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Old 09-09-2020, 12:53 PM   #1
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5.7l engine in RAM2500 - enough power for 8000lbs

Looking for advice before i buy.
I'm upgrading to a 3/4 ton truck and wondering about gas or diesel. RAM offer a 5.7l HEMI engine in their 2500 that appears to perform similarly (unladen) to the 5.7l engine in the Tundra (which I previously owned) In reviews comments show similar torque. I was not real happy with the Tundra's power towing an 8500 lb (fully loaded) 5th wheel on hills (yes i know that was a bad idea.) I am committed to upgrading but confused as to why you would put a 5.7l engine in a 3/4 ton truck. What are your thoughts? Can I expect better performance of the Chrysler engine, or perhaps because of the transmission esp since the 2500 is around a thousand # heavier than the tundra. Both Tundra and the 2500 truck i am looking at have a 4.10 rear end. Am i wasting my time considering a gas engine.

Thanks for any time you have to share your thoughts.

Ray
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Old 09-09-2020, 01:50 PM   #2
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Several things...

Your (or anyone's) ability to be happy with towing performance is a subjective that is not quantifiable by anyone but you. I just came from the Black Hills in South Dakota with the lowly 6.0 Chevy towing about 10k. Sometimes I had my foot on the floor but I wasn't unhappy with the performance...The motor temp gauge never moves and I've never seen the tranny over 185. My grandfather towed the biggest Airstream made (at the time) with a 350ci Chevy that made 175hp. He traveled all over this country and to Alaska several times with that rig.

Every truck made less than 14k GVWR is tested under SAE J2807 since about 2014ish. If you are within the capacities of the truck, it will perform to at least the minimum standards in the test. A few years ago Truck Trend had a decent write up about the testing but it is only a summary of what is done... SAE J2807 Tow Tests - The Standard

You can't compare the Tundra's 4.10 with anything but a Tundra. If I remember correctly the final drive ratio was comparable to the Ford and a 3.55 gear set due to the transmission gearing. If the Ram with a 4.10 is the current 8 speed...it gets great reviews. I would avoid a used 6 speed because the gearing is wonky enough that my 6.0 will outperform the even the bigger motor with 4.10 fully loaded up the Ike.

As for wasting your time with a gas engine...entirely up to you. I could have written the check for a diesel same as the gas truck I bought. If the current diesels were like my old one without all the emissions stuff I would have bought a diesel. My research pointed to a gas truck giving me the most likely trouble free experience...I'm happy with my decision but it sounds like you want a diesel.
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Old 09-09-2020, 04:18 PM   #3
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The last year for the 5.7L/66RFE (6-speed) in the Ram 2500 was 2018.

Starting in 2019 the 2500 came standard with the 6.4L/8HP75 (ZF 8-speed)

Big difference in performance, I’d hold out for a 2019+over a 2018 6.4L/6-speed
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Old 09-09-2020, 04:29 PM   #4
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66RFE is not a Aisin tranny, it is in house built chrysler tranny. Started life as a 545RFE, has morfed into a 65RFE, 66RFE, and a 68RFE. The aisin tranny is a completely different animal. Aisin is only found in 1 ton or larger trucks. The 68RFE is a great trans behind the cumins but left lots to be desired behind the 6.4, gear spacing from 1-2 to large for a gas motor. However the 65 and 66RFE are no more. I have no experience towing with the ZF 8 speed.
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Old 09-09-2020, 04:31 PM   #5
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As already said, I would not go with the 5.7, 6 speed. I had a 2012 1500 with 5.7 6 speed and then moved to a 2019 2500 6.4 8 speed. Same trailer. The 6.4 8 speed pulls so much better even with the heavier truck.
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Old 09-09-2020, 04:32 PM   #6
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Yep. 2019+ is the way to go. I say that and I’m a Ford guy. FCA made big strides with that trans and truck in general. If you never intend to go for a bigger TT then the gasser will be fine. If you’re possibly planning on going to 10k+ TT then get the diesel.
That’s my 2 shillings.
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Old 09-09-2020, 04:32 PM   #7
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Ray,

A 3/4 ton truck will provide more stability and braking then your current light duty (1/2 ton). However in terms of towing performance, ie hills, and wind you wont notice much or any difference between the toyota and ram 5.7 engines. The 6.4, 6.2, or 6.6 in the 3/4 ram, ford, and chevrolet will provide marginal performance ungrades.

I will ask you this, how far do you plan to travel with your 5th wheel? if it is hundreds of miles then I think a gas engine will do just fine. You will burn more fuel generally go slower and not really be able to use the cruise do to constant shifting. I put on a couple thousand miles with my 2015 ram 2500 with a 6.4. My 5th wheel is 37ft and about 12.5k fully loaded. It did just fine around mn from southern to all the way up north, all are generally short trips.

However for longer trips interstate when you are talking thousands of miles the diesel provides a much smoother and relaxed towing. The transmission rarely needs to shift and you never are short on power. As far as chassis, suspension and how they handle the 5th wheel, engine doesnt matter. That is just 1/2, 3/4, or 1 ton. I would never recommend towing a 5th wheel with a half ton. You will feel a huge increase in stability and safety just by upgrading the chassis.

In june my family and I took a 4300 mile trip from mn, to colorado, and through Utah, visiting 7 national parks. It was a fantastic road trip. Then in late July went to the black hills. All with the same 5th wheel but a 2015 ram 2500 with a diesel. I would never want to do the Utah trip with a gas engine, it would have just been exhausting. If you keep you mile under 400 a day, then a gas isn't so bad. But when you drive double that, the gas will just wear you out. The trip to the black hills would have been easily done with a gas engine but it would have been a little slower.

So I ask again. How far do you plan to go. If you plan to take a long trip even once a year, thousands of miles. Then i would suggest a diesel. But if most are under 500 then save money and buy a truck with the bigger gas engine. The 6.4 in the ram will do better than the 5.7. The new 2019 trucks use the 8 speed trans behind the 6.4 which should help some too.

Good luck, I hope this helps. If you have any more questions, please dont hesitate to ask.
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Old 09-09-2020, 05:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
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...

If you keep you mile under 400 a day, then a gas isn't so bad. But when you drive double that, the gas will just wear you out. The trip to the black hills would have been easily done with a gas engine but it would have been a little slower.
...
400 miles a day...we'd need more vacation time. We've usually traveled 400 miles by the lunch time stop.

We just did MN to Black Hills and back...only a few hills kept me from the speed limit or my limit if it was windy. The rolling hills in SD are beautiful...I let the truck do what it has to do on cruise control unless I feel like footing it myself and enjoy the scenery...I don't understand...? What is wearing you out?
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Old 09-09-2020, 06:25 PM   #9
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400 miles a day...we'd need more vacation time. We've usually traveled 400 miles by the lunch time stop.

We just did MN to Black Hills and back...only a few hills kept me from the speed limit or my limit if it was windy. The rolling hills in SD are beautiful...I let the truck do what it has to do on cruise control unless I feel like footing it myself and enjoy the scenery...I don't understand...? What is wearing you out?
LOL, I didnt say I kept it under 400 miles did I. Actually I drove from Torrey Ut, around Salt Lake to Mitchell South Dakota on June 19th, For your information that is over 1100 miles. Left at 1:30 am got to Mitchell about 9:30 pm. And yes I have done an 800 mile day with a gas truck, and yes it wears you out when you are going up and down hills with a big head wind.

MN (Mankato) to the Black hills is easy, and if you read my post easy for a gas engine truck. Our Black hills trip we were in the Badlands from Mankato by 11 am. Easy for a gas truck, not the same terrain once you get farther west. However traveling west from MN to the black hills, later in the day the head winds can get bad, and that is a bad recipe for a gas truck.

Like I sad it all depends home much traveling are you going to do. If it is alot ive tried both. And with a diesel it is much easier.

Besides you are comparing a travel trailer with a dry weight of about 8000 to a 5th wheel with a dry weight of about 11k. Big difference.

That said Ray is only asking about 8k lbs, i bet his 5th wheel is heavier when loaded. But those 3k lbs make a huge difference when you are traveling up large hills with a head wind. I am only explaining my experience with a loaded 5th wheel over 12k lbs with a Gas truck tow rating 15.5k and Diesel tow rating 17k
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Old 09-09-2020, 06:38 PM   #10
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As a child I drove a one ton stake bed. 3500 truck.

Had a 306 (long time ago)straight six. Three speed with a granny low. 411 gears.

Swell as a commercial truck. No acceleration to speak of. Would not top 60 with a trailer. Slow. Business truck. Would tow 8,000 easy. Backhoe.

I would want the 6.4. They discontinued the smaller. A 3/4 ton is a “lot” heavier than a half ton.

Had to learn how to bluff my way. Bus drivers didn’t have a chance.
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Old 09-09-2020, 07:15 PM   #11
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I have the 2018 6.4 with 3:73 gearing and it handles my 5er just fine I'm under 12,000 # My last trip 1700 to MI and back I average 9.5 had calculated and kept speed to 62 and ran into some pretty good hills and especially the one coming out of Chattanooga is 6% and walked up doing 62mph. Later RJD
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Old 09-09-2020, 07:43 PM   #12
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Hi Ray,

Towing a fifth wheel similar to yours but a bit heavier. Had a Ford Diesel when we purchased this unit and now have a 2016 Ram 2500 with the 6.4 Hemi.
Been to Key West, Florida with both trucks and our opinion is you are not wasting your time thinking of a gas engine. Very pleased with our gasser and it's towing abilities.
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Old 09-09-2020, 07:49 PM   #13
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Thanks to everyone for the insights - they are very useful - we actually downgraded from a 32' Rockwood RV to a 26ft rockwood - so 8K is the laden trailer weight. Not as much as we used to tow so perhaps the gasser will be fine as long as it's mated with a good transmission. Sounds like the 5.7 and the 66RFE is not a good match. I just found a 2018 RAM2500 with a Cummins and the 66RFE - that might be the way to go.

Ray
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Old 09-09-2020, 08:25 PM   #14
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badger5301 What sort of gas mileage are you getting? Rear and axle ratio?
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Old 09-10-2020, 06:28 AM   #15
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Quote:
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...

Besides you are comparing a travel trailer with a dry weight of about 8000 to a 5th wheel with a dry weight of about 11k. Big difference.

That said Ray is only asking about 8k lbs, i bet his 5th wheel is heavier when loaded. But those 3k lbs make a huge difference when you are traveling up large hills with a head wind. I am only explaining my experience with a loaded 5th wheel over 12k lbs with a Gas truck tow rating 15.5k and Diesel tow rating 17k
I don't tow dry weight. I take two motorcycles, two bicycles, two kayaks, generator, grill, chairs, tables, food, full water tank, tools, air compressor, etc. The trailer loaded is 9,500lbs and the load in the truck is about 1000lbs.

I agree the trip to the Badlands is a piece of cake but towing a trailer is a piece of cake..

I really enjoy the roads in Custer park on a motorcycle (amazing to ride up Needles highway before sunrise and have morning coffee as it comes up from the lookout) but I also enjoyed pulling the camper on 16 around the park or 16A to Custer. Fantastic drive on great roads, my favorite part of the trip while towing! Driving in the mountains with the trailer is awesome, it provides mental engagement in a fabulous backdrop. I would rather drive in the mountains than pull across ND waiting miles to count another tree. Out west there are long pulls but even up the Ike is only about 10 minutes. The Appalachians are more entertaining...up, turn, down, turn, repeat.

Now I'm going to be brutally honest but it is not my intention to be a wanker...Diesel guys are the ones who say a gas truck is wearing them out towing. Maybe the mental constitution fades or its as simple as not enjoying driving as one once did...I don't know. Possibly some fumes in DEF is having an affect on the spirit. Maybe when I'm older I will loose the spirit for driving but I hope I'm like my grandfather, he never did. He pulled his prized top of the line Airstream to both ends of the country every year with a 350ci (175hp) Chevy until his health wouldn't allow it. When I start thinking I wouldn't do a trip with a capable vehicle due to the (perceived -self induced) stress being to much I think I will place a call to Dr. Kevorkian.

I never pulled a big trailer with my Ram gasser, maybe that's stressful.
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Old 09-10-2020, 06:46 AM   #16
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Quote:
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Thanks to everyone for the insights - they are very useful - we actually downgraded from a 32' Rockwood RV to a 26ft rockwood - so 8K is the laden trailer weight. Not as much as we used to tow so perhaps the gasser will be fine as long as it's mated with a good transmission. Sounds like the 5.7 and the 66RFE is not a good match. I just found a 2018 RAM2500 with a Cummins and the 66RFE - that might be the way to go.

Ray
If it has the CTD then the tranny is the 68rfe not the 66rfe the gasser gets. Still a decent tranny as long as you dont get stupid with additional power etc.
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Old 09-10-2020, 07:24 AM   #17
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Ray,
We have a 2016 Ram Bighorn, 6.4 Hemi with the 3.73 gearing. Truck has around 40,000 miles. Our average pulling the fifth wheel is 8-10mpg. The worst I have ever seen was just the other day on our return trip home. Had a 20-25mph head wind the entire 164 mile trip. Took almost a full tank by the time I parked in the shed. The same trip when we left home nine days earlier we had no wind issues and it only burned just over a half a tank to get parked at our site. Empty we are averaging around 16mpg.
When I sold my diesel to get the gasser, diesel was over a dollar more then gas. Today in our area diesel is only 15 to 20 cents more but with winter coming I'm sure the spread will start to widen again.
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Old 09-10-2020, 07:36 AM   #18
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Your original question about the 5.7 in a 3/4 ton truck. We have a nephew that just purchased a new Montana fifth wheel and his Ram has the 5.7. His rig has a dry weight of almost three thousand pounds more then mine. I asked him how the truck handles it and his reply was it gets them to where they are going. They do not take very long trips so maybe that's why it's working for them ok.
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Old 09-10-2020, 04:40 PM   #19
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At the risk of echoing others here, go for the 2019+!!! For the last three seasons we towed with a 2006 F250 6.0L diesel. Dear God, that was the biggest mistake I ever made! Too much maintenance, too much worry. Too much grief. We just got back home Tuesday from a week on Kelley's Island. Took the camper with us in the just purchased 2019 Ram 2500 6.4 with the 8 speed. It has the smaller rear end, but that didn't seem to matter. It towed better, rode better, handled better, quieter, smoother and even felt better than the Ford ever did! With the Bighorn package and Crew Cab it can still tow 14,700 and has a cargo capacity of 2950! That's more than the Diesel had. Go with the Ram and you won't regret it!
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Old 09-10-2020, 05:06 PM   #20
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Check out YouTube for some great reviews on pickups.
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