Want to increase towing power?

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I have an 04 1500 Ram 4x4 5.7 hemi quad with swb. The gears are 3.53. I bought this without knowing anything about towing and at the time only intended on towing a pop-up trailer which we never felt behind us. We
upgraded to a 25 foot camper approx 5,000.lbs. When in the hilly areas we noticed that we really have to work to get up some of the hills. We have only modified the truck with a K&N air intake kit so far. What should we do to give this truck a higher towing capacity? I have heard changing the rear gears would help? How much would something like this cost? Would my fuel mileage suffer? I have 12,000 miles on the truck now and would get screwed over by trading it for a 2500 ram. Thanks Howard
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Hp wrote:

Changing rear gears is certainly the best bang for the buck. 3.92 should be fine, but if you live where speeds are rarely >65mph'ish, you might even consider 4.11. As to cost, that can vary. To simply change the gears, you're probably talking about $200-300 per axle. The front axle is usually a little more, because it's tougher to get to. If you don't already have LSD, you might consider that. Dodge trucks with the corporate 9.5" rear are pretty famous for lunching the carrier bearings at 60-80K miles. If you take it to a shop for a gear change, have them put some quality bearings in there. Then you never have to worry about it.
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.boB,thanks,but besides being the acronym for a drug what is LSD? Also you mean even though I might never tow in 4x4 mode I would need to change gears in front also? What would changing gears up to 3.92 due to my mileage? Also by changing the gears does this mean that the engine won't need to "race up" as much to get up the hills. With the K&N intake my wife and I can barely talk to each other when I rev up for the hills. Sorry I ask so many questions ,but I know very little about trucks,engines,running gear. Thanks Howard.

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Limited Slip Differential....
Lower gears give you more "grunt" and will get the load moving faster... they will also make the truck run at higher RPM, so your hiway mileage will decrease... Some folks say that lower gears raise the MPG in town, because the truck doesn't have to work as hard to get moving???
IMHO, the K&N is doing what it does best, making noise, and what it does even better, letting more dirt into the engine.. other than that, it's worthless..
On the other hand, I have to wonder if you're towing up grades in OD?? We have a 99 ram quad cab, 2wd, auto, 5.9 gas, 3.55 rear end... we haul a travel that's 5,000# dry, probably close to 6,500# loaded with all our crap, and it takes a major grade to slow us down a lot... you have more horsepower and more torque with the hemi, so you should out tow us by a big margin.. Does your Ram have tow-haul mode? Are you using it?
A General rule of thumb is that if the truck is "hunting", or up and down shifting a lot, you should have OD locked out... We always tow without OD, figuring that you can't hurt it to lock out OD, and our MPG is the same or better with it locked out... YMMV

mac
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and
this statement is probably the best bet in my opinion if you look at most owners manuals it will say something to the effect that if you tow or haul anything over a certain weight (practically any trailer or anything with any size in the back) that they recomend you use tow/haul or o/d off. now as far as your truck having the power to pull 5,000 lbs?? id think you would be fine. a good 1/2 ton should be able to handle a camper of that size no problems.
that's my 2 cents
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Ok,that seems to be the general consensus. It isn't hunting for gears and I do use the tow/haul mode. I just seem to really have to put my foot in it to get up the roads in our White Mts. (NH) Maybe the K&N air intake is just making it more noticeable to me now. On the flat stuff it does great. Thanks everyone.

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A lot of what you're feeling, ("I just seem to really have to put my foot in it to get up the roads in our White Mts.") is quite normal for towing.. you just get used to it.. When we were towing a little tent trailer, we'd zoom up grades... but when we switched to a 6,000 pound (loaded) trailer, we pretty much doubled the weight of the truck and added 4 wheels... you're not going to pull hills the same towing as you do not towing, unless you have 2 or 3 times the power that the truck need to move itself..
We went to the coast for the weekend, and that involves pulling 3 or 4 small (1,500 foot or so) hills... one is a 3 mile, 7% grade... we did about 40 mph up it at about 3,500 rpm... no big thing, we made a lot of noise going slow for a few miles, the engine and tranny temp stayed ok, and we went down the other side at the legal limit.. My guess is that if we had a K&N (or just NO filter) we would sound like we were doing about 6,000 rpm.. lol
The thing that helped us the most wasn't mechanical, it was mental: We had to get into the mind set that this was a Recreational Ve chicle, so we should relax and enjoy the trip... if we're in a hurry, we leave the trailer home and stay in motels.. YMMV

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"mac davis" wrote:

You just need a truck prperly geared that all because if it was it would not be floor boarded and done shifting with only a 6k trailer which is kinda light for the properly configured fullsized SUV. 20 years ago I used to tow a 4 horse trailer a LOT with a old (then fairly new) 79 J20 jeep. A trailer like that can weight 8 to 9K loaded depending on animal size and tack. I NEVER had problems hould speed on hills with it lowly rated 175hp AMC 360. That motor had goobs of torque for its size at low to mid RPMs and pulled extremely will with its 3.73 gears and 30 inch tires and no OD. I got 11 to 12 towing too. I have hauled a full sized pickup on a car hauler behind my 89 4x4 burb a few times and it would easily do hiway speeds and hold it on hills without floor boarding either. It has 29s with 3.73 gears (see a pattern yet) Gearing matched to engines power curve is EVERYTHING when towing or you can dismiss its importance and keep floorboarding it and getting passed while watching the gas gauge drop and blame the tranny as being junk on day with it starts acting up because it certainly could not be anything else causing it. I would be imbarrased to drive a fancy SUV that cannot get out of its own way towing because it is nt properly equiped for the task.
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"Christopher Thompson" wrote:

of
A very general and unfounded statement. new 1/2 tons are usually geared to squeak that last 1/4 mpg out on the rigged EPA MPG dyno test. I half ton truck with 31 ot 32s tire on a heavy extended or crew cab with 3.42 (GM) or 3.54 (Ford/Chysler) makes a poor towing platform for a 5000lb travel trailer. I recently drove a new chevy Z71 extendend cab with a 310hp rated aluminum V8 and 3.42 gears. It was very strong above 3000RPM if you wound it out in 1st and second but it was lacking in drive and a flat out snail in 4th/OD. I shudder to think how poorly it would tow a 5k travel trailer than it is rated to tow. A Hemi in a CC dodge truck with 3.54 gears would be about the same or maybe just a tiny bit better. I do not care if it is rated at 345hp or so above 5000RPM as you do not tow at 5000 RPM and it is seriously lacking below 3000 RPM too. Dodge has really screwed some truck owners with that combo. It would be more managible if they would increase the Hemis displacement in the truck by 30 or 40 cubic inches but I do not see that happening. It is like they are forcing your hand into a profitable (for them) $6 or7k option Cummins if you want to tow anything of any real weight while you add an extra 600 lbs to front end of truck too. They could offer more axle ratio option for the gas engine but then that might take away Cummins sales. There is a crew cab 1 ton dualie at a dealr near her with a Hemi in it and it has been sitting there for about 8 months now. We drove it for grins when my freind was looking at Cummins power trucks and it was a bit of a slug and would be a joke with a big trailer on it too. When Dodge replaced the V10 with the Hemi in a truck they really screwd up because the V10 might have used a bit more gas but it would pull very strongly too, much better than the higher HP rated hemi that replaced it.
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it was ment to be "GENERAL" and what constitutes a "GOOD 1/2 TON" is up to each individual for me it has to be able to work and work well with loads suited for its capacity i dont ask a 1/2 ton to do the job of a semi.......thats flat stupid. if you want to keep your truck you wont overload it too seriously..preferably not at all but like i said its a work vehicle and i live in the real world where you cant always have the perfect situation all the time!
new 1/2 tons are usually

ok if thats your feeling then dont buy one to pull your 5,000 lb trailer..if you want to put a tire 3 inches taller than the factory desighned and rated its towing figures at then that's up to you. but dont complain because the gearing isnt right when you change the final gear by changing tire size/height. keep in mind a taller tire takes away from the rear gear thats just simple math!
ive owned several 1/2 tons and been very pleased with the towing capabilities with them infact one of the best towing vehicles was a chevy s10 with the 4.3 and auto trans. the owners manual rated the truck at 6k with the low gear whitch mine had. i pulled a 24 foot camper (not ultra lite model either mind you) a 25 foot macgreggor sail boat with the lead swing keel, and my tractor behind that truck. with all of these regular loads it performed to expectations. was it always fast? No. but if you were pulling well more than your own weight you wouldnt be either.
now on the other end of the scale was a 86 d100 slant 6 3speed auto. it seen the tractor and 24 foot pontoon boat on a regular basis. needless to say the poor ole truck was having to grunt but it did the job. and i knew what i had. i knew the take offs were slow and the top speed was low. and i mean low but hey it was what i had at the time. but truth be told i was asking the truck to do way more than it was ever desighned to do. i have no idea what the ratings on that truck was, and am scared to ask.
so you see im not saying that all 1/2 tons are suited for that sort of load but a properly equiped one should handle it very well, also you should note that im also saying with ANY tow vehicle you should know your rig and load and drive the combonation appropriately (yes i know i cant spell).
I recently drove a new chevy Z71

What? you want it to perform like a sports car while pulling to near full capacity on oversized tires????
A Hemi in a CC dodge truck with 3.54 gears would be about the

if that's your feeling then you dont have to buy the HEMI.....dont worry it wont break my heart
It is like they are forcing your hand

if you dont like the extra wieght on the front axle you dont have to buy the comings either.
now weither you like what ive said or not....its really no skin off my nose. thats the way i see it take it or leave it read the information provided by the manufactures ect for your self and make your own decisions as to what's the choices for you.

http://www.autoforumz.com/Dodge-increase-towing-power-ftopict129100.html
http://www.autoforumz.com/eform.php?pb9701
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You'd to want to change the front as well. Why make a 2wd out of a 4wd. Changing to 3:90 or 4:10's will cut into you fuel economy. Throw out the K$N and put the stock filter back, that way you can hear your wife while she's telling you that you bought the wrong truck.<G> What do you mean by "race up"? You might want to see just how bad things would go if you were to trade up to a 2500 with the Cummins. You are going to be tossing a grand anyway at this one and then you probably won't be totally happy with it. Right now there are some decent deals around.
Roy
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Hp wrote:

The front and rear gear ratios need to match. Otherwise, when in 4x4, one set of wheels will try to turn faster than other. Does strange things to the handling.

Depends on the type of driving you do. If most of your driving is 65 mph or less, it may actually improve it by keeping the engine closer to it's power peak. I would expect your towing mileage to improve or stay the same, because you won't need as much throttle opening to do the same job. OTOH, if you live in Montana, and routinely cruise along at 85 mph, changing gears will probably decrease mileage.

Depends. Many times the rpm's climb dramatically because you've downshifted in to 2nd to make the hills. With better gearing, you'll only be down in to 3rd.

Over the years, a lot of testing has been done on Dodge engine to see what makes more power, and what doesn't. A good open element air cleaner was one of the few items that did (although not very much). I wouldn't get rid of it, but I would figure out a way to shroud it to prevent the noise intrusion into the cab. I have one on my truck, and although I can hear it, it certainly isn't intrusive. Are you sure the noise is from the air cleaner? Try putting the stock parts back on and run the same route.

That's OK. We all gotta learn some time.
For reference, here's a little chart to compare speed and rpm's in different gear ratios:
    Gear    FDR    Speed 1st    2.4    8.52    27.9 2nd    1.47    5.2185    45.6 3rd    1    3.55    67 4th    0.82    2.911    81.7             
                 Rear    3.55         Tire    32         RPM    2500    
------------------------------------
    Gear    FDR    Speed 1st    2.4    9.408    25.2 2nd    1.47    5.7624    41.3 3rd    1    3.92    60.7 4th    0.82    3.2144    74             
                 Rear    3.92         Tire    32         RPM    2500    
If you want the spreadsheet, let me know.
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".boB" wrote:

changing
Guess you have never lived there, I have and the faster you go the more power it takes though some think otherwise. Drag is not constant and it climbs A LOT after 70 MPH or so AND most of Montana is about 4000 to 6000 feet above sea level (except for eastern plain and the high line) and your engine loses power as you go up in altitude (approx 3% per 1000 ft) and no tweaking will make up for the loss either. Also the higher you go and the thinner the air the more you need gears to haul the load especailly on hills. You REALLY feel it above 8000 feet or so when you suddenly realize that you have been floor boarded on a long hard climb but did not know it because the engine does not sound floorboarded because it is down on power so much. At time like this you want all the gears you can get sometimes and OD would be totally useless above 5000 feet or so in a 4x4 unless you are geared pretty deep to begin with. In the old day (from about the 50s through mid 70s or so) trucks that used to ship to higher elevations from factory came with deeper gears to offset power loss but as emmission and MPG rating tightened they phased it out to ease certification.
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"SnoMan" wrote: > [quote:a29bb7518d=".boB"] > > If you live in Montana, and routinely cruise along at 85 mph, > changing gears will probably decrease mileage. > > [/quote:a29bb7518d] > > Guess you have never lived there, I have and the faster you go > the more power it takes though some think otherwise. Drag is > not constant and it climbs A LOT after 70 MPH or so AND most > of Montana is about 4000 to 6000 feet above sea level (except > for eastern plain and the high line) and your engine loses > power as you go up in altitude (approx 3% per 1000 ft) and no > tweaking will make up for the loss either. Also the higher you > go and the thinner the air the more you need gears to haul the > load especailly on hills. You REALLY feel it above 8000 feet > or so when you suddenly realize that you have been floor > boarded on a long hard climb but did not know it because the > engine does not sound floorboarded because it is down on power > so much. At time like this you want all the gears you can get > sometimes and OD would be totally useless above 5000 feet or > so in a 4x4 unless you are geared pretty deep to begin with. > In the old day (from about the 50's through mid 70's or so) > trucks that used to ship to higher elevations from factory > came with deeper gears to offset power loss but as emmission > and MPG rating tightened they phased it out to ease > certification.
Also here is a quick link that can help you run some number yourself
http://www.off-road.com/chevy/calc.html
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ok... Replace Montana with Texas/New Mexico or Kansas.
As for gearing, My truck has no trouble doing 70-80. if I changed from 3.55 to 3.92, the RPMs would increase by 20% But Im pretty sure I will not gain 20 more power, so I will just be spinning the engine faster and burning more gas. If I was pulling a lot, then I would go to the 3.92s in a heart beat if I couldn't get a bigger truck. Given I hardly drive the truck as it is, I could get the 3.92s installed and not see much of a hit in my annual fuel consumption anyways.
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"Trey" wrote:

from
I used to cruise 80 and 85 with 4.10s and no OD for years!!! I pulled the engine after 150K to build it up some and found no real cyclinder wear and bearing were great. You may spin it faster but it it carring less load to cruise truck because it has to develope less cylinder pressure to cruise at a higher RPM to cruise witch means less bearing and piston ring pressure too. Goinf from a 3.55 to a 3.91 is about 11% not 20 % and truck will cruise eaiser and OD will work better and MPG will likel improve too if it is a heavy truck. A 3.55 was a compromise gear in a 4x4 when ther was no OD but it is a waste on a big 4x4 with OD unless you place very low standards on performance. MY k3500 has 4.10 with 30s and it turns about 2500 at 70mph and will cruise nicely at any speed you choose to without complaint and pulls OD fairly well too even on hills with AC on (it never doneshifts unless you have a really big load on a steep hiway hill. I can bury the speedo without using OD to with 4.10s. You must remeber that if you have one of those hemis its power peak is past 5000 RPM and it torque peak is around 4000 rpm and if you are stuck on 2000 to 2400 RPM cruises at 70 to 85 mph, you are only developing about maybe 100HP or so at the rear wheel at those speed and that RPM of you are lucky and this is why towing can really suck. Even the old 360 had more torque below 3000 rpm where you spend most of your time than the new Hemi. People look at the HP rating but they do not factor how it all come it to play and how much of it is usable towing as they think 345 HP is 345 hp all the time not when it is wound to the max. That kind of power curve would be nice in a sleek car but not of much use in a heavy truck that needs strong low and mid range toque so performance and MPG can suffer. Man a old 300 HP V10 truck engine would badly wipe the floor with hemi towing big time and so would even a GM6.0 because its power peaks about 1000 RPM sooner and it deleivers more towing power though it is rated lower HP wise than the hemi. THings are not that cut and dried in the HP game.
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That would be why I don't like the lil Hondas... I don't like winding out the engine to make power. I like it nice and low. just like the big rigs... they only have 200, 300, 400 HP, but have 700-2000 ft-lb of torque! that will make anyone smile!!!
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"SnoMan" wrote: > [quote:b0ee69513c="Trey"] > As for gearing, My truck has no trouble doing 70-80. if I > changed from 3.55 > to 3.92, the RPMs would increase by 20% But Im pretty sure I > will not gain > 20 more power, so I will just be spinning the engine faster > and burning more > gas. > If I was pulling a lot, then I would go to the 3.92s in a > heart beat if I > couldn't get a bigger truck. Given I hardly drive the truck as > it is, I > could get the 3.92s installed and not see much of a hit in my > annual fuel > consumption anyways.[/quote:b0ee69513c] > > I used to cruise 80 and 85 with 4.10's and no OD for years!!! > I pulled the engine after 150K to build it up some and found > no real cyclinder wear and bearing were great. You may spin it > faster but it it carring less load to cruise truck because it > has to develope less cylinder pressure to cruise at a higher > RPM to cruise witch means less bearing and piston ring > pressure too. Goinf from a 3.55 to a 3.91 is about 11% not 20 > % and truck will cruise eaiser and OD will work better and MPG > will likel improve too if it is a heavy truck. A 3.55 was a > compromise gear in a 4x4 when ther was no OD but it is a waste > on a big 4x4 with OD unless you place very low standards on > performance. MY k3500 has 4.10 with 30's and it turns about > 2500 at 70mph and will cruise nicely at any speed you choose > to without complaint and pulls OD fairly well too even on > hills with AC on (it never doneshifts unless you have a really > big load on a steep hiway hill. I can bury the speedo without > using OD to with 4.10's. You must remeber that if you have one > of those hemi's its power peak is past 5000 RPM and it torque > peak is around 4000 rpm and if you are stuck on 2000 to 2400 > RPM cruises at 70 to 85 mph, you are only developing about > maybe 100HP or so at the rear wheel at those speed and that > RPM of you are lucky and this is why towing can really suck. > Even the old 360 had more torque below 3000 rpm where you > spend most of your time than the new Hemi. People look at the > HP rating but they do not factor how it all come it to play > and how much of it is usable towing as they think 345 HP is > 345 hp all the time not when it is wound to the max. That kind > of power curve would be nice in a sleek car but not of much > use in a heavy truck that needs strong low and mid range toque > so performance and MPG can suffer. Man a old 300 HP V10 truck > engine would badly wipe the floor with hemi towing big time > and so would even a GM6.0 because its power peaks about 1000 > RPM sooner and it deleivers more towing power though it is > rated lower HP wise than the hemi. THings are not that cut and > dried in the HP game.
I just went out yesterday to retrive a fullsized 4x4 on a car hauler and haul it 50 miles in 93 degrees heat on interstate hills. (it could have been 250 miles with the same outcome) The combine towed weight was around 7500 lbs. My truck never got one needle width above normal the whole time (never hit 200 by my gauge) and we were "chillin" big time too and I was not using recirculate either for A/C and it was cold the way I like it on a hot day. My tow vehical was a 2000 chevy K3500 with a 255hp rated 350 with a factory aux tranny cooler, engine oil cooler, a factory HD engine cooling with a 10 bladed clutch fan and 4.10 gears. We did the legal limit and then some towing and never left OD except for one very long steep hill and then I was able to easilly hold speed with very limited throttle in drive. At no time at all was I anywhere near floor boarded. The reason I post this is not to compare GM to Dodge but to compare gearing and engine power curves and setups when towing. My engines torque peak is rated at about 3000 RPM and when running 70 MPH in OD it is turning about 2500RPM and has good torque because it is close to its peak. If I drop out of OD to drive at 70 it shows about 3100 or so on tach and it is right in the engines sweet spot and it will pull there hard there smoothly and all day if need be without much fuss or running any warmer. To tow well you have to match the engines power curve to the load with proper gearing. If you have a engine with a 4000 RPM torque peak and a power peak above 5000 RPM, you are not going to have good towing performace or MPG while towing with tall gears and lower RPMs. I will not own a truck that will not tow well and keep its cool no matter how hard I pull it because that is what I buy trucks for.
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So, what did all of that mean?
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"Nosey" wrote:

This all means that is the truck is properly geared for the load towed the is will do well and that a 255hp rated truck tow much better than a 345HP rated truck that is not geared for the load. It is a poor shoice by the manufacture to "sell" a truck as powerfull with a big HP rating when its power cuvre is such that its rated power is no where near usable towing. Towing with a Hemi at 2500 RPM or less you are luck if you are putting much over 100HP at the wheels at 2500 RPM because since the engines rated torque peak is a 4200 and power peak a 5400 it will be making considerably less torque and HP below 3000rpm where 99% of the towing takes place. If you have a big load to haul with one, you want to be geared so that your RPMs are above above 3000 RPM at 65 to 70 in drive (not OD) if you want reasonable pulling power on a long hill. If you are turning less, you are losing towing power and MPG under a load because engine is operating well below its peak VE RPM which means power output will be low and fuel consumption will be higher too.
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