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Just got home from our 35 day trip out west. Started on the Eastern shore of Maryland at 9' above sea level pulling our Coachman Apex 34.5' bunkhouse travel trailer. Had an oil change, fuel filter change and air filter change the day before we left. Total towing miles were 6980. CAT scaled 6840lb trailer and 15100Lb gross total. Kept it in Tow/Haul mode the entire way towing. I got just a few miles in 8th gear, 90+% in 7th, mainly 6th on mountains and 5th on most steeper climbs. Let the tranny do its job and was very satisfied. I took I97, I685, I70, I68, I79, I55, I44, I40 west and then I90, I80 and I76 on way back home. Speed limits were 65, 70, 75 and 80. I kept it at 65mph and hit 68 or so passing. I worry about the speed ratings (75 MPH) on the trailer (ST) tires. Interstates I held 60-65 on most grades. A few 65MPH speed limit state highways in Az, Ut and Co had me at 45MPH and four ways flashing cresting the top. I used cruise control to come down grades 7 to 9 percent but manually buttoned shifted on 5 and 6 percenters. I used the trailer brakes if the RPMs got high and truck and trailer braking on only the grades with hairpins. I always felt safe and thought the truck handled very well. High winds in AZ, Texas, NM and OK going out and tornado warnings and huge gusts coming back through NM, Tx and OK. The reese hitch kept us going straight. Fuel economy was 12.1 MPG Maryland to Oklahoma. 12.1 to 12.3 Az through Ut to Co. 14.5 Co to Chicago to Maryland. I90, I80, I76, I78 was a much easier grade but what I saved in fuel I spent in the high tolls. Truck is stock except for the stiffer sidewall tires.

We visited the following National Parks: Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, Mesa Verde.
State Parks: Utah Dead horse
Rail Roads: Durango and Silverton, Illinois railroad museum in Union
Navajo Parks: Monument Valley

The USA is so beautiful and we are so fortunate that our forefathers had the vision to protect the lands and create the National Parks.

PS>>> highest temps 253 oil on major climbs. Dropped 10 to 20 degrees on downgrade. 233 highest Coolant, 196 highest transmission.
 

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Nice write-up. My wife and I are starting to use our travel trailer on short haul trips just to get used to things. Our TT is about the same size as yours. We also have a Reese dual cam hitch. I went with aftermarket springs in the rear of the truck with airbags and larger bump stops. I also have the GDE tune with the turbo brake. That works real good in the hills. Did you camp in the parks or just commercial campgrounds? Wet or dry? I ask only because we are going to be doing something very similar to what you did next year. This little truck is simply a nice hauling truck. As long as you don't get too crazy with speed. 65 is a good number.
 

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JohnnyLonghair. Great post and it helps prove that used right this little truck will get the job done. We just got home to Oregon today from that 6 state area NV< AZ< NM<CO<UT and ID. Love all the national Parks.
 

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Outstanding write up Johnny. You sound like an excellent tower. I suspect you would really like the GDE tune with brake. What tires did you use and your opinion of them?
 

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JohnnyLonghair - great report on a great trip. Glad you are enjoying!

Like VernDiesel I too would like to know more about the tires you installed. I am about to go with a higher rated tire but can't decide which one. Your input would help.
 

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I had all four OEM SRA tires replaced with General Grabber HTS60's. They are rated 51 PSI max. I was running them at 46PSI without the travel trailer but went to 51PSI for the long trip with the TT. The SRA's would give me a lot of tire squat when I put the travel trailer on the ball so I got the Grabbers before this long trip (No Squat) . I like the way they handle and do not notice any change in tire noise. The ride is still pleasant. I went with these XL's as I did not want the E-series super stiff ride. MPG dropped .5 to 1 MPG when they were at 46PSI but since home I kept them at 51PSI and looks like this tank they are not dropping me down.
 

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Ray and Vern, I looked for you guys on the road. There were no other eco diesels in the campgrounds. Many, many 1500's with Hemi's and tons of 2500 cummins. One guy came over my campsite to see if I like the new Ram 1500. He has a hemi 2005 like my old one at home and he is looking to trade up to a 2017. He was disappointed to see I had the eco diesel in my 2015 but I talked his ear off on the benefits. He told me he would never own a loud smoking monster, so I started it up and his jaw dropped at how quiet it is.
 

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Schmeg, The reese dual cam is a great hitch. I have been using this hitch since the 80's and now on the third different cam design. We stayed at the Grand Canyon National Park trailer village and this was the only place we stayed in the NP. I did full hookups, elec, water, sewer and cable at commercial campgrounds. If only one night, I kept hitched up and we were on the road at 9:30 each morning. Going out I did 325-350 miles per day. Coming home I did 425 to 470 miles per day as we were late meeting family near Chicago and then back to 325-350 miles per day. We did not dry camp on this trip but spend a couple weeks in NY dry camping each year. This new camper is all LED lighting.
I kept away from the GDE and other tunes as I am still under warranty but I may look into it a bit more as the turbo brake is nice.
 

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Great post!! This type of post is a great counter to the negativity that so easily runs rampant on forums. I know there are problems with the Eco-diesels, but I also know there are problems with every other vehicle available. Sounds like a great trip!
 
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