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Upgrading Ram 1500 Hemi for Towing Travel Trailer


Old 04-16-2005, 06:47 AM
MacsArVee is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5
Default Upgrading Ram 1500 Hemi for Towing Travel Trailer

I’m planning on buying a new truck for towing a ball hitch travel trailer fulltiming, and I DON’T WANT A DIESEL. The Dodge 2500 Hemi falls a little short on tow rating compared to Ford F250 V10 or GM 2500HD 8.1, but after reading a number of threads on performance improvements on this and other Dodge forums, I think it would do the job with the right modifications.

Further, I have a problem with the height of F250/Ram2500/GM2500HD but the trailer is too heavy to consider a F150 or GM1500 as their small blocks wouldn’t cut it without a lot more engine grunt, but as the drive train for the Ram 1500 is the same as the 2500 except for the axle ratio, and the 1500 is 600 lbs lighter.…….hmmm!

Based on past experience, factory tow ratings are to be taken as guidelines not requirements and, as there is no set criteria for these ratings, certainly not legal limits.

I presently tow a TT that, loaded, is 1500 lbs over the rating for my Grand Cherokee 4.7HO, but the drive train has enough grunt to cope with mountain grades quite well and a Hensley Arrow weight distributing (WD) hitch (www.nosway.com) takes care of the short wheelbase & light curb weight. I plan to use the Hensley with the larger trailer and am confident that it will provide the same compensation with the Ram 1500 and the new TT GVWR 11,500 lb

I would appreciate feedback on what I have in mind, not only the improvement in tow capacity (and MPG??) to be gained but also the ease of fitting and compatibility with other mods as well as the source(s) for the best quality parts . I am physically limited and no longer up to doing mechanical work so would be grateful for advice as to the costs of the various parts and installations.

2005 or 2006 Ram 1500 QC (or MC) Sport/Laramie, 5.7 (or 6.1) Hemi, Full Time 4WD

1. Replace O/E P265/70R17 tires w/ LT265/70R17 (same as Ram 2500 O/E)

2. 4.56 Gears = 10% increase from Ram 2500 Optional 4.10

3. Long Tube Headers - Edelbrock??

4. Free Flow Exhaust - Possibly eliminate cat and fit true duals??

5. K&N (or other) Cold Air Intake and/or Filter

6. Lower 2” front / 4” rear - Will this be OK for towing with WD hitch?

Any other suggestions??

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Old 04-16-2005, 11:45 PM
Gone Fishin
Gone Fishin is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Bristol, IN
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Default RE: Upgrading Ram 1500 Hemi for Towing Travel Trailer

I'm assuming that you are considering a 5.7L to start with, and an automatic? If an automatic, get a BIG trans cooler. Next make sure you have the best transmission fluid money can buy, such as B&M trickshift or a Royal Purple product. The 1500 comes with the 9.25 LD coporate rear axle. LD stands for Light Duty. Personnally, I'd upgrade to the 2500 with the Hemi. Larger, Tougher rear end, heavier duty suspension. Still need the cooler if you're going auto. The trannies are good, just best to start out right, right from the git-go. If the Hemi isn't enough, Dodge is supposed to be releasing a 6.1 gas motor for 2006 I believe.
You may want to add a leaf to the rear spring pack too. Or possibly air bags, but they'll also have to be piped in with compressor

I hope this helps, I'm sure there are others that will have good ideas too.
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Old 04-17-2005, 01:22 AM
sumncguy is offline
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Posts: 311
Default RE: Upgrading Ram 1500 Hemi for Towing Travel Trailer

I am over the GVWR >500 lbs. I currently own a 05 1500 QC 3.92:1. Eventually I would like to bump the 3.92's up to 4.1 (want to be nice to the gas mileage). Does anyone know what this will cost and what effect on the manufacturer and extended warranty this mode will have ?

Please note that Im not trying to criticize. Im trying to learn as much as I can. I was previously towing a ~1800 lb pop up. My 03 1500 QC 4.7L / 3.55 pull that thing around like a rag doll and didnt do bad at all on inclines ....

I thought that changing from P to LT class tires only increased the towing capacity (slightly). How do all the modifications increase weight ratings ? I understand that the gear ratio changes will improve the strength of the rear, generally speaking, but what about the rest ?
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Old 04-18-2005, 01:51 AM
MacsArVee is offline
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Default RE: Upgrading Ram 1500 Hemi for Towing Travel Trailer

Adding or changing parts has no effect on any warranty unless it can be proved that the non O/E part(s) directly caused a failure in the vehicle. (Magnusson-Moss Act). that said,


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Old 04-18-2005, 02:36 AM
MacsArVee is offline
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Default RE: Upgrading Ram 1500 Hemi for Towing Travel Trailer

The reason that I am contemlating a modified 1500 and not a 2500 is to have the optional AWD which is not available with the 2500.

I realize that the tongue weight of the TT will probably be about the same as the payload rating but reiforcing the receiver/attchments is contemplated as are helper airsprings for towing.

I still have to investigate the AWD ully to ensure that it will not be a weak link. If that does turn out to be the case I will consider a 2500, especially if the 06 comes with a bigger Hemi.

In the meantime, as many of the mods apply to a 2500 as well, I would still appreciate question specific responses.
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Old 04-18-2005, 04:23 AM
kossuth is offline
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Location: United States
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Default RE: Upgrading Ram 1500 Hemi for Towing Travel Trailer

So the trailer is going to weigh 11,500 right? What is going to be the tongue weight? 11,500 is alot for a 5.7. From my personal experience, I would go with a larger motor than a 5.7 Here is my reasoning before anybody beats me up on this. Granted the 5.7 might be a good motor, but if you plan to tow this thing regularly it isn't the right choice. You are going to labor that motor and trans combo very hard particularly if pulling through mountains. Gearing it down so much is only going to decrease fuel mileage, limit how well it cruizes on the freeway, and put much more wear on the entire driveline from the added RPM's. On another note I'm uncertain if the newer Dodges use the same frames in the different classes of trucks. I would seriously doubt they are. Being I'm from a small farm town I've seen quite a few pickups that have had the frame twisted by the "Occasional" pulling of a trailer that size was too big for a 1/2 ton truck. I would rather see you buy a truck that is equipped to pull what you want to pull right away vs beefing something up to get it to what you want it to be. Like the old saying goes don't send a boy to do a man's job. Not to mention the brakes on the 3/4 ton trucks are usually beefer than those on the 1/2 tons anyways.

On a side note why are you opposed to the diesel. Yes the initial purchase cost is more but it might be worth it depending on the amount of your driving. The diesel is about $5k more than the gasser new, but if you drive more than 10,000 miles a year pulling it would be definately be worth it. I have noticed most diesel trucks getting about 18 mpg empty as a tank average and the 5.7's in the 1/2 tons getting 14 mpg. If you drive 15,000 miles a year with fuel costs about 2.15 for gas and about 2.40 for diesel then you will save about $500 a year in fuel and maintance costs over the gas motor. Your mileage savings would be even more if you drive more or pull more because the diesel isn't gonna drop quite as bad as a gasser would when pulling a load like that. My dad has a 99 1 ton with the 24 valve motor in it with 4.10's and he got about 15 mpg pulling a 4 horse goose neck trailer with a dressing room from Erie Pa to Columbus Oh about 8000 lbs. His truck also isn't running 100% right eithor so I'm sure it would run better still. If it is the initial purchase cost that has you scared then I would look to see if you can find a nice used truck. The diesel motors if properly maintained can run for 500,000 or more.

If you are still set on gas then I would probiably stay away from the Dodge trucks. I would look at the 8.1's in the GM trucks. We have about 30 of the GM Suburbans @ work with the 8.1's in them with 4.10's and the mileage isn't really that bad considering it is such a huge motor. Anywhere from 10-12 mpg and that is being run pretty hard and the 4L80E automatic transmission is just about as solid as they get.
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Old 04-19-2005, 12:40 AM
sumncguy is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 311
Default RE: Upgrading Ram 1500 Hemi for Towing Travel Trailer

Just fyi stuff ...

Check out www.dodge.com/towing.

As you probably already know, tongue weight is usually, or should I say, should be 10 to 15 percent of the TT GVWR. The 1500 has a payload of 1389. When I found this out I thought it very low. So before you add anything, your already at, possibly over the payload rate, not to mention the GCW for the QC HEMI w/3.92 is 14000. Im sure the truck your considering will weigh more then 2500 lbs.

I cant speak about the 7/70 warranty ... I will need to check on that. But from my Dodge 5/100 Maximum Care Upgrade Plan Provisions currently in hand, Under Eligible Vehicles "The following vehicles are not eligible for a DaimlerChrysler Service Contract: " ....."vehicles not used in accordance with manufacturers specifications for payload and/or towing capacity;" ... cant find anything 'bout the exhause in here though ...
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Old 04-19-2005, 02:27 AM
salomonskier is offline
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Posts: 487
Default RE: Upgrading Ram 1500 Hemi for Towing Travel Trailer

I have a 1500 with a 5.7 and the most i have tried to tow was just over 9,000 lbs and I was able to pull it no problem with a 3.92 Axle Ratio . I still felt like i could pull much more weight then i was. 11,500lbs is alot of weight, but with the modifications i think you would be ok. If you are wondering here is my truck I used. Sorry if it is really long i just listed everything on my truck.

5.7L HEMI Magnum V8 Engine
Electronic Shift-on-the-Fly Part-Time Transfer Case
Corporate 9.25 LD Rear Axle
5-Speed Automatic Transmission
AM/FM Stereo Radio with In-Dash 6-Disc CD Player
Steering Wheel-Mounted Audio Controls
Premium Cloth 40/20/40 Bench Seat
Air Conditioning
Light Group-
Ash Tray Lamp
Front Dome Lamp with On/Off Switch
Rearview Mirror with Auto-Dimming Feature
Sun Visors with Illuminated Vanity Mirrors
Underhood Lamp
Security Group-
Security Alarm
Sentry Key Theft Deterrent System
Protection Group-
Front Suspension Skid Plate
Tow Hooks
Transfer Case Skid Plate Shield
Trailer Tow Group-
7-Pin Wiring Harness
750-Ampere Maintenance-Free Battery
Heavy Duty Engine Cooling
Class IV Hitch Receiver
Under-the-Rail Box Bedliner
Anti-Lock 4-Wheel Disc Brakes
Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel
Power Adjustable Pedals
Sliding Rear Window
Carpet Floor Covering
Speed Control
Folding Flat Load Floor Storage
Off Road Group-
17" x 8.0" Aluminum Wheels
3.92 Axle Ratio
Anti-Spin Differential Axle
Fog Lamps
Front Suspension Skid Plate
Heavy Duty Engine Cooling
LT275/70R17C OWL All Terrain Tires
"Off Road" Badge
Tow Hooks
Transfer Case Skid Plate Shield

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