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Author Topic: Towing and mountains  (Read 3846 times)

4evercamper

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Towing and mountains
« on: August 11, 2014, 08:00:54 AM »
We just got a new (used) 2000 Ram 1-ton diesel duelly 3500 for our new (used) 26ft Holiday Rambler 5th wheel.  (we haven't even picked it up yet)  We were told it was overkill to get such a big truck but it seemed like a good idea and that it would last us years as we keep moving up the ladder with 5th wheels.   
We live in Phoenix and went up to the rim yesterday to bring back our 26ft Skyline TT so we can get it ready to sell. Elevation 7500 feet or so up there.  We were told our duelly could pull a house up a hill easily.  Well, we were surprised when the truck struggled so much and wonder what's going to happen when we put a much heavier 5th wheel behind it.  Maybe our expectation of staying at around 60 mph is too much?  There are 6%+ grades from north of Payson to Phoenix.   We just got the truck a week ago and I will admit that my husband was a little nervous and doesn't know the truck yet, but I just expected more performance as our little GMC 1/2 ton Sierra did just as well.  Any thoughts? 

donn

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Re: Towing and mountains
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2014, 08:12:07 AM »
Thats a pretty old truck.  If it a diesel your HP/Torque numbers are down nearly equal to newer gas motors.  There are many variables in towing so without more information on the truck it is impossible to make suggestions.
What motor?
What transmission?
What rear end ratio?
How many miles?
Service history?

And thats only for starters

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Towing and mountains
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2014, 08:41:25 AM »
Since it's a Ram 3500 diesel, it will have the Cummins 5.9L and a tow rating somewhere between 9,500 and 13,500 lbs.  I don't think it should struggle with a 26 foot trailer on any grade.  However, expecting to maintain 60 mph on a 6% may be somewhat optimistic.

"Struggle" isn't a highly technical description, so it's hard to guess what was (or wasn't) happening, but my first thought would be new fuel & air filters. Then a check of the turbo charger to make sure it is pumping enough air into the engine. Shortcomings in any of those three things would curtail performance, possibly by a great deal.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

4evercamper

  • Posts: 3
Re: Towing and mountains
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2014, 09:11:44 AM »
It has a Cummins 24 valve turbo diesel, automatic transmission with 122,000 miles and PAC breaks.  Service records are hard to come by but we were told it has never had any issues other than normal upkeep.. I'll have to check on the rear end ratio.  Thanks for your reply.. and Gary, the RPMs went up to almost 3000 and the temp gauges were showing hot.  When my husband kept the RPMs at about 2000-2200 the engine recovered and we were going about 45 miles per hour.  This is why we keep our campers up at the rim all summer.. so we don't have to make those terrible climbs every other weekend.   :-[

Ernie n Tara

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Re: Towing and mountains
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2014, 05:57:27 PM »
Your husband was probably doing about the center of the power band at around 2000 to 2200. That likely is the same horsepower as 4000 rpm for the gas engine. Same hp equals about the same speed. I find that my current mh is about equal to our previous v10 in hp. But it sure is quieter! And that is the principal benefit of small diesels. At the same loading in terms of lbs per hp the performance is very similar, just more comfortable..

Ernie
Ernie 'n Tara

2011 Winn Journey 34y
2012 Jeep Rubicon - Dozer (orange - kinda)
2006 Jeep Wrangler

Mopar1973Man

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  • Dodge Cummins Powered / Jayco Eagle Living
Re: Towing and mountains
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2014, 07:27:54 PM »
Even in stock form the 98.5 to 02 Dodge Rams are not that powerful (235 horsepower and 460 foot pounds of torque). I need to ask do you have gauges on your truck like a fuel pressure gauge? These truck are known for there weak fuel pumps and when the fuel pressure drops below 10 PSI the injection pump takes a beating. So I need to ask if there is any error codes also on the truck. You'll need to check with a code reader because most of the injection pump codes will not trip a light.

I'm a guru of sorts for this generation of Dodge Trucks.  ;)
Mopar1973Man (AKA: Michael Nelson) located out in the state of Idaho with...
2002 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L Cummins Turbo Diesel
2000 Jayco Eagle FBS 296
2013 BigTex 70TV Utility Trailer

robertusa123

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Re: Towing and mountains
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2014, 10:01:20 PM »
A 6% grade is pretty steep.  My van would be down to 30 mph if I was luckey.    Slowing down to 60 is okay even with a big diesel truck
1996  26ft. 3 kids 2 dog and the wife too

WILDEBILL308

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Re: Towing and mountains
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2014, 10:56:32 PM »
I would highly recommend good boost and EGT gauges. You will have a better understanding of what is going on with your engine. I haven't driven the route you talked about but did drive 17 up to Flagstaff. Your setup is different than a diesel pusher but I think you are on the right track drop down in the gears and you can probably run 2200 to 2500 rpm and be about 50 or so. Yes it can but pull a house but not at 60 mph. My biggest problem was traffic as I was getting stuck behind trucks going real slow. I didn't want to pull out in front of the cars in the left lane doing 75+ as the sight line was limited.
Bill
2003 Bounder 38N
300 HP 5.9 Cummins
Allison 3000MH Trans.
Towing 2014 Honda CRV
Home base Fort Worth, Texas
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.
-Mark Twain-

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Towing and mountains
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2014, 09:36:22 AM »
The specs I see for a 2000 Ram diesel show lower hp & torque for the automatic than for the stick, 215 hp @ 2700 rpms and 420 lb-ft @ 1600 rpms. That's probably about the same power as the previous half ton gas engine truck. Just lower rpms, as Ernie stated.  And since its a front diesel, it may not even be quieter in the passenger area.

The Chrysler auto tranny of those years was nothing to brag about either, a basic 4-speed. Would have done a lot better with a 5 or 6 speed like the Allison. The manual trannys (5 or 6 speeds) were a more capable match back in those years. You need intermediate gears to apply the hp & torque on a steep grade and a 4 speed just doesn't have enough of them to match up well to the demand.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2014, 09:14:34 AM by Gary RV Roamer »
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

WILDEBILL308

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Re: Towing and mountains
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2014, 03:50:50 PM »
I think Gary hit the problem right on the head. Earley 5.9 engins in the Doge trucks were not as good as the newer ones. Mainly they didn't have the transmissions to go with them.
Bill
2003 Bounder 38N
300 HP 5.9 Cummins
Allison 3000MH Trans.
Towing 2014 Honda CRV
Home base Fort Worth, Texas
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.
-Mark Twain-

elliott-maine

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Re: Towing and mountains
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2014, 08:23:25 PM »
I have an 01 and an 13 and the difference is like night and day.  As mopar1973man says, the lift pumps are very weak on these, and constant low fuel pressure to the injection pump can cause this pump to fail.  Trust me, you don't want this to happen.  Install a fuel pressure gauge if you are going to keep it
Elliott & Vicky and copilot Hanna, the GSD

2014 Redwood 36RE, Gen, king bed, other goodies
2013 RAM 3500 drw, 4wd, Aisin tranny
From the great state of Maine

Frizlefrak

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  • El Paso, Texas
Re: Towing and mountains
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2014, 04:14:18 PM »
The Cummins came a long way in the last 15 years.  It's always been stout and reliable....now it's a brute power wise too.  800 ft lbs of torque on the new ones....it doesn't even break a sweat with my 7800 lbs travel trailer.  I put it in tow/haul mode, set the cruise, and it does the rest....even pulling a steep grade.  I keep an eye on the temps, but so far it hasn't ever gotten over 220....and the second it levels off, temps fall immediately.

The older ones will get the job done and do it for decades.....they just don't have the same grunt as the new ones.
2014 Ram 2500 Cummins
2012 Palomino 30' TT

elliott-maine

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Re: Towing and mountains
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2014, 06:10:20 PM »
I think the older ones will be around longer than the new ones. 
Elliott & Vicky and copilot Hanna, the GSD

2014 Redwood 36RE, Gen, king bed, other goodies
2013 RAM 3500 drw, 4wd, Aisin tranny
From the great state of Maine

Frizlefrak

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  • El Paso, Texas
Re: Towing and mountains
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2014, 01:22:45 AM »
I think the older ones will be around longer than the new ones.

Based upon what?
2014 Ram 2500 Cummins
2012 Palomino 30' TT

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Towing and mountains
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2014, 09:02:37 AM »
Everybody knows "they don't build 'em like they used to", right?  Conveniently forgetting that we used to take our vehicles in a couple of times a year, every year, to get parts replaced and routine maintenance performed, just to keep it running.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

elliott-maine

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Re: Towing and mountains
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2014, 10:37:56 AM »
I based this on my experience with marine diesels. Many manufacturers use the same block and produce models that are rated to over twice the hp of the lowest hp model.  Fishermen are rebuilding the higher rated engines far more frequently.  JMHO.
Elliott & Vicky and copilot Hanna, the GSD

2014 Redwood 36RE, Gen, king bed, other goodies
2013 RAM 3500 drw, 4wd, Aisin tranny
From the great state of Maine

Frizlefrak

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  • El Paso, Texas
Re: Towing and mountains
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2014, 02:22:03 PM »
Everybody knows "they don't build 'em like they used to", right?  Conveniently forgetting that we used to take our vehicles in a couple of times a year, every year, to get parts replaced and routine maintenance performed, just to keep it running.

Points, plugs, condenser, set timing every 10K miles or sooner if it started to run badly.  Yes....remember those days "fondly".  Also rejetting carb if you moved from mountains to sea level or vice versa.  Not to mention bias ply tires with an expected lifespan of 20K if you took it easy on them.  Ah yes....the good old days. 
2014 Ram 2500 Cummins
2012 Palomino 30' TT

Mopar1973Man

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  • Dodge Cummins Powered / Jayco Eagle Living
Re: Towing and mountains
« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2014, 07:56:07 AM »
The specs I see for a 2000 Ram diesel show lower hp & torque for the automatic than for the stick, 215 hp @ 2700 rpms and 420 lb-ft @ 1600 rpms. That's probably about the same power as the previous half ton gas engine truck. Just lower rpms, as Ernie stated.  And since its a front diesel, it may not even be quieter in the passenger area.

The Chrysler auto tranny of those years was nothing to brag about either, a basic 4-speed. Would have done a lot better with a 5 or 6 speed like the Allison. The manual trannys (5 or 6 speeds) were a more capable match back in those years. You need intermediate gears to apply the hp & torque on a steep grade and a 4 speed just doesn't have enough of them to match up well to the demand.

Some of us don't play with stock stuff. I'm in a 2002 Dodge Ram 2500 with a 5.9L Cummins Diesel. Stock its rated at 235 horsepower and 460 foot pounds of torque at the flywheel. I'm no longer stock I'm now playing with 400 horsepower and 900 foot pounds of torque at the rear tires. I never was much for automatics but I've got a 5 speed with a Southbend Clutch to hold all the fury coming from the crankshaft. Lets say I have the best of all world old school easy to work on and the same power the newer  Ram Trucks are coming out with. My current power levels are so aggressive than my truck has been known to spin the tires in 2nd or 3rd gear while towing the RV.  :o

A 6% grade is pretty steep.  My van would be down to 30 mph if I was luckey.    Slowing down to 60 is okay even with a big diesel truck

6% grade... LOL Try 16% grades... 6-7% grades around Idaho don't even slow my truck down one bit. Set the cruise at 55 MPH and go right on over. Pyrometer barely makes 1,100*F. Like I said above I'm not stock nor do I want to be...  ;)
« Last Edit: August 27, 2014, 08:01:47 AM by Mopar1973Man »
Mopar1973Man (AKA: Michael Nelson) located out in the state of Idaho with...
2002 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L Cummins Turbo Diesel
2000 Jayco Eagle FBS 296
2013 BigTex 70TV Utility Trailer

WILDEBILL308

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Re: Towing and mountains
« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2014, 09:14:03 PM »
Glad I didn't run into those 16% grades when I drove I 90 from Spokane to Missoula last month. My little 5.9 just dropped in the gears and went right over the "hills". The biggest problem I have is getting caught behind slower traffic. The area around Coeur D'Alene was great and I plan to go back and spend more time in that area.
I have said before They need to put more usable gears in new transmissions like they are for cars.
Bill
2003 Bounder 38N
300 HP 5.9 Cummins
Allison 3000MH Trans.
Towing 2014 Honda CRV
Home base Fort Worth, Texas
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.
-Mark Twain-

Frizlefrak

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  • El Paso, Texas
Re: Towing and mountains
« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2014, 10:05:22 PM »

6% grade... LOL Try 16% grades... 6-7% grades around Idaho don't even slow my truck down one bit. Set the cruise at 55 MPH and go right on over. Pyrometer barely makes 1,100*F. Like I said above I'm not stock nor do I want to be...  ;)

We have 8% grades running through the middle of town here LOL
2014 Ram 2500 Cummins
2012 Palomino 30' TT

RoyM

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Re: Towing and mountains
« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2014, 11:12:13 PM »
We have a long 6% grade we pull regularly with our 05 Ram diesel and 5500 lb (give or take) fiver. I can maintain 60 mph but the engine is working hard and fuel mileage goes way south so why bother. The diesel is not a race engine, it does best pulling steady at a lower rpm where a gasser falls flat. Pull over into the right lane and enjoy the ride while the more competitive types fight and claw their way to the top.
Ram 2500 diesel
Prowler fifth wheel
Urge to travel

Drtrash

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Re: Towing and mountains
« Reply #21 on: November 19, 2014, 07:27:48 AM »
Get gauges , if trans is solid, chip it to wake up the motor, should solve all , 120k on motor is nothing
2002 f250 4x4 CC 7.3 PS, afe II, 4" mtb exhaust, autometer gauges, retrax, 145 k, 2013 AF 22H

GIB

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Re: Towing and mountains
« Reply #22 on: November 19, 2014, 09:18:53 AM »
I had a 2000 Freightliner with a 5.9 Cummins which went 10,000 miles a year .It ate 7 lift pumps and 3 injection pumps until I got a replacement lift pump from Antrim Diesel at a tractor pull in Harrisburg PA. I think Antrim Diesel is out of Ohio. The price was $289.00 the same as a Carter pump which was $433.00 in a Cummins box .
It ran 5 lbs more pressure across the board and was the end of the problem.

 

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