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Old 07-26-2009, 08:00 AM   #1
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Towing with a 1999 Dodge Ram 1500 crew cab with 8ft. box with 5.9L engine

Hello, Our 1994 Suburban has passed on (Diesel 400k). Head gasket and cracked head. So I am looking at another tow vehicle. Has anyone towed with the Ram, any problems............should I hold out for a Cummins??
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:07 AM   #2
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I have a 2000 ram w/ the 5.2. If I recall correctly, the 5.9 is not a whole lot more powerful (something like 20hp), but is markedly more piggy w/ the gas.
My trailer isn't much different than yours, either, in terms of weight. While the truck pulls it just "fine", I wouldn't call it "stellar". I mean, its very steady and stable and all that, in terms of handling...but its quite "pokey" on the hills. Its just the way the power band is on these motors, and the combination of a "cruise" type rear end ratio...its got nuthin' on the hills, unless its in 2nd gear, w/ the motor roaring at high rpm. You really get a demonstration of what they mean when they say "behind the power curve"; if you start off at the bottom of a hill going 65mph (which is about as fast as you ever want to go, anyway), you can maintain highway speed all the way up the hill. But most often, there's someone in front that doesn't wanna go quite that fast...you dip below 60, and before you know it, you'll be going 45mph in 2nd gear.
anyway, this truck has a 3.55 rear end. I don't know if there are any out there w/ a better ratio (3.73 or better), but I wouldn't buy another one without that.
The deisel...well, thats a different animal, entirely, since that only comes w/ a 3/4 ton truck. So it'll likely have a better rear end ratio, or the power to overcome it.
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:54 AM   #3
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There is a big difference in the towing ability of the 5.2/318 and the 5.9/360. As a Dealer, I would not even stock a 1500 Quad Cab with a 5.2. Fuel mileage difference in this configuration is negligible and the 5.2, although a terrific engine, just dosen't have the grunt the 5.9 has. Both were available with either a 3:55 or 3:92 ratio.The 5.2 with the 3:92 uses as much or more gas than the 5.9 wiith the 3:55 and still under performs it.

If you can find a 2500 with the 5.9 Cummins, you won't be disappointed.
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Old 07-26-2009, 11:44 AM   #4
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Are you a Dodge dealer?

I'll certainly take your word for it, as I've never towed my trailer w/ a 5.9. Even though the HP, on paper, isn't much...I do know that that particular statistic can be deceiving.
I do get around 14mpg doing normal driving, though, and 11-ish towing. I seem to recall the 360 was "rated" for 12. Again...doesn't seem like much at the end of the day, but statistically, its significant. So, you know...there's your trade-off.
Most of the Durango's I've seen w/ the tow package came w/ the 5.9/3.92 gears. I bet that pulls WAY better than mine...although, people here decry the "short" wheel base.
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Old 07-26-2009, 12:37 PM   #5
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I have the 1999 Ram extended cab with the 5.9 engine. I have only pulled my 1980 excella 31' home from the PO. It did okay, however, if I have big hills to climb, it maybe a bit under powered. It is supposed to be able to tow approximately 7500 pounds. I am well under that.
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:34 PM   #6
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There is a big difference in the towing ability of the 5.2/318 and the 5.9/360. As a Dealer, I would not even stock a 1500 Quad Cab with a 5.2. Fuel mileage difference in this configuration is negligible and the 5.2, although a terrific engine, just dosen't have the grunt the 5.9 has. Both were available with either a 3:55 or 3:92 ratio.The 5.2 with the 3:92 uses as much or more gas than the 5.9 wiith the 3:55 and still under performs it.

If you can find a 2500 with the 5.9 Cummins, you won't be disappointed.

I've had the uniqe opportunity of towing my 26' Overlander with both a 5.2 and a 5.9. ('99 Ram Quad cab with the 5.2, and then I upgraded to a '01 Ram Quad Cab with the 5.9) I haven't noticed a considerable difference between the two. I think the 5.9 is a little better, but no considerable difference. Gas mileage doesn't seem to be any worse either.

I would also agree with Chuck on rating it's ability. It tows and handles just fine without any problems. As he notes though, if you don't hit the big hills right you do lose speed. Not a major issue for me, but may be for some.

One additional note - make sure you don't tow in overdrive. Ok, one more - have the tranny checked out - the '99 and older was notorious for tranny issues.
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:46 PM   #7
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Just echoing the same.. my 5.9 (with 3.9 gears) can pass everything but a gas station... (it's in a 94 B350 1 ton van).. I can climb anything at 65 mph, but on really steep hills, I drop down to second.. 50 mph in 2nd is tops for me.. and will climb like this all day if I wanted to.

Mileage is almost 14mpg empty, 7-8 mpg towing our 26ft Argosy at 65-70 mph.
I do have a tranny cooler..
Marc
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Old 07-27-2009, 06:34 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by GreatPumpkin View Post
I've had the uniqe opportunity of towing my 26' Overlander with both a 5.2 and a 5.9. ('99 Ram Quad cab with the 5.2, and then I upgraded to a '01 Ram Quad Cab with the 5.9) I haven't noticed a considerable difference between the two. I think the 5.9 is a little better, but no considerable difference. Gas mileage doesn't seem to be any worse either.
I too have had the opportunity to tow with the 318 and 360 as well as listen to first hand feedback from customers who have also towed with one or the other or both. What I call "big" may not be "considerable" to GreatPumpkin - but overwhelmingly, in my experience, and in discussions with others - the 360 beats the 318. Enough so that I can't think of anyone I know that went back to a 318 after having owned the 360.

In later years, say form 94 to 2002 the 360 probably had less than a 10% horsepower advantage over the 318. That's not much. But it also had about a 30 - 40 pounds-feet of torque advantage. The 360 achieved its peak hp and torque at around 400 rpm slower than the 318. That is pretty significant when towing - I think.

I am located in the mountians of WV and we start every trip at the foot a mountain. Everything else being equal - including gear ratios, the 360 should launch better and handle the hills better. IMHO

Roger
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Old 07-27-2009, 06:40 PM   #9
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I had a 2001 V8-318 shortbed with 3.55 rear. Powerless, even at the 5,200-lb empty weight. I would certainly hold out for the V8-360. Be aware, too, that these motors had a tendency to develop an intake leak that was somewhat subtle and involves replacing the intake seal. I'd do it ASAP whether testing revealed a problem or not (aftermarket kits and the factory has one now, too).

The diesel is better (I traded to an '04 2WD QC LB 6-speed) but it's a bear to drive around town.

http://dodgeforum.com/forum/2nd-gen-...m-gaskets.html

Plenum gasket repair procedure - Dodge Talk Community Forum

Few companies -- if any -- understand the Dodge engines as well as these people. Follow directions on improving economy and you should see some help with power. (About efficiency, not hot rodding it).

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Old 07-27-2009, 06:53 PM   #10
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The intake gasket leak that REDNAX brings up is an internal leak allowing oil to be sucked into the plenum. This is generally the culprit if either of these engines have an oil consumption problem. They can go from using a little to a lot in a hurry.
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Old 07-27-2009, 07:08 PM   #11
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Like RBolton said, you won't be disappointed with the 2500 5.9 Cummins. Ours tows beautifully and gets 15 mpg towing and over 20 highway not towing. We expect mileage to increase slightly as we break it in further. If you want the 5.9L, you'll have to get a mid-2007 or earlier. Dodge now offers the 6.7L Cummins, but many folks are disappointed with the decreased mileage on the 6.7L due to the added emissions controls. The Cummins has far fewer moving parts than the other diesels.
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Old 07-27-2009, 09:44 PM   #12
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Late '03 and early '04 for the 305HP/555TQ version. By far the best of the entire production run of the past twenty years for economy/power balance. I got 15 mpg towing our 8,000-pound-er at 63 mph, and average 22+ at 67 mph solo. But, it's a 7,460-lb truck with a clutch . . . .
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