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Old 03-18-2011, 04:32 PM   #1
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towing with a lowered truck

I just purchased my first travel trailer, a Puma 19 RL, and keep getting told that it should be no problem towing it with my 2003 Dodge RAM 1500 with a 5.7L Hemi.

I'm pretty sure the truck will pull the 4200 pound (dry weight) trailer well enough but I'm a little concerned about the ground force 2/4" drop that was put on the truck to level it. There is still 4" of travel and I have yet to bottom out the suspension but I am concerned that adding 400-500# toungue weight from the trailer may result in some sag given its unburdened level position.

I am already getting a weight distribution hitch which I expect will help reduce or hopefully eliminate sag in the rear but I wonder if air bags or air shocks might be another worth while investment to help reduce the chance of sag and/or bottoming out.

Does anybody have any experience with towing a TT with a TV that has been lowered? If so, any recommendations you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Jeff
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Old 03-18-2011, 05:45 PM   #2
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is it a 2 wheel or 4 wheel drive?
I have a 2004 Ram 1500 4x4 but lifted.

as long as the weight distribution hitch is setup correclty and the trailer is level you shouldnt have an issue and most likely you will need a raised shank instead of a drop like I had to get.

If anything you could get some helper springs for the back end to make sure if doesnt sag
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:06 PM   #3
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Thanks for the feedback.

My truck is a 4x4. I have been looking at air bags pretty seriously but I can't seem to figure out what would fit. I have seen truck forums most commonly talk about firestone and air lift bags but I have yet to find anyone that can recommend one for my truck given the flip kit on the rear axel.

I contacted firestone directly and their response was a flat no, they don't support lowered vehicles. That doesn't jive with what the truck forum folks are saying but maybe that is something firestone is saying for liability issues.

I am in the process of contacting air lift. I tried the phone earlier but gave up after being on hold for 10 minutes and resorted to email. They have a model for my truck but it isn't clear if it will work with the flip kit that was used to lower my rear end. The connection point is to the leaf spring in back of the axel so hopefully it will work. I also really like this system.

I also found some additional threads within these forums of others that are using air bags. Unfortunately they didn't say if their trucks were lowered or not.

Jeff
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:24 PM   #4
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If you are on some of the Dodge Forums (Dodgetalk) then you should know Brian - AKA Slammed1 - he has lifted and lowered his truck and is a wealth of info - provided he is still around - I think he has a shop in Arkansas but has been a while since I have been on.

If it was me and I had a lowered truck - I would look at the Helper springs - not sure how the Air Bags are gonna be for a lowered truck.

Another thing I remember seeing is the perches on the axle are weak and have seen pictures of where they snapped off - so might be a good idea to get those welded for added safety especially if you are gonna tow that much
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Old 03-19-2011, 08:50 AM   #5
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The hitch being lower to ground may cause some problem with dragging with that or the spring bars.
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Old 03-19-2011, 09:27 AM   #6
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I say it is a problem because it is sacrilege to lower a 4wd!
Seriously though, if lowered properly and decent pinion angle and axle travel is retained, you should have no problems. Firestone might have said no because it would be more difficult to install a airbag in between the frame and axle now that they are 4" closer together. Even though mist air shocks say they are not for towing use, they would help and be anneasy install. I think the no towing warning is a warranty issue.
Have you considered helper springs or maybe raising the rear back up a couple inches?
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Old 03-19-2011, 06:00 PM   #7
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I have Air Lift 5000 on my '05 Ram 1500. The bottom plate of the air bag sits on top of the leaf spring just behind the spring plate for the u-bolts attaching the rear axle. Mine's normal ride height so the axle's below the spring. It sound like you've flipped the axle so it's mounted on top of the spring. The frame to spring distance is still the same, so I believe that the Air Lift kit should fit (I'm assuming that the kit's still the same as what I installed in 2005). Worse case is that you may have to mount the air bag mounting brackets a little more rearward so they don't interfer with the axle mounting. I seem to recall that I had to drill holes anyways so no big whoop.

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Old 03-19-2011, 06:21 PM   #8
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I found the answer to the flip kit dilemma.

The air lift site doesn't make it easy to find but they offer a "slam air" version of their bags that are specifically designed for lowered vehicles inclusive of ones that are lowered using a flip kit.

I was searching several other forums when somebody identified the 59113 kit. From there I was able to search the air lift site using 59113 to find the kit that works specifically for my truck and my amount of drop. This one is only good for 2000 pounds but since I am really only looking at trying to reduce sag and keep as much of the travel I have left in the suspension after loading it up with 500# of tongue weight it should be plenty adequate for my needs.

I was also able to take advantage of some weekend promotions and the whole thing to my door came in just shy of $200. I can live with that!

Thanks everyone for your input.

Jeff
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Old 03-19-2011, 09:40 PM   #9
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Cool, glad to see it worked out - let us know how it tow's with the setup
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