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Old 10-30-2010, 11:17 AM
Optimistic Paranoid Optimistic Paranoid is offline
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Default Towing with an off-road Ram

Hi all.

New guy here with what may prove to be some rather odd questions. Hopefully not THAT odd.

I'm getting ready to retire in a couple of years, and I'm in the "research and planning stage" for my escape vehicle.

I want to acquire a used (probably 2000 - 2005) 2500 Ram 4X4 that will be set up to both tow a small (16 - 20 foot) Travel Trailer and be a serious Off-Road machine. The plan is to use the TT as my base camp and then use the Ram for day trips and/or overnight trips deep into the back country for my photography.

I want to winter in the southwestern deserts and summer in Wyoming & Montana and pretty much get everywhere in between. Probably at least one trip up the Alaska Highway and into the Yukon, etc.

I know that with the right options, the Ram is a great tow vehicle, and with the right mods, it can be a great off-roader. I suspect, though, that a truck that has been optimized for towing will be less than optimal off-road, and one that has been optimized for off-road will be a less-than-optimal tow vehicle. So probably a few compromises will be in order.

So, first off, if anybody here is towing with an off-road modified Ram, I'd love to hear exactly what you did and how it's all working out for you.

For my own thinking, so far, I'm thinking either no lift at all, or a very minimal 2" lift, say front coil spacers and rear add-a-leafs. I'm thinking higher lifts would NOT be a good thing on a tow vehicle. (A "death-wobble" while coming down a long moutain grade pulling a trailer . . . shudder!)

I should be able to fit 33" wheels with no lift and probably 35"s with the two inch lift. Dick Cepek speciffically mentions that all three of their models - the Radial FC II, the Mud Country, and the Crusher - work well as towing tires.

Anyone here running any of them, and if so, how are they working out for you?

Any other tire recomendations for good off-road tires that have also proven to be good highway tires for a tow vehicle?

Beyond that, I'm thinking an appropriate front bumper and winch, and at least one ARB locker in the rear, if not a matched pair of them front and rear. Oh, and I'm thinking 4.10s with 33" wheels or 4.56s with 35"s.

Comments on any of that?

Finally, I'm toying with the idea of swapping out the stock transfer case for a rebuilt Jeep SelecTrak, in order to get the full-time on road 4 wheel drive option. In theory, it should be fairly simple swap. Has anyone here done it to their Dodge, and if so, how is it working out for you? Any problems to report?

Well, that's all I can think of, now. I appreciate any and all responses I get. Thanks.

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