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Discussion Starter #1
Well, probably should’ve posted this first before buying the trailer, but too late for that now! Lol

I’ve got a 2018 Laramie with the air suspension with the tow package (mirrors, brake controller from what I can tell). Ram says it’s rated to tow 8400 pounds.

Trailer is <7500 dry. Bit heavier than I would’ve liked but, the floor plan works great for the little ones to have their own space and the deal was where I wanted to be cost wise. I know I’m pushing the upper limits but I’ve got a WDH and sway control set up. Towed it a few times locally (<100mi each way) to a camp ground, to the dealer, home, etc. and it seemed to do great. Truck has always sat level and it’s been in the 14-15 mpg range being mostly on the freeways

I want to take it over the Cascade mountains to go to eastern Washington this summer, any advice from anybody to help ensure my family is safe above all else and secondarily efficiently so the 6 and 8 year old don’t murder me on the drive for taking too long?

I’m a novice when it comes to towing a 33’ behemoth so any advice would be greatly appreciated!




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Which model of hitch did you go with?

I pull a similar weight and size RV, I can't get much over 11mpg with my GDE tunes. I also have a heavy Laramie.

Your largest issue will be oil temps. Keep an eye on them when accelerating up grades, consider a better flowing grille like one from a Laramie Longhorn.
 

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A simple bit of advice is do not travel with water and waste tanks full if you can avoid it. All three tanks full is about 800 lbs you don't need to tow.
 

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I’ve got a ‘17 cougar 5th wheel. 9700# built for the 1500 trucks. I have the 4 point air and have travelled many miles. Avg 17 mpg. Watch the trans temp on your info display. Easy does it. This truck is a joy to drive. Don’t break it.
P.S. FCA had to replace my engine twice.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yes, I suppose I should have added we don’t intend to dry camp ever. We always go to camp grounds with hookups so the tanks are always empty during towing

Does anybody know what the temps SHOULD be? I don’t think I’ve ever crested over ~225 and everything I’ve seen on the internet seems to suggest under 240-250 is in a safe range for coolant and oil temps

The way I managed the higher MPG was because the freeways are fairly flat and straight out here in Washington where I was driving and really babied the throttle. My father in law towing his 5th wheel with the F350 in the photograph was blowing past me at 70 and for about the same MPG on our last trip.

And yes, I’m aware I’m probably pushing it. Figure if I keep under 50 and don’t gun it I should be able to manage the temps and at least get to the top of the pass. Also have the alternative for a longer route that climbs at a much slighter grade, figure that may be worth de-risking the trip.

I appreciate the feedback!


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Discussion Starter #7
I’ve got a ‘17 cougar 5th wheel. 9700# built for the 1500 trucks. I have the 4 point air and have travelled many miles. Avg 17 mpg. Watch the trans temp on your info display. Easy does it. This truck is a joy to drive. Don’t break it.
P.S. FCA had to replace my engine twice.
9700lbs??? Wow! You’re a braver man than I! I was looking at the Cougars before we settled on this one, the weight scared me off. While I wouldn’t trade the day to day MPG in for anything at this point, my buddies F150 that can tow 13k lbs makes me jealous sometimes. Then I remember he only gets about 9 mpg towing his boat! Lol


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My advice? Tow it with that white HD Ford in your photo. There is no way I'd take that combination through any mountains or high wind areas. Keep in mind you not only have to go up the mountains - you also have to come down. You mentioned 'keep my family safe above all else'. That question should have been asked much earlier in the process. I don't tow as much as others on this site, but I've towed TT's enough to know that for my comfort and concern for my family your trailer is in 2500 territory. Big difference between 1500 and 2500 trucks. Beefier brakes, axles, springs, frames etc. I'll probably get slammed for not telling you that you'll be fine and to just keep your speed down, but I'm a big believer in using the right tool for the job when towing. I've towed with both 1500 and 2500 trucks and the difference is night and day. If you're gonna do anything other than local campgrounds, do yourself and your family a favor and get the right tow vehicle. You'll enjoy your vacations much more knowing that you have a margin of safety vs. living on the edge.
 

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9700# and 17mpg? You must have a Jimmy tune and be drinking the koolaid lol. No, Really, how you managing that kind of results? Hand calculated?

Siha, our trucks appear identical but my '16 has the 3.55 gears. My K-Z Sportster averages around 8500 lbs with 3 ATV's inside, most I've pulled is around 8900# and it did great. I have a huge external oil cooler so I no longer worry about oil temps, only EGT on the long climbs.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Which oil cooler did you get Bounty? Given that my truck and trailer are both in the 6 month old range I haven’t done much to the rig yet, but if the first year with the kids proves successful I do plan on doing some add ons as needed (as long as they don’t void my 10 year extended warranty I purchased, so sadly the GDE tune is outta the question for now)

And Roegs, I fully agree I probably need to step up to 3/4 or full ton. But as this is my daily, I didn’t want to take the MPG hit (and can’t justify the cost of multiple vehicles). And no, I’m not going to bash you for the honest feedback. All input is good input and food for thought. I do make sure to keep within the specs of the truck and not exceed them for that very reason, we’ve always made sure to pack light when taking it out. This trip I intend to load heavy and go to the scales (<5mi from the in laws where it is stored) and make sure that my estimates for cargo aren’t off. If they are I will be offloading the extra weight and reassessing my trailer choice


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The biggest limiting factor of these trucks is the cooling system, not the frame or brakes like some mention. Pulling that kind of load expect to go slow up grades and it well get warm. That being said it can be done safely. If you want the best control get a gde tuned ecm with turbo braking option and keep your stock ecm, if you need to get the truck serviced or repaired just swap the stock ecm back in.
 

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Which oil cooler did you get Bounty? Given that my truck and trailer are both in the 6 month old range I haven’t done much to the rig yet, but if the first year with the kids proves successful I do plan on doing some add ons as needed (as long as they don’t void my 10 year extended warranty I purchased, so sadly the GDE tune is outta the question for now)
I run the largest cooler from CFT Performance INC. .I tried two smaller coolers, stepping up in size each time, but they just didn't cool enough for pulling my camper.

I've ran the GDE tune since 457mi and never a problem leaving it in when I get warranty work completed. The dealer can't see the tune.
 

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The biggest limiting factor of these trucks is the cooling system, not the frame or brakes like some mention. Pulling that kind of load expect to go slow up grades and it well get warm. That being said it can be done safely. If you want the best control get a gde tuned ecm with turbo braking option and keep your stock ecm, if you need to get the truck serviced or repaired just swap the stock ecm back in.
Agreed. The Hemi version is rated to 10,500 when properly equipped. This is a choice by FCA engineers and/or VM Motori engineers. Ford F-150 has the same sized engine and doesn't appear to affect the tow capacity. Looking at the F-150 they mount the CAC (inter-cooler) lower in the front and funnel air through it.

Let's all be honest. FCA cut corners.
 

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As far as choice of routes I think I would be inclined to drop down and go through the gorge rather than trying to climb Snoqualamie with your set up. Coming home is a different story, the climb up to the pass is more gradual from the east side and the descent into the wet side is also more gradual than the climb out due to the highway being split on the north and south sides of the canyon. If I were going for fuel economy I would do the gorge both ways.

Good luck and let us know how the trip goes.
 

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Thats too heavy. That is exceeding the truck's capabilities and rating which is dangerous and illegal.
It might be dangerous depending on the person behind the wheel. There are some people that shouldn't be allowed to tow a jet ski.
As far as illeagal goes, until he actually weighs the truck to see where the GAWR, GVWR and the GCWR (if his state enforces one based on vehicle classification or an Elected Gross Weight), it's not known whether he's in a legal standing or not.

Please keep the "Payload Police" illeagal statements to yourself.
 

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OP - please post back if you get everything weighed (which I believe would be a good thing to do). The weights in your original post are of course dry. With a dry hitch weight of 860 lbs, by the time you add battery and full LP tanks, you could start to run out of room with the rear axle weight rating.
 

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You may have read it elsewhere on this forum but just in case you didn't know, our trucks will automatically reduce fuel if water or oil temps become high enough to damage the engine. If I remember correctly they also shut off the air conditioning if the engine water temp gets high before it starts to defuel.

Another comment since it isn't clear how much towing you have done and if your truck has the factory brake controller or not. Anyhow the factory brake controller is excellent and I hope you have it. Spend a bit of time trying some hard stops with the truck and trailer and set up the controller to appropriately balance the braking between the trailer and the truck.
 

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Thank goodness for your 3:92 rear end ration. You can pull that with it.

Expectations can be a bit much compared to reality. You bought a 1/2 ton pickup for what looks like a 3/4 ton job. You can do it. You did it. You will continue to do it. Just remember that and EXPECT to want to run speeds a bit slower than you desire up this mountains. You will still get to the top. Just remember you are using an engine LESS than 1/2 the size of the big boys.

Now stopping and going downhill is another issue. You really could use a form of turbo braking to help with the downhills. That feature is available aftermarket with a Green Diesel Engineering program. For safety with braking it sure would be a bonus. Now the downside is it does cost upwards of $700. It also compromises legality with the EPA while actually helping your engine run cleaner with a tiny bit more power and fuel mileage. All those things are good except for those that fear a repercussion using it, something that has never really happened to thousands of users.

That turbo brake feature would sure be a nice addition for your downhill/mountain runs. Just remember you are using a smaller tow vehicle for a big job and allow reality to satisfy your expectations.
 

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No doubt the chassis and axles can handle that. My 2011 1500 Hemi did that and much, much more for quite some time. It faired out quite well temp wise though. Since your truck has factory air, the only upgrade I can see would be E rated tires. You don't need to run them at 80psi but they do make a big difference on stability when towing heavy.

As Captainmal suggested, brakes. Make sure your trailer brakes are 100%. Check grounds and adjustment of the shoes. This was the one area of the 1500 that sucks when towing. You need to drive like an old man, keep your speed conservative so that you have plenty of brake to spare when needed.

I cannot comment on the GDE exhaust brake tune but I can tell you first hand that a working EB is worth more than gold.
 
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