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Old 02-05-2019, 02:19 PM   #1
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Noob looking for feedback - Ram 1500 Hemi + TT

I've been lurking for awhile and have been formulating my plan for a travel trailer. I bought my 2015 Ram Hemi last year for this exact reason. I have the money and am finally ready to buy the TT.

After reading ungodly amounts of posts on towing/payload etc I think I have a reasonable plan for my TT purchase. Would appreciate any feedback, criticism, and insight.

TV: Ram 1500 Hemi Crew w/ 3.92 gears, tow package (mirrors and brake controller), 1410 payload.

Planned addons for TV: Equalizer WDH/anti sway (or similar), new rear springs or helper springs, Michelin Defender LTX tires.

TT Specs: Nothing bigger than 26', max dry weight of 5k lbs, max loaded 7,500lbs

I know full well that payload is the shortcoming of the truck. I need to retire before buying a dedicated tow vehicle. That's about 8 years down the line. For now my Ram will have to do the job and I want to be as safe/comfortable as possible towing with it.

I'm not that concerned about payload because if it's just me and my wife going everything should be fine in the trailer and bed of the truck. If we take some or all of our kids then we'll just take 2 cars. We do that now without towing anything. lol. 4 kids and a dog + stuff = A LOT.

The only aftermarket accessory currently on my truck that has weight to it is a Bakflip F1 and it only weighs maybe 60 lbs. WDH would add to payload but with a 7,500 max loaded trailer weight would be around 900lbs on the tongue so there's wiggle room for additional gear in the bed or cab. I don't see any difficulty working with my payload rating.

I plan on buying a 2-3 year old lightly used TT and I'm currently only looking at ones that are 5k or less dry weight. I'll stick to my guns on that weight even though we ALL want a bigger trailer. lol.

I do plan on towing fairly long distances at times so I want to make sure that I buy something that isn't near my truck's limits and also is fairly easy to tow. I've towed boats in the Rockies when I worked for a marine service company and I've had a few white knuckle drives. Don't want any more of those. lol. I live on the East coast now so most of my towing will be fairly level but plan to visit places like Maine and upstate NY so I'll be climbing and descending on certain trips.

Questions:

1) Does my plan seem safe and reasonable for my TV?

2) What other accessories should I consider adding to make towing safer/easier?

3) Is a 26' trailer pushing the limits with wind/tractor trailers etc?

4) Should I consider upgrading the brakes and rotors on my truck?

5) Any other tire recommendations other than Michelin Defenders?

I'm a good mechanic so I save a lot of money doing things myself. If I need to upgrade the brakes/rotors I'll do it myself. One last thing I need to check on is my transmission cooler. I believe my truck came with one installed but since I haven't had to service the trans or tow anything I haven't really payed attention. If I don't have a trans cooler I'll add one. Anyone with a Ram Hemi 8 speed have any issues with trans temps on long tows?

Sorry for the novel for a first post. Just wanted to be as detailed as possible. I'm open to any criticism or ideas. I don't buy expensive things without thinking them through in advance.
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Old 02-05-2019, 02:29 PM   #2
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Sister in law pulls a 28' 5th Wheel 8500 lbs, loaded. Pulls easily. RAM with same engine and gearing. Long bed std cab. Pin weight approaching max. 11-13 mpg. 55 mph avg. Sister in law does all the setup, breakdown and driving alone long distances.
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Old 02-05-2019, 04:03 PM   #3
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Tow a 23í 4,400 lb dry, and 5,700 lb gross trailer with a 2017 Ram, and same setup. Truck hauls it with ease on level ground, but does work on steep grades here in the NW. Trans temp run in the low 180ís without trailer. With trailer it runs in the low to mid 190ís.
We also take long trips and very much appreciate not being too weighed down. But the truck is very solid at high speeds. Passing, or being passed by large trucks is no problem. Out west those trucks run anywhere from 65 to 75 mph.
Sounds like to me your on the right track, but personally I wouldnít go over 7k.
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Old 02-05-2019, 04:30 PM   #4
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I tow a Imagine 2150RB with a 2013 RAM. I have 3.55 gear and 6 speed. Trailer is just under 27í total and 5300 lbs empty, 6100 ready to camp. We have two bicycles, a generator and 16 foot canoe in the truck. I am pushing my max payload,only have 1100 lbs according to the sticker. I added airlift 1000 airbags to stiffen up the back end while towing. I have not had any issues towing. The trailer does not sway even in strong cross winds. You should be fine with your setup.
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Old 02-05-2019, 09:56 PM   #5
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It looks to me like you've got all the bases covered. Should be nice towing setup without a constant white knuckle driving experience. Just be sure to get everything weighed once you have TV and TT loaded up for camping. Make sure you've got 10% to 13% of trailer weight on tongue. As for length, 26 ft won't be wagging your TV as long as everything is well under TV cargo and towing capacity. There are a lot of different floor plans available in a 26 ft TT. I've got a 24 ft. that is quite roomy. I'd like a longer unit, but in reality, I don't need one to be comfortable. Plus, it tows beautifully behind my Dodge Durango.

Please keep us updated on your progress in finding a TT that works for you and your family.
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Old 02-06-2019, 09:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bneukam View Post
Tow a 23í 4,400 lb dry, and 5,700 lb gross trailer with a 2017 Ram, and same setup. Truck hauls it with ease on level ground, but does work on steep grades here in the NW. Trans temp run in the low 180ís without trailer. With trailer it runs in the low to mid 190ís.
We also take long trips and very much appreciate not being too weighed down. But the truck is very solid at high speeds. Passing, or being passed by large trucks is no problem. Out west those trucks run anywhere from 65 to 75 mph.
Sounds like to me your on the right track, but personally I wouldnít go over 7k.
Thank you for this. I really appreciate it. Our family has been tent camping for over 10 years and while we love doing it... god am I sick of packing for it. lol. We're very easy going and don't need luxury options. Just a nice/safe place to sleep and be comfortable. I'm already deep in the search for a lightly used TT. I'm going to trade fancy options in exchange for higher quality. I'm a great mechanic but I really hate fixing things that are too cheap to begin with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by happyvibe View Post
I tow a Imagine 2150RB with a 2013 RAM. I have 3.55 gear and 6 speed. Trailer is just under 27í total and 5300 lbs empty, 6100 ready to camp. We have two bicycles, a generator and 16 foot canoe in the truck. I am pushing my max payload,only have 1100 lbs according to the sticker. I added airlift 1000 airbags to stiffen up the back end while towing. I have not had any issues towing. The trailer does not sway even in strong cross winds. You should be fine with your setup.
Really appreciate it! I'm sure we'll find plenty of extras to pack as time goes on. For that reason alone I'm making sure we don't start off with something approaching comfortable weight limits before loading it up. When I get a big tow vehicle I'll get the rolling house to go with it. Not there yet and I won't sacrifice safety/towing comfort for anything.


Quote:
Originally Posted by IBTripping View Post
It looks to me like you've got all the bases covered. Should be nice towing setup without a constant white knuckle driving experience. Just be sure to get everything weighed once you have TV and TT loaded up for camping. Make sure you've got 10% to 13% of trailer weight on tongue. As for length, 26 ft won't be wagging your TV as long as everything is well under TV cargo and towing capacity. There are a lot of different floor plans available in a 26 ft TT. I've got a 24 ft. that is quite roomy. I'd like a longer unit, but in reality, I don't need one to be comfortable. Plus, it tows beautifully behind my Dodge Durango.

Please keep us updated on your progress in finding a TT that works for you and your family.
I'm very analytical and never jump into a purchase like this without an excessive and annoying level of research (according to my wife). lol

We're set on trading fancy features in exchange for a better built TT. We don't need top of the line. Just a nicely built and comfortable trailer will make everyone happy. So far I've eliminated a bunch of brands and am currently looking at the Lance 2185 and Minnie 2455 BHS. I need the bunkhouse since I have 4 kids. 2 are finishing college so they won't camp as often but I need to be able to sleep 6 without being piled on top of each other (like we do in a tent). Once my younger kids are grown my wife and I will buy something just for the 2 of us. I'm very impressed with Lance but man they're hard to find used on the east coast...
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Old 02-06-2019, 09:44 AM   #7
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Sounds like you are on the right track. I wouldn't worry about adding helper springs, they won't give you anything extra for the money you are spending. Spend that money on a quality WDH. Leave the brakes alone too, just use good, quality pads when replacing them next time. I'd pay more attention to the trailer brakes on the used trailer. Repack the bearings and make sure the brakes are in good shape. Once you fine tune the trailer brake gain, you'll be fine. Keeping the weight of the empty RV around 5K lbs is a great plan, I don't think you will get close to the 7500 lbs loaded you mentioned unless you buy a Toyhauler and sling a 4 wheeler in it. Most standard TTs won't have a 2500lb cargo capacity, so I'd say you'll end up on the road at closer to 6500lbs, which is about where you want to be with that 1500 RAM. Good luck, safe travels.
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Old 02-06-2019, 03:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IBTripping View Post
It looks to me like you've got all the bases covered. Should be nice towing setup without a constant white knuckle driving experience. Just be sure to get everything weighed once you have TV and TT loaded up for camping. Make sure you've got 10% to 13% of trailer weight on tongue. As for length, 26 ft won't be wagging your TV as long as everything is well under TV cargo and towing capacity. There are a lot of different floor plans available in a 26 ft TT. I've got a 24 ft. that is quite roomy. I'd like a longer unit, but in reality, I don't need one to be comfortable. Plus, it tows beautifully behind my Dodge Durango.

Please keep us updated on your progress in finding a TT that works for you and your family.

We're narrowing down our search for a TT. Although I can get a loaded to the ceiling ultralight trailer with my budget I can't get past the build quality on many. We really like the Minnie 2455BHS. It's 5,300 dry (7k max loaded) and 27' long. Right on the edge of where I want to be length wise but the floorplan is basically perfect for what we need. Minnies aren't high end like Nash or Lance but they appear to be at least mid-grade in quality of construction. The issue now is finding one close enough to buy. There are a few perfect ones on the market but are over 300 miles away. I'll just keep my eyes peeled. I assume spring is trade-in season for upgraders
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Old 02-06-2019, 09:53 PM   #9
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The important point you made is easy towing = low center of gravity. You need the wheels in fender wells, not below the floor because tires should be 15in or 16in to allow a quality choice. Rounded corners and nose are better than sharp corners. Just as with most vehicles, your shoulders are lower than your head. You do not need maximum head clearance at the sides, but you do need it in the middle aisle. Independent suspension better than straight axles and leaf springs.

With a light weight easy towed trailer, length can be longer. With a big box, shorter is mandatory. Your analysis will pay off.

The eight speed transmission is a gift. Right gear all the time. When the going get tough, do not run in the overdrive gears. Drop down. Your trailer tow programming should do that for you. The slower speed you might travel in steep grades get made up with smooth travel on the flat.

Brakes - yes, look at performance pads. Keep an eye on the rotors and if they warp or crack, replace at first opportunity. There are going to be upgrades available, but as long as the rotors can cool well, the pads should provide the improvement you need. Reducing the speed down hills reduces the need for heavy braking. Keep the trailer brakes maintained. Whatever you buy, the first maintenance is to check hub bearings and brakes.

Tires - the LTX is a light truck tire in the size you will likely use on your truck (in 15in, it's a passenger tire). The Hemi's also came with large diameter 19-20 inch wheels and low profile tires. If yours did, the alternative to LT tires is a quality set of run flat 20in tires. Do your research. It depends on what the rear axle is going to carry and you may have to compromise to get the weight capacity you need. There is a flyer that could help, but only if you do not need the weight capacity. If you can drop down in tire/wheel size, you can lower the truck. That gives you a final drive ratio reduction for more torque and improves the vehicle's stability.

Suspension - shocks may be best change/upgrade. Springs should be good for the design load of the vehicle. Stiffer springs can help with roll control, but large bars are likely a better solution unless you are overloading the rear axle and that's not your plan. Pan-hard bar is needed and a solid bushing set is something to consider as the OEM bushings wear.

Hitch - get a PPP type hitch. The EQ has good recomendations and friction has a lot going for it, but independant weight and sway control adjustment is needed for the vehicle you are going with. Make certain your hitch receiver is rigid and does not flex. Replace the receiver with higher class if suspect.

Good luck with your analysis. The more you know the better rig you will buy and the better your RV experience will be.

Example of round corners and low profile. It has a PPP hitch too. Not mine, but I like to see them on the road.
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Old 02-09-2019, 11:13 PM   #10
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Noob looking for feedback - Ram 1500 Hemi + TT

I have a 2012 ram 1500. We had an old 24í TT (1978) I donít know what the weight was, I would guess around 7500 loaded. we have to run through the mountains to get where we like to camp.
The ram pulled it with no problem. I had a WD Hitch but really didnít need it. One trip I lost trailer brakes and had to do a panic stop on a down hill. The truck stopped it without any problem. I did wrap all 4 rotors.
We sold that trailer, now we have a 1984 24í 5th wheel. 6400 GVWR. Only made a couple trips with it but it tows very nice. We want to do some upgrades to it but it good for the 2 of us.
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Old 02-19-2019, 08:53 PM   #11
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Quick update. The stock 20" rims on Rams make it a little tricky to match stock tire size to E load tires. Defender LTX only come in T115 load rating for 275/60/20 tires. I didn't want to put a different tire size but found a good middle ground with General Grabber HTS XL load rated tires. 119T load rating so 3k lbs per tire. I had grabber HTS tires on my Suburban and they were really nice. Happy to put a set on my Ram and getting installed this week.

We decided to buy a new 2455BHS Minnie. Getting a very fair deal and love the floorplan. 5300lb dry and 7000 max fits right into what we want size and weight wise. I'm having a hard time deciding on the WDH. Equalizer or Blue Ox... I feel like I need to flip a coin. Lol. Leaning towards Equalizer. Any reason to pick one over the other? The 1000lb class seems to fit the math. Is it better to go 1200 for some cushion on the rating?
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:45 PM   #12
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If you drop to 17Ē rims the 285-70R17 are the same diameter and are available in 10 ply
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Old 02-20-2019, 10:01 AM   #13
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IMO The Blue Ox Sway Pro is the third best design. The Reese Dual Cam is the second best design. The PPP (Hensley/Propride) is the best design.

The Equalizer is a poor design. However it has it's proponents. The design requires friction to control sway. That is a viable system, but the sway control and weight control ard dependent. More sway control requires more weight transfer to generate the friction. The hitch is easy to connect and provides good ground clearance. It is not simple to adjust correctly, but the Dual Cam has a smilar issue. Do not assume the installer will get it right.

The Blue Ox is also dependent sway and weight distribution. Also the design requires the application/release of very high spring preload. Must keep body away from chain and spring release path. Sounds worse than it is if done with care. A long breaker bar improves the process as well as does raising the tongue and TV for spring bar connection to reduce the spring bar tension, which is true for many designs.

The Dual Cam and PPP designs are independent adjustment and therefore better designs. The PPP does not allow the trailer to turn and therefore prevents sway from starting. It is a unique design that is worth the price.

Note, if you want independent control at minimum cost, the Eazy-Lift hitch with dual brake pad friction sway control struts is a workable design and is the go to recommendation by the experts at CanAm. It does require manual adjustment and needs to be disconnected in severe backing situations.

The spring weight is dependent upon the weight transfer required. Less is better than more. So, if 1000s will do the job, that is better than 1200s. The designs differ a bit, so the recomendations of the mfg are likely best. Your experience may prove better, but that takes use and experience to establish. Note - the TV receiver must be rigid and not flex or none will function correctly. Upgrade to higher class receiver if necessary. Again, an issue that requires experience and testing to establish. New OEM receivers have not been reported substandard, but older ones were. As the saying goes, YMMV.

Good luck with your decision. Pat
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Old 03-11-2019, 11:44 AM   #14
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Just updating the thread so others with Rams can find this info when searching for Ram + TT towing advice.

I've replaced my tires with General Grabber HTS with XL load rating (3k per tire). I had the same tires on my Suburban and loved them and so far I really like them on my Ram as well. The 20" rims don't have a lot of selection for E load tires if you want to stay with factory tire specs (275/20/60) and not go with AT type tread. Michelin LTX don't offer E load in that size so I went with Grabbers. $823 all in for the tires. Not bad for a truck. XL load rating should be more than enough and because they aren't E load I still get the full 50k tread warranty.

I replaced the soft stock rear springs yesterday with Tufftruck TC1211. Raised the stock rear ride height about 1/4" but I expect the springs to settle after a few weeks so they likely are exact matches for factory ride height. I didn't replace the springs for payload reasons. I'll stick to the sticker on that but I will say that I actually like the ride better than stock coil springs. I never liked the soft rear end and the "bounce" that comes with them. The 1211's are 50% stiffer but it's FAR from a harsh ride when empty. The ride is nice and firm and the rear tires feel planted to the road. IMHO- the Rams should have come with these coils out of the factory. I'm finding these springs to be better than factory and no tradeoff with ride. It's subjective but I actually prefer the ride with the stiffer springs.

Replacing the springs can be done in less than 1hr without having to take off tires or fender liners. The hardest part is breaking the lower rear shock mount bolts loose. I have an impact driver and there is no doubt that anyone doing this mod should use an impact. Impact made removing the bolts really easy. Breaker bar will work but it's awkward to get leverage without having the truck on a lift.

Here's what I did:

1. Jack rear up around the rear control arm mount to take the load off the shock. I used a jackstand on the frame for safety along with the jack.

2. Break lower rear shock mount loose with an impact driver and remove bolt

3. Jack up rear of the truck until the rear wheel just pulls off the ground and reset jack stand

4. Use a rubber mallet and knock the stock coil loose from lower mount and remove the spring. Pull off rubber coil seat and place on top of new spring

5. TC1211 springs are a half inch shorter than stock so the rear of the truck needs to be lower just a little to properly set the top of the spring in place so it doesn't move around but very easy to install.

6. Lower truck halfway and replace/torque lower shock bolt.

7. Lower truck to ground and start the next side using the same process

Replacing the springs is REALLY easy. The play in the suspension allows you to do the entire job without removing wheels/fender liners/sway bars etc. Just make sure you use jack stands under the frame. When the spring is removed a jack failure will drop the suspension to the bump stops. I don't know if the spare tire would squash anyone but I'm sure as hell not taking any chances to find out.

TuffTruck makes another popular spring for Rams called the 1223V. The 1223V's are variable so the first 2" of travel are identical to stock and then stiffness kicks in. I went with the 1211's because I will tow fairly often and I don't daily drive this truck. It's a tough decision that each person has to make based on their preferences. The cost of all the springs are just about $300 on the nose.

I'll be picking up our new TT (Winnebago 2455bhs) the last week of March. I'll update this thread with how it tows and how much the rear sags (if any) with the new springs.
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