pulling HEAVY, now what?

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please see http://inlinediesel.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_IDa7 and give me your feedback and advice. thanks,

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Nathan In Montana
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On Sun, 27 May 2007 01:25:54 -0600, "Nathan W. Collier"

solution here because engine strain aside, it adds transmission strain too and that is not the strongest trany stock but it should hold up well behind a non chipped engine. Chipping it will overload tranny. A 4.10 should help a lot and if you tow in mountains a lot you might even consider a 4.56. Your engine is turbo charged but it still sees some power loss at high altitude and deeper gears would help a lot here. When you tow a big load with a automatic you should have 4.10 anyway by default. Deep gears would help you all the way across the board too, starting out and backing up as well and will likely improve MPG towing as well. Your truck has a AAM 11.5 rear axle the same as GM uses and aftermarket gears for it are widely avaible (GM has used it since 2001 and Dodge since 2003) so you do not have to buy the gears at a dealer and get skinned on them as they will likely be 700 or more at dealer for rear axle and less than 300 for quality after market ones. If it is a 4x4 you need to change front axle gears too and it also uses GM 9.25 IFS gear in front in its AAM 9.25 solid front axle and gears can be had for it for about 200 buck or less. You could buy gears and shop around for best instalation price. Just think of gears as using a newer bigger longer pry bar to move same load rather than trying to pull even harder on the same small pry bar. ----------------- TheSnoMan.com
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Deeper gears makes a lot of sense. I also saw an episode of "Two Guys Garage" in which they visited a transmission improvement shop (I think it was in Montana, but the show was several years ago, so I really don't know). The shop put in different valving, torque converter, lockup clutch, addressed all the points which built up heat, and a few other things to make it capable of withstanding the extra power generated by chipped or otherwise improved engines. As I recall it cost about $2,000, but when they were finished the chances the transmission would fail were very slim.
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Tom Lawrence probably has the best idea on what ya need to do here. IMO, that trailer needs something more like the Navistar "pickup" just for the weight that truck would bring. However, the Dodge is more than able to move it.
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Moving it and moving it effectly is a different matter and you need more that 3.73 gears to move a GCWR of around 12 ton effectively through mountains even with a CTD. That is why they have made different axle ratios for many many years. YOu can move a lot of weight with eninge a old 6 cylinder in a dump truck if you have the right gears. Your drive axles are the strongest reduction units in your truck and when geared properly can exert a lot of force. All things being equal you will get about 11 to 12% more pulling power in every gear with 4.10's with no added engine or tranny strain like you get from chipping it to gain same boost in towwing power. There is a reason that 400 HP OTR rigs have 900 cu inch and bigger engines so they do not have to be "chipped" and can last a very long time even at max power. There are some out there though that equate a CTD, PS or Dmax to a OTR engine but it is not and they will suffer when run at OTR HP power levels for extended periods of time. This is not a Dodge, Ford, GM thing but rather a common sense thing and it requires regearing for a proper long term solution. It is lot different to tow in rockies than it is in the flat lands and what may work in the flats does not always work in mountains but some seem to forget that. How I would configure a low altitude flat land tower vs one that is at high altitude and in mountains is a completely different matter. Detriot does not tell you this either because it might hurt sales image of top end trucks. If you elect to chip it to solve problem, save some money for when stock tranny gives up the ghost on a long hard pull. It is not a bad tranny but it will suffer for boosted torque on long hard pulls and shorten its life. Many avid "chippers" do not even consider this. Manuals are a little more tolerant of this. ----------------- TheSnoMan.com
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what about "light" chipping while towing 16,000#? what do you consider "light"?

i dont understand that. please explain.

what ratio do you think would be better? 4.10, 4.30, or 4.56? what about a torque splitter, any recommendations there? thanks,
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On Sun, 27 May 2007 14:38:37 -0600, "Nathan W. Collier"

The tranny in your truck was beefed up in 05 but it is no Allison and chipped will increase strain on it and it has little reserve capacity. Automatic are funny it that they can to a certain load well but go beyond that and they can start hurting from it. If you dicide to try to chip, do get a EGT gauge and watch tranny temps.

Chipping increase the injection cycle lencth to increasepower but efficecy can drop off and it also raise EGT which is the weakness of any chipping. YOu can chip and over EGT for a bit on a breif birst or pull and be okay but on a long hard pull the EGT can riase and damage engine if you do not watch it carefully. On a non chipped engine, it is not a cocern even WOT for long hard pulls.

Actually you would be better off to reager then consider if you want to do a aux tranny. ALso the only gears availble for your rear axle is 4.11, 4.56, 4.88, 5.13 and 5.38. 4.30 is not a option with your axle style. Back in 05 I drove several trucks for extened periods from GM, Ford and Dodge with a CTD and with a auotmatic we both (my freind was looking to buy a truck) felt that the 4.10 was a better match towing or no in a dualie with CTD as it played better with CTD. With a 6 speed we leaned toward the 3.73. My friend would have bought the Dodge if they would have talked turkey on price with him but got truck with same equipment from GM for 5 grand less at the time (he wanted the CTD but not for 5 g's over a Dmax 1 ton at the time) Below is a link for a axle ratio calculator if you want to play with some number on what your RPM will be doing with different gearing.
http://www.snoman.com/HTML/axlecalc_5a.html ----------------- TheSnoMan.com
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Well, it's a combination of high HP/torque levels, combined with a hot-rod approach to driving, that's not really "towing-compatible". For instance, with 16K hanging off the back, and the engine's power dialed up to say 500HP at the wheels, it would be bad to mash the pedal at take-off.... parts are probably going to fly out from under the truck.

I wouldn't go more than 4.10 (as was stated earlier, 4.30 gears aren't available - the next lower gear is a 4.56). With a 4.56 gear, you're red-lining the engine at 60MPH with overdrive locked out.... not good.
In my previous post, I outlined a possible upgrade path. If the truck still doesn't perform as well as you'd like, you can always change gears then. You're not losing anything (as you'd most likely want the power-adder anyway, because the 9% mech. advantage of the lower gears alone probably won't cut it), and you may be saving the cost of two sets of gears in the process.
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You already have 610, going beyond 720-750 ftlbs would be more than "light".

Due to the huge amounts of fuel pushed by the higher stages of the chips, you risk a melt down to internal componants because of load and EGT temps that do not stay at acceptable levels. These levels work fine if the engine can move enough air to keep the "cool" air flowing, thus lowering EGT's. But slow the RPM's, and EGT's go up, and risk of catastrophic failure follows. You'll find that talking with the more reputable purveyors of these products can steer you to thier model of choice for towing, rather than drag racing. Tom Lawarence has a twin turbo setup that is fairly radical, but IIRC, could be compatible with towing. If and when he chimes in, he'd be the guy to talk to, since I'm sure he did a bunch of research.

Personally, I'd go with the 4.10's or 4.30's. 4.56 would be overkill and a PITA when not pulling the trailer. The PCM should be able to be flashed to deal with the tire diameter and gear ratio combination, so the speedo will be correct. The decisive factor in choosing the gears would be the RPM you were turning going up the hills, I'd think with the ISBe, you would want to be in the 1900-2300 range. The rest is math. Keep one thing in mind though... more gear isn't necessarily going to make you faster up the hill, but it will make it easier for the engine, and perhaps you'll gain some MPH in the process. The only way to be sure you will go faster up a hill is to add power.
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Nate, for what it is worth, I would do two things, 4.10 gears and the Edge programer. More power is never a bad thing! <BG> I would not trade it in though.
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Nate, I'd be thinking more more gear and bigger fuel injector's and whatever programmer that is adjustable from the cab.
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Okay - several things here. Yes, pulling power is a good thing - so is stopping power. The 3rd gen Rams have some great brakes - however, I'd definitely want an exhaust brake when pulling that kind of load. Your truck's computer isn't exhaust-brake-aware, and an upgrade (though promised by DC) isn't available yet. Since you asked about turning up the engine's power, we can assume you're cool with throwing caution to the wind, and assuming warranty responsibilities.
With that, I'd suggest some mild tranny upgrades. I'm an ATS guy when it comes to transmissions (others have their preferences, but I've flogged the ever-lovin' crap out of mine, without much of a problem). If you go with their torque converter (IMO, the only "weak link" left in the factory 48RE setup) and valve body, along with their ATS Commander (may have changed the name of that - the electronic controller), you'll have what you need to run an exhaust brake. Their box can talk to your exhaust brake controller, and make sure the brake disengages if/when the TCC unlocks (though, with their control box, you can maintain lockup all the way down to 4MPH, if you so desired - it's adjustable). In the ATS world, that's their "Stage 3" (or Option 3) selection, for about $2,700. Add another $1,000 for an exhaust brake. I'd also throw in a few hundred $$$ for the Mag-Hytec double-deep tranny pan. It provides better cooling, and more fluid capacity (which is also better for cooling).
For the power side, I still think TST is the best in the business. Their latest revision of their Powermax box has plenty of bells and whistles... two user adjustable fueling curves (both low-RPM and high-RPM curves), user-adjustable fuel pressure (I don't recommend going too much over stock pressure, if at all - but the option's there), user-adjustable timing (really only useful if using it in conjunction with other boxes, but hey - it's there), and built-in protection (defueling) based on EGT's and boost pressure. There's also a built-in cool-down timer (you can turn the ignition off and lock up the truck - it'll continue to idle until a preset temp. or time limit, then shut the truck off). It gives you digital EGT and boost gauges, a rail pressure gauge (useful if you're going to muck with fuel pressure), and comes with four different base programs (three performance programs, one fuel economy program). For $900, it's all you'll ever need in the way of boxes or programmers - good for anywhere from stock to 600HP at the wheels (and I got the dyno sheets to prove it! :) Now, you can't get that kind of power just by throwing this box on there (well, you could, but without a better intake, bigger/free-flow exhaust, and larger turbo, you'd melt the engine in short order), but the point is it's got the ability to deliver.
With the added power, I don't think a gear swap would be necessary. With a manual, I might think differently, but the auto gives you a little more flexibility in that area.
In addition, I'd definitely recommend a trans temp gauge. They go for about $55. I also recommend installing the sensor in the return line from the cooler. If you've got a flaring tool and get some AN fittings, you can do this yourself - otherwise, I recommend a $75 replacement cooler line from Mass Diesel that has the port already installed.
So, for about $5K, you can set your truck up to pull (and stop) your trailer comfortably. Yeah, a 6spd auto would be nice... the 6.7L engine would be nice... but I don't think you're going to do better than $5K on a trade-in.
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when i set the cruise control for 70 mph for example, and start down a grade with the 16,000# camper in tow the truck starts to speed up. when it reaches about 5 mph or so above the cruise set point the truck downshifts to slow itself until it gets back down to the set point. i know this isnt the same thing as a real engine brake, but it was somewhat effective. the camper has excellent brakes and my prodigy does a great job controlling it, although dialing it in is proving difficult. i would like to add engine braking, but if i keep this truck i would probably wait until chrysler releases their upgrade. any ideas on when that might be?

actually, im hoping to keep this truck as close to stock as possible for longevity. im so dang tired of eating wrap-around and planned on keeping this truck indefinately....unless i end up trading it on an '07.

gotta link by chance?
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Don't hold your breath.... they have zero incentive to do so. Those who wanted/needed exhaust braking have turned to the aftermarket.

http://www.atsdiesel.com
To be fair, you should also check out the other big Dodge transmission shop, DTT: http://www.dieseltrans.com
Note that ATS uses a 5-clutch setup in their torque converter. DTT still swears by a single disc in their converters, and cranks up line pressure to get the extra holding power.
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thanks for all the help. my local dealer has a 6.7 bighorn edition 6 speed auto with the exhaust brake that i can buy for $37,000. after wrap around from trading my '05 im looking at financing $39,992 and if i can grow to live with the new headlights i might just grab it up. any opininions on this setup (6.7/6 speed auto/OEM engine brake)?
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Yeah, for that price, including the wraparound, buy it and stick with it till paid off.
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Hmmm... so you're going to toss all you've already paid on your '05, plus an extra $3K, to buy a $37K truck, just to get an extra in-between gear in your transmission (the 6spd has two overdrive gears) with an engine brake? Just questioning the financial end here...
As for the new truck itself, it's still pretty new, so not a lot of time to form any opinions on it. I'm sure the engine is solid - but it's too soon to tell about things like particulate filters, cats, fuel economy (since it's gotta constantly use more fuel to burn out the residue that builds up in the DPF), etc.
With regard to your warranty concerns, you'd be tearing up your new truck's warranty the minute you hook up that toy hauler... DC only rates them at 15,350 (and that's with 4.10's).
Given that, my vote would be to spend the money setting up your current truck to do what you want it to do. In the end, I think you'll be saving money, and getting a better-performing truck out of it.
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does that apply to 5th wheel loads which combines pin weight and trailer weight? isnt the gcvwr on the '07s somewhere around 26000#?
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Any load...

Max of 24K - that's with the stripped regular cab, short-bed, 4x2 model.
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I've a question. Regarding the sensor placment. Why not put it in the line out of the transmissinon? I would think that would give a true reading as to the temp. Wouldn't putting it in the return line give you the temp of the cooled fluid. Might as well put it in the pan imo. Gotta have that double deep, pulled about 10 degrees off of my temp.
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