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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On Monday I went by a friend's house to drop off some gear. We're heading out this weekend for a level-2 enduro training course. As luck would have it, I arrived within minutes of he and his family getting back from a weekend camping. That luck? Kinda bad...I ended up helping scrub and cleaning the Airstream before he took it back to storage for a few days. The upside, I'm "glamping" this weekend...LOL

But this isn't about the RV, it's about what's towing the RV. ;)

He bought a 2013 RAM 2500 Crew Cab Laramie to haul said Airstream.

So as we're cleaning , unloading and organizing, I'm checking out the truck. First time I've had a chance to really eyeball it in detail. And it got me thinking...

Exactly what ARE the differences between his 2500 and my (coming) 1500?

Now, I know the engines and transmissions differ, as does the suspension setup, and I'd like to leave those obvious points out of this discussion. I mean, they're obvious.

Same cab, same interior, same interior options, same tailgate...different wheels, different hitch (though same 4/7 pin setups), 2500 gets an exhaust brake...but when it really comes down to it...what makes the 2500 "heavy duty" compared to the 1500s?

Discuss...
 

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so like, sportsguy, you having some fun with us or what? cuz it seems like you semi sort basically pretty much just answered your own post? or am i missing something else...
 

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There's subtle differences between the two that we'll never know. They two trucks are the result of different design objectives.....that can impact practically everything. All we're going to know is the obvious mechanical differences. There's been lots of tussles on this issue in forums all over the web. Everyone is in love with their truck and dismisses counter arguments. It's all kinda wearisome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
so like, sportsguy, you having some fun with us or what? cuz it seems like you semi sort basically pretty much just answered your own post? or am i missing something else...
Not at all Jeff - just not assuming I do know the answer. Maybe I DID cover it all, but surely there's more to it that just that?

No boxing of the frame?
No bigger anti roll bars?
No beefier lower control arms?
No uprated steering box?

I know the 2500s get dual batteries - or at least can be optioned that way, and the 1500 cannot.

But damn, are they really THAT close from a build component perspective?
 

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ok fair enough, but its more than that - there's a fairly large difference in suspension, which even though you said let's ignore that, is sort of huge...as is the transmission... and those things add up to a fairly big difference in ride, mpg, etc. so the 2500 HD is going to be rated at about twice the capacity but you didn't specify his engine, i'm assuming its the cummins. they are going to ride much stiffer as well...
 

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Everything will be bigger and heavier on the 2500 steering is crossover steering on a solid front axle instead of the rack and pinion of the 1500, frame will be much heavier throughout I don't know if they are boxing the frames now, sway bars will be heavier for stabilizing more weight. Cooling system will be much larger on the 2500 and it will have coolers for everything. Axles will be rated for more weight and power. If you don't have the idea yet these trucks may be very similar inside the cab and by outside appearance but the rest of the truck is very different. A fully loaded 1500 will weigh maybe 6200 lbs while a 2500 is going to be over 8000. That is a lot of steel added for strength and the ability to handle much more weight. To put it into only a few words a 2500 is way more truck than a 1500.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ok fair enough, but its more than that - there's a fairly large difference in suspension, which even though you said let's ignore that, is sort of huge...as is the transmission... and those things add up to a fairly big difference in ride, mpg, etc. so the 2500 HD is going to be rated at about twice the capacity but you didn't specify his engine, i'm assuming its the cummins. they are going to ride much stiffer as well...
My goal is to understand the non-obvious.

Engine - obvious
Trans - obvious
Suspension - obvious

The details are what either set the trucks apart or make the more the same after the obvious.

Frankly, I'd feel pretty good to know that my 1500 is essentially strong enough under the skin as-is to basically become a 2500 with new gear bolted in place. :)

...and yes, he has the Cummins...Dave is not a half-measure's guy...LOL he wanted "overkill" for towing the Airstream. Mission accomplished...like using a Warthog to till your garden's soil... ;)

And sorry to be wearisome, Ranger. Not my intention - I'm not interested in arguments, just education.
 

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the frames are also substantially different - like way way different. the 2500 uses a much stronger steel than used in the 1500 (one of the reasons i believe the 1500 has a fairly light payload). so really not sure how to answer your question without getting into the things you said to exclude. it is the total sum of those exclusions that make the 2500 very different from the 1500. is this helping?
 

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ah sportsguy, unfortunately no, we couldn't make a 1500 a 2500 with new gear. it starts with the frame, which is basically your backbone of your truck... and between the 2500 and 1500 there are some really big differences.
 

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so did this help you or you are still looking for more? its a good discussion because honestly for a bit i was looking at the 2500 6.7L instead of the ED and i went through some of this, its really the only reason i have some information to help answer your question.

btw in my previous post i mean to articulate a bit clearer - the frame of the 2500 is substantially bigger and stronger than the 1500; that of itself since you wanted to exclude engine, transmission and suspension, is a HUGE difference between the 2500 and 1500.
 

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It's easier to list what they have in common. That would be the sheet metal and interior.


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How a out $10k price tag. Then add more for sales tax, registration fees, excise taxes...

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I'm not so sure there's a $10k difference between the two. I have seen a 2500 Tradesman Cab selling for $10k OFF MSRP and right now the ED's are so hot that the discounts I am seeing are minimal ($3k) so that brings the two very close in price. Granted that might change in a year but right now the debate between both is not unreasonable. If you are getting twice the truck with the 2500 over the 1500 for a few more $$$ and 20 mpg vs. 25 mpg....

It's something I am debating also. What makes me really like the 2500 is you can get a manual tranny with it which I love! But the 8 speed in the ED is not bad.
 

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Other than some sheet metal, and the interior... they are TOTALY different. Heavier frame, Bigger Axles, and so on.
 

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Just came off a 10 1/2 year 2500 Cummins ownership. Compared to the 2500, my 1500 is "flimsy". Frame, suspension, drive train, transmission wheels etc. The 1500 is flimsy in comparison.

Even the tires on this 1500 are cheap, little, light-weight models to go with the light-duty wheels. The ride is bumpy as the little suspension responds to every road imperfection. The whole truck sits way lower to the road and will be more prone to road damage. Towing capacity and ability are way, way less with the 1500.

The differences are like comparing a real truck with a pickup.

If the 1500 is used mostly for transportation and avoids heavy towing, it's essentially all you need. For me, it's really all I need. It's just that the adjustment you make going from one to the other is quite substantial. Just like the build differences.
 

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The 1500's are just not designed for daily heavy duty real work. You need a 2500 or 3500 for that. Everything is "beefier". That being said, one thing I hate about the 2500 and 3500 is the solid front axle. Even GM found a way to go to independent front suspension with a heavy diesel motor. In the RAM 1500, we have independent front suspension and now coil springs in the rear. That seems to make all the difference for a great ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Exactly the sort of conversation I'd hoped for gang - thank you. I'm not shopping by any means, just waiting on delivery of my 1500...and to Capt's point, while he felt the 1500 is "smaller" in describable ways, I'm sure I'll see it as a step forward from my Tacoma. All a matter of perspective. All that said, I can confidently know to shut my mouth and not pick fights with my friend on which truck is "better"...until we start talking about fuel economy, initial cost and ride comfort... ;)
 

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hi sportsguy, one other difference to help on your quest, the 2500 uses a different air intake system, something called Ram Active air intake (or some other marketing blurb); essentially it has 2 different locations to pull air from, either from the front similar to the 1500, or from down low. i believe it is a dynamic (ie computer controller) function on the 2500 based on a number of factors, including climate, to determine the optimal intake location (ie colder air) to pull in. i have no idea how effective it is, but it is there on the 2500 and not on the 1500 :)
 

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Frame-different
Suspension-different
Trans-different
Solid axle vs. IFS
Engine(s) different.
Also can get megacab
difference in rear-end.
In reality they are almost entirely different trucks. You have so much more capability with a 2500, but the fuel economy hit, especially with the new half-ton diesel, makes a half-ton much more appealing. before when comparing 1500 5.7 hemi vs. 2500 6.7 cummins, the cummins was a better choice because of the fuel economy bump, even though you had to get a bigger truck.
 
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