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Old 01-31-2010, 10:21 AM   #1
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2007 Ram 1500 as a tow vehicle

I am buying a 1999 Excella 1000, 30 ft. trailer. I have a 2007 Dodge Ram 1500 4X4 P/Up truck with hemi engine and automatic trans. Will this be a good tow vehicle for this size trailer or do I need a diesel P/UP truck? Any thoughts?
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Old 01-31-2010, 06:59 PM   #2
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I am buying a 1999 Excella 1000, 30 ft. trailer. I have a 2007 Dodge Ram 1500 4X4 P/Up truck with hemi engine and automatic trans. Will this be a good tow vehicle for this size trailer or do I need a diesel P/UP truck? Any thoughts?
The 4 X 4 is the killer.

You should use a Reese 600 pound full sway control (dual cam) hitch.

The trailer loves a soft ride, which your truck will not provide, therefore using a lower rating hitch will help you, to a reasonable degree.

Andy
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Old 01-31-2010, 07:41 PM   #3
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I disagree with Andy because I've riden in a Dodge 1500 4X4, and they ride very nicely for a pickup truck, and so I would say you need a hitch sized by the manufacturer for the weight of your trailer. If you go with a hitch that uses round weight distribution bars as opposed to trunion bars, you will get a smoother ride.

The problem is, I don't believe your 1/2 ton truck is rated to tow a trailer the size and weight of a modern 30 footer. I do believe the drive train has the power to pull it, but I would be concerned about the weight. Suggest you check with Dodge.

Sorry, almost forgot....welcome to the forum.
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Old 01-31-2010, 08:51 PM   #4
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I disagree with Andy because I've riden in a Dodge 1500 4X4, and they ride very nicely for a pickup truck, and so I would say you need a hitch sized by the manufacturer for the weight of your trailer. If you go with a hitch that uses round weight distribution bars as opposed to trunion bars, you will get a smoother ride.

The problem is, I don't believe your 1/2 ton truck is rated to tow a trailer the size and weight of a modern 30 footer. I do believe the drive train has the power to pull it, but I would be concerned about the weight. Suggest you check with Dodge.

Sorry, almost forgot....welcome to the forum.
Steve

Load equalizing hitch ratings, have nothing to do with maximum towing weights.

Tongue weights, yes.

The maximum towing weight is set by the tow vehicle manufacturer.

I have never heard of a report that says round bars are better than square bars, for softness, at least not with Reese.

Andy
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Old 01-31-2010, 09:23 PM   #5
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Steve

I have never heard of a report that says round bars are better than square bars, for softness, at least not with Reese.

Andy
Well Andy, here's my report to you....I've used both on the same trailer with the same tow vehicle, and the round bar weight distribution hitches ride smoother than trunion bar hitches, given the same weight rating bars.

And about your statement that four wheel drive trucks ride rough...that's not necessarily so. As an example, I have a friend who has a 3/4 ton Dodge truck, two wheel drive, and I have a 3/4 ton GMC truck, four wheel drive. My four wheel drive truck rides better than my friend's two wheel drive truck.

Hawk43 has a Dodge 1500, and that's a 1/2 ton truck, which is even smoother riding.

Modern four wheel drive trucks are not necessarily like the Power Wagons of days gone by.
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Old 01-31-2010, 09:35 PM   #6
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Well Andy, here's my report to you....I've used both on the same trailer with the same tow vehicle, and the round bar weight distribution hitches ride smoother than trunion bar hitches, given the same weight rating bars.

And about your statement that four wheel drive trucks ride rough...that's not necessarily so. As an example, I have a friend who has a 3/4 ton Dodge truck, two wheel drive, and I have a 3/4 ton GMC truck, four wheel drive. My four wheel drive truck rides better than my friend's two wheel drive truck.

Hawk43 has a Dodge 1500, and that's a 1/2 ton truck, which is even smoother riding.

Modern four wheel drive trucks are not necessarily like the Power Wagons of days gone by.
Steve.

I strive to keep up with what Airstream builds.

I am "not" an expert, and probably more of an amateur at this point, about "exact" performances of "exact" tow vehicles.

That being the case, my references are general in nature, and as best I can.

My wife has a Ford Explorer.

That thing rides rougher than a Sherman tank.

But other Explorers do not.

Generally speaking, 4 X 4's have rough rides, as do many 3/4 and 1 ton trucks. Not all, but all to many do.

Andy
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Old 02-01-2010, 07:02 AM   #7
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First, I would like to apologize to Hawk43 for what we have turned his thread into, and this will be my last post on the ride issue.

Generally speaking, you are somewhat right Andy. 3/4 ton trucks generally ride harsher than 1/2 ton trucks, and 1/2 ton trucks ride harsher than sedans. But, today's 4 wheel drive trucks do not ride any harsher than the comparable load range of 2 wheel drive trucks. That is the statement of yours to which I disagree.

Hawk43,

It is my "opinion" that you need to give your Dodge a try to see if it pulls your trailer to your satisfaction. I have friends that pull 34 footers, and 31 footers with 1/2 ton trucks and are very satisfied. Maybe it's the performance they expect, and maybe it's the terain they limit their towing to. Please just do it safely with a good quality anti-sway weight distributing hitch and a quality brake controller.

I, on the other hand, was not satisfied with the towing performance of my 1/2 ton truck towing a 25 footer, in all situations, and so went to a 3/4 ton.
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Old 02-01-2010, 07:25 AM   #8
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I believe the Dodge 1500 came in two different axle configurations. 3:55 and 3:92 - everything else in the driveline would remain the same.
3:55 would be ok on the flats - don't be in a hurry.
3:92 would be the best. I would have the ratio changed before I would switch to a 3/4 ton.
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Old 02-01-2010, 08:11 AM   #9
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The hemi is all you need for a powerplant. It is used in some 3500 series dodge trucks. So, rear end ratio and hitch is the solution to this one alongside a quality brake controller. Good luck, and keep your stuff in the truck to a minimum, load the trailer not the truck.
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Old 02-01-2010, 08:22 AM   #10
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"Ride" is a rather subjective term. What you experiences as the driver in the cab of a truck is not necessarily what a trailer experiences with regard to shock, vibration, etc. The perception of a rough ride can be influenced by things like load, road noise, seat comfort, acoustic dynamics of the cab, etc. It also involves wear on suspension components like shocks. It's a bit like the difference between recoil (as calculated by physics) and "felt recoil."

The springs on a 3/4-ton pickup are normally heavier because the truck is rated for heavier loads. In general, 3/4-ton pickups "ride" better with a load in the bed because the springs travel more under the additional weight.

Weight distribution hitches are nice, but they can transmit vibration and shock to the coach. If there's no "give" in the hitch, more of the "jolts" from the truck will be transmitted to the trailer. As Andy notes, one of the ways to counteract this is softer (more flexible) WD bars.

As for Hawk's original question, as long as the truck will legally pull the trailer (GVWR, GCWR, etc.), you're really talking about preference. Thirty feet is a fair amount of trailer. The mode (most frequently occurring) "break point" between 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton trucks is 25 feet of trailer. You can certainly pull a 30' trailer with many 1/2 ton trucks... but without knowing your level of experience, expertise, comfort level with sway, the wheelbase of truck (it matters) and other variable, no one can really give you advice. Trust me, hitch everything up and go toodling down the road with heavy truck traffic and a stiff crosswind... you'll know in a hurry if the Ram is going to work for you.
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Old 02-01-2010, 08:37 AM   #11
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I just looked it up, and your '99 30' trailer weighs in the neighborhood of 14,000 pounds.

That's a lot for any 1/2 ton truck, IMHO.
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:54 AM   #12
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14k lbs? Sounds more like a 40 ft fifth wheel.
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:54 AM   #13
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

A late model 30' Airstream may be a little too much for any half ton truck. It somewhat depends on how you plan to use your Airstream and where you plan to take it. If you plan to travel close to home on fairly level terrain, a properly set up half ton may do the trick. On the other hand, long trips with severe grades may be a different story.

We have towed our Lucy, a 2005 25FB, over 50,000 miles in the last three years over all types of terrain. Ready to camp, Lucy weighs in at 7400#. We tow her with two different 3/4 ton Suburbans. One is a four wheel drive and the other is a two wheel drive. Each has towed Lucy over 20,000 miles, and there is no noticeable difference between the two. We have also towed Lucy with our half ton Tahoe. It works, but it just doesn't do the job as well.

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Old 02-01-2010, 11:12 AM   #14
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I don't know where you looked up the 14K number, but airstream has never made a trailer anywhere near that weight.

from airstream.com, original spec sheet on the 1999 30ft Excella 1000:

dry weight: 7150
hitch weight: 690
additional allowable weight: 1150

now...it doesn't say if the hitch weight is included in that "dry weight" number, but in any case, the GVW is going to be no more than 8990.
(but I would guess 8300, without more clarification from AS).

Within the realm of possibility, for this truck, depending on its own specs. Its been mentioned, but I don't think underscored enough, that this truck has a very powerful engine; the bigger question re "performance" would be the rear-end ratio.
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