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Old 08-01-2015, 07:42 AM   #61
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For us, it will be every weekend we use ours. Smoky Mountains of NC and Tenn have some pretty steep grades. Again, it's not just the paved roads, it's the secondary roads that lead to other places of interest camping, fishing, etc. Lots of gravel roads and such. May be fine with Hemi, but hard to say. Really hard to make a decision like this without having towed anything heavy in mountains. That video didn't help, but I conceed that was a rare scenario, and 12k lb load. Nearing double what we would tow.

If anyone is familiar with the 45 mile stretch between Asheville,NC and Johnson City,Tenn, that's one of my main concerns with Hemi. Constant up and down, my Tahoe screams and hunts for gears, not towing.


Dan

We have a 2006 Classic 31, and 2010 Dodge 2500 6.7 Cummins Diesel Laramie. We have made the run through the NC mountains up 321 through Hickory and Lenoir to Boone many times and have passed lesser powered vehicles going up the mountain. More importantly, we find that the engine in Tow-haul mode going downhill is incredible- we hardly need to touch the brakes. Once we ended up on "The Snake" by accident..this is the twisty, windy road up and down mountains from Mountain City, TN to Bristol,TN- once on it, there is nowhere to turn around until you get to Shady Valley. While I would never recommend this route towing anything, the Cummins performed flawlessly. There was never an issue of power and the engine held us back on the downhill runs. My husband loves this truck! And it is quiet and comfortable- so I am happy in the passenger seat. Hope this helps.
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Old 08-01-2015, 08:02 AM   #62
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We have a Volkswagen diesel (45 mpg) for a "family" car and a Ram Hemi 5.7 gas pickup truck (12-13 mpg towing) for towing our Airstream. They both perform their respective duties flawlessly. Hope this helps.
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Old 08-01-2015, 08:48 AM   #63
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Once we ended up on "The Snake" by accident..this is the twisty, windy road up and down mountains from Mountain City, TN to Bristol,TN- once on it, there is nowhere to turn around until you get to Shady Valley. While I would never recommend this route towing anything, the Cummins performed flawlessly.

I know that stretch as well. Only had flatbed whitewater raft trailer behind us, but could see where it would be work with any camper. We were taking the 'back way' to South Holtson River fly fishing.


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Old 08-01-2015, 08:53 AM   #64
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I have never towed with a diesel so I don't know for sure, but I would think that the greatest benefit of the diesel would be in rolling type terrain. Less gear shifts and power available for the next hill immediately.

I don't mind running my gasser at full tilt up a long incline but the constant power on power off stuff gets taxing.

Am I wrong here?
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Old 08-01-2015, 09:57 AM   #65
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I have never towed with a diesel so I don't know for sure, but I would think that the greatest benefit of the diesel would be in rolling type terrain. Less gear shifts and power available for the next hill immediately.

I don't mind running my gasser at full tilt up a long incline but the constant power on power off stuff gets taxing.

Am I wrong here?
The solution is for you to manually shift. I don't have the problem. In tow haul, I usually manually shift. If that's happening, put it in 3rd and keep it there.

Downshifting isn't just for going down hills.
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Old 08-01-2015, 09:58 AM   #66
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The solution is for you to manually shift. I don't have the problem. In tow haul, I usually manually shift. If that's happening, put it in 3rd and keep it there.

Downshifting isn't just for going down hills.
Yup. That's exactly what I do. Was wondering if the diesel would help that.
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Old 08-01-2015, 11:55 AM   #67
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With out Ram 1500 gas Hemi we set the rpm about 2200 rpm with fourth gear at 60-65 mph and leave it there to avoid automatic up/down shifts when towing cross-country and the hills, dips, and wind changes we encounter along the way. Now and then there is flat land and no wind so we might move the gearshift to give us 1800 rpm.

At 2100-2200 rpm it is effortless and relaxing driving, easy on the engine and transmission (which has a 1:1 ratio in fourth gear), and the gas mileage is as good at steady rpm as it is shifting up and down for hills and wind.

Love this gas engine, it's low purchase and maintenance costs, and how smoothly it runs, even when revving up to power range climbing and best compression engine braking descending the steep grades. It shines as a daily driver.
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Old 08-01-2015, 12:01 PM   #68
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I still drive the dreaded 6.0 Powerstroke. Pulls like a champ.

Down the road when the family is smaller I'd go with a diesel pickup.

I never really noticed the hills until I started towing.
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Old 08-01-2015, 12:06 PM   #69
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Having owned both, I prefer diesels.

Yes, people talk about the "break even" point etc is very high mileage on diesel vs gas etc.

Really for me it comes down to driving dynamics. For towing and off-road I much prefer the effortless grunt and low RPM operation and NVH of a diesel to a high strung gasser that needs to rev up to make its power. Plus on the highway diesels get better fuel economy, generally have larger fuel tanks so that means less wasted time at fuel stations.
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Old 08-01-2015, 12:48 PM   #70
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Given a 1000 mile trip towing how often does a diesel system clean the particulate filter? Is the interval different in the Ford vs GM vs Ram?

Kelvin
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Old 08-01-2015, 01:34 PM   #71
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Unless the wind blows, we have decided to order a silver 2016 Dodge Ram 2500 Laramie Limited 4x4 Mega Cab with 6.4 Hemi and 4.10 rear diff. Dear God, that's a lot of names for a truck. I would like to thank my sponsors of this Coca Cola, Sprint, HBO, Kobalt Tools, Remington, Line-X, Cooper Tires, Mystery Oil, DuPont....

Talked with several people that own them. Notably a guy that spends most his time hauling a 12k lb 5er through the Canadian Rockies with his 6.4. Saw a 7 min video of him taking off, getting up to speed, etc, and started laughing at myself for doubting a 'gasser' was good enough for the 6-7k lb Airstream we want. Talk about giving yourself the stink eye in the mirror.

These online forums have the ability to brainwash apparently. I was nearly convinced I needed a one ton truck to pull a lawnmower trailer. No offense to anyone here of course, I came here of my own free will begging for info and greatly value your collective wisdom. A lot of what I'm referring to is the 1,527 old threads I read. But that doesn't change the fact that some of you guys are FULL OF SHET!!!

You know who you are. Ha ha.

Iyum knot smarte inuff two tail yat


Dan
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Old 08-01-2015, 04:01 PM   #72
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Yeah, we all bear a little stink.

I figured you'd go with what you propose. The rear gears will make that empty 400HP truck fun to drive.

Stop by the nearest Cat Scale after you buy it. Full fuel plus driver across two of the three pads. This is your adjusted empty weight, not the published figure. My rule of thumb is that it's almost always 450-lbs higher.

Do some steady-state cruise control solo highway driving as part of break-in. A couple hundred miles is adequate. Load the truck to what your best guess is approximating truck load and TW (80% of that). Rear gears need to mesh before towing, anyway

Make this round trip run at the same speed at which you expect to tow. I prefer to set cruise by rpm.

Refill at same station, same pump if possible. Use auto shutoff. Hand calculate. Any discrepancy between that and truck readout is a percentage at a given speed.

Then figure range at 80% of fuel tank capacity after a 40% deduct for towing. It won't be impressive. (But it'll sure be better than what we got with cars forty or more years ago).

So figure on making the four hour break on your vacations the daily fuel stop as well. (Safety rule is 15-min out of the truck every two hours, then for an hour at fourth driving hour). A nearby rest area, etc, can be the place for lunch.

Trip plan this point using Google Earth to check ingress/egress with a combined rig. It's also a handy way to let folks back home know where you'll be at a given point of the day, not just at the end, if that appeals.

Daily fueling and using the rhythm of two hour legs makes a good pace. It also fits well with old advice of, "300-miles or three o'clock".

Looking forward to pics.
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Old 08-01-2015, 07:05 PM   #73
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Thanks again for the continued good advice!!


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Old 08-01-2015, 10:18 PM   #74
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Dan, we bought pretty much the truck you're looking at in February - 2015 Ram 3500 Laramie 4x4 CTD Quad Cab w/ 8'box (which we have oufitted with a Highway Products Pickup Pack). Only difference is we went with the 6 speed stick because I prefer a manual, and the Ram/Cummins combo is the last pickup of the big three to offer a stick.

We took it on its 3600 mile maiden voyage from Mississippi to northern NYS in June and loved the combo - completely effortless towing. With a full tank of diesel and camping gear in the back, the Dodge is slightly over 8,000 lbs. Our 2014 27FB Classic runs around the same weight when packed for travel, or a little less. Running I-81 the length of the Appalachians, I had the cruise control set at 62mph and we climbed every ridge (especially in SW Virginia and central Pennsylvania) easily in 6th gear. Going down the other side, the engine brake on the automatic setting held it right at 62mph without touching the brakes.

We pulled this same trailer along this same route twice in 2014 with our old 2001 Dodge CTD 4x4 Reg. Cab/8' bed w/ 5 spd. stk., and it also towed extremely well - but it rode like the farm truck it was. *Huge* improvement with the '15 3500!

We've used an E-quil-izer WD hitch since we bought the A/S. For added smoothness to the ride and as protection against pounding the TT, we added a Class VI AirSafe to the E-quil-izer hitch. I am very pleased with that combination; even on those stretches of I-81 that look like they have recently suffered an artillery barrage (I'm looking at you, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton), and I-20 near Jackson, the addition of the AirSafe kept all the drawers from flying open and stuff being tossed around - that was not the case with our old rig.

When we priced them out at the dealer, the 3500 was only around $150 more than the 2500. Other than payload (I think ours has around 4200lbs), the big difference was that the 2500 had coil springs and the 3500 had the Hotchkiss leaf springs. I'm not an engineer, so I can't explain the pros and cons, but I am an old goat, and I guess I just prefer the weight-handling capabilities of the leaf springs. Our old Jeep Wrangler had leaf-spring suspension on all 4 wheels and rode fine; our 2004 had coil springs all around and bopped up and down like a Buick off road, so I sold it. There is *such* a difference between this and our old truck we feel like we're floating down the interstate!

The Ram's purpose in life is to tow the Airstream, and I have an old diesel sedan as my DD. I do take it and run it into town and around from time to time to keep its juices flowing (and because it is my new toy!), and on a couple of short trips for the same reason. Ordinarily, if we don't need the pickup's capacity.it is far more efficient to drive my wife's VW Passat TDI @ 50mpg. Speaking of mileage, the Ram does get 17 around town, 21 on the highway (if under 65mph - drops quickly above that), and we averaged 15mpg pulling the A/S from Mississippi to NYS, and 13mpg on the return trip. Difference? - I have no idea.

We love our setup - seems like the perfect match. I think you'll like the Ram 3500 CTD if you get it. Like the old ad said - "Ask the man that drives one!"
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Old 08-01-2015, 10:59 PM   #75
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Dan... it sounds like whatever way you go, with the knowledge you have at this point... you'll probably SURVIVE (for a while, anyway)!!!!

With a 3/4 ton and a potent gasser or a diesel engine, pulling an Airstream... life could be a LOT worse, now couldn't it!

Main thing... keep an eye on your cargo capacity... that's a biggie that so many people totally miscalculate until it is too late.

A lot of people just look at towing capacity and call it good, not realizing that calculating your true needs in cargo capacity is really IMPORTANT.

Weight adds up fast when you factor in a steel retracting tonneau cover (like a Retrax), or a camper shell, a Honda i2000 generator (or TWO), some fuel for the generator, some camp recliners, a tool kit, perhaps a bike or three, some camp fire wood, bottled drinking water, an inflatable kayak, your people and DOGS, God KNOWS whatever other goodies one might want to bring along (500 rounds of 12 ga. shotgun shells for Sporting Clays, anyone???)... you get my drift... I'm sure. You WILL want to bring a good bit of STUFF along for the trip!
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Old 08-02-2015, 07:30 AM   #76
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The Fast Lane Truck tow video of the Ram 2500 6.4L didn't impress. So it was the gentleman who posted the youTube video of his 6.4L towing his 5th wheel and subsequent conversations with him overrode the the negativity of the FLT video? The Airstream should tow more efficiently than the 5th wheel; better aerodynamics and less weight.

Did he not experience the same issue of the transmission not shifting down up long grades like FLT or does he manually shift down using the +/- button on the column? I'm surprised the 6.4L didn't go up the Ike similar to the F250 6.2L shifting down and maintaining 5000 rpm to maintain the 55-60mph. As I remember the Chevy 3/4T 6.0L gas did a similar thing.

When I went up the Ike coming back from Utah in June I was able to keep the Tundra in 3rd gear except for one short section it started to creep below 55 so I shifted to 2nd and went up to 5000 rpm but then I was able to shift back to 3 to keep it between 55 and 60mph as I approached the tunnel. That was towing my 2008 Classic 25fb. The Tundra is probably more than 1500lbs lighter than a 3/4T truck. Having to move the extra weight of the 3/4t chassis plus the trailer means it will be running in 2nd at 5000rpm up long grades which is OK as these engines are designed that way.

The diesel/gas decision is difficult to make, especially for me, since I've never owned any type of diesel vehicle. Like you I've tried to read all the posts and I waver back and forth. Just when I think gas is the way to go I see something that changes my mind to consider diesel. I'm reading Moosetag's thread about his trip out west and his latest posts told how his Silverado 3500 Duramax had to go into the shop in Grand Junction because the diesel system thought the DEF tank was low but the tank was full.

I hope you will keep us informed of your towing experience with your new truck.

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Old 08-02-2015, 11:50 AM   #77
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Transmission/engine tuning re those concerns is answered on the OPs thread on WOODALLS by a 6.4 owner quoting RAM engineers.

Besides, speed to the top of the hill is an invalid concern when it comes to towing.
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Old 08-02-2015, 06:15 PM   #78
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Adiredneck,

Appreciate your post, that's very insightful and I thank you. Also, love your signature line. I've got to remember this...

"Hot food, cold beer, dry bed, and a flush toilet - everything I look for in a wilderness experience..."





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Old 08-02-2015, 06:37 PM   #79
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Dan... it sounds like whatever way you go, with the knowledge you have at this point... you'll probably SURVIVE (for a while, anyway)!!!!

I would hope so man. Sure do appreciate the ongoing assistance of you and others. My situation is a little unique. Everyone here, my area, loves trucks. Talks trucks, compares, sits at gas station to look at others and chat, etc. I say here I've never owned a truck, which isn't true. Just had one about 20 years ago, for a few months, and it blew up. Literally.

The nicest, custom package, teak dash, etc Dodge super cab, black, they had. Rumbling V8 with custom dual exhaust, and other goodies I can't recall, chrome bed rails, and such. Unique truck and it caught me eye. Was a poorer working man then, young and working as prison guard. The truck had a faulty oil pump from factory I was told. So I lost me butt on that, let them keep it and traded in the negative, and forgot it like a bad childhood memory.

Long story short, for last 20 years, I have not just been ignorant to trucks, I've intentionaly avoided them. Weird coping mechanism perhaps. Either way, I'm uniquely qualified as main village idiot here. And trying to buy a $50-60k truck now? To haul my wife and infant and toddler around with camper in mountains on weekends, and cross country a time or two each year? Geesh. Never would have thunk it. Appreciate all the help I've gotten here. To say the least.



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Old 08-02-2015, 06:50 PM   #80
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Kelvin,


You said it man. Million decisions to be made picking out the 'perfect' tow vehicle. 3/4 ton or one ton. Air bag, suspension, or not. Gas or diesel, that's a Moby Dick if book was written.

Regarding TFL truck videos, particularly the 6.4 Hemi and 6.0 Chevy Silverado, my BS radar is going off. I get that gassers suffer some at extreme altitude, but I don't think anyone owning either truck would have ran the Ike Gauntlet like the guys testing the trucks.

My issue regarding the Dodge Mega Cab 2500 6.4 Hemi I saw locally and test drove, I came home and the first thing I saw was The Fast Lane Trucks video on YouTube of this 6.4 Hemi struggling so miserably. I kept digging and met the fellow in Canada that hauls a 11-12k lb 5er through the Canadian Rockies with his 6.4. That's when I started questioning TFL truck reviews. They just put it in drive and went.

I still don't know the finer points of Tow/Haul mode, but wonder how TFL Ike Gauntlet video would have been different if they had used it. I also conceed they were pulling twice the weight I would at twice the typical high elevation, or more here in the Smoky Mountains. While I'm still toying with buying a diesel, I am sure the 6.4 Hemi would be more than enough.


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