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Old 06-19-2021, 03:00 PM   #1
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Towing too heavy, but...

Hello Forest River community. This is such a great forum. This is a towing weight question about my All American Sport 385 RLTS Toy Hauler, dry weight 14,040 lbs, gvwr 18,420 lb.

I'm prepared to be rightly and deservedly scolded and reprimanded for even asking this question, but I'm a glutton for punishment, so here goes.

I bought a lot where I want to take this toy hauler two or three times a year. It's 40 miles to the ferry and and dead flat here in eastern North Carolina on the coast. I don't need to exceed 40-45 mph. I totally baby truck transmissions while towing and not towing, likely inducing ire in those behind me.

Because it's gonna be tight to maneuver the toy hauler to get to my lot (which involves turning it around in a confined area), I'm pondering using my shortbed 1999 Dodge Ram 2500 V10, instead of my regular-bed Silverado dually shown in my description below.

This would only be a few times a year (depending on hurricanes, mainly) to make this trek.

My shortbed '99 Ram 2500 V10 is automatic transmission, 4X4, 3.73 axle, with tow package, and it has the leaf springs like a 3500 in the rear from factory.

It has an 'alleged' 8900 lbs. towing capacity: I wonder if the v10, extra springs, and the tow package might not be factored in.

I think the truck could do it, except for the transmission, maybe. (Well, to a lesser extent, I guess, also pin weight is a concern).

The V10 engine in 1999s has 310 horsepower/450 lb-ft torque while the 5.9L Cummins has 215 hp/420 lb-ft, but likely with different transmissions.

So transmission, pin weight, other? Even with the thrashing and lashing I expect, , I still love the forum. Thank you!
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Old 06-19-2021, 03:12 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by stew View Post
Hello Forest River community. This is such a great forum. This is a towing weight question about my All American Sport 385 RLTS Toy Hauler, dry weight 14,040 lbs, gvwr 18,420 lb.

I'm prepared to be rightly and deservedly scolded and reprimanded for even asking this question, but I'm a glutton for punishment, so here goes.

I bought a lot where I want to take this toy hauler two or three times a year. It's 40 miles to the ferry and and dead flat here in eastern North Carolina on the coast. I don't need to exceed 40-45 mph. I totally baby truck transmissions while towing and not towing, likely inducing ire in those behind me.

Because it's gonna be tight to maneuver the toy hauler to get to my lot (which involves turning it around in a confined area), I'm pondering using my shortbed 1999 Dodge Ram 2500 V10, instead of my regular-bed Silverado dually shown in my description below.

This would only be a few times a year (depending on hurricanes, mainly) to make this trek.

My shortbed '99 Ram 2500 V10 is automatic transmission, 4X4, 3.73 axle, with tow package, and it has the leaf springs like a 3500 in the rear from factory.

It has an 'alleged' 8900 lbs. towing capacity: I wonder if the v10, extra springs, and the tow package might not be factored in.

I think the truck could do it, except for the transmission, maybe. (Well, to a lesser extent, I guess, also pin weight is a concern).

The V10 engine in 1999s has 310 horsepower/450 lb-ft torque while the 5.9L Cummins has 215 hp/420 lb-ft, but likely with different transmissions.

So transmission, pin weight, other? Even with the thrashing and lashing I expect, , I still love the forum. Thank you!
I'm thinking your biggest issue with that much weight will be cooling. Both engine and transmission. Good temperature gauges, aftermarket with numbers rather, will at least give you warning you are about to cook something. Going the slower speeds will relieve some strain on the engine but cooling "ram air" into the grill will be reduced as well.

Bear in mind that the factory rating most likely considers a highway speed around 60 mph and some hills in the range of 6% when they do their calculations/testing.

Added cooling for the tranny can help reduce engine coolant temps if for no other reason than the extra trans heat is shed before passing through the factory heat exchanger in the radiator.
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Old 06-19-2021, 03:17 PM   #3
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You are answering your own question ............... other than the safety issues.......

if you truck is rated at only 8900 lbs my guess is you will loose your transmission probably on your 1st trip. I lost several in my early years with babying them...............

Good luck

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Old 06-20-2021, 07:00 AM   #4
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Thank you TitanMike and Oaklevel for the input. Happy Father's day to all.
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Old 06-20-2021, 07:49 AM   #5
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I will chime in as well, since itís a 99 there was no agreed to standard for towing at the time. Manufacturers had a secret way of calculating the numbers. That said first thing I would do is see how much you squat when hooked up. If that was acceptable and I was confident in the mechanics of my truck. I would try a local pull or if ambitious wake up at O Dark thirty while itís cooler and less traffic to aggravate and give it a shot.
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Old 06-20-2021, 08:06 AM   #6
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Haul it over with the Dually and follow behind with the "99" for use as a spotting vehicle. Add some Sumo's if you wish.
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Old 06-20-2021, 09:07 AM   #7
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Heat is the enemy. Watch your gauges. Pull over if you get too warm.
It is a bad combo, but with good conditions.
You have awareness, so you will probably be okay going 40 miles.
If you damage your trans, plenty of people will let you know about it.
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Old 06-20-2021, 02:08 PM   #8
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I would do it. Your going to kill your transmission.
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Old 06-20-2021, 02:40 PM   #9
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Did you ever consider a battery operated trailer move? Could store it in the garage and use to move trailer at your site.
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Old 06-20-2021, 03:06 PM   #10
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I'm guessing your going to Swan Quarter or Clark Island to get to the outer banks. The only hills you are going to see are the "speed bumps" going into the ferry ramps and 40MPH on level ground is pretty easy on the pieces parts. I'd do it if you weren't sitting on the frame, but remember I'm the guy that put on 38,000 miles towing a 9,000 lb. 5er with a Tundra across every mountain range in the country. Full disclosure, I don't know anything about old or new Rams. If they are weak, you might break something.
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Old 06-20-2021, 07:30 PM   #11
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Fantastic replies! Thank you everyone, so much. Oaklevel and Jdb95650, I get where you're coming from and respect it. My hubris has gotten the better of me many times! Thank you. Trawlerphil: Yes Swanquarter. You know how flat it is everywhere here. Also, I don't have rails/mounts in the bed of the Ram yet, but I could figure some way to set the pin down on the bed without damage to see how it "squats." Caper: Thanks. A battery driven electric dolly of some kind? Intriguing and that could be the ultimate answer for ease. Does that require smooth asphalt, concrete, etc.,? TitanMike and ppine what you say about heat and gauges is gold, and I didn't even think of it. I think there's a PID for transmission fluid temperature. I wonder if that can be relied upon to avoid damage to a transmission under these circumstances? You know, slow to a crawl/pull over. FrankG, yes, haul it over with the dually and, either, follow behind with the '99 Ram or leave the 99 Ram over there. I think the Sumo's air bags sound like a good "cushion" of precaution. Moose, thank you for the good general advice, and to see what it looks like with the weight on it, and the 0 Dark Thirty hour mission deployment for temperature. And again to TitanMike, the idea that cooling "ram air" into the grill will be reduced, so consider that, and furthermore, to add cooling for the tranny beyond the "tow package" that came with the truck.
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Old 06-21-2021, 05:41 AM   #12
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Your dually is only 2 feet longer, use the Chevy.
Also consider unhooking, moving the truck, and rehooking as needed to make your 180.
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Old 06-21-2021, 06:58 AM   #13
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Your dually is only 2 feet longer, use the Chevy.
Also consider unhooking, moving the truck, and rehooking as needed to make your 180.


Turn radius is most likely the issue not length, itís why you hear people praising the 450 not because they have a trailer that has a 5k plus pin weight and need it itís because it can turn sharper.

As for unhooking and moving the truck then rehooking. You might be onto something But being a 5th wheel . Where you can cut past a 90 not sure what you get from it. Though you could be very correct still working it in my head.
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Old 06-21-2021, 09:14 AM   #14
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Hello Stew,
Consider that your twenty plus year old Ram likely no longer has the capacity it was born with (310 hp / 450 lb ft), 8900 lbs towing, due to age, wear and tear, fouling of the cooling systems' et al. New, its starts out short of the capability you need and the truck' probably should be considered de-rated by 20 +/- % now. That's how operated my 04 350 dually with only 40k miles but it still suffered from overheating when put to the task of pulling my 11k lbs fiver up some short hills in the summer. If the truck is important to you I'd be very careful about overtaxing it. As oaklevel, others, indicated transmission could get hurt. Hope my experience helps. Good luck, happy camping.
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Old 06-21-2021, 11:05 AM   #15
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I'm thinking your biggest issue with that much weight will be cooling. Both engine and transmission. Good temperature gauges, aftermarket with numbers rather, will at least give you warning you are about to cook something. Going the slower speeds will relieve some strain on the engine but cooling "ram air" into the grill will be reduced as well.

Bear in mind that the factory rating most likely considers a highway speed around 60 mph and some hills in the range of 6% when they do their calculations/testing.

Added cooling for the tranny can help reduce engine coolant temps if for no other reason than the extra trans heat is shed before passing through the factory heat exchanger in the radiator.
You can increase the cooling of both engine and xmsn by dropping gears and maintaining a higher RPM. It will also reduce the tendency of the engine to lug, which increases temps.

I don't know the RPM range vs TW for your engine so I cannot recommend an RPM range to maintain but the principal is the same.

You also did not mention if the vehicles have a Tow Haul mode on the xmsn(s).

Use of that will lock the TQ Converter reducing slip and the resulting heat buildup inthat xmsn as well.
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Old 06-22-2021, 07:53 PM   #16
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Them 3.73's gears will be what affects you the most. That same truck with 4.10's will have a higher towing capacity somewhere north of 13k. Next will be trans cooling. Factory trans coolers on 90's trucks even the ones added for the tow package are woefully inadequate. Dump the factory trans cooler for something a little larger like a 12" x 12" tube and fin cooler a Hayden 679 would fit the bill. Kits are readily available at any auto parts store. Just remember not to use the cheap made in Mexico trans cooler hose that will come with the cooler and get the higher quality made in the USA Gates trans cooler hose. Most importantly make sure it has a good functioning brake controller and let the trailer brakes do most of the work that v10 has all the go you need but that won't matter if you ain't got any whoa.
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Old 06-22-2021, 08:11 PM   #17
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Is this one of the years that Dodge used a 2 piece frame? Your pin weight may exceed the frame welds. My ex brother-in-law broke his hauling a goose-neck loaded with a small excavator 20 years ago when he slammed over a frost bump on the highway. I don't remember the year of the truck.
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Old 06-24-2021, 06:43 AM   #18
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Hi there everybody. Thanks for the additional feedback. Yesterday, I made the 10 hour drive from Tennessee with the Ram. The truck ran fine.

Bucky53, I will try it with the dually first. You're right, it's almost surely doable. Only one way to find out. It may be a while, however, while I do work on the lot. I not sure unhooking/moving/rehooking will do me any good in this case, but it MAY, and thank you for an idea I hadn't considered. I am decent backer, and with walkie talkies, I'll get a spotter to go with me. But most of the time I'll be doing it solo, so the added ease of using the Ram was on my mind.

herewego, Wow 20% de-rating would be very significant. But the RAM only has 80,000 miles on it. Thanks for that heads up. DouglasReid, unlike my dually, sadly the Ram doesn't have tow haul mode, just overdrive off.

Slow1, thanks for the info about tranny cooler and the braking advice. Wabakami, I'll look into that. Much appreciated.

I'm glad I asked you guys, because you've given a lot of great perspectives and ideas. I'll be visiting the forum more often as I prepare the 5th wheel. It's just been sitting since I moved to North Carolina a year and a half ago. This will be a great use for it! Thanks to everyone.
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Old 06-26-2021, 10:03 AM   #19
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I'll add my $0.02 here...

As far as the ability of the RAM to pull the trailer, I have no doubt that it will pull it OK. As for the pin weight and what-not, that is likely iffy.

I have a 96 RAM 3500 dually with the V10 engine. Here's the specs from the window sticker:
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Name:	Dodge Ram 3500 HP and Towing Info.jpg
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My current rig is about 10K loaded and my previous rig was closer to 12K loaded and neither trailer posed a problem for the engine. I certainly wish the transmission had more gears to make things a bit easier in hilly situations, but when it's mostly level I've had no issues.

My brother in law borrowed my truck to pull a 14K toy hauler from Michigan to Florida and back and had no real issues. He's got a lead foot, so gas mileage was horrendous, but the truck made it there and back without breaking. I did, however, need to change the transmission fluid when he got back as it showed signs of being plenty warm.

I'm normally one to encourage people to always use a tow vehicle that meets or exceeds the necessary weight capacities as I feel safety is important, but I certainly can't say that I've never done questionable things in regards to towing/hauling heavy... That was mostly when I was young and indestructible.
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Old 06-27-2021, 01:56 AM   #20
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