call it a three speed, but I call it a two speed because D/D is not a speed (input and output shafts rotate at the same speed – nothing is changed).
      So, like you, sometimes it’s a challenge keeping up with technology.

      • BR

        Addendum –
        I have a friend with a ’54 Ford F100 with a Gear Vendors, and yes, they work just like a two speed differential, splits and all.

        Like 1
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      I used to go the rounds with the Chrysler dealers. They got it in their heads that the higher the gear ratio the better they were so they ordered them with 3.08 gears or 3.55 with O/D. I told them 3.73 with an automatic and 4.10 with a manual. That was the general rule of thumb. They argued that it made the engine turn over too fast, making too many injection strokes and consequently poorer economy. I tried to tell them that the less frequently occurring injection strokes were being fed twice as much because the engine was being lugged and the injection pump was opened right up to try to maintain the rpm. But unfortunately they were listening to an expert who was a lot ‘smarter’ than I was. I had a customer who ferried RVs from the plants in the midwest to the sales yards out west. He put over 800K miles on his ’94 5.9 and it kind of died all at once so he replaced it with one of those new “Specially engineered” pass the interceptor gears. Well, it ran horribly! He complained and complained but he was obviously preaching to the choir because they wouldn’t listen. The dealers would asked me for advice and then disavow everything I said. The guy finally took my advice and, at considerable expense, changed his gears to 4.10s. His fuel consumption went way down and his highway speeds increased. He no-longer saw his truck drop to a crawl at the mere sight of a hill. He took his figures to the dealership where he was promptly dismissed as not knowing how to calculate his fuel consumption. He took his figures and sent them to Chrysler which pretty much ignored him. Long story short, he now owns a Ford 6.7L Powerstroke and says he wishes he would’ve done that years before…

      Like 2
  9. Bob

    Great motor but the truck they put it in couldn’t handle it.

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