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Old 09-06-2006, 04:18 PM   #1
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Help! Dakota vs. Overlander

Hi all

I may have an opportunity to buy a 27' Overlander to use as an office at the site where we are building our house this fall. I would need to tow the trailer about 200 miles, much of it on winding 2-lane roads. I have some experience with large equipment and trailers (was a teamster and a bus driver in previous lives), but I'm not sure our truck is up to the task.

We have a 2004 Dodge Dakota quad cab with no hitching equipment at present. Specs on the trailer are about 4150 on the weight and 425lbs on the tongue. That fits within the scope of a class IV trailer hitch for the truck, and I have priced the hitch through our local Dodge dealer at about $500 installed with all of the wiring and such.

However, they tell me the hitch is good for 6500lbs ONLY IF the trailer has weight balancing equipment. I don't know exactly what that means, but I'm certain a 40-year-old trailer doesn't have it! The weight limit in that case is about 3500lbs.

I am certain this restriction has to do with the weight distribution, but how can I tell whether this is sufficient? At this point we only need to tow the trailer once---if we restore it and travel with it at some point, we might well have to upgrade the tow vehicle. Should I just plan to spend the money on a rental instead?

Thanks for any advice!
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Old 09-06-2006, 04:55 PM   #2
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go to Reese's website and read up on "weight distributing hitches". http://www.reeseprod.com
its not about how you pack the trailer...

and yes, they did have them and use them 40 years ago.

As for the Dakota, the answers are in your owner's manual. It all depends on how the truck was equipped. Some Dakotas have the same power trains in them as their full sized counterparts, and are quite capable of towing. Some may not agree due to their smaller stature and shorter wheel base, but for a "1-time" tow, if its got the big motor, etc, it'll do it.

Get another quote for that receiver hitch. those numbers don't sound right. Most I've seen are 5,000/10,000 rated. thats the rating on the receiver, not the truck. But still, I wouldn't be surprised if that truck had a tow rating of 7000lbs or more.
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Old 09-06-2006, 05:24 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply, chuck

Our Dakota has a 6cyl engine, and while it has plenty of poop by itself or with a load of lumber, I am very much thinking twice about towing even once with it. Not to mention the amount of money the dealership wants to install a factory tow package, about $500. I think I'd rather spend the $500 on a pro and know that it will arrive safely, and save up for a real TV.

thanks again
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Old 09-06-2006, 05:45 PM   #4
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You might also want to consider simply paying somebody else to tow your trailer. If it's only 200 miles and even if the charge was $1.00 per mile it's less than what you'd pay to equip your truck. A contract firm recently towed my Safari from the Albuquerque area to Tucson to have the exterior restored at Oasis RV (all courtesy the movie company that damaged it.) The contractor towed with a 1 ton dually Dodge and the rig seemed absolutely no worse for the wear. The contractor had many years of experience and did nothing but move travel trailers and RVs around the country for a living. He was courteous and professional.
Just a thought
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Old 09-06-2006, 05:50 PM   #5
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That's a good plan. A Dakota with a 3.9 V6 won't cut the mustard towing your coach. I had a Dakota with the 5.2 V8, and wouldn't want to tow our current Overlander with it.
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Old 09-10-2006, 03:37 AM   #6
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Thanks to all for the advice--I am taking it very seriously. I got a quote from a local trailer guy, but it is pretty expensive (about $600) and the trailer needs to be in good towable condition first. This one has a blown tire and the lights don't work, and I am guessing the brakes don't work either, although the seller didn't know. It hasn't moved in well over a year.

I just provided details in the intro forum & don't want to cross-post, but if anyone knows of someone in the east SF bay area who could help, please holler!

thanks again
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Old 09-25-2006, 02:35 AM   #7
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Sir

I too have a Dakota with the 3.9 and five speed manual. This truck has the trailer electrical plug and the hitch when I got it.

I then took off the small 1995 exhaust and switched for a set of 1992 exh manifolds and the matching three inch tubing to the older diam.

I have a 1970 Overlander - InterNational that I move with it, in this local area.

Since Colo is not flat, I sometimes start in 4 wheel low and then shift to 2 wheel high when I can.

I have pulled this trailer up from Denver staying with the traffic flow.

Rodger & Gabby
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Old 09-28-2006, 06:05 PM   #8
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Finally catching up---we did buy the Overlander, brought it home and found that it is a '65 rather than '69. I rented a truck to bring it home, and my old '68 Ford works to drag it around the driveway. We are doing a minimalist restoration to make it sanitary and campable, and I'll post a summary with photos at some point in the next few days.

thanks again for all the advice!
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Old 09-29-2006, 09:55 AM   #9
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Hola

Since I first read this post and the Dakota vs the Overlander question I called the local Dodge Dealer. It seems that with some vehicles they are just built to look as a truck and some are trucks. But this is true with all makes.

If the Dakota has the right items it is rated to pull up to 7,000 lb's with even the 3.9 engine. I am so glad that we have the truck with tomato sauce.

Rodger & Gabby
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Old 09-29-2006, 11:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodger with a D
If the Dakota has the right items it is rated to pull up to 7,000 lb's with even the 3.9 engine.
you sure about that? I believe it w/ the 5.2...but 3.9?
w/ the Hemi, it even higher. basically the same as the full size 1/2 tons.

true, though, about "looks". My dad's old Dakota was a K-car hidden inside a truck body. (2.5l 4-banger...same as in the k-cars. thing would hardly get out of its own way).
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Old 09-29-2006, 12:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck
you sure about that? I believe it w/ the 5.2...but 3.9?
w/ the Hemi, it even higher. basically the same as the full size 1/2 tons.

true, though, about "looks". My dad's old Dakota was a K-car hidden inside a truck body. (2.5l 4-banger...same as in the k-cars. thing would hardly get out of its own way).
This is straight from a review of a 2005 Dakota, the figure quoted is the maximum for the V8 truck:
I've recently spent a week with a top-of-the line Dakota Quad Cab 4x4 Laramie. While inching toward luxury in accommodation, with leather seating standard in the Laramie grade, it's still a truck at heart, and a tough and capable one, with up to 1700 lbs of cargo carrying or 6800 lbs of towing ability
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Old 09-29-2006, 08:23 PM   #12
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The review also states that the 6800# is with the 3:92 ratio rear axle ,5600
with the standard gear .I also would venture to say that the 6800 # must be with the bigger high output v-8 option not the v-6 .It does not say either way ,just with the 3:92 gear option .

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Old 09-30-2006, 11:06 AM   #13
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Hola Class

The ratio of the rear axle, tyre/wheel size and the spring rating is related to the abilities of towing and carrying.

The size of the engine is related to how quick the vehicle gets from zero to the speed limit.

If the owner of the weak to pull a lawn mower trailer had known to change to rear axle ratio, they could of drove away smiling with an AirStream for any camping spot. ( No one crys over an eighteen wheeler lugging up the grade with an straight six with 40,000 pounds of ~ in the trailer. )

Rodger & Gabby
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Old 10-01-2006, 02:41 AM   #14
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Rodger ,be careful with the 4 wheel drive in low on the road ,unless you have
a full time transfer case ,all time type ,you can break the front / or rear
differential or damage the transfer case ,check your operators manual as
4 wheel drive is not for hard dry road surface.A customer did this often
with his 2000 GM 1500 truck with a large sob trailer ,grenaded the rear differential to pieces in 4 wheel drive trying to pull a trailer that is too much
for his truck .I replaced the rear axle assembly ,he is looking at a 3/4 ton
now or bigger.There is more to it than the tow rating or gear ratio .the 6
cylinder in the semi has a massive engine ,huge displacement with tons of low end torque ,a very big cat or cummins diesel engine there with a turbocharger or blower ,it is that huge torque that pulls that weight .The trans does have
ten or 15 speeds ,but the torque is the name of the game.

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Old 10-02-2006, 10:37 AM   #15
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Scott & Others

I am a fan of the manual five speed. I am not a fan of the 4x4 feature. It was with the price of the truck when I got it. Since I have had this truck my usage of the 4x4 was mostly to show off to my neighbor accross the street

We got the '95 truck last year when it had 111,147 miles on it. At that moment I had the following done to it: ... all new U-joints, ... new fly-wheel & clutch pack, ... front & rear transmission seals, ... front and rear transferr seals, ... new timing assembly, ... all new brakes, ... new water pump, ... new serp belt, ... new plugs-wires-dist cap and etc, ... new shocks, ... new hoses and new filters too. The rear axle also has been added with new seals, bearings and etc. My Brother In-Law works at a local neighbor-hood type of garage. All the parts are of NAPA shop discount and we gave Uncle Benny $200 for his services.

I did this cause I did not want to work on it next to some Hwy and ditch.

Rodger & Gabby
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Old 10-02-2006, 07:55 PM   #16
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Hola, Rodger,

My '93 Dakota was rated to tow 7200 lbs, but it required some specific equipment to get that highest rating.

- V8 engine
- HD suspension/transmission/1-ton payload
- Steel wheels
- Transmission and power steering coolers
- 5-bladed clutch fan
- HD cooling
- E-rated tires
- 4.10 rear axle ratio

And I opted for the standard cab and long bed, and took delivery of it in November, 1992. It was the first V8 Dakota Youngbloood Motor Company in Madison, GA had every seen, and it had 58 miles on it when I picked it up. (I think everybody at the dealership took it out.)

It was an astoundingly GOOD truck. Knock on wood, I hope I'll be able to say later that it was not the best truck I ever had.

Towing my '31 over the TN/KY/GA part of Appalachia bringing it home, I spent a lot of time in the left lane going 55 mph with the engine turning over 3500 rpm.

And this truck was no kind of wimp. About 0 to 50, it could out-accelerate most of the cars on the road. The '93 was the first and only year for the Holley fuel injection, and this engine/powertrain/drivetrain was STRONG.

I do not agree with you that power is only acceleration. Power is also climbing, and I did not think that my 318 had ENOUGH.

Climbing those hills, by the way, I keep an eagle eye on the coolant temperature. It bumped 210, but never went over.

I eventually put over 3500 miles on the Dakota pulling that Airstream. I never killed it, but I was very happy to get something more capable.

Hehe, if I could figure out a way to hook them both together, my "new" Dodge could tow BOTH my Airstream and my Argosy and stay within its weight limits (both trailers EMPTY, tow 13,820 lbs, GVWR 9,00, GCWR 19,000 lbs).

Something I've noticed recently has been some talk here on the forum about certain vehicles that are not too heavy but have really nice horsepower ratings and tow limits. These look really nice, but then I learn that the horsepower max is at 4700 RPM or some really fast number, and I wonder if anybody really wants to go uphill carrying an Airstream with the motor SCREAMING.

My old Dakota did it ROARING, and I found that most unpleasant. And I had the V8. It was just taking care of business, but it was unpleasant, nevertheless.

And Rodger, this is not directed at you so much as it into space, except for the single point that POWER is more than accelerating the load. It plays a big part in maintaining velocity, too, when things depart the straight and level. Then I wonder if one can ever really have enough.

Lamar
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Old 10-02-2006, 07:55 PM   #17
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Rats,

Oh, moderator, oh, moderator, please delete this post. It was a duplicate.

Thanks,

Lamar
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Old 10-02-2006, 09:01 PM   #18
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Lamar

In reading your reply, I enjoyed it for it was well written.

I believe that you have four items that I do not have. The 318, the steel wheels, the rear axle ratio and the power steering cooler.

So far, the one item that I do not enjoy is the lack of viewing down the sides of the trailer while going in a straight line ( lane ).

I also pull the same trailer with a 1966 Le Baron. Nuthin but up pointed thumbs with the 66. When I do it this way the ole 440 just humm's. The problem is the car is as long as the trailer. This makes it hard to over-steer while backing.

Rodger & Gabby
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Old 10-02-2006, 09:15 PM   #19
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440

Now there's a sweet number that brings back memories! I had a '69 Chrysler New Yorker with a 440. Long as the Titanic, factory rated with over 10:1 cmpression at 375hp and 480 ft-lbs of torque. There was many an early 70's Chevelle and Camaro that I waxed with that car. While the Chevy guys were running smog pumped 350's, I had the old high(er) compression big block, with a Sure-Grip rear no less, so she left twin black marks when you punched it. That car would break traction with both rear wheels on dry pavement at 45mph if you punched it. I had a big old Carter 4-bbl on it that had a mechanical secondary linkage. It'd bog if you just floored and held it, so what I'd do is pump it once to give the accelerator pumps a chance to give a good squirt to rap it up, then floor it. Worked like a charm. It had the speedo that was about 3 feet wide across the dash and a 2.73 rear end. I'd run her out of numbers and keep on cruising. I'd back off and it'd take about 10 seconds to drop below 120mph (the upper boundary of the speedo). Car and Driver tested a '69 Fury police car with the same drivetrain (440 and torqueflite) and it'd do 147mph on top. I doubt my New Yorker was much off that. Man what a car!

I rebuilt that motor and have it on the stand up in my dad's garage. Got all the mopar performance goodies in it, as well as some after market stuff: forged pistons, ported and polished heads, oversized valves, cam 3 grinds bigger than that used on a street hemi, new rings & bearings, etc. Bottom line she's about 500hp, just waiting to go into my '65 Sport Fury

I like 440s !
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