Towing with Ram 1500- has anyone done it?

I have a 2003 Ram 1500 4x4 QC, with the 4.7 liter engine. It has the tow package with the 3.92:1 limited-slip differential. I did not buy this truck with the intention of towing anything but now I would like
to.
I may be able to get a good price on a SMALL (23') 5th wheel. Dry weight is around 4800 lbs. I figure if I am careful not to load more than about 1000 lbs into it I will be well under Dodge's recommended maximum of 7000+.
I have heard that a 5th wheel tows more efficiently than a trailer, and so I'm hoping this will work to my advantage.
I saw a recent discussion here that seemed to conclude that one would be crazy to try to tow anything as heavy as 5000 lbs with this truck. I'm just wondering- has anyone actually tried it? Does anyone have any recommendations about what the maximum weight should be?
Those of you who own this truck and use it to tow- what do you tow with it?
Thanks...
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Chauncey Gardiner wrote:

I have a 2001 Ram 1500 QC 4X2 with the 5.9L engine. I pull a 3800lb dry trailer. It's close to 5,000lbs loaded. It tows quite well but is slow up the grades. Previously I had a 2000 Ram 1500 with the 5.2L. It struggled to pull the same trailer. Even on flat highways it had trouble maintaining 60mph while towing out of OD. I can't imagine trying to pull 5,000lbs with the 4.7L especially the heavier 4X4. If you live where it's flat like Kansas you might do ok albeit rather slow.
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I'm the one who was told that pulling anything as heavy as 5000 lbs with this truck would be crazy. I tow a 5500lb camper with a 2003 1500, 4x4, QC, 4.7L truck. The truck pulls it fine. I have had no problems out of the truck whatsoever. Of course, when I pull the camper I always have the O/D turned off as I do have to go up some hills on the way to our regular campground.
M2CW, Hawkeye65
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"miles" wrote:

It "might" do okay but if you have a problem, do a gear ratio swap to 4.56 and that should fix it. A 3.92 is not as deep as it sounds with 31 inch tires and with a 4.7. Most people who have trouble towing usually have the wrong gearing in their tow vehical. What work for a SUV alone vs when it has 5000 lbs behind it is a different matter, especailly when you through in the extra wind drag of a tall camper. You have to be able to have your engine around its torque peak in drive around 60 to 65 to get you best pulling power at that speed in drive. In your case your 4.7 peaks it torque at around 3500 RPM so that equals 4.56 gears. At 65mph 3.92’s will be truning about 2750 and 4.56 will be turning about 3220. To break it down further, at 2700 RPM you have maybe 80% or rated torque so if you take 2700 x 240 /5252 your get that you have about 123 HP availible at 65 in drive with 3.92 gears. At 3200 RPM you have maybe 90% of rated torque so 3200 x 270 /5252 means you have 164 HP availible in drive at 65mph at with 4.56’s or about 30% more pulling power. (and possibly more because you may be making closer to rated torque at the RPM) Simple math here. If you take it further you had a Hemi with it 4200 RPM torque peak and if you were lucky enough to get 75% torque at 2700 RPM (which I doubt you would get) that would be 2700 x 281 /5252 or you would have 144 HP availible at 2700 in drive at 65 with 3.92 gears and a hemi so a 4.7 with 4.56 gears would outpull and hemi with 3.92 gears on a hill at 65 mph. If you use a hemi with 3.55 gears and if you were luck enough to get 70% of rated torque at a even lower RPM you would have 2500 x 262 / 5252 or about 124 HP availible at 65 in drive of your "rated" 345 HP. The point of all this is if you do not have the right gears, you will not tow good with any engine. The old dodge 360 had more torque below 300 RPM even though it had a lower peak HP rating and would do better than a Hemi towing most of the time with the corect gearing but some people seem to go brain dead on the subject of gearing and towing (not say that is the case here) like it does not matter even if you show them the math.
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SnoMan wrote:

I assume you meant 3000RPM. What year(s) are you referring to when you say 'OLD' dodge 360? I have the numbers from Dodge's own brochures for my 2001 360 and my 2004 Hemi. The 360 has lower torque below and above 3000RPM's. The Hemi's Torque curve is rather flat. All I can say is that the Hemi is FAR stronger at pulling my trailer with identicle gearing (3.92). There is just no comparison. Drive them both, then report back your findings.
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"miles" wrote:

do
Typo on the 300 but in the reall world I have driven "Hemi’s" and the torque on them is no where near as flat as they would like you to believe and a engine with w 4200 RPM torque peak is not a strong performer below 3000 RPM and will guzzle the gas when working hard too. When towing on the hiway you want your engine to be near its peak VE (Volumetric efficency) which is also its torque peak because it will use the least amount of fuel per HP hour produced. With Hemi, this is not possible in any gear for extended pulls VE RPM is too high and a poor choice for a tow motor. The old 360 reached Peak VE by 3000 RPM or less and did better maxed out towing. The Hemi is a joke as a tow motor in its current tune. When my friend was looking at new trucks we drove a CC 3500 Dadge with 4.10 and a Hemi, it was a joke and a slug. That big old dually with that motor was not impressive at all. A like GM truck with a 6.0 and a low HP rating but with a lower RPM power peak ran circles around it. The 345 HP rating is ust that a rating because it is not usable towing and is more hype than anything. Chysler would have been better served to have made a detuned version for trucks tha made 300 HP or so but that had a torque peak at a far more usable 3000 RPM for SUV towing use.
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Chauncey Gardiner wrote:

I used to drive a '91 ram, 5.2, 5 speed, 3.55 rear. no tow package. I towed with it occasionally. I loaded a '66 Mustang on a U-Haul trailer (about 5500#) and towed it from MA to CO. Since I didn't have the tow package, I used the bumper and tap-a-lites. Not a problem at all. Truck towed it without any problems at all. Couldn't use 5th very much, but that's OK. With your truck, I wouldn't hesitate to tow a 6,000# trailer. It's a Dodge, and that's what it was built for. It won't tow fast, and it won't tow quick. But it will get you there without fuss. Since you already have the tow package, all you need to add is a brake controller. If you're traveling in high heat regularly (>100*), you might consider an additional trans cooler. Otherwise, don't sweat it. Just hook it up and go. Anybody who says it won't work, just doesn't know dodge trucks very well.
The Dakota I have now will easily tow a 5,000# trailer at high altitude. It makes a little more torque than yours, but not much. And it is a little lighter than yours, but not by much.
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".boB" wrote:

Towing a car hauler is a lot easier pull the a fifth wheel camper. When towing a fifth wheel you have a LOT more aerodynamic drag which adds to the HP needed to move the same amount of weight on hills or on the flat. The only manufacturer that I have ever seen mention the impact of this "drag" on towing in the past was Jeep when they used to rate their cheerokes to tow up to 5K but with no more than 25 sq feet of addaitonal frontal area. A 5000 lb pull type trailer will have less drag than a 5th wheel camper of same weight and drag takes additional HP to over come and there is not a excess of it with tow vehical in question. Also a 1/2 ton is not the best platform to tow a 5th with though some people do it it is better done with a 3/4 or 1 ton truck because of rear axle and chassis loading and stress when towing a 5th. The original poster would do well to consider a pull type instead because it would produce less drag towing it even at same weight level. A 5th wheel in a head wind can be a real ball buster to tow and demand a lot from tow vehical. Also, I did not mention earlier that I would install a aux tranny cooler before I proceeded with any 5000 travel trailer.
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On Sat, 06 Aug 2005 10:48:49 -0700, Chauncey Gardiner
You have 2 considerations, IMHO:
Safety.. I think you're good to go, using an weight distributing hitch... You want to be at LEAST 10% under max tow weight for safety, which you will be if the trailer or truck aren't overloaded..
Fun... We pull a travel trailer that's 4,800# empty.. I'm guessing it's under 6,000# loaded... we have a 99 ram QQ 2wd with 5.9L gas, auto & 3.55 gears... Grades are slow, but that's towing, IMO.. a Cummins would be nice, but we're not going to trade up to a $40,000 truck unless we get a bigger trailer... On level ground with OD locked out, it's a breeze to pull at whatever speed you feel is safe... on a trip from CA to WA, we took some major grades at about 40 - 45 mph at maybe 3,500 rpm...
I think that a 5th wheel is a great idea... better weight distribution, less total length, better ride and handling.... I'd put a good set of air bags on the rear to help level the load and soften the ride..
The 4.7L has less torque than the 5.9, but I think it will do fine with a little patience.. IMO, if it's a "Recreation Vehicle", you don't need to be in a hurry, relax and enjoy the trip... YMMV

mac
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"mac davis" wrote:

you
If you took the time and trouble to regear your truck to 3.92 or 4.10 you would have a completely different view of its tow performace with it and be able to take grades in drive that you take in 2nd and reduce engine and tranny strain too as well and make your tow vehicial last longer too. Also you will likely see a MPG increase towing because the engine will run at a more efficent RPM for cruising under a load and will not have to work as hard to produce "X" amount of HP at a higher RPM than a lower one because of HP tow requirements.
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It's really not worth it to us, Sno... We got the ram to tow, as our dakota would break if we used it, and we really like the dak.. OTOH, we like the ram a lot as is and we're only occasional weekend rv'ers.. Before I spent the bucks on regearing, which would mean that we're towing a LOT, I'd trade it in on a cummins..
Anyway, my point above is that if you're not in a hurry when pulling grades, the 1500 with 360 and 3:55 does the job well... YMMV
mac
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One problem with towing a 5th wheel with a 1500 Series Truck is the pin weight of the 5er. Some 5th wheel trailers have a pin weight exceeding 1,000 lbs..
This may exceed the GVWR of the truck.
I tow a 6,000 lb. fully-loaded travel trailer with my 2000 Dodge Ram 1500 (5.9L, 3.55 rear gears). It does a decent job of hauling it, and I'm satisfied with the performance and handling.
Most 5th wheels reguire a 3/4 ton or better truck because of the pin weight in the bed.
Mark
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The verdict is in...
I didn't buy the 5th wheel, but did pick up a 25' travel trailer at 4400 lbs dry. We loaded it lightly- probably just barely over 5000 lbs.
As some of the posters predicted, it's pretty slow up steep grades (7%) at high altitude (7000+ feet); we drop down to about 35 mph. But there are turnouts so we can get out of other people's way, and- what's the hurry?
Where the grade is not so steep, it isn't hard to keep the speed up, but you can only go so fast with a 25' trailer behind you anyway if there are any curves in the road.
I did follow Mac's advice and got a weight distribution hitch, which seems to steady things quite a bit.
On the other hand, we are beginning to look longingly at a 2500 with the Cummins, which might be nice for added confidence on cross-country trips and would open things up in the future for a larger RV. :)
Thanks again to all who responded...
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On Fri, 02 Sep 2005 09:57:12 -0700, Chauncey Gardiner

Chauncey... enjoy the trailer, Rving is a great way to travel, see cool things and spend lot of money on gas.. *g*
BTW: I missed the end of the movie, did you get elected president???
mac
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