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Old 03-13-2014, 04:26 PM   #1
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Got Ram - but now what do I get?

We purchased a beautiful 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 5.7L V8 Hemi with 3.55 axle ratio, GVWR 6650, Curb 4877 and 1773 payload with tow package and 20" wheels.

Will a 6,000 TT be too much? The tow capacity, from what I read is almost 8,000 lbs. for this truck.

Now, we have to change plans on the TT, because we picked out a TT that weighs 6,900 lbs. but that will be too much.

What would be the most TT I can get for this truck?

Thanks guys!
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Old 03-13-2014, 04:35 PM   #2
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Keep in mind the curb weight from the mfgr. is usually without any passengers, 1/2 tank gas, one 150# driver, nothing in the bed. For this reason you cannot rely upon the published numbers for determining what weight you can safely tow.
I recommend using this online weight calculator to make this decision.
You will note it offers the option to include a 20% safety factor, which many full-timers use for safety and tow vehicle longevity.
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Old 03-13-2014, 04:39 PM   #3
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Hi Lori,
That's a nice truck, I bought a new one in Oct of 2002 with the 4.7L. That was a month after 9-11 and NO ONE was buying anything, so I thought I would jump-start the economy on my own. LOL.

Make sure you get a synthetic trans fluid change in that thing, and synthetic in the motor too. My favorite flavor is amsoil, but there are other good products. It if doesn't already have a large transmission cooler drop a c-note and add one of those too.

Trailer towing puts a HUGE stress on a tow rig, particularly a light duty pickup. IMO I wouldn't get anywhere near the GCVW to leave some reserve for cargo, fuel, water, etc.

A good buddy of mine has the same rig, maybe a bit newer, and he tows TT's in the 20' range without issue. Just make sure the driver keeps their foot out of it and keep the weight down.

Staying at the 6K weight range will help. I would encourage you to rent one and do some trial runs. That way you'll know what you're up against. Climbing hills is a real lesson in truck pulling power and durability.

Next time get the 3/4 ton with a diesel for towing.
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Old 03-13-2014, 05:03 PM   #4
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I would NOT change to synthetic at this point, unless you like cleaning up oil leaks. On that old truck, the seals are set on regular oil. They will contract if you change over to synthetic.

If you want a reasonable towing experience and some reserve performance to climb hills, I'd keep it under 6000lbs fully loaded. Probably will mean a trailer under 25' long, which is still a fairly big trailer.

Get out of the bigger is better, how big can I go mindset. Look for a reasonable layout and weight distribution that will be easy to deal with, yet still fun to use.

Good luck in what you decide.
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Old 03-13-2014, 05:11 PM   #5
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I would NOT change to synthetic at this point, unless you like cleaning up oil leaks. On that old truck, the seals are set on regular oil. They will contract if you change over to synthetic.
I don't wish to bash you or hijack this thread, but this is completely false.

Also consider not coming onto a new members thread about the rig they just bought and insult them with comments like "that old truck". It's not the age, it's the miles. For all we know it's a cream puff.
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Old 03-13-2014, 05:35 PM   #6
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Thanks CJ, not only is it a cream puff, but it was traded in by an 85 yr. old guy who kept it in the garage and brought it to the dealership for regular maintenance, only 93,000 miles on it. It's literally showroom new in and out and I couldn't believe it was a 2003.
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Old 03-13-2014, 05:36 PM   #7
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Congrats, that truck should handle a 6,000lb. Trailer just fine. It will know you are towing but after all...it is working.

The 3.55 gears are not really great towing gears so keep that in mind when picking and loading the trailer.
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Old 03-13-2014, 05:38 PM   #8
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She may be old but she's mine. ;-)
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:34 PM   #9
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Cool - that cap looks good and will allow you to keep things dry!!!
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJBROWN View Post
I don't wish to bash you or hijack this thread, but this is completely false.

Also consider not coming onto a new members thread about the rig they just bought and insult them with comments like "that old truck". It's not the age, it's the miles. For all we know it's a cream puff.
Since when is old an insult? Think many would differ with that statement.

11 years old and 93,000 miles, while in good condition, is too old to switch to synthetic. There is lots of documentation on this. Actually, a better choice would be a high-mileage conventional formulation, of which there are many.
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Old 03-13-2014, 08:05 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by CJBROWN View Post
Hi Lori,
That's a nice truck, I bought a new one in Oct of 2002 with the 4.7L. That was a month after 9-11 and NO ONE was buying anything, so I thought I would jump-start the economy on my own. LOL.

Make sure you get a synthetic trans fluid change in that thing, and synthetic in the motor too. My favorite flavor is amsoil, but there are other good products. It if doesn't already have a large transmission cooler drop a c-note and add one of those too.

Trailer towing puts a HUGE stress on a tow rig, particularly a light duty pickup. IMO I wouldn't get anywhere near the GCVW to leave some reserve for cargo, fuel, water, etc.

A good buddy of mine has the same rig, maybe a bit newer, and he tows TT's in the 20' range without issue. Just make sure the driver keeps their foot out of it and keep the weight down.

Staying at the 6K weight range will help. I would encourage you to rent one and do some trial runs. That way you'll know what you're up against. Climbing hills is a real lesson in truck pulling power and durability.

Next time get the 3/4 ton with a diesel for towing.
The truck when new used Mopar ATF+4 fluid and that is full synthetic. I am sure if dealer changed the fluid they would have used the Mopar fluid. If it hasn't been changed since new or recently, I would want to make sure its good before towing.

I have owned several 5.7 Hemi motors since they came out in 2003. All have been awesome. I have one now in 2012 mega cab 2500 and DW has one in her 2007 jeep grand Cherokee. Very strong and smooth engines. You will love it.

Chad
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:10 PM   #12
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11 years old and 93,000 miles, while in good condition, is too old to switch to synthetic. There is lots of documentation on this. Actually, a better choice would be a high-mileage conventional formulation, of which there are many.
Again, this is completely false. And could be what keeps the truck on the road vs a blown tranny which mopars are moreorless famous for. And thats why the recommendation. Especially if it hasn't been changed in the last 20K miles. Any oil is better than no oil, synthetic is more stable and longer lived. Proper trans service is key to towing or YOU WILL BLOW UP THE TRANSMISSION!

The 'documentation' you speak of is people that blew their trans after switching oil but the oil didn't have anything to do with it. It was gonna blow anyway. ATF doesn't 'soften seals'. Another old wive's tale.

The point about the old comment was that it was just rude. You probably don't even realize it.
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Old 03-14-2014, 07:09 AM   #13
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The man who traded the truck in brought it to the dealership, where he purchased it, for regular maintenance including oil changes. I will check with the dealership to make sure synthetic was used. I'm also a stickler for maintaining vehicles and changing oil every 3K regardless of what the manual says.

And the dealership just put on brand new 20" Grabbers too, I'm a happy gal.
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Old 03-14-2014, 09:15 AM   #14
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For 2003, looks like a 3.92 axle ratio was an option. I'd probably get that installed if you plan on doing extensive towing. Here's the reference: 2002 Dodge Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500 specifications

The best place is probably to take it down to a 4x4 specialty offroad shop or driveline shop that does these types of replacements often. It takes some shimming and spacing to get it just right. In total with parts it'll probably cost about $1000 for a 4wd. If you take it to the dealer, they'll charge you about $1500 for both sets of ring and pinions alone, tack a few hours of labor on top of that.
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