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Old 05-24-2010, 01:54 AM   #1
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2003 Dodge Ram 3500 towing capacity

I could use some information on towing capacity. I have a 2003 Ram 3500 quad cab with the long bed SRW, 5.9 diesel engine, 3.73 rear. I purchased this truck with the intent to tow a fifth wheel RV but I am have a hard time determining the max weight RV I can tow. When researching the towing weight for my truck I am find numbers from 9900lbs to 16,000lbs. The 9900 lb, this seems very low but several. The fifth wheels we are looking at have dry weights ranging from 10,500 to 12,500 and from 35 to 39 feet long.

I would like to hear form some who has the same truck and what they are towing, I donít want to buy a 5th wheels thatís to big for my truck, but I seem odd if it could only handle 10,000lbs.

If anyone could let me know if this truck really has such a low towing capacity and what is the limiting factor, the engine, transmission, suspension or what and is there anything I could do to safely increase the towing capacity

Thanks

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Old 05-24-2010, 09:20 AM   #2
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I have the Trailer Life towing guide for the 2006 models. Your unit with 2WD is listed at 16,000 for the manual and 14,300 for the automatic. The 4WD is listed at 15,750 for the manual and 13,850 for the automatic. I have no idea how the 06 equates to the 03 but you may be able to find an 03 towing guide. I found my guides via Google.
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Old 05-24-2010, 09:47 AM   #3
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First, welcome aboard. We have a lot of very knowledgeable people here. I have an 01 3500 DRW. My experience is, my first 3500 had a 353 rear end. when ever I started uphill I had to shift down. Now I have a 410 and it pulls great. As for what you CAN pull, I saw a video showing a 3/4T Ford pulling a 747. What you can pull and what you should pull can be miles apart. With the size 5ers you are looking at, IMHO you need duals at min. A 5er will overload the rear axle of PU before you reach the GCWR. Since you won't be towing an empty trailer the dry weights are meaning less. Most of us look at the GVWR. On one trip with our 8.5 Slide in camper I was 1000lbs overloaded. I never figured where all the weight was but shows how fast it adds up.
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Old 05-24-2010, 03:32 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by StarTraveler View Post
I could use some information on towing capacity. I have a 2003 Ram 3500 quad cab with the long bed SRW, 5.9 diesel engine, 3.73 rear. I purchased this truck with the intent to tow a fifth wheel RV but I am have a hard time determining the max weight RV I can tow. When researching the towing weight for my truck I am find numbers from 9900lbs to 16,000lbs. The 9900 lb, this seems very low but several. The fifth wheels we are looking at have dry weights ranging from 10,500 to 12,500 and from 35 to 39 feet long.

I would like to hear form some who has the same truck and what they are towing, I donít want to buy a 5th wheels thatís to big for my truck, but I seem odd if it could only handle 10,000lbs.

If anyone could let me know if this truck really has such a low towing capacity and what is the limiting factor, the engine, transmission, suspension or what and is there anything I could do to safely increase the towing capacity

Thanks
First, I would start with my owner's manual, if it is available that is. Next the numbers on the door post sticker, or glove box, wherever it may be located.

For towing find your GCVWR, (gross combined vehicle weight rating), the GVWR, (gross vehicle weight rating), of the truck and the GVWR of the proposed trailer(s). Most trailers have a sticker on the left front side. Also, find the GAWR, (gross axle weight rating), front and rear for the truck.

The GVWR for the two vehicles, truck and trailer, added together must be less than the GCVWR. Next, find the pin weight of the trailer(s) you are interested in and ascertain that it will not exceed the GAWR of the rear axle. Note here that other items carried in the truck are contributing to the axle loads as well and must be factored in. I have read that dual tires do not contribute additional load capacity, but add stability. That is pretty big truck and should take a good size trailer. Finally, I would require from the seller that I can take the rig to a commercial scale and get all of the axle weights and total loading before closing the deal. Before hand, getting the curb weight of the truck will be useful information. Here in FL. Cat Scales, (most truck stops), charges $9.00 for the service.

Current wisdom on the RV boards is to aim for 80% capacity for a safety factor. Personally, I do not subscribe to that idea but understand the level of comfort it provides.

Anyway, I hope this helps you a little and is not too, confusing. I expect others will have good information for you to aid in your decision making.

Harold
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Old 05-24-2010, 05:49 PM   #5
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you are going to be limited bc its a SRW truck and tires will be the factor.

look at your axle ratings and tier ratings then GCWR(total wt truck + trailer LOADED)

good rule of thumb is to figure 20% of the trailers GVWR to get an est loaded hitch wt.
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Old 05-24-2010, 09:55 PM   #6
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I don't know where your getting info that the truck can only handle a 10k trailer.
Dodge says different.

Your '03 3500 SRW with the 305/555 HO engine has a 9900 GVWR and has up to a 14400 tow rating with a 3.73 axle. Dodge gives your 3500 SRW a 6500 RAWR for carrying payloads. These trucks may have a rear axle unladin weight of 2800-2900 lbs which leaves you with approx 3600-3700 lbs for a payload. Actual weight depends on what the axle actually weighs for your particular truck. Subtract another 350 lbs for a hitch and othe gear over the rear axle and your left with 3200-3400 lbs for a max "WET" pin weight. Thats the most the truck can handle before going over axle and tire capacities. Now look at 5ers with a wet pin weight under 3200-3400 lbs and up to a 14400 lb trailer. Thats max towing so if you won't be comfortable towing max just simply downsize your choice.

You will hear from others that use GVWR to carry axle/tire loads but its only using about 80 percent of the trucks axle/tire capacity for carrying loads. Both are fine as their both within the trucks rated specs that Dodge gives us.
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Old 05-26-2010, 09:44 PM   #7
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Need more data on your truck. I have an 03 3500 QC SB w/3.73 rear end. My tow weight is 9900lbs but I also have the Cali 235hp engine. I would need all the info on your truck to give yo what DC says your truck can tow.
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