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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,


I haven't posted in here in a long time. I own a 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 2wd, I plan purchasing a 30-35 foot travel trailer. What are some of the things I can do to beef her up so it is safe and tows this trailer without issues.


R/
Jim
 

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You are going to be pushing the limit for your wheelbase and weight capacity with a 30-35', even with an ultralight
 

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I have to agree with Thunderhorse - looking at the specs for 2009 I find the longest wheelbase 1500 was 140.5" - recommended wheelbase for 30' trailer is 150" up to 170" for 35' trailer. I'd be looking at trailers below 27' in overall length.

Without knowing more about your specific truck it's hard to say how capable it is. If you post the payload amount from the tire loading sticker on the driver's door jam as well as engine and gearing that would help provide better feedback.
 

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Aside from the engine, payload, and gearing, we also need to know your towing habits; long trips cross country or 20 minutes down the road once or twice a year.

You'll certainly need a WDH with sway control and upgraded rear springs if you can find a camper of that size that will work within the limitations of your truck.
 

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Hello all,


I haven't posted in here in a long time. I own a 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 2wd, I plan purchasing a 30-35 foot travel trailer. What are some of the things I can do to beef her up so it is safe and tows this trailer without issues.


R/
Jim
Does it have to be 30-35'? how many people will be using it? any small kids? I just rented a 26/27' trailer - for my and my 2 tall teenage sons. That trailer size worked for me - i dont think I would go any bigger based on my needs and the capability of my truck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I am deployed so I cant post that picture for a few more weeks. Its a Crew Cab 5.7 Lariat. Not that that helps much, if it makes more sense I will purchase a smaller trailer. It would be used to travel both for local camping and maybe for long distance trips twice a year. it would be me, my wife and three sons which two of them are full grown.
 

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I am deployed so I cant post that picture for a few more weeks. Its a Crew Cab 5.7 Lariat. Not that that helps much, if it makes more sense I will purchase a smaller trailer. It would be used to travel both for local camping and maybe for long distance trips twice a year. it would be me, my wife and three sons which two of them are full grown.
We dont really need a picture. When you get a chance look at the sticker in your door jamb to see exactly how much payload you can carry in your truck. 5 people could easily add up to 800-1000#s or more. A 25 ish foot long trailer could add another 500 or more pound of tongue weight - so you are talking at least 1300-1500# - without any gear, supplies.

You may want to consider renting 1st to see if it meets your size requirements (sleeping 5 adults) and if it can be safely towed by youir truck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So do you guys think I should just trade my 1500 for a 2500, I love her to death but I don't want to kill her by overloading her. But also want to get a trailer big enough for the family to enjoy! Thank you for all of the input so far!
 

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If you want a trailer in that size range then yes I would recommend a 3/4 ton. Its not the powertrain, its the suspension and everything else about the truck-a 3/4 ton gasser will suit you, even if its a 5.7
 

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I'll tell you that everything they have told you is true. I had 2002 Dodge Ram QC with a 360 that seemed it could pull anything when I bought my first travel trailer (26' & 6000lbs). It was great, but the kids out grew the QC. I was talked into trying to tow with a Chrysler Aspen with a 5.7L 3.92 for a while. It had the power and was within capacity but the short wheelbase made it a white nuckle ride every time. I upgraded again to a 14 Ram 1500 5.7L and eventually did a gear swap on that to a 3.92. it did great with that 26' trailer, then I upgraded to 34' travel trailer at 8000lbs. I could meet the towing capacity limits, but with tongue weight pushing 900lbs and a payload capacity of 1380, I was over payload without my kids in the truck. I just upgraded to 2017 3500 SRW Mega Cab (trying to future proof this time), with a 6.4L and 4.10 gears that will tow any travel trailer I'll ever consider and still have payload for gear and family.

But the kicker of it all...the 3500 makes it a joy to tow the camper. It's so stable and balanced in comparison to other tow vehicles I've had. I highly recommend an upgrade for a 35' TT, and it sounds like a 2500 Hemi may be great choice. Just watch the 2500 Diesels, the extra weight of the diesel engine lowers the payload of those trucks quite a bit.
 

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If it's financially feasible, I would absolutely upgrade the truck. My truck is within a few hundred pounds of GCWR with my 31' trailer (really a 28.5' plus the tongue). My lease is almost up and I'd love to upgrade, but, I'm over mileage and have a lifetime MaxCare warranty.

With campers, smaller usually is fine for short trips and sunny days, but when it starts raining and you're stuck inside you'll quickly want a bigger camper. Buy the camper you want and get the right truck to tow it. My first camper was a 23' for my wife, me, our 5'10 daughter, and our 55# Shepherd. That camper was outgrown after a year. We did a cross country trip in the 23' and it was fine for sunny days but got claustrophobic on the rainy fall camping trips.

Good luck in your decision.
 

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Even if I upgrade the rear suspension and brakes all around?

That won't change the fact that you have a semi floating rear axle and an HD has a full floater
 

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Payload is going to be the biggest issue for you, especially given the size of your family. While you can beef up your suspension, brakes, etc. none of that will increase the payload that the truck is stickered for. It sounds like you have a higher trim level which means your payload is going to be lower due to the added options. As others have said if you can move up to a 2500 gas you can alleviate the payload issues while handling the bigger trailer. Look for a lower trim level and stick with the 4x2 if you can as both of those will yield higher payloads.
 

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The mandatory items on the truck is a good wdh set up by using a Cat scale, TBC is a must as is Towing mirrors so you can see around the sides. When you go to set up the trailer and wdh at the scales, have it loaded the way you would if you were on your way to the camp. Talk to Verndiesel about proper setups as he tows TT for a living and can guide you thru it to make it so you won't have a white knuckle trip.
 

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If it's financially feasible, I would absolutely upgrade the truck. My truck is within a few hundred pounds of GCWR with my 31' trailer (really a 28.5' plus the tongue). My lease is almost up and I'd love to upgrade, but, I'm over mileage and have a lifetime MaxCare warranty.

With campers, smaller usually is fine for short trips and sunny days, but when it starts raining and you're stuck inside you'll quickly want a bigger camper. Buy the camper you want and get the right truck to tow it. My first camper was a 23' for my wife, me, our 5'10 daughter, and our 55# Shepherd. That camper was outgrown after a year. We did a cross country trip in the 23' and it was fine for sunny days but got claustrophobic on the rainy fall camping trips.

Good luck in your decision.
I've always had an awning on all my trailers. Even after the kids left I quickly realized when its just my wife and I RV'ing long distances (Newfoundland, Alaska, etc.) there is such a thing as too much togetherness. Being able to go out under the awning is a great way to solve that.
 

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Even if I upgrade the rear suspension and brakes all around?

Yes, even if.


Think pro offensive lineman's lower body, under an effeminate Pilates instructors upper body.


Basically, all any so-called upgrades actually "DO" is to reduce the likelihood of white knuckle, Oh My Gawd moments, when staying well within the trucks OEM stated limits.


Last truck was a V-10, 3/4 ton,long box, quad cab, BEAST that I had for almost 19 years. I have upgraded this 1500's springs, shocks, tires and will be upgrading brakes soon. If I need to pull more than the door sticker states, I will get a bigger truck.

then again, I got decades of towing experience and, flat out, do not want anymore holy shit moments. Only thing I can think of, that would be even more undesirable, would be an Oops Baby.


EDIT: BTW, get yourself an easy to setup tent. nice to have little extra space for stuff or even another spot to get away in inclement weather.




BTW(2) , Sounds like your biggest issue is going to be payload anyway.
 

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Now I want to give my 5ct's to it.
I have a 2014 Crew with 6'4" bed. It has a longer wheel base than the general Crew and Quad Cabs.
My camper is a Forest River VIBE, overall 35' long from tongue to bumper.
The tongue weight is 900#, my payload is 1480#.
The camper empty is 6500#, when travel ready (no water in the tank), ~8500#, which is, what I can tow.
The engine and transmission has zero issues- I have the 3.21 axle. I even look sometimes in the mirror, to see, if the camper is still there, that's how good it pulls.
I use a 1200# equalizer hitch, which is rated 200# above of the rating for the camper.
The truck sags more than my old one- best I can do is 5-6" sag, optimum would be around 3".
But we use it only to go 50 miles down the road to the lake- we maybe make 1-2 longer trips of ~200 miles per year.
I keep it with 60-65 mph.
I know, some will get goose bumps, while reading this, but for my application and my knowledge as well as butt-meter-feeling, I'm personally ok with it.
It would be different, if I would travel very often 2-3-500 miles. Then I would say: I need a bigger truck. For what I use it- perfect, because I use the truck also as daily driver for 60 miles per day and there, a 2500 would be overkill- also higher maintenance and fuel consumption. This needs to be in count when you think about the whole thing.
I thought about putting some stiffer and progressive springs in the back, but we living now for over a year in it and once the house is done and I can move in, which will be latest in a month, I will sell it. Not because it's a bad camper or it's broken (in fact, my wife keeps it that it looks like new- she drives me nuts with her cleaning ocd), but I'm just simply tired of it. We plan to get us a pontoon. (if anyone is interested in buying my camper, let me know).
Overall I can say: Depends on, how you use it and how far you go with it.
And this: you need a bigger truck for everything bigger than a pop up- that's what got me banned from the forest river forum.
I hope my experience, as well as the experience of all others here help you to find the right set up for you, your situation and your truck.


Good luck!
 

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I've always had an awning on all my trailers. Even after the kids left I quickly realized when its just my wife and I RV'ing long distances (Newfoundland, Alaska, etc.) there is such a thing as too much togetherness. Being able to go out under the awning is a great way to solve that.
I agree, having an awning is a must, but, smaller camper = smaller awning. Really, the dog makes space more of an issue than the people.

I was hesitant to tow a larger camper than the 23' I bought first since it was my first camper, but towing the two is nearly the same experience.
 

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Even if I upgrade the rear suspension and brakes all around?
Yes, you'll have a hard time staying below the axle ratings of 3900# each axle.
 
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