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Old 02-18-2019, 10:11 AM   #1
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High mileage Ram 1500 5.7 owners

We currently tow with my wifeís 2015 Chevy Traverse and are now looking at used pickup trucks to tow a larger bunkhouse trailer (around 5,500# dry weight).
Moving to a larger SUV is a potential option but we are also considering a higher mileage truck as a third vehicle to pull the trailer and use on weekends.
(I have a long commute to work and a new truck doesnít make sense for me)
Some of the more base models of the 2011-2015 Ram 1500 Crew Cab with the 5.7 Hemi with mileage around 80,000-100,000 miles seem to be in our budget.
I would like to hear experiences from current or former Ram 1500 5.7 Hemi owners who have/had higher mileage trucks in/over the mileage listed above.
What is your mileage and what do you tow?
Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-18-2019, 10:44 AM   #2
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How it was maintained is more important the mileage. A truck could be junk at 50,000 miles if the oil was never changed.
High miles is fine with maintenance records.
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Old 02-18-2019, 10:53 AM   #3
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We tow with my wife's 2011 Durango with the 5.7L engine and tow package. D has 108,000 miles. We started towing with it in Oct 2017, and have had no issues. TT is 5100 dry, 5660 on CAT (probably closer to 5800 by end of summer). I had the tranny plus front and rear diff's serviced, radiator flushed (all of which was scheduled maint), and passenger side exhaust manifold bolts replaced at 104,000 and we've always run 89 octane gas. I wouldn't tow your trailer with the Durango (I'm maxed on my GVW as is), but I've been happy with the 5.7L motor.
Good luck.
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Old 02-18-2019, 10:58 AM   #4
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I wouldn't consider 80k miles high mileage on a modern vehicle as long as its been maintained.
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Old 02-18-2019, 01:54 PM   #5
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Since you both tow and have a longer commute have you considered the Ecodiesel? Mine has the 3.92 & GDE tune with software to optionally use the turbo as a brake. The tune turns off EGR & better manages DEF so the engine stays clean & doesn’t have the emissions issues often associated with today’s diesels. The turbo brake works synergistically with the factory TBC (trailer brake controller) & transmission brake. Safely Controls trailer push & speed down a mountain grade & immediately stops any sway so truck brakes stay cool & fresh. Original brakes went 293k then 177k on the auto parts replacement pads.

I tow commercially TT/THs for Forrest River, Airstream, & Gulfstreams at 65 mph I can average 30 mpg hwy and 14.0 with a box TT. I often go 700 miles on a tank or 350 towing a TT. Truck has 518,000 miles but had pushed a head gasket out at 371k. Original 8 speed no repairs. The state governments in CA & PA over tax diesel but everywhere else is more reasonable.

Ram built 2018 EDs through December so you can find them on dealership lots and cheap as they are not the new 2019 body IE 4WD diesel out the door in the mid high 30s with better financing & a 100k warranty. Seems silly to me to buy an older used truck with little to no warranty & harder to get best financing. It typically tows TTs quietly comfortably & efficiently at 2k. The otherwise great fun & fast Hemi blairs more than twice that for peak torque and would typically get about 9 mpg towing that bunkhouse at 65. Anyway food for thought.
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The answer to what can my 1/2 ton tow; Generically whatever TT has a GVWR less than TVís max tow rating. Specifically is found on CAT scale via weight distribution with TV TT & WDH. Best motor & gearing all 5 Mfgs within specs IE safe & stable normally to 8k but passengers & bedload reduce this. RAM 1500 ED max tow 9,200, max axle ratings 3,900, max 09-18 CVWR 15,950, axle weights me & gear 3,240 steer 2,560 drive
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Old 02-18-2019, 02:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RamsFan1 View Post
We currently tow with my wife’s 2015 Chevy Traverse and are now looking at used pickup trucks to tow a larger bunkhouse trailer (around 5,500# dry weight).
Moving to a larger SUV is a potential option but we are also considering a higher mileage truck as a third vehicle to pull the trailer and use on weekends.
(I have a long commute to work and a new truck doesn’t make sense for me)
Some of the more base models of the 2011-2015 Ram 1500 Crew Cab with the 5.7 Hemi with mileage around 80,000-100,000 miles seem to be in our budget.
I would like to hear experiences from current or former Ram 1500 5.7 Hemi owners who have/had higher mileage trucks in/over the mileage listed above.
What is your mileage and what do you tow?
Thanks in advance!
Well maintained Ram 1500 5.7 Hemi with about 73k (near what you mentioned). I pull a FR Surveyor 247BHDS @ 6300 empty and have had no problems from Wyoming to New York and down to Texas. I may be off a bit but the RPM's stay around 20/22k RPM (as an average) (9+ MPG) even on slight inclines. Level roads will return to normal lower range.
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Old 02-18-2019, 02:16 PM   #7
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I agree on the maintenance stuff etc. as well. I have an older GMC Sierra with 240k miles on it and drove it 1000 miles recently to pick up a motorcycle. AC and cruise on the whole way, not a care in the world while I did.
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Old 02-18-2019, 06:09 PM   #8
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I have a 2006 Goat 1500 Mega cab Laramie and have had since it was born. It now has 169000 Miles. I pull a Coachman Apex 269 RBKS at 5590 lbs and 720 lbs hitch weight. It has been serviced about every 3000 miles because I plan on wearing out the body but have a motor that will run forever. The only issue that you need to know about towing with a Ram is the size of the factory tires changes the tow rating dramatically. I dont worry about hooking up and running with the best of the new ones.
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Old 02-18-2019, 06:25 PM   #9
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I have a 2006 4WD with the crew cab and 5.7.
It has about 96,000 miles on it.

I bought it used with about 30,000 miles on it specifically for towing. I work from home as a consultant, and we mostly use our 2004 Toyota RAV 4 for "commuting" duties. But it has only about 104,000 miles on it as well.

Mine has 20" wheels and tires, so it's tow rating is only about 7700 pounds. That's just enough for the trailer you're considering.

It's expensive to maintain correctly. For example, it costs $300 to change the lube in both diffs - EVERY 30,000 MILES!!. Oil and filter are normal, but it takes a bit more oil than a car.
I've also done a complete transmission flush, coolant flush, brake fluid flush and so on. All of them pricey compared to a "car."

Stock shocks suck, so I put on Bilsteins. They are amazing. But turns out the fronts are "struts," so I needed a shop to do the job, and the lower mounting bolts were frozen so that cost $600 in labor.

Factory brakes suck, so I replaced the fronts with these...which are awesome. This was an easy DIY project in my driveway.

Meanwhile, I have the factory plugs, fuel injectors, exhaust system, CV joints and boots, U-Joints, and so on. Starts instantly, and purrs like a kitten.

Mine was a Laramie model - automatic 4WD plus manual 4WD and low range all on a dash knob. Leather, dual climate control, heated seats, Infinity stereo, power driver's seat, power pedals, and some VERY desirable fold down floor boards that hide under the rear seat. When the rear seat is raised, this make a flat load floor...a must have.

The good news is that a used Laramie is likely to depreciate to very close to the level of a "lesser" model. My wife loves this truck so much that anytime we go anywhere together, we take the truck. Big, smooth, quiet, and with the Bilsteins, very secure handling for a truck (it wallowed from day one with the factory shocks).

Depending on where you tow, this truck is "adequate" or better, My rig is 4000# wet and ready, and I carry nearly a half ton in the bed. I live in the Rockies at 8300', so the thin air saps the power a bit. In the mountains, I keep it in OD off, and I spend a lot of time in 2nd gear. 2nd effortlessly maintains 60 to 65 mph (I have a tachometer). The transmission appears to be a 3 speed with electric OD...not a true 4 speed. Down the hill, around Denver at 5280' and on level ground, it cruises along in tow/haul mode with little effort when towing.

I shift manually all the time. Descending a 11,500' mountain pass, you'd better gear down. You won't see my brake lights very often even going down Red Mountain Pass. Once again, 2nd is ideal, and no strain for the truck. What I don't do when climbing is force lots of up- and down-shifts, lots of gear hunting, in the mountains. It's far easier on the transmission to select a lower gear an hold it, and not have the damned thing upshift when you lift off for a curve, only to have to downshift under load once you hit the straight. This matters little at sea level on the flat, but even in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this tactic will baby your transmission. Meanwhile the 5.7 spins happily all day 1000 RPM below redline.

You can expect any older "half-ton" to work harder with about 7000# wet and ready on the hitch. But the truck is up to the task.

Consumer Reports says RAMs are worse than average or much worse than average on reliability. I haven't experienced that, but, as you've read, I take care of it, and bucking the odds doesn't make it so across the board. The good news is that they are common, and pretty much any decent private auto repair shop can handle them.

I'm sure you've heard this many times. Budget about $200 for 2 hours of mechanic time and have someone you trust go over a prospect thoroughly (not just a quick once over) before you invest. If you buy a bad one or one that's worn out, it will eat you alive.

It sounds as if you don't plan to commute in it. Good idea! Downhill with a tailwind I get 17 MPG. Normally, when using it as a date nite vehicle, I get 15 MPG. Towing, I get 7 to 10. My 20's cost $1000 to get reshod. And all the routine repairs cost almost double what they cost on the RAV 4. Leave it parked when you can.

By the way, the Firestone air bags are worth the investment. I don't need a WDH with my big PUP, but even with a WDH, the truck is sprung softly. The airbags prevent porpoising, ass sag and headlights pointing skyward, and so on.

Also make absolutely sure that your favorite example comes with a full tow package. If it has an after-market hitch, walk away, because it will, very likely NOT have the transmission cooler, larger radiator, larger alternator, factory installed 7 pin harness, and so on that comes with the tow package. Even if it was added later, the factory package is better integrated and more reliable. There's nothing quite like a cobb-job wiring harness to drive you crazy. It might not even have the tow/haul mode on the transmission. If you stumble on a "stripper/work" version of one of these trucks, pay close attention to whether it's setup for towing. Also be sure it has the original owner's manual...not only for the info, but also to ensure that the tow rating on your truck matches the claimed tow rating in the manual. A replacement owner's manual from a salvage yard could be way off on a lot of things, from tire pressures to maintenance intervals and fluids. A replacement or lost owner's manual is a sure sign that the previous owner didn't give a rat's ass about the truck.

There's no free lunch to tow a 3 1/2 ton trailer. Don't even think about it with a unibody SUV. Tahoes and their kin are no more reliable than the RAM, and apples-to-apples, you'll likely pay a bunch more for a Tahoe or Suburban. Jeeps and Durangos are sisters to the RAM, but a whole lot less in many ways when it comes to towing. A big trailer and a relatively short-coupled tow vehicle is asking for trouble when a semi tries to blow you off the road. Ford and Chevy half-tons are only a smidgen better on reliability. You won't touch a Tundra for your budget, and as trucks go, while they are Toyota reliable, they are vastly inferior trucks and handle far worse. And don't go near a Nissan Titan with a 10' pole. They had REAL reliability problems according to Consumer Reports. Is a RAM the best choice? Perhaps not, but in the real world realm of just 3 choices, they are more or less equal until you get to Ford's aluminum bodied, turbo engined models, and they are clearly superior.

Stay away from anything that's lifted or otherwise altered for off-road use. These things aren't much good after being beaten to death in the boonies. And the last thing you want to do is spend $1800 for a set of tires that wear off in 15,000 miles.

So, that's my real world experience with the very truck you want to buy. I'd buy another in a heartbeat, but I'd be damned careful which one I chose.

My 2 cents. Worth every penny you paid for it. The photos show the truck and an example of where it takes us. That spot is about 5 miles into a primitive dirt road into the Pike National Forest on top of a ridge in "South Park" (yes, THAT South Park). Boondocking at its best. That was March, 2017.
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Old 02-18-2019, 06:27 PM   #10
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Somehow lost the photos. Here they are.
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Old 02-18-2019, 06:49 PM   #11
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I love my Ram and if/when I replace it, it will most likely be another one. That being said, be carefull! Some of the 5.7's are starting to have problems with the roller on the lifters. When this happens, it takes the camshaft with it and if driven long enough the metal will damage the engine. Ask me how I know. Mine went at 90k. Oil always changed every 5k with Mobil1. I was lucky enough to catch it early. Just Google it.
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Old 02-18-2019, 07:05 PM   #12
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Response to OP

I have three 2011 and 2012 2500ís with the 5.7 Hemi. Two of the three have had roller lifter issues that grenaded the cam and sent the resultant carnage through the engine. All three have had exhaust manifold studs fail. All before 80 K. One had transmission software issues that wasnít covered by warranty. I know you are looking at 1500ís but google the above issues and you will see they are common problems. I also have two 3500 DRW chassis cabs and one 5500. All 6 Rams of that vintage in my fleet have had many more issues than the Fords and GMís I have. I have a stack of recalls for those 6 Rams that is literally 2Ē thick. Went through a similar experience in the 1998 through 2003 time frame but got lured in again by the cheap price tag. I wonít say never but it will take a lot to get me to buy another Ram!
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Old 02-19-2019, 05:46 PM   #13
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my brother has a higher mileage Ram 1500 - while hes not towing, he has what appears to be a common problem in a hemi - and not isolated to the 1500 series trucks - as mentioned in the 2 posta above.

he has a cylinder 3 misfire - and there is a great deal of info on Ram forums about this issue. again, not related to towing, but it appears that some hemis have an issue with a collapsed roller lifter in cylinder 3 - sometimes cylinder 5 that can be an expensive repair. it is reportedly exacerbated by no moly in the oil - mopar changed oil rating a couple of years ago and there is thread dedicated to see if this is a potential issue - who knows.

we are currently diagnosing my brothers issue by moving the coil for cylinder 3 to another cylinder to see if it throws a new code, but i was shocked to hear about this issue that was previously not known to me. I've had many hemi rams in the past, and a 5.9 in a ram, and the tranny was always my personal failure point - this was news to me, but does appear to be a potential issue - so food for thought for what its worth.

also, in my experience, the body rotted out on the third gen rams, and all 4th gen rams have horrible lighting to the front. I've only ever owned rams (5) and 2 GMC trucks but i don't think you can go wrong with the big 3. but if buying used, of course, someone has dumped that truck for a reason. i had my 96 until 2010...if the tranny didn't blow, id probably still have it - but like the others, it got dumped for some reason or another - probably why the used truck you're looking at is for sale. i think its less common to see leases in trucks nowadays, so its not because someone is constantly trading up.

prior to owning a 5er, i would have strongly considered a Tundra - i know not popular to promote foreign auto manufacturers - but the 1/2 ton Tundra is built like an old truck - almost in the 3/4 category in my opinion. but their 5.7 is horrible on fuel.

so my 5th ram is a 2500 CTD - love it - mostly, but its not without fault being a 2017- minor issues, warranty expired due to mileage from towing, but nevertheless annoying to have to pay to fix a 2017 model.
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Old 02-19-2019, 08:29 PM   #14
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Thanks for the responses

Thanks for all of your responses. Very informative and gives us things to consider. Please keep them coming!

A couple of the posts mention manifold and cam/cylinder issues. Looking into it on the web, I see complaints on 2010-2012. Any ideas if these issues were addressed in other model years (2013-current)?
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Old 02-19-2019, 08:31 PM   #15
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Thanks for all of your responses. Very informative and gives us things to consider. Please keep them coming!

A couple of the posts mention manifold and cam/cylinder issues. Looking into it on the web, I see complaints on 2010-2012. Any ideas if these issues were addressed in other model years (2013-current)?
the one i mentioned is a 2013. while not confirmed, it is my suspicion.
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Old 03-22-2019, 08:17 AM   #16
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Follow up-High Mileage Ram 5.7

Thanks again to those who took time to post a response. Your thoughts gave me things to consider.
As a follow up, I just brought home a new to me 2016 Ram 5.7 4x4 Crew Cab Big Horn with 8 speed 3.21 gears. It has 50,000 miles.
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Old 03-22-2019, 10:09 AM   #17
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I owned a 2010 1500 dodge ram 4x4 traded it In but we had 253 729 kms on engine very well maintained engine still going strong. Just needed more room for the little one.
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Old 03-22-2019, 10:14 AM   #18
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Make sure you look at the payload sticker on some of these older RAM trucks. A guy I know was going to buy a bunkhouse trailer until we looked at his payload sticker and it is rated for 1000#.


EDIT: I see I am too late with my comment. What is the payload of the truck you purchased?
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Old 03-22-2019, 10:22 AM   #19
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Make sure you look at the payload sticker on some of these older RAM trucks. A guy I know was going to buy a bunkhouse trailer until we looked at his payload sticker and it is rated for 1000#.


EDIT: I see I am too late with my comment. What is the payload of the truck you purchased?
That light payload rating might be due to rear coil springs in the Ram 1500's.
It offers a good ride but coils aren't the best for a load.
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Old 03-27-2019, 02:47 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by RamsFan1 View Post
Thanks again to those who took time to post a response. Your thoughts gave me things to consider.
As a follow up, I just brought home a new to me 2016 Ram 5.7 4x4 Crew Cab Big Horn with 8 speed 3.21 gears. It has 50,000 miles.
You are going to love the RAM. I have a 2015 Laramie with same specs. 20" wheels AND 4 Corner Air Suspension. It is a blast to drive when not pulling and handles my loaded 6900 lb trailer fine when towing.
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