2012 Ram 1500 Towing Question

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

bayoukid183

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2023
Posts
5
Location
San Antonio, TX, USA
Hello and Good Afternoon to all,
I have read most of the forums in here regarding towing however I have not seen anything that references RPM's.
So here is my situation:
I have a 2012 Ram 1500 5.7- 6 speed sport shift c/c short bed, 20" wheels. 5700 miles
3.55 gears.Tranny cooler K&N filter in factory housing.
Oil: 5/20 full synthetic (Mobil 1)
Trailer: 31ft Mallard (alum frame) split axle.
Hitch: 10,000lb Wt. dist. with spring bars, dual sway controls, towing in Tow/Haul mode
So here is my question:
While towing on flat ground open highway the truck will run at 1900 rpm @ 60-63 mph. any increase in speed or elevation the engine will elevate to 2500 rpm. and loose speed and if I give more gas it will jump to 3000 rpm or more. It seems like I am all torqued out on an incline at the speed while running flat.
Now let me tell you I have no issues running at the 60-63 mph for however long it takes to get from point A to point B.
My concern is the RPM that the engine is running at, it makes me nervous to have the rpm's so high.
I've had the rig weighed and here are the numbers:
front axle 2820 lb.
drive axle 3640 lb.
trailer axle 5740 lb. (according to Dodge's listing this is way within the weight limits of this set up.)
gross weight 12200 lb, Weighed at a pilot truck stop.
Will running the engine for long periods of time at the 2500 rpm's cause it to spin a bearing on the crank?
Is 3000 rpm's way too much?
I have had the engine at times rev up to 4000 rpm while either overtaking a slower rig or being caught on an incline while overtaking only to have to fall back in line to let traffic pass.
The weight does not account for my weight 175 or my wife's 150 and 3- 50lb dogs in the back seat. Yes, I know it's cramped back there but they are troopers.
So, if this is enough info can anyone out there give me the info I am looking for since I don't want to blow this engine or transmission while out on the road.
We are centrally located in Texas and as of now we stay below Dallas and travel west and east for now. I however do want to start traveling north but i'm afraid the present rig would not be able to safely handle the hills and long climbs like in the Dakota's, and east and west of there.
Thanks in advance.
 

CharlesinGA

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 6, 2017
Posts
1,851
Location
50 miles south of Atlanta, GA
First off, those RPMs are nothing for a gasoline engine. You have at least one O/D ratio (6th) (and possibly 5th also). If you can turn off the O/D or limit the shifts to prevent 6th, you would be well off to do that. You must not be used to driving other vehicles with a tach. My little 1.8L 4 cyl in my car turns 2800 or so at 70 mph. I think nothing of it. Yes, 4000 is kinda high, but momentarily won't hurt anything, I'm sure its below redline.

Trailer possibly this one............? Mallard M260 If so, 6,900 GVWR is nearing the upper limit for the truck, but still acceptable. Do not go by manufacturers tow ratings, that is how much weight it will haul, without considering the volume. You are hauling a billboard around. 31 ft is a lot of trailer for two people (unless the dogs are huge, and even then its alot)

Your weight numbers don't tell us enough to be of any use.

Post pics of your door jam stickers (cover over the VIN)

Post the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of the trailer, from the sticker on the front LH side or the paperwork glued inside the wardrobe closet. What exact model trailer is it?

Post pics of the weigh tickets

Weighing on a CAT scale.

First pass weigh the truck alone (full fuel), with the hitch in the receiver and the bars in the bed, full fuel and loaded with camping gear as you would travel.

Second pass, weigh truck and trailer, but without hooking up the bars.

1) Take the total weight of the first pass and subtract it from the total of the second pass. This will tell you the total weight of the trailer.

2) Take the trailer axle weight from the second pass and subtract it from the total of the second pass. Take that result and subtract the total of the first pass from it. The difference is the tongue weight of the trailer.

3) To confirm the tongue weight, Take the total trailer weight you arrived at in 1) above and subtract the trailer axle weight from the second pass, the difference is the tongue weight and should agree with the result of 2) above.

4) Take the total trailer weight you arrived at in 1) above and multiply it by .13 (13%) and the result should be equal or less than the tongue weight you arrived at in 2) and 3). If it is higher than the tongue weight, you need to get some more weight forward.

5) A third pass on the scale with the bars hooked up will tell if you have transferred enough weight to the front axle of the truck (and to the trailer, the weight goes both ways)

Charles
 
Last edited:

DeckArtist

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 7, 2023
Posts
90
Location
Elmo, Texas
Not a problem for the Hemi and the gear ratios you posted. They were designed to run that high an RPM and have only in the last few years dropped the 6 speed for the 8 speed to lower rpms for gas mileage reasons and to meet EPAs new standards. Should also be no problem towing in OD, but check with your mechanic or a Dodge truck forum on that one for sure.

Surely you meant 57,000 miles right? I have a friend who has a 2007 with 120k on it and he tows a lot. I doubt you have much to worry about as long as you change your oil every 5k and service your truck by the factory schedule.
 

Pedro Dog

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 9, 2022
Posts
887
Location
South Shores, CA
I had the same situation and the truck held up but it was stressful. In my case, the trans would run hot on climbs and I would stress. I bought the same truck with the zf 8 speed trans and with the same trailer, the experience is night and day.
 

bayoukid183

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2023
Posts
5
Location
San Antonio, TX, USA
Not a problem for the Hemi and the gear ratios you posted. They were designed to run that high an RPM and have only in the last few years dropped the 6 speed for the 8 speed to lower rpms for gas mileage reasons and to meet EPAs new standards. Should also be no problem towing in OD, but check with your mechanic or a Dodge truck forum on that one for sure.

Surely you meant 57,000 miles right? I have a friend who has a 2007 with 120k on it and he tows a lot. I doubt you have much to worry about as long as you change your oil every 5k and service your truck by the factory schedule.
Yes, the milage is correct, and when I tow, I change the oil after each trip if it's longer than 500 miles. I only tow in the Tow/Haul mode never in regular OD mode.
 

bayoukid183

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2023
Posts
5
Location
San Antonio, TX, USA
I had the same situation and the truck held up but it was stressful. In my case, the trans would run hot on climbs and I would stress. I bought the same truck with the zf 8 speed trans and with the same trailer, the experience is night and day.
My main concern is the high rpm's, I've considered upgrading to a diesel in the future for the northern routes just to be safe and turn this truck into a daily driver.
 

bayoukid183

Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2023
Posts
5
Location
San Antonio, TX, USA
First off, those RPMs are nothing for a gasoline engine. You have at least one O/D ratio (6th) (and possibly 5th also). If you can turn off the O/D or limit the shifts to prevent 6th, you would be well off to do that. You must not be used to driving other vehicles with a tach. My little 1.8L 4 cyl in my car turns 2800 or so at 70 mph. I think nothing of it. Yes, 4000 is kinda high, but momentarily won't hurt anything, I'm sure its below redline.

Trailer possibly this one............? Mallard M260 If so, 6,900 GVWR is nearing the upper limit for the truck, but still acceptable. Do not go by manufacturers tow ratings, that is how much weight it will haul, without considering the volume. You are hauling a billboard around. 31 ft is a lot of trailer for two people (unless the dogs are huge, and even then its alot)

Your weight numbers don't tell us enough to be of any use.

Post pics of your door jam stickers (cover over the VIN)

Post the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of the trailer, from the sticker on the front LH side or the paperwork glued inside the wardrobe closet. What exact model trailer is it?

Post pics of the weigh tickets

Weighing on a CAT scale.

First pass weigh the truck alone (full fuel), with the hitch in the receiver and the bars in the bed, full fuel and loaded with camping gear as you would travel.

Second pass, weigh truck and trailer, but without hooking up the bars.

1) Take the total weight of the first pass and subtract it from the total of the second pass. This will tell you the total weight of the trailer.

2) Take the trailer axle weight from the second pass and subtract it from the total of the second pass. Take that result and subtract the total of the first pass from it. The difference is the tongue weight of the trailer.

3) To confirm the tongue weight, Take the total trailer weight you arrived at in 1) above and subtract the trailer axle weight from the second pass, the difference is the tongue weight and should agree with the result of 2) above.

4) Take the total trailer weight you arrived at in 1) above and multiply it by .13 (13%) and the result should be equal or less than the tongue weight you arrived at in 2) and 3). If it is higher than the tongue weight, you need to get some more weight forward.

5) A third pass on the scale with the bars hooked up will tell if you have transferred enough weight to the front axle of the truck (and to the trailer, the weight goes both ways)

Charles
Hey Charles, yes, the model you suggest on the trailer is correct, the weight you suggest is the gvw with the tanks full and 1500lb of camping gear in the trailer. I don't travel with the tanks full, and I certainly don't have 1500lb of camping gear in the trailer. As for this being a lot of trailers, you obviously haven't been in this model and the dogs, well let's just say these are nothing more than kids to us.
In regard to the weights, I posted they are straight off of the weight bill, not sure what posting the bill will resolve. The weights posted are also from individual scale pads at the truck stop which are required to be in tolerance by the federal Gov't. I trust that the measurements are accurate and therefore can deduct the tongue weight from these numbers.
As for driving a vehicle with tacs, yes, I've driven for years with tac's, however they ALL had red lines on them, this one does not, and a 4cyl running at high rpm's is certainly not the same as a v8.
I do appreciate your input.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
78,181
Location
West Palm Beach, FL
In my opinion you are obsessing needlessly. Those are not excessive rpms and the transmission is just doing its job matching load to engine capability by selecting the most suitable gear. In a modern vehicle the tranny & engine computers are in constant communication to optimize performance & economy. Your 5.7L gas V8 hits its peak horsepower around 5600 rpms and peak torque around 4000 rpms. Running all day at those rpms will increase wear, but occasional bursts in those ranges are no cause for worry.
5.7L engine specs

It's also unnecessary to change the oil after a 500 mile trip, but it's your vehicle so suit yourself.

You would likely be happier with a diesel because the rpm numbers will be a much lower number. However, the engine red line is also much lower, so proportionally the situation would be much the same.
 
Last edited:

CharlesinGA

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 6, 2017
Posts
1,851
Location
50 miles south of Atlanta, GA
Well GVWR is just that, the MAX. Many people do not load a trailer to max, however, ALWAYS assume that the trailer will be operated at GVWR and you will not fall into a trap. First time you go out west, you will start hauling water. I always start out with a full tank and depending on the trip, keep it full. 1) I like my water from home more than the water I get elsewhere. Some campgrounds have some pretty nasty tasting/smelling water. 2) You never know when you are going to arrive somewhere and discover that the well has failed, pipe broken, etc and there is no water to be had, and 3) some trailers depending on the location of the water tank, tow better with it full (provided the manufacturer allows it, some actually do not allow tanks to be full when towing!) A water tank down underneath, well forward of the axles will help tremendously with adding tongue weight, and lowering the center of gravity which can be a life saver in potential rollover situations caused by high winds or other drivers forcing you to maneuver.

Over half the campgrounds I have been in do not have water, either at all, or not in individual sites, and I do not hook a hose to my trailer's city water connection, I fill the tank and work from it with the pump, never leaving the pump on unless I need water.

You said "1500 lbs of camping gear", but if the website is accurate, it has a cargo carrying capacity of 1002 lbs total, including gear, food, clothes, water, cookware, propane, everything you add to the trailer. There is a 32 lb discrepancy in the numbers as it has a 6900 lb GVWR and a dry, out the door of the factory weight of 5866 lbs which would make for a CCC of 1034 and not the 1002 they list as CCC. Possibly that is the battery, not sure. In any case, it would appear that you have a thousand to play with.

I will agree with you on tachs being difficult to read at times. The one in my '03 2500 RAM has tic marks that are red, but where the actual beginning of that, the red line is, is questionable. It was not a concern until I geared down going down a grade and possibly overspeed (sped?) the engine by a 100 rpm before I saw what was going on and stabbed the brake pedal. No longer an issue as I now have an exhaust brake. (Cummins diesel) Oddly the owners manual does not say what the redline is (who in the he11 is going to get a diesel to 3200 rpm anyhow? right)

Travel far and wide, time permitting. The Dakotas, Nebraska, and much of Wyoming is either flat or gently rolling countryside. The Black Hills was my first long trip and I highly recommend a week or so in and around the 'Hills.

Charles
 

DeckArtist

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 7, 2023
Posts
90
Location
Elmo, Texas
Yes, the milage is correct, and when I tow, I change the oil after each trip if it's longer than 500 miles. I only tow in the Tow/Haul mode never in regular OD mode.
You should have no concerns with only 5700 miles on the clock. Hemis and most other newer motors are designed to run at higher rpms than the older motors.
 

DeckArtist

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 7, 2023
Posts
90
Location
Elmo, Texas
Hey Charles, yes, the model you suggest on the trailer is correct, the weight you suggest is the gvw with the tanks full and 1500lb of camping gear in the trailer. I don't travel with the tanks full, and I certainly don't have 1500lb of camping gear in the trailer. As for this being a lot of trailers, you obviously haven't been in this model and the dogs, well let's just say these are nothing more than kids to us.
In regard to the weights, I posted they are straight off of the weight bill, not sure what posting the bill will resolve. The weights posted are also from individual scale pads at the truck stop which are required to be in tolerance by the federal Gov't. I trust that the measurements are accurate and therefore can deduct the tongue weight from these numbers.
As for driving a vehicle with tacs, yes, I've driven for years with tac's, however they ALL had red lines on them, this one does not, and a 4cyl running at high rpm's is certainly not the same as a v8.
I do appreciate your input.
There's no redline on the gauge because the motor's redline is set by a limiter in the software. Typically it is around 6200 rpm on the Hemi. My gauge goes to 7k on my 2020 Rebel but I doubt the motor would actually get there.
 

CharlesinGA

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 6, 2017
Posts
1,851
Location
50 miles south of Atlanta, GA
In MY case, the tach is marked with white hash marks and then red hash marks, so the redline begins at 3200 or 3300, not sure which (probably 3300) and MY concern with overspeeding was gearing down descending a grade, and the engine at idle but being over rev'ed. That is what prompted me to order the PacBrake (diesel exhaust brake) after I got home. Not going to happen again! Now I can drop into 4th (manual shift) and go down a 6% to 8% grade at 30 or 35 mph, never touching the brake, and holding 2300 to 2500 RPM which is the most efficient range for the exhaust brake to operate.

Gary is correct, over rev limiters were one of the very first things built into computer engine controls, for good reason.

Downshifting and reving an engine to 4000 or cruising an engine at 2500 or 3000 is normal. The Ford V10 for example, loves to spin and makes many motor home owners nervous when they are climbing grades at 4000 rpm, but its the noise as much as the RPMs I'll bet.

Charles
 
Top Bottom