Ram Hemi towing experiences?

jeep-N-montero

Expedition Leader
I have been missing having a truck with in bed camper and looking at replacing our Yukon XL, it has the 6.0 and tows our boat "okay". I want to find a decent used truck that will tow our boat (5k combined boat/trailer weight) and mount a lightweight popup camper (likely an FWC or similar), price point is under $10k. Looking in the local classifieds there seem to be a lot of Rams with the Hemi in both 1500 and 2500 chassis with under 150k miles in that price range. My experience with Dodge was 90's truck interiors that fell apart if you looked at them wrong. The 1500 with 3.92 axle and 5 speed auto plus 6ish foot bed would be the goal if adequate, what are your thoughts? And this will not see anything more than dirt roads so off-road prowess is not really a consideration.
 

Halligan

Adventurer
If your thinking about a slide in camper, even a light one, don't even consider anything less than a 2500. A 3500 would be the best choice. The 5.7 hemi will get the job done but don't expect to be running with the big dogs.
 

jeep-N-montero

Expedition Leader
If your thinking about a slide in camper, even a light one, don't even consider anything less than a 2500. A 3500 would be the best choice. The 5.7 hemi will get the job done but don't expect to be running with the big dogs.
I certainly haven't ruled out the 2500. As for "running with the big dogs", with 3.92 gears vs 3.73 gears the Yukon has and with an extra gear in the tranny it should tow a bit better, right now we average 8.7 mpg towing at 70-75 mph and 13ish empty, so anything over that and I would be ecstatic.
 

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Halligan

Adventurer
The 3rd and 4th gen Dodge Ram 2500/3500 offer 3.73 or 4.10 axle ratios. The 3.92 is only found in the 1500's. As for the big dog's I'm referring to V-10 Fords, 8.0 GM V-8, or V-10 Dodge. I stand by my original post that for your application nothing less than a 2500.
 

04Ram2500Hemi

Observer
I had a 2004 HD Hemi on 35” tires with 3.73 gears and now I have a 2012 Power Wagon running 34” tires and 4.56 gears. Both trucks have the 5.7L Hemi in them. The 2004 needed 4.10 gears with the 35” tires, but it still did a pretty good job. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a used Hemi if the service records are documented.
 

jeep-N-montero

Expedition Leader
The 3rd and 4th gen Dodge Ram 2500/3500 offer 3.73 or 4.10 axle ratios. The 3.92 is only found in the 1500's. As for the big dog's I'm referring to V-10 Fords, 8.0 GM V-8, or V-10 Dodge. I stand by my original post that for your application nothing less than a 2500.
Does Dodge place the RPO codes somewhere on the truck that indicate the axle ratio?
 

jeep-N-montero

Expedition Leader
I had a 2004 HD Hemi on 35” tires with 3.73 gears and now I have a 2012 Power Wagon running 34” tires and 4.56 gears. Both trucks have the 5.7L Hemi in them. The 2004 needed 4.10 gears with the 35” tires, but it still did a pretty good job. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a used Hemi if the service records are documented.
This truck will never see bigger tires, it will be for camping and fishing in places that we tow our 20 ft Lund on a tandem axle trailer. We live at 4800 ft and regularly tow over 8000 ft, so finding the right gearing will keep the power where it's needed.
 

TommyG

Adventurer
I don't think you are going to see it do much better than the 6.0 without some gears. If you are not super happy with how that tows and then you are going to throw a slide in camper in the mix, you might be asking a lot of the truck. I agree with Halligan you want 2500 or larger and if you want to stick with gas you are going to want gears. I have a Power Wagon with a 5.7 and 4.56 gears and I wouldn't want any less in the axles. I run 37s and pull a 7,000 travel trailer and it does fine. If I reverted to stock tires I am still not sure how the truck would handle a 800-1000 lbs of camper in the bed and another 5,000 towed behind. We considered a slide in for bit (4wheel Camper) and were looking to go up to a 3500 with a diesel and I was not going to tow anything.

I have always wanted way more truck that I intend to tow or haul rather than being at the ragged edge of what it is rated for. Take a hard look at the rest of the drive line. Does it have sufficient cooling for the transmission? Are the brakes up to the job of stopping all of that mass? Can the rear suspension handle the weight of the camper along with the tongue weight of the trailer? If not your budget is going to get a lot higher with repairs/upgrades to get you where you want to be.
 

ZGRAM924

New member
I have been towing with a 2007 Megacab 1500 with a 5.7L, 4.10 gears, for about 5 years now. It has 3/4 ton running gear and suspension, I slide in the camper (2000 lbs loaded,) and pull my prerunner on a trailer (5500 lbs) averaging 8.5-9.5 mpg fully loaded. As far as power goes I haven’t had any issues pulling any California grades and the brakes are more than adequate to stop the load. Hope this helps. Truck and camper will be on the market soon and in your price range, PM me if you have any interest.
 

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jeep-N-montero

Expedition Leader
I have been towing with a 2007 Megacab 1500 with a 5.7L, 4.10 gears, for about 5 years now. It has 3/4 ton running gear and suspension, I slide in the camper (2000 lbs loaded,) and pull my prerunner on a trailer (5500 lbs) averaging 8.5-9.5 mpg fully loaded. As far as power goes I haven’t had any issues pulling any California grades and the brakes are more than adequate to stop the load. Hope this helps. Truck and camper will be on the market soon and in your price range, PM me if you have any interest.
A close friend has that same truck and it runs well, I am still puzzled why they kept the 1500 badge even though it has the solid front axle and many of the 2500 parts. Is yours an SLT package? How many miles and why are you selling it?
 

RedF

Adventurer
Dad has a 1500 hemi w/ 3.92s that we used for a couple of trips thru the mountains when they moved. I think it's a 2007. I don't know how heavy that trailer was, but suffice to say it was loaded. It did an admirable job; going up the steep climbs it was never short on power, but I'm almost certian you could watch the gas gauge move. It was 5-6 mpg for most of the trip.
 

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Halligan

Adventurer
A close friend has that same truck and it runs well, I am still puzzled why they kept the 1500 badge even though it has the solid front axle and many of the 2500 parts. Is yours an SLT package? How many miles and why are you selling it?

Actually it has ALL the 2500 parts except for softer rate springs. That was Dodges answer to all the crew cab F-150's and GM 1500's that were selling like hot cakes. Ram only had a Quad Cab 1500 with the smaller rear seat/legroom. Rather than spend the money to engineer a real 1500 crew cab they softened up the ride of a 2500 and called it a 1500. I would support the purchase of one of these rare trucks for your intended purpose although you may still end up being overweight by legal standards.
 

Shovel

Dreaming Ape
I don't have any stake in what you end up doing so just take this as the anecdote it is & I also have a CDL and run class 7 tractor/trailer nationwide if that helps provide context.

I own a 2015 Ram 1500 4x4 single cab short bed (120" wheelbase) with OEM tow package, 3.55:1 gears, 65RFE (6 speed) transmission, 5.7L Hemi, and the Mopar 2" suspension lift on 33" diameter tires. In compliance with my state's laws any trailer over 3000lb GVW must have brakes. According to the manufacturer the maximum rated tow capacity with this truck as built is 9050 lbs. The most I have towed interstate with this vehicle is ~7200lb, in July from Los Angeles to Phoenix in the form of a rented 2500lb two axle trailer with a Montero aboard. Not much aero load, a bit tongue heavy. The laden weight of my truck alone is ~5500lb with fuel, luggage, myself and my wife aboard for a GCW of ~12,700lb and a GCWR of 14,400lb

Heat, power and command of the trailer were not difficult or even approaching discomfort. Transmission temperature has never had a 2 in the hundreds column. Accelerating up hill to pass heavy trucks was not difficult, the Fuel efficiency isn't abysmal when towing but I acknowledge I have not towed a high profile parachute with this truck. The 3.55 gears (as compared with 3.21 or 3.92 also available that year) have not at any time felt like a handicap but naturally I cannot comment on how life would be different with a different axle ratio choice.

Some things to consider, should you shop Rams: For 1500's specifically, in 2013 they switched to electric power steering. This is a good thing - it's very nice. Even though they're the same company as Jeep it's a dramatically better EPS calibration than what they put in new non-Wrangler Jeeps. 2013+ also got revisions to the engine/trans cooling system which improve mpg a little but also improve transmission cooling capacity - even on the 6 speed. 2013+ gains five horsepower over 09-12 and 3 ft-lbs of peak torque, so that's cool - I'd imagine the area under the curve tells a better story than just 3 peak lbs. 2013+ also gets revised vehicle stability control probably in part to do with the electric power steering but it also adds low speed traction control which works surprisingly well and functions in 4L just as well as 2H. For 2500's 2013 was also the first year it had vehicle stability control at all. 2014+ 2500's got a revised front axle that reduces noise and improves MPG by disconnecting in 2wd, like all the 1500's have. For whatever reason all 4th gen 2500 5.7L Hemis make 12 fewer horsepower and 10lbs less torque than the same engine in the same year 1500 - though again I'd have to guess the area under the curve might tell a better story on that.

Interior materials quality.. well, mine's a USFS fleet truck (purchased brand new) so it has manual crank up windows and hard plastic everywhere inside. It seems durable enough, I have no complaints and so far in four years and some change there haven't been any broken parts at all. The only complaint I can offer about the build or engineering quality of the vehicle so far is the responsiveness of user controls are not favorable. This goes for the buttons on the steering wheel and the transmission +- range selectors, any momentary button available to the driver. Button presses are not absolute, if I press the minus button on the transmission selector four times at any cadence even when firm distinct and deliberate, they may register two or three or four button presses. I have to visually confirm with the gauge display or wait for the vehicle's behavior to respond because I can't count on just assuming the input I supplied was sufficient. It may sound like a very trivial thing and maybe it is but if you had a computer keyboard that dropped keys at random you would buy a new keyboard. That's what the truck does, and while it was still under the warranty the dealer insisted they "could not duplicate" even after I recorded a video of it.

Again I don't have any stake in what you buy, I hope the above has been informative.
 
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