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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all! I'm looking at buying a 2018 1500 Big Horn Quad Cab, with a 5.7 liter Hemi MDS VVT motor, 3.92 rear axle ratio, 20-inch wheels, 8-speed auto transmission, towing package with integrated braking.

The dealer says this combo will tow up to 10,000 pounds. I have a 27' travel trailer, weighing 6,800 lbs dry. So, loaded, I would guess 8,000.

The dealer swears this will pull the travel trailer fine through hills. I was thinking I'd at least need a 2500 heavy duty.

Opinions on this? I don't want to buy this and find that it's barely able to pull the setup.

Any input is greatly appreciated!

Premium Member
1,468 Posts
Dealers will always say that you can pull anything. Look for the payload capacity on a sticker on the door jamb. Now subtract your trailers pin weight 10-15% the weight of any gear you have in the truck, the weight of you over 150lbs and your passengers dogs etc and that will tell you if you are within the payload capacity. 8000lbs is right around the area where many people say they want the extra control of a 2500 but is some sacrifice on ride quality and MPGs when not towing. I owned a 2500 Laramie and found it very comfortable to drive for long hours. I own a PowerWagon now entirely different beast.

So really you are at the cusp. It will tow up to 10,000 but that is pushing the limits. 8000 is doable for sure and won't harm the truck as long as your payload osbt too high. For that set up you would need a good weight distrubuting hitch and possible either better rear springs like the tufftrucks or airbags to help eliminate any squat due to the heavy pin weight.

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34,742 Posts
8k is about the max I'd regularly tow with a 1/2 ton, though I have towed more with mine (with 3.21 gears). Power is absolutely not an issue, your truck with the 8 speed Hemi/3.92 combo will pull that trailer anywhere you want it to go; the issue when you get to those weights gets to be stability and braking. Braking is mitigated with a good trailer brake controller (the OEM unit is very good), and as long as you use a good weight distributing hitch stability should be good also. If you want a little more support in the rear you could look at some tuftruck springs or airbags, but with your WDH set right you probably don't need them.

So you'll be within your GCWR, you just need to make sure you aren't over payload, as tongue weight from your trailer contributes to payload weight. Assuming 10% tongue weight at 8000 lbs then that's 800 lbs its eating into your payload, and you also have to subtract passenger weight and actual payload from that too.

Below is an explainer I posted in another thread:

Here is what matters and where the numbers come from: Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR)-for towing capacity-and Gross Vehicle Weight Rating for payload. Subtract your vehicle weight-actual weight-from those and you get your numbers.

Crew and quad cab Hemi Ram 1500s have a 6900 lb GVWR. With the V6 its 6800lbs, and 6950 with the EcoDiesel. Regular cabs have lower GVWRs from 6010-6600 lbs depending on wheelbase and drivetrain.

My truck weighs 5312 lbs on the CAT scale with all the mods I've done to it, full fluids, and ready to roll. That leaves me 1,588 lbs to play with; If I skip breakfast and I'm only 170 lbs that day then I get 1418 lbs worth of other people, cargo, and tongue weight I can carry with me. If I have a pump from my workout, ate a big meal, and weigh 192 lbs I only get 1,396 lbs.

Same with towing capacity, the GCWR for a quad cab 4x4 1500 with the Hemi, 8HP70, and 3.21 gears is 13,800 lbs. Subtract the 5312lbs the truck weighs and it leaves me with 8,488 lbs that I can tow, minus 170 lbs for me leaves 8,318 lbs.

So say my wife and I are moving so I load up a trailer with 4 tons of cargo exactly-8,000 lbs. For simplicity's sake lets add my dogs, wife, and some luggage in the bed and we'll assume that all together they weigh 318 lbs. Now I am at my maximum towing capacity, the entirety of my 13,800 lbs has been taken up by the weight of my trailer and cargo in the truck. With what is actually in the truck (i.e. bearing on the truck's suspension) I have myself at 170 lbs+ 318 lbs worth of stuff in the truck for a total of 488 lbs counting against my payload.

So, subtracting that 488 lbs from the 1588 lbs difference between my GVWR and curb weight, I have 1100 lbs worth of payload capacity that can go towards tongue weight. If the trailer is putting 10% of its 8,000 lb weight on the tongue (800 lbs), then I am good to go-hell I can add another 300 lbs worth of cargo to my truck bed without going overweight on GVWR, but that would then put me 300 lbs over GCWR. If, however, the trailer is putting 15% of its 8,000lb weight on the tongue then it is adding 1200lbs worth of weight to my suspension. But I only had 1100 lbs of payload left, so now I am 100 lbs overweight on payload despite being within my towing capacity/GCWR and my onboard cargo (excluding the trailer) being within payload/GVWR limits.

You can alter the percentage of tongue weight somewhat by how you load the trailer (how far ahead of or behind the axle you put heavier or lighter stuff), but only to a certain extent. If the tongue weight is too light then it can be difficult to control, and may try to pull up on your hitch ball depending on the grade you are on-not a good situation to be in. Typical weights for hitch pull trailers are 10-15%, and 20-25% for 5th wheels and goosenecks.

Now if my truck had 3.92 gears, my GVWR, and therefore my payload, would still be 6900 lbs because the suspension and everything are the same-all that has changed is the gear ratio in the differentials. Now, however, my GCWR has gone up to 15,950 instead of 13,800-so I can pull 2150 lbs more, a little over a ton.

So again, if I had 3.92 gears we would subtract my 5312lb curb weight from the 15,950 lb GCWR to yield a maximum 10,638 lb towing capacity without any occupants. Using the same 488 lb occupant/cargo number from before my trailer can now weigh 10,150 lbs without going over my GCWR. At 10% tongue weight it would add 1,015lbs to my truck leaving me only 85 lbs between my loaded weight and GVWR. I want to emphasize here that 10% is a minimum recommended weight, and that controllability at a lower tongue weight percentage could very well be an issue. 12% is probably a more realistic figure, if not 15%, which would add 1,218 or 1,522 lbs to my payload respectively-putting me significantly overweight (118 or 422 lbs) on GVWR.

The point here is that while lower gearing increases GCWR, it does not increase GVWR. Because heavier trailers add a lot more weight at the same tongue weight percentage, the half tons with higher towing capacities usually run out of payload before they actually run out of towing capacity. Also keep in mind that your trailer itself has its own GVWR that you can't exceed.

Is it a big deal to be 50lbs or so overweight? I don't think so, trucks aren't like aircraft which will fall out of the sky if you bust ACL (the aircraft version of GVWR), but it will be harder on the truck and it won't last as long. If you are going to approach max capacity with regularity you should probably look at a 2500.

FWIW 2500s aren't immune to this either. The diesel can pull more than the gas powertrains, but it also adds around 1000lbs of weight to the front of the truck. So by the time you are towing weight that requires the grunt of the diesel (12,000+), you are looking at pin weights (most trailers that big will be goosenecks or 5th wheels) that will put them overweight on payload. This is why IMHO if you need a diesel you should be getting a 3500 (even if its not a dually) for the added payload it gives you. A 2500 suspension is really only good for as much weight as a gas powertrain delivers.

Hopefully this explains it well enough, I know it was kind of wordy.
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