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Old 04-24-2019, 08:15 AM   #1
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Towing 5.0TA with 2019 Ram 1500

Now that we're back home in Texas after picking up our 5.0TA I thought I'd summarize my thoughts on the 2019 Ram 1500 as a tow vehicle. From everything I've seen and read I really think that any brand half ton pickup with enough payload capacity will do a fine job - trucks are much more powerful and capable today than ten or more years ago, so any make that you prefer will very likely do a fine job.

Having towed a small fifth wheel for many years with our 98 Ram I had a pretty good feel for what worked and what didn't. I had to special order our 2019 Ram to get it equipped the way I wanted....but then we did that with our Escape so it didn't seem like a big deal. The quad cab (extended cab, small back seat) worked well for us before so I stuck with that. The back seat is plenty large enough to carry extra gear, and the Ram quad cab comes in a 6'4" bed, which allows enough room for me to put a toolbox in front of the hitch so we have lots of secure cargo storage capacity there.

Our Ram has the 5.7 Hemi V8. I've always preferred a V8 but again, the other engine options offered by different makes have plenty of power as well so it just comes down to personal preference. Our 98 Ram, with 245 horsepower and a 4 speed transmission, really struggled in the mountains. The 2019, with 395 horsepower and an 8 speed transmission, is a beast that can climb any hill - on our trip home from Chilliwack I was able to drive the speed limit on all mountain grades and was able to accelerate going uphill whenever I needed to. From Austin to Chilliwack with the truck alone we got 22mpg, on the return trip with the 5.0TA we got 14. I'm very happy with this - lots of mountain climbing, and on level terrain I drove 70 or more so I'm sure that had I held it to 60-65 the mileage would have been even better. Most of the time we travel at a more relaxed pace, but on this trip we had many miles to cover so I tended to drive a bit faster.

The Ram's 8 speed electronically controlled transmission is a marvel. Shifts are very smooth, and in tow mode the shift points are a little higher for more power but it cruised well. I have the 3.21 differential, on easy terrain with the trailer the truck drives almost exactly the same as without it. It downshifts as needed for climbing but did that easily. On long downhill mountain grades it really impressed me - when our speed would pick up too much and I braked to slow down, the transmission automatically downshifts to hold that speed and will not upshift again until I accelerate a bit. If I brake again to slow down further, it downshifts again and holds that speed. I never had to manually select gears for any mountain driving, there's a steering wheel control for that but I doubt I'll ever need to use it - the transmission seems to read my mind. I think this capability is part of the current electronic transmissions on all or most brands of truck now, not unique to Ram but new to me.

Payload capacity is one of the big issues for a half ton truck towing a fifth wheel. I did a lot of research on this, equipped our truck carefully when ordering, and came out with an 1,800 pound payload which is more than adequate. With a 700 pound pin weight and 100 pound hitch, that still leaves 1,000 pounds for me, Mary, and cargo in the truck.

Probably the two biggest features I didn't have on our old truck and absolutely wanted on this one were the larger fuel tank and the tow mirror/brake controller package. With the great gas mileage we are getting and the big tank, a big source of stress in long distance traveling in remote areas is gone. The built in brake controller is terrific and having it tied into the truck's computer is really nice. The first time I folded out the Ram's big tow mirrors to the "moose ears" position I thought "Good grief!" But they provide wonderful visibility, when a car is in the lane behind me I can always see them. The big wide blind spot mirrors on the lower section provide a broad view on each side and make changing lanes a breeze. They are a huge improvement over the shaky clip on tow mirrors we used on our old truck, and I would strongly encourage anyone buying a truck for towing to get factory tow mirrors.

I had to sweat it a bit getting hitch rails installed - the 2019 Ram is a complete refresh and initially no one had come out with a rail bracket kit to fit it, but Demco finally rolled one out just in time for our trip and I'm sure Reese and Curt will not be far behind. Also B&W makes a turnover gooseneck ball hitch for the 2019 Ram for those who want to go that route. People have reported excellent results towing the 5.0TA with virtually every kind of hitch.

Rams have had coil springs front and rear for years, which give them a really smooth and comfortable ride. In 2019 they switched from linear coil springs in the rear, which tended to have a bit of sag under load, to new progressive coil springs that have more resistance under heavy load. I haven't measured yet, but when we hitched up the 5.0TA the back end dropped very little - I notice when hitching and unhitching that the squat is considerably less than my old truck. I was prepared to add Timbrens or similar helpers if needed, but the truck sits perfectly level when hitched and rides very smooth.

We got the high lift axle on our 5.0TA because of the need for a lot of clearance to go over a hump backing into our driveway and I wound up with almost 9" of clearance. I'm sure that the standard axle would be fine for most people with this truck. We haven't found the trailer door step height uncomfortably high due to the high lift axle. The truck/trailer combination tows so well and gets such good gas mileage that I can't imagine the extra 2-1/2" of height is making any difference there - I think the sleek streamlined shape of the 5.0TA really cuts through the wind.

I am completely satisfied with the 2019 Ram as a tow vehicle. If you check out what others have to say on the forum you'll also find people very satisfied with virtually every other brand of truck as well - the 5.0TA is well within the capabilities of most half ton trucks today and I've never seen anyone report a bad towing experience with any of them.
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File Type: jpg Recon hitch 1a.jpg (161.2 KB, 25 views)
File Type: jpg Driveway 2.jpg (240.6 KB, 27 views)
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Old 04-24-2019, 08:31 AM   #2
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Dave, I have the identical motor, trans,rear end combo and love it. You will find that the efficiency increases as you drive more. I have seen my avg mpg towing increase from 13,5 to 15 and it is still climbing after 25k miles. I always tow in "tow" mode and never engage cruise while towing. I also use the mid range gas as my motor is rated a little higher and I have a CAI installed with the hood scoops on the Sport edition. I can cruise all day less than 2,000 rpms...
here we are going out and returning from Chilliwack
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Old 04-24-2019, 08:45 AM   #3
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Yes, I forgot to mention that Ram recommends 89 octane but says 87 is "acceptable"....I stick with 89 and given how well it's working so far will continue to do so. Out west the octanes available tend to differ, often regular is 86 and mid grade is 88, when that happens I use 88 rather than go all the way up to premium.

Clearly they designed the truck to run optimally on mid-grade gas, but the marketing folks wanted salespeople to be able to say "sure, you can use regular"...
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Old 04-24-2019, 09:09 AM   #4
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Our 2019 Ram 1500 Quad cab Laramie V8 has a payload of 1650 lbs ( A 300 lb improvement over our 2014 Ram 1500 . So far we have averaged around 18 MPG not towing
We have the 3.92 towing rearend so I expected the fuel mileage to be lower than a truck with the 3.21 rearend
I would have liked to have gotten the factory air suspension
but there aren’t many around so adding Airlift 1000HD air bags on Friday .
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Old 04-24-2019, 02:07 PM   #5
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Re: Hitch weight

I'm curious if anyone has ever checked the weight loaded on the hitch for the 5.0TA. ETI specs say it is 600 lb., David has said 700 lb.
I tow mine with a 2012 Ram 1500 which has a payload of 1500 lb. so I am carful not to carry much extra weight in the truck. Before I ordered our trailer a bit of quick math (1500 - 600 = 900 lb.) told me that we should be ok with it.
Is 100 pounds one way or the other very significant ?
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Old 04-24-2019, 03:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by padamas View Post
I'm curious if anyone has ever checked the weight loaded on the hitch for the 5.0TA. ETI specs say it is 600 lb., David has said 700 lb.
I tow mine with a 2012 Ram 1500 which has a payload of 1500 lb. so I am carful not to carry much extra weight in the truck. Before I ordered our trailer a bit of quick math (1500 - 600 = 900 lb.) told me that we should be ok with it.
Is 100 pounds one way or the other very significant ?
I doubt if 100 pounds is a big deal either way. I've seen a spreadsheet with a bunch of real world weights from different owners and saw a bit of a range so I know it can vary. The basic book weight of the 5.0TA is 3800 or so, but the actual weight of our trailer with all options is 4,300 so I assume our hitch weight is more than the standard 600.
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Old 04-24-2019, 03:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by padamas View Post
I'm curious if anyone has ever checked the weight loaded on the hitch for the 5.0TA. ETI specs say it is 600 lb., David has said 700 lb.
I tow mine with a 2012 Ram 1500 which has a payload of 1500 lb. so I am carful not to carry much extra weight in the truck. Before I ordered our trailer a bit of quick math (1500 - 600 = 900 lb.) told me that we should be ok with it.
Is 100 pounds one way or the other very significant ?
Haven't weighed ours, either this one or our previous 5.0 single. I figure we're probably 700 lb. and figure I am close to my 1484 payload on our F-150. We only carrry a bbq grill, RV mat, chocks, aluminum stepladder in the bed, and two gravity chairs, one campchair and the small dog in back seat. We do have the heavy B&W hitch (150 lbs), spray in bedliner, and light tonneau cover to account for as well, but figure we're OK especially if we both go on a diet
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Old 04-24-2019, 03:19 PM   #8
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David, glad to hear you're very happy with the RAM, all these reports on towing will certainly be helpful for us when we chose our next tow likely in about a year.
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Old 04-24-2019, 03:23 PM   #9
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Haven't weighed ours, either this one or our previous 5.0 single. I figure we're probably 700 lb. and figure I am close to my 1484 payload on our F-150. We only carrry a bbq grill, RV mat, chocks, aluminum stepladder in the bed, and two gravity chairs, one campchair and the small dog in back seat. We do have the heavy B&W hitch (150 lbs), spray in bedliner, and light tonneau cover to account for as well, but figure we're OK especially if we both go on a diet
Hi: emers382... "Slim fast" works good. Takes the place of camp cooking too!!! Then there's lite beer for between meal snacks. All wait saving devices. Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
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Old 04-24-2019, 03:28 PM   #10
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All wait saving devices. Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
But Alf, I like waiting...Oh hang on you must mean "weight" saving devices
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Old 04-24-2019, 04:20 PM   #11
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we're OK especially if we both go on a diet
Or you can just only fill your gas tank 2/3 full and drink more beer...
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Old 04-24-2019, 04:32 PM   #12
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I'm curious if anyone has ever checked the weight loaded on the hitch for the 5.0TA. ETI specs say it is 600 lb., David has said 700 lb.
A 600 pound pin weight would be unlikely with a loaded trailer; that's the approximate pin weight of a base (no options), dry (no water, waste, or propane), and empty (none of your stuff) trailer. That's a reasonable 15% of the 3885 pound gross weight of the trailer in the same base/dry/empty condition.

As part of a discussion a few months ago, I did a search of the forum for reports of actual as-equipped and as-loaded pin weights. Any conclusions from this data are only rough indications, because the sample size for the 5.0TA in normally loaded condition is small (only 10 sets of values from only 7 different trailers). Typically they are in the 15% to 16% range, with a couple of examples near each extreme of 12% and 19%, and an average of 15.5%; with the 4640 pound average total weight, that would be about 720 pounds on the pin. If you keep it down in the range of 14% to 15% (to avoid using up too much of the truck's payload) and run about 4640 pounds total, that would be 650 to 700 pounds on the pin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by padamas View Post
Is 100 pounds one way or the other very significant ?
100 pounds is about 2% of the gross trailer weight, so you can be up or down that much from the ideal and the trailer should still handle fine, but it is a meaningful difference.
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Old 04-24-2019, 05:50 PM   #13
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The big question for me is, is there enough room in the back seat for the cats or will they ride in the trailer?
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Old 04-24-2019, 05:52 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
Our 2019 Ram 1500 Quad cab Laramie V8 has a payload of 1650 lbs ( A 300 lb improvement over our 2014 Ram 1500 . So far we have averaged around 18 MPG not towing
We have the 3.92 towing rearend so I expected the fuel mileage to be lower than a truck with the 3.21 rearend
I would have liked to have gotten the factory air suspension
but there aren’t many around so adding Airlift 1000HD air bags on Friday .
While I was installing the Curt gooseneck hitch on my truck I already had the truck on stands with the wheels off and the left exhaust pipe removed so I decided it was a good time to also install the Airlift 1000HDs. I wound up having to disconnect the shocks along with the rear sway bar in order to remove the rear springs. Removing the rear springs I think is the only way you can get the HD bags inside those springs. I have a 2015 Ram crew cab. It really wasn't that difficult just a little time consuming. The Airlift bags have greatly improved the handling on my truck. I keep the pressure in the low 20s.
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Old 04-24-2019, 06:04 PM   #15
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While I was installing the Curt gooseneck hitch on my truck I already had the truck on stands with the wheels off and the left exhaust pipe removed so I decided it was a good time to also install the Airlift 1000HDs. I wound up having to disconnect the shocks along with the rear sway bar in order to remove the rear springs. Removing the rear springs I think is the only way you can get the HD bags inside those springs. I have a 2015 Ram crew cab. It really wasn't that difficult just a little time consuming. The Airlift bags have greatly improved the handling on my truck. I keep the pressure in the low 20s.
There is a small auto service garage in our town ( Population 87) Bob, the garage owner is a little slow on work so he said bring the truck over on Friday morning and bring $50 cash.
Works for me . Had the Airlift’s in my 2011 & 2014 Ram and agree that they add a lot when towing .
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Old 04-24-2019, 06:13 PM   #16
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The big question for me is, is there enough room in the back seat for the cats or will they ride in the trailer?
They have nice cozy beds in the trailer where they ride, since the bunk area is over the truck bed it is the smoothest riding spot. Hmmmm....in looking at this pic I realize that their beds are a holdover from our last trailer which had a leopard print motif, guess we will have to get them new cat beds....sheesh, another mod to do
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Old 04-24-2019, 06:23 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by davidmurphy02 View Post
They have nice cozy beds in the trailer where they ride, since the bunk area is over the truck bed it is the smoothest riding spot. Hmmmm....in looking at this pic I realize that their beds are a holdover from our last trailer which had a leopard print motif, guess we will have to get them new cat beds....sheesh, another mod to do

Nice!
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