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Old 05-14-2019, 01:39 PM
JMod45 JMod45 is offline
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Default Making towing easier on a 2012

I have been researching like crazy for information, and would like to sum up everything. Hopefully some of you more experienced towing guys can help me out. I have a 1000 mile journey coming up in a month or so, and am trying to be prepared.


Here is my long post, with most of the information I have gathered.



I have a 2012 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew cab with the 5.7 hemi, 3.55 rear axle, 2wd, and 65RFE transmission. According to specs I have found here, the max trailer weight for my truck is 8,450 lbs.


I bought a toy hauler travel trailer, that has an UVW of 5487 lbs. Even with wife, dogs, luggage etc, I should fall safely inside the trucks capabilities. Haven't done this yet, but my two motorcycles together should weigh around 1200lbs, which will start pushing to the limit.



First question is about the transmission.

I do live in TX, and have not yet towed in the summer heat, but my standard transmission temperatures stay around 120-130°F without a trailer, and last time I pulled it, around 80-85°F outside, and a few hills, I saw it reach 165°F. From what I have read, anything below 200-210 isn't worth worrying about, and there is some cushion above that as well. Is that correct, even though my transmission is warming up 30-40 degrees?


Second question is suspension.
Since the trailer is a toy hauler, the axles are further back, so when empty, the trailer has more tongue weight on it than a standard TT. I got a WDH with the trailer, from Blue Ox. It has 750lb spring bars, but they do make a 1000lb bar, that I am curious if I should get.

I have been debating between airbags, sumosprings, or tuff truck springs to help with the sag in the back, and haven't been able to make a decision yet. Airbags will be a bit more pricey, or at least more components to fail, and take care of. I like the idea of the sumosprings, but see a lot of mixed reviews, mainly when unloaded, and hitting them, though these are better than timbrens bump stops in that regard. Tuff truck springs almost seem like the best option, but I am concerned if it will make the truck feel more like a 2500 when empty. I would likely get the 25% springs for this so I realize it probably wouldn't make that big of a difference, but would I get the same benefits from sumosprings when loaded up?


3rd thing is mirrors, and I mostly have that figured out.
If I can find a set without breaking the bank, I would like to get a set of flip up tow mirrors. My current truck has chrome mirrors, heated, blinker, puddle light, memory, power, and dimming, but manual fold in. I have not found any tow mirrors with dimming, so I am starting to think of giving up on that. Also not sure why dodge felt it necessary to make the chrome wrap all the way around the mirror on the tow mirrors, where my standard mirrors are black on the back. I feel like this is going to blind me with sun reflection all of the time, and tempts me to get black instead. Does anyone with chrome tow mirrors have that issue? If nothing else, I will get the slip on mirror extensions I have seen talked about on this site, and find tow mirrors later.


Technical mirror questions:
I already have all of the lights, so a computer reflash won't be necessary to make those work. If I bought power folding mirrors, and added the switch on the door, would that require a flash?
On the flip up mirrors, does the up,down,left,right buttons work correctly on the mirror when flipped up? I am wondering if this is an internal mirror thing, or if the computer has to be matched to make this work.


OK, I think that is all I have right now. Hopefully some of you can ease my worries on some of these. I am going to try to attach a few pictures of the truck and trailer, so you can see the sag I would like to remove.

You can click on the pictures to make them bigger.

Here is truck and trailer when I first bought it, so not a great shot:



Here is a view of the sag without the WDH:



Here is a view of the sag WITH the WDH:



I have tightened the WDH another notch recently, and it helped a bit, but not a lot.
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:58 PM
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grt variabl rate tuftruck springs. 50%, not 25% mor weight carryng and ride will remain OEM like when mnot under a load.
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Old 05-15-2019, 07:33 AM
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My first suggestion is to get to a scale to see how the weight is distributed between the axles once the motorcycles are loaded before your trip. Watch the weight on the rear axle. This will also give you an idea of whether or not the 750# wdh bars are enough. You can probably go another link on the wdh to transfer a little more weight. I have a BlueOx Swaypro and it does the job pretty well on my Coleman 2855BH (5900# dry).

Second, it looks like the hitch is high, maybe it's because the truck is a 2wd but I have to use a drop hitch where yours is used as a riser. Just make sure the hitch was set up properly so it's not creating issues. In the last picture it looks like the trailer is riding pretty level, so again, it may just be the lower ride height of a 2wd that i'm not accustomed to.

I have the airlift 1000 airbags which can be had for under $100. They do the job and are quite durable. I cut my first set out when diagnosing a suspension noise and it took a concerted effort to cut them. I'm confident that normal wear and tear aren't going to be an issue. I've had airlift 1000's since the truck was new because I took our last camper, which was about 5000# dry on a 5000 mile trip from NH to the Grand Canyon and back; they were flawless. I have a separate line to each bag. I used a bicycle pump to inflate them initially but I now carry a small compressor.

I've heard great things about the tufftruck coils but overall I'm happy with the minimal investment of the airbags at this point. If I had to do it over I would consider the springs, I just wasn't sure which ones would be right for me mostly driving with an empty bed but then carrying 500# of sand in the winter and towing the camper for the summer.

Timbrens wouldn't help carry the weight, I have Timbrens on the front of my truck to prevent any harsh bump stop contact because of the plow being nearly 500#. The Timbrens will only help minimize the discomfort at max compression.

Your trans temps don't sound like an issue. Use tow/haul and keep the truck from shifting into overdrive gears.

If your truck didn't come with power folding mirrors it would have to be flashed to recognize the power folding mirrors being added. I got a set of clip on mirrors and they have done pretty well; I have the power folding and dimming mirrors and I don't think dimming mirrors was an option on the power folding towing mirrors. My understanding is that when the mirrors are up for towing the orientation of the mirror adjustments is different, so it still makes adjustments based on the mirror being in it's normal position and you have to recognize that and plan accordingly in your adjustment.
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Old 05-15-2019, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gofishn View Post
grt variabl rate tuftruck springs. 50%, not 25% mor weight carryng and ride will remain OEM like when mnot under a load.

I looked for variable rate springs, but they are only available for 4wd trucks, and typically add 2-3" of lift. That was my top choice, so I was a bit disappointed when I couldn't find them for my truck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 14Hemi View Post
My first suggestion is to get to a scale to see how the weight is distributed between the axles once the motorcycles are loaded before your trip. Watch the weight on the rear axle. This will also give you an idea of whether or not the 750# wdh bars are enough. You can probably go another link on the wdh to transfer a little more weight. I have a BlueOx Swaypro and it does the job pretty well on my Coleman 2855BH (5900# dry).

Second, it looks like the hitch is high, maybe it's because the truck is a 2wd but I have to use a drop hitch where yours is used as a riser. Just make sure the hitch was set up properly so it's not creating issues. In the last picture it looks like the trailer is riding pretty level, so again, it may just be the lower ride height of a 2wd that i'm not accustomed to.

I have the airlift 1000 airbags which can be had for under $100. They do the job and are quite durable. I cut my first set out when diagnosing a suspension noise and it took a concerted effort to cut them. I'm confident that normal wear and tear aren't going to be an issue. I've had airlift 1000's since the truck was new because I took our last camper, which was about 5000# dry on a 5000 mile trip from NH to the Grand Canyon and back; they were flawless. I have a separate line to each bag. I used a bicycle pump to inflate them initially but I now carry a small compressor.

I've heard great things about the tufftruck coils but overall I'm happy with the minimal investment of the airbags at this point. If I had to do it over I would consider the springs, I just wasn't sure which ones would be right for me mostly driving with an empty bed but then carrying 500# of sand in the winter and towing the camper for the summer.

Timbrens wouldn't help carry the weight, I have Timbrens on the front of my truck to prevent any harsh bump stop contact because of the plow being nearly 500#. The Timbrens will only help minimize the discomfort at max compression.

Your trans temps don't sound like an issue. Use tow/haul and keep the truck from shifting into overdrive gears.

If your truck didn't come with power folding mirrors it would have to be flashed to recognize the power folding mirrors being added. I got a set of clip on mirrors and they have done pretty well; I have the power folding and dimming mirrors and I don't think dimming mirrors was an option on the power folding towing mirrors. My understanding is that when the mirrors are up for towing the orientation of the mirror adjustments is different, so it still makes adjustments based on the mirror being in it's normal position and you have to recognize that and plan accordingly in your adjustment.

I was just looking up some places close by with scales, and there is a CAT place about 20 minutes north of town. Not sure when I'll have the chance to go yet, but it is definitely on the list when I have time. I will likely take it without motorcycles, as it may be a while before I take those with me on a camping trip. Where the bikes sit in the camper actually puts their weight centered about the rear axle of the trailer or just behind, so I would bet it will remove a little tongue weight when I do that.
My last trip, I was able to increase the WDH by another link, but that is as far as It will go. It seemed to raise the back end, but not by a lot. Probably an inch or less.


The dealer where I bought my camper set up the WDH for me originally, and had it configured as a drop hitch, but the ball was at the highest setting. This put the lowest part of the hitch close enough to the ground to worry about hitting it on some rougher terrain at some campgrounds. I turned it over, and put the ball at the lowest setting, which kept it at the same height overall, but without the hitch being a low point anymore.
I don't have many pictures I am realizing, but I have one I think will show the trailer seems to be lower in the front, so I'm not sure about lowering the ball. I'm new to WDH, so any input is appreciated. Dealership was not very knowledgeable.


I think I may end up going to airbag route. I have seen those before, and been questionable, having some adjust-ability for what I have loaded for that particular trip would be nice. I may go the with the 1000HD, just because I typically overkill everything I do. When I get the rear suspension figured out, I will probably lower the ball to keep the trailer level.



Your statement on the timbrens was my suspicion. The sumosprings are the same idea, but a softer material, to help get rid of the harsh bump when unloaded.


I'm glad to hear your info on the mirrors. I haven't heard anyone say how the adjustment works when going from folded in to folded out. I don't have power folding mirrors, it was just a thought if I was going to upgrade them anyway, I'm sure the plugs are already there, but I will scratch that idea off the list. It adds to much other stuff to do. After reading a few peoples experience on the forums, I'm warming up to the idea of the clip-on or slip-on mirrors I have seen. A lot cheaper than new mirrors also.


Here is the only picture I found in my phone showing the stock ride height.










Here is a picture I took from a distance hooked up to the truck. This is the day I bought it, so the truck, and trailer are basically empty.





Here is another, maybe showing the level.






Thanks for the input
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Old 05-15-2019, 01:27 PM
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You may want to go thru the complete wdh setup from square ! just to verify that you are set up with the hitch okay. There are lots of available videos on how to do the proper procedure. After doing this it would be a visit to the CAT scale in your fully set to go on the trip setup with everything that you will be taking loaded up. Weights on the front and rear should be as close to the 3900# mark with it important to keep the front as close to the rear as possible for the best towing experience. Talk to Verndiesel on this site for good info as he hauls TT from the manufacturer to the dealers for a living. He currently has about 550k miles on his 14 Ecodiesel.
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Old 05-15-2019, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by namretsud View Post
You may want to go thru the complete wdh setup from square ! just to verify that you are set up with the hitch okay. There are lots of available videos on how to do the proper procedure. After doing this it would be a visit to the CAT scale in your fully set to go on the trip setup with everything that you will be taking loaded up. Weights on the front and rear should be as close to the 3900# mark with it important to keep the front as close to the rear as possible for the best towing experience. Talk to Verndiesel on this site for good info as he hauls TT from the manufacturer to the dealers for a living. He currently has about 550k miles on his 14 Ecodiesel.

I did watch some videos from their website, and everything appears to be set up correctly according to that. Only thing that is a bit off, is the cam system where the chains are attached need to move forward another inch or so, but can't due to the propane bottles. I would have to get the bolt on version, which I don't see helping that much with as close as it is already. Also, as I look on their website, the truck on this page appears the cams are too far back as well, so this likely isn't an issue.



I like hearing from people with some experience over watching videos. The videos already have the kinks worked out, and are just showing the proper procedures. I've seen way to many things get fixed with someone saying "Yeah, that's what it says in the manual, but if you do this..."



That being said, I am going to see if I can find some more videos out there to get more info.


If a WDH is set up correctly, how much should it raise up the back of the truck?
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Old 05-15-2019, 04:11 PM
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I looked at my trailer specs again. I never accounted for the tongue weight of this trailer. I assumed it was 10-15% of vehicle weight, and I was way off. Factory weights of my trailer are 5487lbs UVW, and 957lbs tongue weight.



Since these are dry weights, and I have two 30 lb propane bottles, as well as a battery, and everything in the storage underneath the front of the trailer, I am definitely over 1000lbs, and my sway pro bars are rated for a max 1000lbs. I need to get in touch with them, and get the next step up. Also need to watch what I put in the truck, as my payload rating is only 1450. I'm pushing the limits on that for sure. I have unloaded the bed of my truck into the back of the trailer during my outings, so that reduces the load on my truck, but I need to really pay attention next time.


I realize I still need to get to a scale, but seeing those numbers really tells me something.

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Old 05-15-2019, 06:20 PM
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First of all, watch the trailer hook up videos that are put out by Etrailer & TFL Truck

The day that you go to the CAT Scales, make time to load the truck & trailer as if you are leaving on your trip that day, that means the bikes have to be loaded



If you use the APP that they use, it is much easier to set the account up on your computer
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Old 05-16-2019, 09:22 AM
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I watched the e-trailer video yesterday, and I am 90% sure I have set the hitch up right. My issue is I have the wrong bars for the sway-pro. I talked with the RV dealership yesterday, and they didn't actually look at the tongue weight numbers, just figured 15% of the trailer weight. Since this is a toy hauler, the axles sit further back, for the weight of the toys to be in the very back. This puts more weight on the tongue. I'm going to have the dealership get me the right bars, then take the next steps from there.


I think I'll end up going to the scales twice. The trips I have planned in the next couple of months don't involve motorcycles, so I would like to make sure it is all correct without them. Though I will load everything else in, just like I was going on a trip. I will load them up and go to the scales a second time when I have something planned to take them.
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Old 05-16-2019, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMod45 View Post
I watched the e-trailer video yesterday, and I am 90% sure I have set the hitch up right. My issue is I have the wrong bars for the sway-pro. I talked with the RV dealership yesterday, and they didn't actually look at the tongue weight numbers, just figured 15% of the trailer weight. Since this is a toy hauler, the axles sit further back, for the weight of the toys to be in the very back. This puts more weight on the tongue. I'm going to have the dealership get me the right bars, then take the next steps from there.


I think I'll end up going to the scales twice. The trips I have planned in the next couple of months don't involve motorcycles, so I would like to make sure it is all correct without them. Though I will load everything else in, just like I was going on a trip. I will load them up and go to the scales a second time when I have something planned to take them.
I think you'll find that the airbags will help substantially with the sagging rear end and will also give a much more pleasant ride without the porpoising. The next step up in bars is 1500lbs.


I have 1000lb bars on my wdh and with the trailer loaded, I can have my truck sit nearly level- bear in mind my front is lifted 2.1". The empty hitch weight of my trailer is 733#. I usually have 100 pounds of gear in the bed and my cargo hold is at the front of the trailer loaded with a lot of stuff, probably another 200-300#.

In the first picture my rear truck axle is overloaded to just over 4000#. The second picture you can see the wdh bars going nearly straight down; I just picked it up from the dealer in the second pic so it was empty.

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