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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 98 ram 1500 qc 5.9 with factory installed tow pkg that I bought new. I have just purchased another fifth wheel camper that has a dry weight of 6500#s and max. loaded wt of 7800#s. My truck is rated to tow 8100#s. I have questions regarding the towing of this camper.
1. What is the differential gear ratio on one of these trucks?
2. What all is included in the factory tow package?
Any comments regarding this would be welcomed.
Thanks,
Walter
 

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i have the same truck with 4wd and it has limited slip rear diff with 3:55 gears. not sure what all extra came with the tow package though.
 

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Just Rammin with my 98
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Did it come with the 'HEAVY DUTY COOLING PKG' or just the 'Tow Package'? I found out the hard way that there's a difference.
 

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well with the tow package you should have 4.10 gear ratio in it. Most came stock at 3.55 or maybe 3.93. The tow package should also have some sort of tranny coller included but it might not be a heavy duty one I really am not sure on that. I got a stick and not tow package.
 

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I have the HD class (which is the tranny cooler package) and I have the towing package and I have 3.55 gears.
 

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Cant see me
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Call Dodge and give them your VIN number and they will send you a build sheet free of charge.
 

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Just Rammin with my 98
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Mine has the 3.55 Gears, Factory Tow Package (which equals the wiring harness & tow bar). Mine also has the heavy duty cooling group, which means tranny cooler, power steering cooler, and I believe one other thing.

I've tried to find something that documents exactly what it means, but haven't yet.

My mistake was that I was told that the factory tow package = extra coolers for towing (makes sense right?), but at the time one didn't automatically mean the other and I ended up cooking my transmission. At the time, Ford & Chevy both meant that the factory tow package included the coolers, just not Dodge.

My fault for listening to know-it-all types...


BTW...if your trailer weight loaded is 7800#, you realize you're 300# from being at max capacity as long as the truck is completely empty right? Any gear, passengers, etc. in the truck will reduce that 8100# number down by the weight of the gear. So...1 larger passenger, or one smaller one, plus any gear, and you're probably at or over your tow limit.
 

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Derelict
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I believe a bigger alternator & battery comes with the tow package. In any case, I have a '98 1500 and the 8,100 pounds towing is an error in the manual -- it's really around 7,000. On the driver's door jamb is a decal with the GVW, GAWR (axle rating), and GCWR (total weight including trailer). Subtract you base weight (around 5,000+ pounds) and you get your actual trailer weight.

Anyway, with a 5th the pin weight is important since your payload is only 1,400 which includes you, your dog, gas, and the pin weight. The GVW is 6,600 for a 1500.

When towing overdrive is supposed to be off.

Stock gears are 3.55 which are weak for towing. Not weak like they'll break but weak like you'll be wheezing up hills in 1st gear if you have an automatic. If you do have an automatic I'd recommends a tranny temp guage.
 

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Hey Walter can you post any pics of the fifth wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the input from all of you. Mojoman, I haven't got any pictures yet.
Something else to chew on... The truck has 105k on it. Still in good shape and looks good. It has the extra transmission cooling system etc. I pulled a 6k+ tt in the Colorado mountains with the truck and the temp hand never got above center line. We actually pulled it about 4k on that trip from Alabama to Montana and back without any problem whatsoever. It stays there most all the time or a little below any way.
The book says the curb wt is 4500# and payload is 1900# which brings it up to the GVWR of 6400#. Tongue wt max is 700#.
The camper has a factory dry wt of 6548#, GVWR of 7836# which means I can add 842# to the camper which I won't do.
Now, with the above info what is your opinion?
If the motor and transmission are the same and cooling system and shocks are heavier on the 1500, what makes the 2500 imperative for this camper?
By the way, we are going to look another truck and it will be in the 2500 series.
Thanks and many thanks for all your input.
Walter
Talladega, AL
 

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Derelict
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My listed dry weight is 5,150 (1998 1500, QC, 4WD, SB, 318, auto). Since I get weighed when I visit the garbage transfer station I know my wet weight (me, a canopy, gas) is 5,500 it's about right. With a GVW of 6,600 I have a net payload of 1,100 pounds. My engine temp barely moves when I'm towing. It's the tranny temp that goes up and down.
 

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Just Rammin with my 98
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When you say 'Temp hand' are you talking about the water temp, or do you have a transmission temp gauge installed? Water temps aren't going to give you a whole lot of info about how the transmission is doing.

If Road Dog's 7000# tow rating is correct...I'm confused on how you get to 842# of available weight, by my math, you have 452# (7000 - 6548 = 452) of available weight. That is DRY weight. If you have any water tanks full of water in the trailer, you'll quickly be over.

Its not so much the moving I'd worry about, its the stopping. No way would I want to brake that load down a long mountain grade, even with trailer brakes.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The trailer weight information sticker states: GVWR:7836, Minus UVW: 6548, Minus fresh water wt: 383, Minus LP gas wt: 63, CCC:842. I don't have the 4X4 truck.
The temp hand I referred to means the water temp hand. Also I have the 5.9L which I think is the 360 engine.
 

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Just Rammin with my 98
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Alrighty then...as long as you're always leaving your LP tanks home, and emptying the water religiously...yep. Me...I'm not so good about that stuff...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
My wife and I are talking about going to Wyoming and surrounding areas in the truck only, talking with other campers, looking and getting more information before making a decision as what to do. We were planning to go out there anyway in a car or the truck w/o a camper and tent camp some which we like to do and then come back home and do what we need to do about getting a heavier truck or using the same one a while longer and take shorter trips no more than say 300 miles one way.
 

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Just Rammin with my 98
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If I'm being honest, I'm paranoid about any potential lawsuits from an accident when towing over the rated capacity. I personally try to be 10% under the capacity. The problem isn't that you might be the best, most cautious driver the world, its that soccer Mom in her SUV that takes away your braking cushion forcing you to take the ditch. Its happened to me, and we got lucky the boat stayed on the trailer, and the vehicle we had didn't have any serious damage.

Although I will say this, when I'm driving through North Dakota, I'd feel much better about being at the max, then when we hit MPLS/St.Paul during rush hour.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
dorelse,
You are absolutely correct. I hate to pull through Bham or Hotlanta anytime. The Dakota's are certainly easy to pull through.
I don't think I would be over the limit but I do think I would be close to the limit say within 15-20%.
 
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