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Towing 4th Gen Dodge Ram Towing Questions


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  #1  
Old 04-22-2014, 12:29 AM
So Cal CPA So Cal CPA is offline
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Default Real World Towing Test I-5 Grapevine and Hwy 168 to Shaver Lake

After my last post about my towing experience up the Conejo Grade http://ramforumz.com/showthread.php?...46#post1264846 some asked about the I-5 through the Grapevine.

Well, we just returned from a 546 mile round-trip to Camp Edison at Shaver Lake. This took us over the Grapevine which peaks at about 4,100 feet and back down then into the Sierras up to about 5,100 feet.

Google Map of route: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Cama...!2d37.1258!3e0

So once again the two report:
Tow Vehicle
2013 Ram 1500 Express 5.7 Hemi Quad Cab 3.92 axle with HD engine and tranny cooler. (2 adults and 2 kids plus bikes and misc. equipment)

The Trailer
2013 Keystone Cougar 28RBS. Dry weight is 6,300 lbs 32 feet; I figure with gear, food, etc. we were probably somewhere between 7,000 and 7,300 pounds overall. I keep the water and waste tanks relatively empty when traveling.


Report (Video of gauges)

NORTHBOUND I-5 GRAPEVINE
First leg was climbing the Grapevine heading Northbound. I did not post the entire climb, just the part that I felt was most “challenging.” This video is past Castaic up to about the Templin Highway turnoff.

Video http://youtu.be/lSE_wsv9eGs

Basically the Grapevine was not a challenge for this truck. If I wanted to I could have followed the semi-trucks up the whole way at 40 mph at about 2,000 rpms. At about 42 seconds into the video you will see what happens when I pass a semi-truck while climbing.

CLIMB INTO SHAVER LAKE
This was from about 2,000 feet to about 5,000 feet in about 7 minutes at 45 mph. Most of this climb is in the video but had to let go of the phone because the road got very narrow and twisty. Anyhow, this is the 7.5 minute video I took while doing the worst of the climb. Note - I have read this is a 7% grade but on the way down I saw a sign that said 11%.

Video http://youtu.be/JxsHdjF6mvI

I think the trans temp peaked out about 215 degrees at the end (after video ended) of the climb but that included shifting gears several times after this climb. I still don’t think this climb really challenged this truck since I sat at 3,000 rpm and 45 mph. I felt I could have got it up the 50 or 55 mph with a little effort but I don’t “push” my stuff. I was content to climb the grade at 45 mph with what I felt was light to moderate pedal pressure - still felt like I had a lot of throttle left.

SOUTHBOUND I-5 GRAPVINE
This is the climb up to the peak altitude of the Grapevine (Fort Tejon I think). I tried to get reference points in this video but don’t think it worked too well. The quality of the temperature readings is not great (no significant changes) but with the speedo and tach you get the idea. Again, not a challenge at all.

Video http://youtu.be/DO4OLWXwR-s

Pros:
1. Sit and cruise on flat land at 60 mph at about 1,800 rpm all day long with no problem.
2. Felt very confident and comfortable towing, climbing and descending
3. When descending the hills the engine and trans worked very well, dare I say perfectly, to slow the vehicle and/or keep at manageable speeds with very little use of the brakes.
4. Did everything I asked, climbed hills well and kept pace with traffic.

Cons:
1. Gas mileage but that’s to be expected (averaged between 8-10 mpg) but with the 32 gallon tank I did not stop for gas until Fresno, still had about a tank left.
2. Not a diesel but that’s okay
3. When descending the truck wanted to pick its own gear to engine brake. No matter what I tried I could not change the gear. Nonetheless it worked great (see pro # 3) I just like to have control.

Hope this helps those that are curious about the tow capability of our trucks. Going to Chachuma Lake over Memorial Day weekend. Will try to record the climb up the 154 out of Santa Barbara. That's pretty steep from abut sea level to about 2,000 feet.

Cheers.
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Old 04-22-2014, 09:55 PM
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SuperIke SuperIke is offline
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Default

Very good report. Like the videos too.

In terms of gauge temperature, at what temp need we get worried for the coolant, oil and trans?
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Old 04-23-2014, 12:09 AM
So Cal CPA So Cal CPA is offline
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Default

I must admit I don't know. None of the idiot lights came on and I cycled through the various individual temp gauges and none were near the max. When the temp gauge was at 215 I would say that per that individual temp gauge it was at about 75-80%. This coming weekend I am going to pull the dipstick to check color and smell. Will let u know.
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