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Old 04-21-2012, 10:14 AM   #1
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2011 23' FB International
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Dodge Ram Tow Vehicle

Yesterday I picked up our tow vehicle for the 2011 Airstream 23FB we bought last weekend (it has been and exciting and expensive week!).

The TV is a 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 Crew Cab long bed with the Cummins Diesel. Never owned a pickup before (or a diesel, or a trailer . . .), but from what I've read here, I am planning on having a sway control system installed (sounds like the Reese Dual Cam is a good option).

Would appreciate any issues to consider or problems I should anticipate!

Link to the truck I bought:

2006 Dodge Ram 2500 Crew Cab Long Bed Diesel Pickup Truck from Handpicked Western Trucks LLC

We have now begun noticing every Airstream on the highway!!

Thanks All!
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Old 04-22-2012, 04:01 AM   #2
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we have a 07 dodge with a 25' no problem, just go. See you on the road
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Old 04-22-2012, 04:50 AM   #3
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Tv

Your choice of a TV is a good one I have an 09 Dodge 2500 with Cumings and a 30 foot and you will never lack power on the hills . I find the exhaust brake and tow / haul transmission a nice feature too.
Good luck and have a safe trip
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:34 AM   #4
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Great TV. Mine is also an 06. Go to a Dodge dealer and ask for a build sheet, it will give you all the stock and optional stuff as it came off the assembly line. jim
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:47 PM   #5
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This should be a good combination. Congrats. I bought my '04 Dodge and '83 Silver Streak the same week. A lot to do, relatively.

Judging by your screen name I am surmising that a bit of problem-solving comes naturally, and thus the below is offered for your attention. Based on other owner reports online, etc. If a problem comes up, then it likely is common to others.

Not recommendations to spend money (except tires & shock absorbers), but info to bookmark.

The '06 should be a good choice for economy and longevity. Cummins designed the ISB for a B50 life (MTBO) of 10k-hours or about 350k miles. Get the engine hours and determine average mph. Best is 27-mph or greater (preferably above 30-mph) for all parameters of performance.

About a dozen of us with 28-34' aero aluminum trailers and CTD's are seeing 13-16-mpg at towing speeds of 62 mph and lower with 3rd Gen CTD's.

These are items noted by other owners wanting improvement; or items to keep in mind as time goes on:

- Hard seat cushions: med-dense foam can be installed. 2010 and later can be installed with adaptation. ROHO or other seat cushions a nice choice on 300+ mile drives.

- Steering gear box: New Dodge part number replacement; conversion to 2008 & later type linkage is recommended by many. Steering wander is contraindicated for control, not just poor mpg, tire wear, etc.

- Ball joints, tie rods, etc: wear fairly fast at around 80k and again before 200k. Factory parts only, not generic aftermarket. Unit hub bearings same.

- KONI FSD shock absorbers an enormous upgrade

Koni-RV

- MICHELIN AT/2 or BRIDGESTONE r700 a superior tire choice. The "new" tires won't last long, nor track well and not best for towing. Only Load Range E acceptable. (I wouldn't keep the Nitto's as the above tires will last in excess of 7-years/100k miles).

- Brakes will last above 100k. Use only MOPAR "Premium" (not "Value") parts.

- Batteries are similar. Originals last 7-years plus. Only acceptable aftermarket is SEARS Platinum 2 (made by ODYSSEY).

- One piece aluminum driveshaft replacement as with 2010 and later if OEM is noisy or troublesome.

- BALDWIN PF7977 fuel filter and new MOPAR air filter, only. Same for BALDWIN or FLEETGUARD or [best] DONALDSON oil filters only. I use Shell Rotella T6 5W-40 oil as it is easily available and has shown good numbers per used oil analysis. Engine turnover at start is easier even in hot south Texas.

- Aftermarket tuners unnecessary and tend to be contrary to longest life (although SMARTY JR for slightly better mpg when adjusted accordingly).

- Etc, etc. PM any of us Dodge owners for more, or for links to more details.

The usual details apply:

- Adjust engine valves every 100k miles

- Service u-joints and do high-rpm balance on shafts every 100k

- Locate any CAC leaks

- Tire pressure according to scaled loads

- Alignment made perfect and zero steering play

- Tires/wheels balanced on HUNTER GSP-9700

Towing

- DIRECLINK Brake Controller info here, and trailer disc brake conversions elsewhere.

- The DODGE hitch receiver, if factory, is welded in place. If bolted in (dealer install) like mine that I had to replace and I don't believe it ever "distributed" the leverage exerted by the WDH very well. I've replaced with a generic Class V for now.

The Titan Class V #45299 is the "maximum" hitch receiver and probably best as it replaces the rear bumper crossmember. Overkill for a 23' A/S, but not for a CTD given it may have other duties.

Trailer Tow wiring may be of interest to you. The factory package is adequate, but . . . Trailer wiring basics for towing

The Dual Cam is a second tier WDH choice. But the best of those.

As always, there is "more".

.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:56 PM   #6
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You won't even notice that the trailer is there most of the time with a good hitch system. You will be a slower off of the start when towing compared to not, but not a lot.

We tow a 31 classic with a 2003 and honestly don't really notice it most of the time.

We very seldom find a uphill stretch that requires a downshift.

Ken
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:09 PM   #7
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Now that is what I call adventure

Never owned truck,rv or diesel. Diesels will use oil in normal operation.
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Old 04-23-2012, 12:44 AM   #8
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Never owned truck,rv or diesel. Diesels will use oil in normal operation.
I am not sure about that, but I do know that taking a non diesel vehicle to the service station always gives me gas.
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Old 04-23-2012, 06:51 AM   #9
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Thanks for the information & recommendations! We will be picking up our new AS this Saturday (and getting the "New Airstream Owner Training"!). We will also be having this RV dealer set up the anti-sway/WD.

This vehicle has a factory installed welded hitch. It also already has an electronic brake controller (Hopkins Impulse). The new Nittos installed by the dealer are bigger and less efficient than what I will go with ultimately (although they are DAMN MANLY!!), but I will probably wait until these need replacing. In the short term, the only thing I am looking at changing on the truck is the addition of floor mats and running boards (Priscilla can't get in without a step stool at this point!).

We will be taking our first trip in the AS the weekend after we get it - a 7 hour trip to Columbus OH. This will give me a chance to see how the vehicle does, (handling, mileage, etc.)

I'll report back on the trip after we get back.

Thanks again!!
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:02 AM   #10
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Rednax covered things very thoroughly but I would like to add:

Steering box stabalizer - This will do two things - Prevent wear on your current steering box and tighten up the steering.

Dodge Ram Steering Stabilizer - Hell Bent Steel

If you get into ball joints or tie rod ends there are some pricey aftermarket options (Carli or Dynatrack) that seem to be worth the extra costs over oem or other cheap aftermarket parts.

I would also recommend lowering the rear of the truck. I had a spring shop do this to my Dodge by removing the spacers at the bottom of the spring stack. Some guys raise the front of the truck to level it but this can effect the steering geometry if not done properly and can lead to premature wear of steering components.

In stock form and preventative maintenance this truck will go a long, long time.
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:36 AM   #11
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Thanks Crispyboy!

I the steering box stabilizer does look like a good investment! As far as lowering, right now the entire truck is pretty tall. I don't think it has been lifted, but the tires are larger than stock. For our 1st trip, this is gonna have to do. When I replace the tires with something closer to stock, perhaps I'll have the truck lowered somewhat too. I don't have plans to use this vehicle for much other than as a TV (at least not for now).

I did pick up some "Truck Porn" (Diesel Power Magazine) that has all kinds of performance upgrades, but the only changes I would be looking for would be improved mileage and durability. I really don't think additional power will be anything I need.

Take Care!
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:50 AM   #12
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One definite upgrade to consider is an exhaust brake. My pickup has a factory integrated exhaust brake and it is so nice when going down steep hills.
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1994 Classic 30'11" Excella - rear twin
2009 Dodge 2500, 6 Speed Auto, CTD, Quad Cab, Short Bed
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Old 04-23-2012, 10:18 AM   #13
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Thumbs up Welcome Aboard....

"As far as lowering, right now the entire truck is pretty tall."

One of your primary goals is a level rig when hitched and WD set, tow vehicle and Airstream.

Have a great trip...congrat's on the new trailer!!!

Bob
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Old 04-23-2012, 10:22 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1civilengr View Post
~~ The new Nittos installed by the dealer are bigger and less efficient than what I will go with ultimately (although they are DAMN MANLY!!), but I will probably wait until these need replacing.

~~
I'll start by admitting that my experience with Nitto is limited to passenger cars (I swore off (and at!) Nitto before I bought a truck.) That said, I have never had a set of tires I hated as much as Nitto NT450s I had on a VW Golf in the 90s. They were the worst tires I ever bought. Mediocre performance and after about 5k miles they sang and howled like a herd of cats.
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