No better tow rig than the CTD. Hope yours is also the 305/555 motor. Mine is a 2WD with NV-5600 and 3.73's on stock 265/70-R17 MICHELIN LTX A/S. I solo or tow at 1,750 to 1,850 rpm to keep vibrations to a minimum (more on that), fuel mileage high, and peripheral vision/braking distances maximized.
Don't believe ANYONE that a weight-distributing hitch with anti-sway is not needed. Skill won't matter at the crucial moments. Fifth wheel is NOT as stable as a well-sorted bumper-pull hitch rig. Only good hitches worth having are the Pro-Pride, Hensley Arrow and Pull-Rite. The price seems high, but you'll never see anyone go back to an inferior type. Flip a coin on the price "problem" and you will daily and weekly travel farther and easier with the best hitch type. A hint on which one to choose is a contributor at this site, 2Air
who -- while it's true he drives a Ferd -- has more miles with a big trailer and one of these hitches than anyone else I know of . . . and he switched after 70,000 miles to a Pro-Pride.
Let's see: I'm a lifelong Dallasite (until two years ago); had a 34' trailer behind a Dodge CTD/6-speed; have driven OTR intermittently the past dozen years(flatbed, steel/pipe/ you-name-it); have been seriously injured and given a terminal medical diagnosis; moved house six times in five years including a full-timing stint of seven months while we decided what to do next. Any of this sounding familiar? (Okay, we only have a cat). The comments above relate to that (and some now-educated common sense) for making good, safe travel daily & weekly.
Trip planning I know. What follows are suggestions as to how to think about this equipment and why you may want it at some point. Some of this I have done, the rest is only a matter of $$.
I know you've got more miles than me, you've been haulin' horses and doggies, BUT I've been beat-to-heck BEFORE I bought the trailer, and I hope the following is useful to you. Travel-trailerin' is all about 300 miles or 3 o'clock,
so bear with me a little.
50 mph is still a good number for Interstate planning. 58-63 mph is a good range for road speed. BUT, 300-400 miles per day is the old 600 miles per day in a big truck. Sad to say, but true. Get the good hitch (and work the numbers on the CAT Scale from threads on this site to perfect hitch rigging [axle loading; your new bridge law]), continue to work each departure loading as you did in the truck and you'll be pleased with the problem solving.
The trailer will benefit greatly from these things: disc brakes, CENTRAMATIC balancers (in Alvarado, TX), (check axle height and shock absorbers according to InlandRV
directions); change marker and tail lamps to LED units. If not discs, then self-adjusting units (see new thread). HAVE AXLE ALIGNMENT DONE. There are more arguments than you can shake a stick at about tires, so read and read on that. Age is a problem. Tire pressure monitors are a good idea as blown tire damage is more than the trailer is worth sometimes.
The best brake controllers (ask any hotshotter) are BRAKESMART (Dr. Performance
in Mineral Wells), or MAXBRAKE (Southwest Wheel
, also in D-FW). Settle for nothing less, as with the hitch.
If you have the best hitch, best trailer brakes, best brake controller, the rest is pie. You already have the best road-performance trailer.
As to the truck: BILSTEIN shocks (the yellow/blue or the 5100's); a HELWIG rear anti-roll bar (install it and the front with polyurethane bushings) and, IMO, NOT the factory hitch receiver. TORKLIFT makes the stoutest one I've seen. Replace all exterior lamps if three years old. As you know, factory headlights are a joke, so all new lamps will help.
The 4WD's tend to wear out the balljoints quickly, and there are some super-stout aftermarket pieces available (CARLI). As well, the steering sector shaft tends to ream at the lower end; a new fastener or new shaft may be advisable:
Dodge Diesel - Diesel Truck Resource Forums - View Single Post - Slop in Steering Shaft
Now, to vibration-reduction. Being older, more easily tired and weaker, I still wanted to be able to put in a full day of backroads or long Interstate days when I wanted (not when I could). I believe that in any TV a good ride is mandatory, so the NVH reduction is crucial (Noise - Vibration - Harmonics). It would entail time and $$.
I was reading an article a while back by Bruce Mallinson of Pittsbugh Power who turns up Detroits, Cummins and Cats. He had a firm make for him a fluid-filled crank damper that, (his words) could give you another couple of hours on the road. Vibration reduction. FLUIDAMPER makes one for our trucks:
CumminsŪ Performance Dampers by FluidamprŪ
Another item is a driveshaft vibration reducer:
Balance Masters: Driveshafts
Add some CENTRAMATICS on the TV and you've covered that aspect. Now, as to noise:
Quiet Your CTD With ATP! - TDR Roundtable
There is a TSB on DODGE door seals. Check dodgeram.org for the number.
Air ride conversion for DODGE seats:
AIRHAWK Pro Truck Cushion FAQs - The ROHO Store
Seating posture is a big thing; properly, the shoulder blades should always touch the seat back; feet should rest on the upper floorboard so that backs-of-the-thighs aren't pressured (for full clutch or brake extension) and I should be "centered" behind the steering wheel. I prefer trousers over pants as there is more room to squooch around.
Some other stuff:
ENKAY Mudflaps are the ticket for many to keep the trailer from any further damage. Also:
Wheelwell Liner and mudflap:
Combination Mudflap/Wheel Well Liner Install - Dodge Cummins Diesel Forum
Rest up a little and realize that trailerin' is just as wearing as truckin' . . . and it's even slower. That's just not a choice most of the time. So modify the TV and TT to get the best, easiest (most comfortable) performance and you'll find that the groove is LOT's easier to get back into than if you're out of the [big] truck for two weeks.
And -- I solemnly promise -- if you tell anyone that day you've been a truck driver for X-years . . . forget being able to back'er in smoothly that afternoon. One day penalty.