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96 Ram 1500 - which upgrade to do first for towing?

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  #1  
Old 07-07-2013, 04:39 PM
robert33844 robert33844 is offline
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Default 96 Ram 1500 - which upgrade to do first for towing?

Hello,

Have a 96 Ram 1500 4x4 5.9 that I will be doing a lot of camper towing with. The climb will be from Phoenix (Elevation 1000ft) to Flagstaff (7000'). The truck did ok first haul, except some of the extended 6% grades slowed me down a bit.

I have three upgrades that I will need to do in steps (unless I win the lottery) and wonder which order I should do them in to maximize the towing ability. I've also listed my ideas, but am open to suggestion from the more seasoned crowd. The truck is primarily used to tow/camp/etc so gas mileage isn't a huge worry. Also, please remember the ambient air temperature in Phoenix is usually over 100 between April/May and October.

Headers (Shorty or long tube while we're at it)

Cold-Air-Intake (CAI or 14x3?)

Gear Ratio from 3.55 to 4.10 (or other?)

Any help is appreciated.

Robert
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  #2  
Old 07-07-2013, 04:58 PM
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How much does the camper weight?
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Old 07-07-2013, 05:12 PM
Arde Arde is offline
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Protect your trans. first with an external cooler.
This is a good one. This is a good one.
. Lower gears will definitely help get up the upgrades and most likely improve MPG, ratio will depend on tire size.
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Old 07-07-2013, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert33844 View Post
Hello,

Have a 96 Ram 1500 4x4 5.9 that I will be doing a lot of camper towing with. The climb will be from Phoenix (Elevation 1000ft) to Flagstaff (7000'). The truck did ok first haul, except some of the extended 6% grades slowed me down a bit.

I have three upgrades that I will need to do in steps (unless I win the lottery) and wonder which order I should do them in to maximize the towing ability. I've also listed my ideas, but am open to suggestion from the more seasoned crowd. The truck is primarily used to tow/camp/etc so gas mileage isn't a huge worry. Also, please remember the ambient air temperature in Phoenix is usually over 100 between April/May and October.

Headers (Shorty or long tube while we're at it)

Cold-Air-Intake (CAI or 14x3?)

Gear Ratio from 3.55 to 4.10 (or other?)

Any help is appreciated.

Robert
Headers not worth it without other mods done. Unless they are top Q headers they will crack and split fast.

CAI not worth it , get a drop in K&N filter for the stock housing.

Gears, we need more info like tire size/speed traveling at/weight of RV.

Me I would add:

Engine oil cooler

Bigger trany cooler

Some temp gauges trany and other

Possible bigger rad

A RV cam or towing cam would go a long way.
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Last edited by merc225hp; 07-07-2013 at 05:23 PM..
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Old 07-07-2013, 05:56 PM
robert33844 robert33844 is offline
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OK I'll try to answer with what I remember (at work).

Tire size is LT245/75-16 (or close to that)
Camper weighs about 4800lbs dry, and theres not much in there beyond that.
I'm usually content rolling 55-60mph when hitched up. The big grades slow me down to 40-45mph

According to build sheet, the truck came with the tow package, trans cooler etc...
Recently replaced water pump with new high-flow, running full synthetic oil, and dropped in a 180 degree fail-safe thermostat.

Thanks!
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:03 PM
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OK thanks for the info

So 4.10 or 3.92 is the gear I would use. Even though the truck has a trany cooler I would opt for a larger one, then add the engine oil cooler. The cam would be the biggest help with the gears. I think there are a few RV cams that need no pcm mods you might look into that.
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:42 PM
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If you don't know how many miles the transmission has had on a rebuild, or if it has been rebuilt, then I strongly recommend having it rebuilt with the following upgrades:
External Cooler (as has been suggested)
Upgrade to heavy duty Borg Warner Bands (Stock MOPAR are paper thin)
TransGo shift kit
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:49 AM
robert33844 robert33844 is offline
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I appreciate all the feedback. Definitely some ideas for me to look into. I did just have the tranny rebuilt by a mechanic i trust with him knowing it was to tow. He did upgrade components.. i just dont know what .

Out of curiosity, the 14x3 seems to have fallen out of favor in my readings .. I'm old school and love the look, but not at the expense of power. I am a little surprised that the cai's not recommended over the k & n drop in.. but I trust those that have been there, tried that!

Thanks!
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:03 AM
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Most of the CAI's draw air from the EXACT same place as the stock system. They might flow a bit better than stock, but, that is only going to help you above about 3500 RPM. Not where the engine needs it. Not worth spending the money on for a tow vehicle.
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Old 07-08-2013, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyYou View Post
They might flow a bit better than stock, but, that is only going to help you above about 3500 RPM. Not where the engine needs it. Not worth spending the money on for a tow vehicle.
There you go again. "Most of the CAI's draw air from the EXACT same place as the stock system" .
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Old 07-08-2013, 06:04 PM
bigaaron bigaaron is offline
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1.) service trans (new filter and fluid)
2.) upgrade shift solenoid
3.) upgrade shift governor (Borg)
4.) upgrade OD spring
5.) band adjustment
6.) verify throttle valve cable adjustment
7.) trans line check valve delete
8.) external cooler
9.) external filter

Last edited by bigaaron; 07-08-2013 at 06:13 PM..
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:44 PM
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*VERY IMPORTANT*

Upgrade to the Chevy 3/4-ton rear wheel cylinders.
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:53 PM
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^+1 on that
And make sure your master cylinder is good and your front pads are good.
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:12 AM
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get an sct tuned engine computer, that's a method for plenty of bang for buck, and then maybe a 50mm tb. That'll do it.

service the tranny, change fluid, adjust bands, check for signs of excessive wear light of the rebuild recently.

tune that motor up, plug Wires, rotor, dizzy cap, indexed spark plugs, Lucas oil additive to bump up oil pressure, which is always a good thing, and whatever else sounds good from the Forum members here.

+1 on tranny cooler
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Old 07-12-2013, 01:53 PM
robert33844 robert33844 is offline
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Hey all,

Thanks for the feedback! Definitely some ideas I hadn't considered. Im definitely going to need some extra shifts, but well worth it to do it right.

I did talk to Hemifever about a tuner, but something about the company d/c'd something before they finished the dodge program so it'll be awhile.. maybe 3-4 months..

Now its time to use the ol' search function and learn this stuff.

Thanks!
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Old 07-12-2013, 03:26 PM
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As for the CAI, I agree that most of the systems draw air from the same spot as the factory one (the passenger fender). Don't laugh at the craftmanship, but I made this last week out of junkyard parts ($25 total), and it works very well while looking somewhat factory. I'm actually pulling COLD AIR, imagine that! I would take my setup over much more expensive aftermarket systems after feeling the suction it pulls and the air temp area it's pulling from. It feels peppier, but who knows? Here's the thread with pics:
http://dodgeforum.com/forum/2nd-gen-...at-asap-2.html
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Old 07-12-2013, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 99IB4X4 View Post
As for the CAI, I agree that most of the systems draw air from the same spot as the factory one (the passenger fender). Don't laugh at the craftmanship, but I made this last week out of junkyard parts ($25 total), and it works very well while looking somewhat factory. I'm actually pulling COLD AIR, imagine that! I would take my setup over much more expensive aftermarket systems after feeling the suction it pulls and the air temp area it's pulling from. It feels peppier, but who knows? Here's the thread with pics:
http://dodgeforum.com/forum/2nd-gen-...at-asap-2.html
Your setup is fine and is drawing cooler air. As far as aftermarket (k&n, spectre for instance) which most people buy, do NOT draw air from the factory location. They draw air from the hot azz engine bay.
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Old 07-12-2013, 04:06 PM
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Semi OT, would an airhat from a 1st gen Dakota work? IIRC they have a similar air cleaner to the B-series Ram vans...
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Old 07-12-2013, 05:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dodge dude94 View Post
Semi OT, would an airhat from a 1st gen Dakota work? IIRC they have a similar air cleaner to the B-series Ram vans...
Yes, I think so. I looked at a few of those, but they either had them taken already, or were non matching 4 cylinder ones.
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