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Hello Forum.

A LITTLE BACKGROUND:
I recently posted a thread called "will the ride improve". I bought a 6.4L 2500 4.10gear to pull my travel trailer. I intended to drive the 2500 as a daily driver. The 2500 was so rough and clunky that my wife would not ride in it, and it was literally making my kidneys ache (we called it the "kidney buster"). I pulled the trailer 500 miles with the 2500 (Dallas - Tulsa), and it certainly did a great job of pulling. However, even with the trailer weight, the truck was almost undrivable for comfort and gas mileage.

I am a "weekend warrior" camper. I pull about once a month and stay local around Texas and Oklahoma. Payload typically includes 2 adults and 2 kids with bikes and grills.

I am a fairly experienced trailer man. I have pulled many trailers with both 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton trucks. I have handled trailering emergencies. I have a masters degree in mechanical engineering (go sooners) and have experience with vehicle drive trains and transmissions.

So, I traded the 2500 in for a 1500 HEMI 3.92gear. That mistake cost me $7,000 in trade in value.


THE TECHNICALS:
I bought the 2014 HEMI 1500 Laramie 3.92gear - 8spd tranny 4x4 with tow package and integrated controller. I installed AirRite 1000 bags and Timbren Bushings. (see pictures attached)

From the Dodge Website that truck is rated to "safely pull" 8,673# with 1327# payload. The truck is advertised for 395HP and 410lbsft torque.

My trailer is a Rockwood Ultra Lite 8327SS travel trailer. I weighed the trailer at certified CAT scales trailer weight is 8,500# and tongue weight is 1200#. I have a Trekker weight distribution hitch. This is fully loaded configuration.

I am definitely at the limit of advertised weight. With kids and bikes I am at the payload limit. After a delicious steak dinner, maybe a pound or two over.


THE RESULTS:
I test drove the truck and trailer this weekend. I happy to report that the 1500 pulled this trailer VERY well. I aired the AirRite 1000 bags to 30 pounds which lifted the rear axle of the truck about 3". When trailer weight was applied, the truck ended up perfectly level and the Timbrens were within about 0.5" of axle contact.

I drove the rig 200 miles from Dallas through the Arbuckle "mountains" (elevation 1412 feet with some fairly steep grades). I got ZERO sway, ZERO bounce and ZERO sag. The rig felt very stable and had plenty of power. I was able to maintain 65MPH through the mountains and had plenty of reserve. I rarely use my brakes during trailer pulling. I manage speed with throttle and transmission. The temps were within normal range. Oil temp reached 250 degrees going through the steep grades, but ran normally around 220. The transmission easily and comfortably managed power between 6 and 7 gear in Tow/Haul mode. On level sections would drop into 8th gear and I was getting about 12MPG according the EVIC. The truck was very comfortable ride.

I felt very comfortable in pulling the trailer. Here is a YouTube video of the pulling at the highest part of the mountains.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jtes7IZX84)


THE CONCLUSION:
Yes, I am definitely at the highest weight rating of this truck. However, I had to balance between a daily driver and a truck that would pull this trailer.

After I dropped off the trailer, I released the air bags and drove home in Cadillac comfort at 24MPG. I agree that the truck is at the weight limits, however, I believe this truck provides the best of both worlds (pulling, driving, comfort, mileage)
 

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Good to hear you are happy! I don't know enough about heavy towing / weight limits to comment, but I would think it's a good sign that you are not experiencing any issues whatsoever.

Don't sweat the $7000 mistake; it's only money and now you are happy. If I totaled up all of the decision making mistakes I've made, I'm sure it would be tens of thousands of dollars ha ha :).
 

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I was stunned this summer at how many people were pulling 5th wheels with their 1500's. Looking up the specs on these trailers, there was not one of them with less than 1500~1600 lbs of pin weight.
 

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My question is did you have your 2500 looked at before trading in with the ride issues you experienced? There is no question a 2500 will ride a bit rougher than a 1500, after all they are designed and set-up for heavy towing and hauling. But the way you described it sounds like there might have been a problem, because many who drive 2500's indicate while the ride is not as smooth as a 1500, it is a decent ride especially when loaded down.
 

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24 mpg with 3.92. Sounds like you need to hand calculate that.
 

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My question is did you have your 2500 looked at before trading in with the ride issues you experienced? There is no question a 2500 will ride a bit rougher than a 1500, after all they are designed and set-up for heavy towing and hauling. But the way you described it sounds like there might have been a problem, because many who drive 2500's indicate while the ride is not as smooth as a 1500, it is a decent ride especially when loaded down.
Bruce, I wonder if they use the same suspension on the 6.4 equipped trucks as the Cummins equipped. With the lighter 6.4 engine, it could be the reason why it seems rough.

I love my 2500 so far. Ride is much better then my 2005 GMC 2500HD.
 

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That's good to hear about the 1500 on pulling that kind of weight. My dad has a 2012 2500 Mega cab diesel 4 x 2 and that thing drove nice. I was impressed driving it how smooth it was. I never drove a new 2500 4X4, maybe there is a big difference.
 

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Bruce, I wonder if they use the same suspension on the 6.4 equipped trucks as the Cummins equipped. With the lighter 6.4 engine, it could be the reason why it seems rough.

I love my 2500 so far. Ride is much better then my 2005 GMC 2500HD.
Good point Ray and has merit. It would be instructive to hear from other 6.4 2500 owners and their experience.
 

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I remember making the drive through the Arbuckles on my way to and from school (also a Sooner). Quite a few of the grades are pretty long and steep. Thanks for the write up.
 

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I have the 6.4 in my 2500. It is a regular cab with a long bed. It does ride rough compared to a 1500, I traded one for the 2500. It rides nothing like the F450 I used to have though. I guess it comes down to what you are comfortable with. I personally would have changed the coil springs for air bags before I traded the 2500 though. I went the opposite way you did with the trucks when we bought a camper that weighs 10k loaded with a tongue weight of 1300 pounds. I took a $5k hit on my trade.
 

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Good deal sir. With the modern suspension and usable torque/hp of today's 1500 trucks it's really pointless to be purchasing a 2500 for weekend type towing.

Now, if you're frequently hauling heavy payloads then 2500 is the way to go. With a full payload capacity in my truck it does some weird stuff at highway speeds when the rear axle bounces off the bump stops.

I don't tow nearly as heavy or nearly as frequently as I used to so for a short daily commute in comfort the current 1500 will be my truck for a long time unless life changes and I need to hang a plow again.

Indiana is nice and flat but compared to older gas rigs this truck completely destroys expectations. Even while running the 5 speed vs. your 8 speed which I am sure is much more trailer friendly. The only thing I would change slightly about the truck next time I buy tires is something with a little more weight rating.

My truck is also running the 3.92 ratio. With a full payload in the bed and 3 in the cab/some luggage (probably overloaded GVW slightly) I averaged 21.8 mpg on a trip to CT in august.

The growth in the 1500 market is only going to cause the trucks to tow better,get more comfortable, and return better fuel economy as time goes on. Things will get impressive.
 
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