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Old 12-10-2003, 08:23 PM   #1
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'98 Dodge Ram only rated to pull #4800

I have a '98 Dodge Ram 150, 4x4, with a 5.2 and a 5 speed trans.
My owners manual indicates that this unit is limited to #4800 tow.

It appears that the 5 speed is the factor that makes it a weak tow vehicle. The truck is in good shape with only about 65,000 miles. I bought it new. When I ordered it I had no idea that I might pull a trailer--thus, I didn't order the trailer tow package.

I have been looking for a project Airstream, but I haven't found one yet. With my weak tow vehicle, I'm somewhat limited.

Are there any Dodge owners out there with similar equipment with tow experience? What are the ramifications if I exceed the #4800 limit?


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Old 12-10-2003, 08:36 PM   #2
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Ford 1/2 tons with the manual tranny have had the same limitations. The ramifications are at best replacing clutches and at worst replacing trannys.

It isn't a towing vehicle. Don't limit your choice of RV by that truck. Sell it while it's in good shape and acquire one specifically ordered for towing (i.e. sufficient engine and gear ratio, and towing package), even if it's used.

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Old 12-10-2003, 08:36 PM   #3
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An unhappy experience

What are the ramifications if I exceed the #4800 limit?
After a while, the clutch will give up the ghost. The clutch is the weak link that limits the tow rating. Performance will be weak with the 5.2 and any sizeable trailer.

My Dakota with the 5.2, 3.55 rear end, and automatic had a better tow rating than that. I towed a 3500# TrailManor and it performed well at that weight, but I wouldn't go over 5000# even with the automatic.
John W. Irwin
2005 Classic 28 "Sabre-Dog III"
2013 Silverado 2500HD Duramax/Allison LTZ
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Old 12-11-2003, 09:04 AM   #4
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I have the ram w/ the 5.2/3.55/auto combination, AND the factory tow package, and I've been under-whelmed by its performance, even though its "rated" for 7200lbs. My trailer is only 3500lbs empty, and I don't know exactly what it is loaded, but I doubt its much more than 4500. Anyway, its pokey in the hills. For some reason, I had it in my head that I had a 3.73 rear end, and was kind of surprised at its "pokey-ness"...when I double checked, I found that it has the 3.55, and "that explains it!".

My last truck was a dakota w/ the 3.9 engine, BUT it had a big rear end. I never towed anything of any significance w/ it, but I did have it overloaded on more than one occasion, and I couldn't detect ANY difference in its handling or acceleration. it was like the load wasn't even there. Mileage was crappy, full or empty. That's what a beefy rear-end will do. and even though the engine was relatively small, I had a snow plow on it, and that little truck would push snow like nobody's business! And I've plowed w/ much bigger trucks for other people. The Dakota was more capable than some of those.
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Old 12-12-2003, 08:21 AM   #5
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You are limited by the clutch clamping force. The truck would not pass a grade relaunch on a 15% grade at that trailer weight. On level ground you will burn up clutches if you exceed the GCWR. Also Dodge trucks with trailer tow packages have a larger radiator, and in some cases a different fan and fan drive. I agree with the suggestion you sell this truck and buy a vehicle with the factory tow package, which will give you all the electrical hook ups, the correct cooling package, and the hitch reciever.
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