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Old 09-25-2005, 03:32 PM   #1
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Help. I need answers. I just came back from using our fairly newly purchased 5th wheel. Second trip and a little longer than our first. I was concerned from the start. The GVWR on the 5th wheel states 12000 lbs. UVC is 9020 lbs. My 97 Dodge dually 4x4 diesel (12 valve) has a GVWR of 11000 lbs. I was concerned on the first trip with low speed on uphills (around 30 mph). This time it really seemed to slow to around 25 mph at 2200 rpm. Initially when we left our site this morning it seemed that the tranny was slipping but the wife says I am imagining Everyone says that my truck is OK for pulling a 12K trailer. I stopped briefly into a scale and weight the truck only with the 5th wheel still attached and all occupants and equipment in the vehicle to a tune of 10,500 lbs. Then I back up and weight just he axles of the trailer on the scale at 8,700 lbs. Dont know how to figure or if I can this way if I am underpowered and if there is an issue with my tranny. Smelled the fluid and is clean and smells ok. Engine mileage is on 100k. Any help would greatly be appreciated.
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Old 09-25-2005, 03:32 PM   #2
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Help. I need answers. I just came back from using our fairly newly purchased 5th wheel. Second trip and a little longer than our first. I was concerned from the start. The GVWR on the 5th wheel states 12000 lbs. UVC is 9020 lbs. My 97 Dodge dually 4x4 diesel (12 valve) has a GVWR of 11000 lbs. I was concerned on the first trip with low speed on uphills (around 30 mph). This time it really seemed to slow to around 25 mph at 2200 rpm. Initially when we left our site this morning it seemed that the tranny was slipping but the wife says I am imagining Everyone says that my truck is OK for pulling a 12K trailer. I stopped briefly into a scale and weight the truck only with the 5th wheel still attached and all occupants and equipment in the vehicle to a tune of 10,500 lbs. Then I back up and weight just he axles of the trailer on the scale at 8,700 lbs. Dont know how to figure or if I can this way if I am underpowered and if there is an issue with my tranny. Smelled the fluid and is clean and smells ok. Engine mileage is on 100k. Any help would greatly be appreciated.
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Old 09-25-2005, 04:17 PM   #3
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Well,

the good news - your friend should be right. you should have no problems pulling the trailer. The best thing to do, is find a scale when you are without trailer and see what your truck wieght is. Subtract that number from your 10,500 and that will be your pin weight. Add the pin weight to 8,700 for your total trailer weight.

Overall, I am quite confident that you are OK. You are heavy, but not over.

Now the bad news - get to know your transmission mechanic well. He may become your new friend. I know a guy who pulls near max with his auto tranny and he has to do almost annual maintenance.

Your tranny might just need a "tune up" to get back to peak performance. It might have been slipping. It would be hard to know for sure, but a check up trip to the shop might be in order. This would all depend on the vehicles history. Curiosity - have you been using the truck hard since you bought it? How many miles?

Hope this helps.

Just by comparison my 96 Dodge, Cummins, 5 speed manual tranny, 4x4, ext cab. with just us and stuff 7,100 lbs, with trailer 8,800(the max) so pin weight of 1700 lbs, trailer axles alone 5,900. So trailer total is 7,600. I am about 3,000 lbs under my max overall and I do well.
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Old 09-25-2005, 04:38 PM   #4
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Thank BIG KID,

I hope that you are right on the good news and suspected as much on the bad. I had another 5th wheel but it was a 24 footer and only weighed at around 5k. This one is double. I am going to take it in to the tranny shop and have them do a once over hopefully without taking it in the backside as most businesses do. I treat it like a truck in that I have had two yards of gravel, mulch, dump crap and dont baby it. I am overly concerned that with such high RPM's and low speed there is tranny slippage. And like I said from a dead stop going out of the park today it would barely go up hill if it did at all. I think my rocking back and forth in the seat made the truck go uphill I changed my fluid (tranny just last month) and always service the truck every 5k. I live my Cummins but will have to sacrifice for a trade in to another vehicle if this is going to run me into a money pit. Point is cant afford one of the new vehicles. Any views about the 5.9 Cummins vs the 7.3 Ford diesel anyone
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Old 09-25-2005, 07:24 PM   #5
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Retired Raanger, boy do you know how to start a major discussion. Cummins vs. Powerstroke. Most folks with diesels are very loyal to whay ever they have.

All of the 3 majors seem to make a pretty good engine. Although I have a PSD (7.3L), I feel that the Cummins is a bit heavier duty than the others. I bought the Ford, but was looking for a Cummins as well. No good used ones were available, so I went with the Ford.

You can visit the Turbo diesel site for Cummins or The Diesel Stop for Fords. Lots of knowledgable folks on these sites.

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Old 09-25-2005, 07:26 PM   #6
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From the sounds of it the combined weight of your truck and trailer is 19,200 lbs and if I were you, I would be concerned about the transmission especially if you tow a lot in the hills and have a 3.55 rear end.

The auto transmission is the limiting factor when it comes to how much weight you can tow with 2nd generation Dodge diesels. Using my 2001 Dodge 3/4 ton auto as an example (a 24 valve but I don't suppose yours would be much different) my GCWR is the same as a one ton auto with 3.55's, 16000 lb, and 1000 lb less with 4.10's. 18,000 for the 3/4 ton vs 19,000 for the one ton. I am assuming this 1000 lb difference is because all the six speed manuals and auto one tons came with Dana 80 rear ends while most auto 3/4 tons came with Dana 70's. With a manual transmission the 3/4 ton GCWR is 20,000 and the one ton is 21,500 regardless of the rear end ratio. As you can see your auto would be 3200 lb over the GCWR if you have a 3.55 rear end and only slightly over if you have a 4.10. All this info should be in your owners manual.

As far as the Cummins is conserned, I wouldn't worry about it. It will just go a little slower the heavier you get.
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Old 09-25-2005, 08:35 PM   #7
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further to my last - looking at changing my good news to not so good. After reading the other posts, I went and checked my 96 manual. You should be able to find all your information in there. Go to the index and look up trailer towing.

info from the 96.
the max for all auto 1 tons, is 18,000. Which is surprising considering, that it is the same as my 3/4 ton. the 96 1 ton, 4x4 dually, club cab, has an 11,000 GVWR, with a max combined(GCWR) of 18,000 it doesn't matter about the gear ratio, they are both the same.

So, unless the 97's increased over the 96. You might be over.

I have been looking into the trade up possibilities these days as well. Right now, it seems the Cummins is the way to go. I have a large number of friends in the ranching/hauling(and other redneck sports), and most are fairly diehard Cummins fans. Note-I didn't say Dodge, some of these guys are Ford through and through, but when push comes to shove, they agree that the Cummins will outlast and outperform over time.

One guy I know it looking at having his GMC re-engined with a Cummins. There is a company that will do it. They quoted him $13,000.00. He is considering it.
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Old 09-25-2005, 08:39 PM   #8
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Wilber1,
Great info. I am thinking of having my rear end changed to a 4:10 for a start. I dont have an owners manual and the local dodge dealer is no help. Anyone know the max tow capacity of a 97 1 ton dually with auto?

I am determined to keep the cummins in my blood as I have not had one problem with this vehicle until now. However I cant turn money into blood
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Old 09-25-2005, 08:47 PM   #9
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Well thanks for making my day a little darker I am going to the scales again tomorrow to make sure that I calculated the weight right but am pretty sure that I am close. The dry weight of the 5er says 9020 (and I guess that this doesnt include any immenities so I have been told but thats another topic), The plate on the outside states 12k GVWR. And I know from past on the scales at the dump that my truck weighed in around 8k with me in it, so 10,500 with the hitch weight and 4 occupants plus gear is probably right. So with all that said I am around 19,200 fully loaded. DRATS
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Old 09-25-2005, 09:07 PM   #10
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Ranger

I wouldn't get too upset. The only legal limits are probably your truck and trailer GVWR's. You don't have a problem with those. GCWR is normaly limited by the power train of the TV. There are all kinds of things you can do to get more power out of your engine and strengthen the transmission to handle the extra power and weight.
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Old 09-26-2005, 04:52 AM   #11
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I had a 97 low Horse Power 235? I think but You may have missed a small problem and a easy fix change Your fuel filter I had that happen and was amazed at the improvement in power and performence when I replaced mine.The trannie. is a week spot also but the dealer can hook up to the computter and tell if slipping or heating has taken place..They can tell You a lot of info.with the test..even how often You started the truck and if You were stuck and over heated the trannie.Your motor can also be chipped but not the trannie..John and My old 97 still running good and pulls a 32'5er for someone near My home I have had 2 new trucks since both Dodge and both oil burners..
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Old 09-26-2005, 09:53 AM   #12
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Install a trans temp gauge. it will tell you worlds of info. Almost a priceless addon.
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Old 09-27-2005, 06:45 AM   #13
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Well just came back from the scales. Filled full of gas and with me in the seat the truck weighs in at 7350. Now to weigh the trailer, but I still dont know the max tow capacity of the truck....just the gvwr of the vehicle at 11,000. So I can haul 3,650 in the truck but have the figure the trailer weight. Guess I will drop it on the scale, weigh it seperate and then put it on the truck and weigh it again to make sure I am not over on the rear axle weight but know that I wont. I believe that I have seen the light. The dealer took me for a ride because I was one of those trusting people who believed him when he said after I asked "That Cummins will haul anything on the lot with no problems" Now I have a driveway anchor and I want to go kick his butt
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Old 09-27-2005, 07:22 AM   #14
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The RV safety website says 11,500 lbs. for the 97 4x4 3500.
http://www.rvsafety.com/towrate97.htm
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