This 1997 Dodge Ram 3500 Still Won’t Die After 12 Transmissions and 1,500,000 Miles

Nothing beats a good old pickup truck. Regardless of where our truck loyalties may lie, this 1997 Dodge Ram 3500 is one of the more impressive trucks in the game. Even though most moving parts have been replaced a time or 10, this old Dodge Ram pickup truck takes all its owner can throw at it and seems hungry for more. Reckon if you throw three different Cummins diesel engines in a truck, it’ll last for a while. 

Up close grille photo of a 1997 Ram 3500 with 1.5 million miles
1997 Dodge Ram 3500 with 1.5 million miles | Pickup Truck Plus SUV Talk

How many miles can a Ram 3500 last? 

This 1997 Ram 3500 may be a bad example to base your old truck-buying decisions on, but at least it proves you can get 1.5 million miles out of a Ram. Over the years, we have seen people get crazy long lives out of cars and trucks from time to time. Remember the 400,000-mile Mitsubishi Mirage

According to Motor1, an Oregon man has kept his 1997 Ram 3500 rolling for over 1.5 million miles. This fella bought his Ram new in ‘97 and has driven it another full car lifetime over one million miles – really think about that for a second. 

As Motor1 points out, the badge may read “5500,” but that was a goof badge put on to be funny; the Ram 5500 didn’t exist at this point. Yes, the million-and-a-half Ram 3500 might look a little frayed around the edges, but it has never had any paintwork. All things considered, it is looking pretty dang good for its age. 

How many Cummins diesel engines does it take to get to the center of a Ram 3500?

The Ram’s owner mainly uses it as a workhorse to tow boats, RVs, and trailers. This Ram 3500 wasn’t just putting around the farm or doing easy highway miles; this thing was working. It worked so hard, in fact, that its owner did two Cummins diesel swaps to get it to this point. 

It actually had two Cummins diesel engine swaps and one rebuild of the original Cummins from the factory. In fact, the current Cummins has 500,000 miles on it. There might be another rebuild/swap in the Ram’s near future.

a 1997 Dodge Ram 3500 with its owner standing in front of it
1997 Dodge Ram 3500 | Pickup Truck Plus SUV Talk

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Aside from the engine replacements and rebuild, this million-mile Ram needed a bit more love still. Over the years, this heavy-hauler 1997 Ram 3500 has chewed some gears up. The owner says he had put 12 different NV4500 transmissions in it before he learned how to drop a G56 six-speed transmission in the Ram.

 I guess all that hauling took its toll on the trans. 12 transmission replacements is an unreal amount of dedication to keep the same truck. 

Does he plan on buying a new 3500?

Nope. The dedicated ‘97 Ram 3500 owner says he doesn’t want a new truck because they lack a mechanical engine bay. He wants to be able to work on his own truck, and he’d rather stick with what he’s got. 

If replacing the engine and transmission isn’t something that bothers you, why not keep the same truck forever? This man deserves a lot of respect, not only for his handiness but also for his dedication to not wasting something that can be continually fixed. There is a resolve there that we could probably all use a little more of – as long as we don’t mind buying a barn full of Cummins and transmissions.