1998 Dodge Ram 1500 - was I taken advantage of?

I bought a used 98 1500 manual pickup $600 and drove it for a week before the transmission started giving me a problem. I took it to a transmission shop that had it for a month and then told me they couldn’t find a used one for it. They said that I should just cut my losses and junk it. For me to bring in the title and they’ll have their junk guy come and take care of it. I brought it in about 2 weeks ago. Today I logged on to a car purchasing website and seen my truck for sale with a used transmission in it for $2200. I feel like I was taken advantage of. Is this legal?

Were you taken advantage of? Yes
Was it legal? Probably

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The way I see it you ALLOWED them to take advantage of you. There is not likely anything you can do from a legal standpoint. They are a bunch of lowlifes no doubt about that and are probably pulling this crap on others.

The first question you should have asked when told they cannot find a transmission for 98 Ram 1500 is “Come on. There has to be 8 million transmissions lying around out there for a generic Ram pickup”…
There are 132 of them on eBay. Factor in Craigslist, local boneyards, and a dozen other sites and transmission procurement is not a problem.

In retrospect and since this was a manual transmission I mnight ask what problem you were having the transmission? Just curious as the truck may not have even needed a trans.



Again, +1
In every profession, there are charlatans, and–unfortunately–the OP stumbled upon one who is running a trans shop. Not that this will help the OP in his current situation, but in the future, claims such as “we can’t find parts” should be verified through a different source.


They couldn’t find a used transmission for this truck… What did the guy do to search for one? Yell out of his bedroom window?

Those transmissions are available… All day all night. Used…


I’ll be very blunt . . .

What did you expect for $600 . . . ?!

In my neck of the woods, $600 will only get you a vehicle with lots of problems . . . and expensive ones at that

Manual transmissions . . . especially truck transmissions . . . are usually pretty stout

But the clutches are sometimes a different matter

I’ve seen guys diagnose the manual transmission, when in fact it was the clutch that was the problem

Exactly what kind of problems are you having, in regards to the transmission?


Crashing into gear?

pops out of gear?


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I agree. Even here in southern Arizona, where cars don’t rust, anything offered for less than $1000 has major problems, such as needs major engine repairs, major transmission repairs, or has body damage from an accident. Once you get above $1500, you can buy a used car in decent condition, but are unlikely to touch a truck that runs at all for less than $2000 unless the body and interior are beat to hell. Even a Ford or GM truck from the 1990s with over 200,000 miles is going to cost $3000 or more if it runs well and has no body damage.

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You could contact your local consumer protection agency and explain what happened. Find yours here- https://www.usa.gov/state-consumer

I don’t disagree with your advice, but because this is a he said/he said situation–with nothing in writing–it is likely to be an exercise in futility for the OP.

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You think that’s worth it for a 22yr-old $600 pickup truck . . . ?!

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I agree about the he said/she said scenario. All the shop has to do if confronted is state they spent an hour on the phone and got nowhere so as far as they are concerned transmission availability is a dead issue; even though they are lying through their teeth about about making any effort to find one at all.

I hate this kind of thing because even though crooks like this are in the distinct minority they reflect on the profession as a whole and the reputable shops get tarnished also.
I keep wondering if the problem was clutch related and they saw an opportunity to cash in quickly without even touching the transmission itself


I was thinking the same thing myself . . .

Have the customer simply sign the truck over to the shop

Fix/replace the clutch during slow days

Put the truck up for sale . . .

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Yeah, it would be worth it to me. I would do it just on principal. I don’t let anyone get away with stealing from me and that’s how I view what happened.


Man, would I love a softball like that one! That’s when I roll out a list of used transmissions I found online 15 minutes ago and I’m not even a professional that charges people for their expertise in such matters. I’d also like to point out this advertisement selling my old truck that was virtually unrepairable a few days ago…

As they say, trust but verify. After they told ya that, just get on the internet for a few minutes to check availability. I had a shop tell me my Riviera engine was shot with a bad timing chain and offered to buy it. I just had it towed home and fixed it for $150. But $600 was not much of a risk I guess. Maybe you should offer to buy it back just to see the look on their faces.

It’s pretty much a moot point now. I think most of us would not stand still for this. Me? I’d be headed over there with a concealed firearm; lowbrow move or not.

I tend to think the OP is a young guy who was probably intimidated by the entire thing and simply believed the BS that was thrown out there. I have nothing but sympathy for the OP as he got hosed big time.

I don’t know that it would accomplish anything but the OP could go to the county sheriff and file a report on this incident. They will be obligated to investigate it and while they may have lain the BS on the OP pretty thick to begin with it would be very interesting to see what they say when LEOs are involved.

I strongly suspect that this incident is not the first rodeo for those guys. Car comes in with a tailhousing seal leak and they claim the trans is wiped which leads to a cheap purchase and resale.
The sheriff could easily start looking at vehicle transactions from them through the DMV and may find a pattern.


It seems you guys are more upset with the shop, versus whoever sold the truck for $600 . . . ?!

The OPs question is about what happened with the trans shop. He’s not complaining about having to replace the trans on a $600 truck so I think he has realistic expectations there.

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The seller might have been able to get more that $600 for the truck but given the rarity of the NV3500 transmission, this truck can’t be repaired economically.

The fact that the transmission was failing my not have been written on the windshield in bright letters but if you are buying junk you need to be able to examine the junk that you are buying and understand the cost of making the vehicle road worthy. .

We all read the same initial paragraph

And I interpret it a little bit differently

But that’s how it goes