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hdrider

RAm 4500 DRW Question

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 Ok, I know this stuff has been hashed over a hundred times but to be honest I’ve been a motorhome guy and never really paid much attention because, well it didn’t pertain to me but now we are looking to switch to a 5th wheel and it does.

 And I will go on record and admit that I understand most of the weight rating stuff but always start bouncing around from one chart to another confusing myself more and more as I flip through the pages until I’m standing up walking around my chair second guessing myself on just what the heck I THINK I read.

 When we first started looking at 5th wheels I simply wasn’t going to be interest in anything that could not be pulled with Ram 3500 for example but that has now change but I still really am trying to stay as small a truck that I can yet still be safe.

 This brings me to Ram 4500 and 5500 DRW. First off I know a Ram 5000 with 4.88 gears will do the trick with cushion left over and is the truck of choice for most but with trying to stay as small as possible in mind because of ride quality and fuel economy not towing I’m trying to wrap my head around a couple other possibilities.

 Possibilities, Ram 4500 DRW Crew Cab with 4:10’s or 4.44 gears. And I was told by a Ram sales person that the Ram 5500 engine is de-tuned but the 4500 engine is not but I can’t figure if that is actually true by any numbers that I have seen or at least understood when looking at them. I would really rather have a engine that is not de-tuned or tuned down.

 Worst case I guess would be going with the Ram 5500 but maybe the 4.44 gears for at least a little better MPG when being used as a daily drive because it will be our only daily driver because we fulltime and have to intention of driving a second car, if we did a 5500 and 4.88’s would not matter.

 The 5th wheel we would tow has not been built yet but we at least have some close numbers by looking at units built in the past so we just need to use them. Dry weight 22,000 so let’s say unloaded pin weight should be around 4400 but after loading everything up with our gear and a little water let’s say we end up with a trailer weight of 26,000 and a pin weight of 5200lbs. With those numbers can I be safe with a 4500 and 4:10 gears? 4.44?

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IMHO, if I was looking at an RV that heavy, I would look into a HDT.  Lots of nice ones here with beds built to also haul a small car/truck, etc.  If your buying a new Ram, I will go out on a limb and say you can get an HDT all set up, with car for a lot less than a 4500/5500.  And most will outlast a new Ram.

We picked up a 3500 DRW Ram, my set-up lets me, within manufactured suggested weights, pull up to 17.4k.  I have no intention of ever going heavier than that.  IMHO, you would be happier with that weight with an HDT (heavy duty truck).  Good luck in whatever you end up doing!

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8 hours ago, hdrider said:

I was told by a Ram sales person that

Dont put much credibility in what they say, do your own research.  They get paid to SELL and being versed in application is not a strong suite for many of them.

That being said, with a 22K# 5er, consider an MDT or better yet an HDT.  I have a 5er that is 21K# and pull with an IH 4700, DT530(8.7L) Allison 6 speed and 26K# capacity.  Use a TS 32K# hitch.  Prefer NOT to pull with a pickup style vehicle.  Although literature may indicate its capability as being acceptable, I dont like to have the tail waggin' the dog.  I am working on getting an HDT.  On my path, I will be attending the National HDT Rally in Kansas to get more info and learn what more I can.

On the side of dollars and cents, most alternatives to the RAM, are not as expensive to purchase.

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Thanks for the replies and not that I disagree about a HDT but it is just NOT going to happen with us. I don't down anyone that does it but it's not for me, to much stuff to deal with at campgrounds for my liking, but that's just me. We will do without going to a 5th wheel if that is the only way we could pull it.

 I should have made that clear in my original post, sorry.    

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You should find someone with a large fifthwheel, then find someone with a ram 4500 and a HDT. Take both out for a pull and see if the ram is adequate. Remember the ram salesman and especially New Horizons is not going to tell you that the ram isn't enough truck.

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Salespeople will tell you what they think will have you driving off the lot.  Look at them, let them feed you their baloney, then leave.  After deciding on what you are going to get, go on the internet, look at the ratings, abilities, etc yourself.  Honestly, I have found many an RV that was built well within my 3500 DRW capabilities.  My set-up, by manufacture recommendations, can haul up to 17,400lbs.  I don't need a 20-25k camper, can find what I like, well built, even some as toy haulers 5th wheels.  Do you need a 45ft monster?  I currently pull a 32ft, plan on next year or so upgrading to a big, 36, max 38 foot, built well, under 17k pounds.

My truck has the 6.7, not HO eng.  68... tranny with 3.7 rearend.  It pulls like it's not there.  I recently did a 3k mile trip, averaged by idiot meter, 12.4 miles per gallon.  The ride on a 1 ton is stiff, I can imagine the bigger the ram, the stiffer the ride.  I would not be very happy if the ride was much harder, I'm going to figure out a way to make mine softer.  Come to ND often?  Drop by, we'll hook up the camper/truck and I'll let you take her for a spin down the road, see for yourself what you think about this small truck.

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Its not so much what can you tow with the truck, its what you can stop with the truck.    I can speak of many stories with towing and failures.  Please think beyond moving the load and think about stopping the load and what to do when the trailer brakes fail.  It not if they fail, its when they fail and they will !

Truck manufacturers have nothing too loose if you have a serious accident and kill someone with your setup.  You however have everything to loose.  Be safe, be smart, and never forget about failures and what can the truck do when everything behind the hitch fails.

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I for one, find my HDT very economical. I use it to tow my Teton and use as a pickup when needed. Carry a Smartcar on HDT bed. It is my daily commute and very cheap to buy and operate. My previous dually was costly to buy and drive. So we save money. And no tight knuckles towing with the HDT. 

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hdrider - the reason 4500 and up series truck engines are “detuned” compared to lighter trucks is a higher duty cycle design in heavier duty trucks. 

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 Thanks for all the comments, we have decided that if we move forward on the 5th wheel we will go with a Ram 5500 and toss a hauler bed on it.  

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No other vehicles at this point so the 5500 will be our daily driver for a bit. Later we plan to add another car of some sort but not just yet and we are going into this knowing there will be certain challenges. But life is full of them. 

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On 9/2/2018 at 8:22 AM, hdrider said:

 Thanks for all the comments, we have decided that if we move forward on the 5th wheel we will go with a Ram 5500 and toss a hauler bed on it.  

Don't ignore the MDT option. A used Sport Chassis can cost less than a new pickup and is much more capable. They have about the same footprint as a dually, air on the rear susp, cab, hitch and seats, big brakes behind the 22.5 in wheels, all aluminum body and deck, elevated drivers position so you can see over most vehicles in front of you, a tighter turning circle and a much greater feeling of confidence when you hitch up.

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We have a 2017 Ram 5500 with hauler bed towing a DRV Full house (24K loaded). Pulls and stops like a dream and using as a daily driver not a problem. Fuel mileage (about 13 MPG when not towing) is the only negative. We just got used to parking in the far end of parking lots as it does take up 2 spaces lengthwise. Besides, we need the exercise!

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MDT daily driver is a piece of cake. Its no wider then a 3500 its just taller. Upside is the MDT will turn so much better.  A 3500 is 102 wide at the rear fenders. So is the MDT. Other then visibly bulkier heavier duty and taller its same width and length. If you google ram vehicle shipping manual it gives the detailed  numbers for 3500,4500,5500 on same pdf sheet. There identical on Diesel Dually and the MDT. 

I drive a Topkick 4500 everyday. No issue in and out of the Tulsa and OKC metros.

Detuning is required on the MDt. The ECM if not detuned would detect the engine load from increased weight towing etc. and keep the turbo spooled up never opening the waste gate. Therefore to much boost and pushing out headgaskets etc.  On the upside you have alot more truck underneath you and will feel alot better hauling on the heavy side.

As for fuel mileage we dont buy MDT for fuel mileage we buy because we need a truck up to the task. Need a mule to pull the wagon not a miniature pony!

Just an opinion!

Edited by Consolenut

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