Do I need a 2500?

Do I need a 2500?

This is a discussion on Do I need a 2500? within the RAM 1500 Diesel Towing & Hauling forums, part of the RAM 1500 EcoDiesel Forum category; Hello, Looking to get my first TT, but running into some questions about payload. Trailers I'm looking at are around 5000-5500#, have tongue weight listed ...

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Thread: Do I need a 2500?

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    RAM Jr Member dodtbdm's Avatar
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    Do I need a 2500?

    Hello,

    Looking to get my first TT, but running into some questions about payload. Trailers I'm looking at are around 5000-5500#, have tongue weight listed of 500-600. I know this is dry weight, so loading it up will only add more. My question is, I go camping with friends/family and after factoring in passenger weight I'm over on my payload that is listed on the door jam, 1429#. Now I know people will say the truck can handle and I've seen post of the truck doing a lot more. Just wondering where is the line on these trucks for when to trade up.

    I am planning on getting a weight distribution hitch to help out with sag and safety. I have towed before, but never TT. I've only towed a 16ft open trailer with quads and also a popup camper.

    I know I can always look for a lighter TT, but I am pretty dead set on this size of trailer as it has what we are looking for.

    Thanks in advance.

    Art

  2. #2
    Super Moderator VernDiesel's Avatar
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    Hello Art, with respects I think this approach is wrong. You could never tell or feel the difference in the stability or stopping power of how your truck & trailer tows or handles whether you were say 3% over or 3% under your 6,950 pound GVWR. Its WAY over prioritized on TT forums. Not that you don't want to stay inside that you do but steer axle weight and TW percentage have a much more profound and immediately noticeable affect on the safety & stability of your tow rig. As such they should be the first priority and focus.

    People don't understand what affects the stability of the combination truck & TT very well so they parrot what they've heard from places like TT forums. Unfortunately that includes bad ideas home brew math etc. As well as the proper math science and test proven specs from the Mfgs actually building selling and warrantying our trucks & trailers. Safe stable towing setup is not assured in staying well below GVWR or other home brew ideas. The SAE society of automotive engineers, the auto manufacturers, and the RV manufacturers give you specific numbers or specification maximums of what you need to stay inside of in order to assure you of a safe stable tow set up. Naturally you have to roll over a CAT or triple scale that measures steer, drive, and TT axles separately at the same time in order to know or prove you are within spec. If you know you are not approaching the spec limits of your truck & trailer by the light weight of what you tow and carry then by all means a simple eye ball, level, and measurements will get you in the ball park and work fine. In fact Ram only recommends a WDH after the trailer exceeds 5,000 pounds.

    Ram and everyone else that sells a vehicle to tow are required to provide max tow, max steer axle, drive axle, and receiver weight, as well as CVWR & GVWR. (Combined vehicle weight rating and gross vehicle weight rating.) These along with the the TW (tongue weight) percentage (10 to 15%) give you everything you need to assure a safe stable tow. With them there is no reason for home made funky math or other home made rules of thumb parroted daily on those sites until its taken as fact. The good news is that CAT has a free app that you can download to your smartphone that has GPS directions etc to scales that are all over at minimum the continental 48 states. There will either be one relatively close to you or on your next trip. Cost is normally only $10 & $2 per additional weigh. You can read about the three pass method.

    I have 540k miles on my 14 Ram Ecodiesel transporting TT/THs for Airstream & Forrest River from their plants to dealerships. Mostly Ohio plant to west coast dealerships then west coast plants to eastern dealerships. Scaled and towed lots of trailers lots of miles over the passes all weather etc. Here is my suggestion for maximum safety & stability for your family. Adjust your WDH and loading to largely replace your unloaded trucks steer axle weight when loaded.(3,200/3,300) Also subtract your unloaded combined steer & drive axle weight from your loaded combined steer & drive axle weight to find your tongue weight. (proper method assuming your are using a WDH) Add this tongue weight to the TT axle weight off your weight slip for your gross trailer weight. Then take your TW and divide it into your gross trailer weight for the TW percentage. I work toward (adjusting WDH & loading) 12 percent as I know from experience that it provides plenty of stability as to keeping your trailer from being pushed by semi bow wave, wind gusts and sway without putting more weight than necessary on your drive axle (max 3,900) and towards your trucks GVWR.

    With batteries propane water & supplies people average nearly 1,000 pounds over the dry weight. So with your say 5,500 dry weight you could end up near 6,500 camp ready. Generally with decent loading and a well set WDH with built in sway control the 4th Ram 1500 will comfortably confidently and by the numbers (Mfg specs) do to an 8k wet TT. (proper motor gearing etc) Thats semi bow wave, mountains, in-climate weather etc. Conversely a poorly loaded blindly hitched no sway control/WDH can be the proverbial white knuckle ride at 7k. That would be heavy TW with no weight transfer IE light steer weight skittish handling or light TW where the rear of the truck is light with little traction and the trailer is easily pushed to a wiggle & sway by a semi bow wave wind gust or speed.

    So if safety & stability is your top concern scale it and adjust accordingly. At only 6.5k you could probably get away with just setting your WDH via measurements but for less than $20 and an hour one time to get it set up for maximum stability, you might consider scaling it. Beats erroneously thinking your family's safety & tow rig stability is somehow found in stacking up weight estimates towards a payload sticker number. Back to TW or GVW/payload for you. As you should have gathered from the post TW isn't fixed. Theoretically a WDH can distribute TW 1/3 to the steer axle 1/3 to the drive axle and 1/3 back to the TT. Within reason you adjust your WDH and loading to set the TW to what you want. At 12 to 12.5% TW of 6.500 you would see in your scale slips TW of 780 to 812 pounds. (Scales show increments of 20 pounds) This should leave some room for passengers etc before exceeding GVWR and again if you crossed it by a few percent you wouldn't feel it. Keep the main thing the main thing. The exception being if you need to fill the cab with people and put firewood and a golf card or 4 wheeler in the bed at which point you probably would find the HD better suited for that job.
    Last edited by VernDiesel; 04-10-2019 at 10:40 AM.
    Airstream TT & boat transporter. Factory trailer brake controller tow mirrors & hitch camera, B&M GN turnover ball, Andersen 5er adapter, WDH with built in sway control & steel adjustable hitch, Axle to frame air bags, GDE engine & transmission tunes plus turbo brake, SLT Grill, 275/55/20 XL load tires, Max ED tow rating 9,200, combined axle rating 7,800, Max 4th gen 1500 CVWR 15,950, Max receiver tongue weight 1265 w WDH, CAT scales 3,300 steer 2,560 drive with me hitches & tools

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    RAM Guru Henfield's Avatar
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    Listen to Vern and follow his advice.

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    RAM Diamond Member Captainmal's Avatar
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    Vern knows. Repeat after me...”Vern knows”.

    Guessing you are not really going far at max load. Seems “camping with friends” tells me you may be doing local runs and not mega-thousands of miles over hill and dale. Properly set-up, the Ecodiesel can do a lot. You obviously have fears. Learn more and do the numbers. Then make some trips and see how you feel.
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    A 3/4 ton to tow a 5000-5500 lb travel trailer is a complete and utter waste.

    I don't know if its just conservative ratings or what, but these trucks are capable of much more than what is on the sticker. I have a seat configuration allowing 6 people. Many times I am near my payload max with nothing but people in the truck. My wifes 2014 ford escape (front wheel drive crossover) and my old chevy cavalier(compact car) had similar payloads compared to this truck. I have had 4 adults and a 7500 lb travel trailer on a few trips no issues and regularly take 6 people and a 5000 lb boat for trips short and long no issues at all tows it like a dream. There is not a chance in hell I would buy a 3/4 ton pickup for that load.
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    RAM Guru Ram1's Avatar
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    ^^^ Ya, what he said.^^^ Keeping it within the numbers, proper hitch setup and MAKE SURE the trailer brakes are set correctly. That size trailer shouldn't be a problem. Like Vern said after loading with gear it can easily add 1000 lbs. I'm closer to 1500 lbs of additional weight when loaded for camping.....it adds up fast!

    Have fun and enjoy your new camper!
    Do not rule out working with your hands, but it does not preclude using your head.

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    RAM Professor ncskibum's Avatar
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    I always appreciate and learn a lot from Vern's posts. Our TT is in the future but good to be educated before dropping the hitch onto the ball.

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    RAM Silver Member Bounty Hunter's Avatar
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    As Vern said in a more technical way, payload isn't the overall determining factor. That payload should be distributed back onto the steer axle and TT axles if properly set up with a WDH. Go by the calculations he gave you and you'll have a better towing experience.

    I regularly tow a 7500-8k toy hauler, with a max of 8900 so far. The Eco can do it if properly set up.
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    RAM Professional HYDREX's Avatar
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    I have 2 2017 Bighorns. A QC 4X4 Hemi with 3:21's and my CC4X4 Ecodiesel with 3:92's. So far, my experience tells me the Ecodiesel tows better! The weak link is the cooling system of the diesel. On long hills towing heavy trailers, oil temps and even coolant temps get a bit worrisome imho. If I were to tow heavy trailers every day with the Ecodiesel, I would look at an aftermarket oil cooler upgrade. But, obviously Vern has figured it out!
    17 CC 4X4 Bighorn Ecodiesel GDE Hot Tune, 08 Arctic Cat 700 Super Duty Turbo Diesel ATV

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    RAM Regular BrianF's Avatar
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    I towed much, much, much higher weights with my old 2011 Ram 1500 gasser. E rated tires, air bags and trailer brakes. Mind you I was towing gooseneck so it was very well balanced. The 1500 chassis is actually quite stout, it just needs a few add ons to get it balanced.

    With a 2500, yes you will get a pile of stability and payload but with a bigger price tag and poor fuel economy. Don't even think about a 2500 diesel, you will never realize any cost savings with such a small trailer.

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