What?s the larges 5er you are towing with your Ram 2500 Diesel?

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MR V

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My wife and are in the market for a 35+ feet toy hauler fifth wheel toy hauler.  The weights on these are huge.  So I want to see what others are able to tow with a Ram 2500 Diesel.  I know what the book says, but I want to know what you are towing.  Mine is a 2002 Ram 2500, short box, quad cab with the 6 speed manual transmission.  It has a few performance upgrades (K&N air filter, larger exhaust and the EZ box).  Anyone who has Ram 2500 Diesel, I want to know what the largest fifth wheel toy hauler you are towing.  Please include the following information:

Truck:  Year, trans (manual/auto), short box/long box, is it a 2500? anything modification you did to the truck (performance or suspension), and anything else you want to add or I should know.

Trailer:  Year, make, model, length, dry hitch weight, dry gross weight, GVWR, what are you hauling in your trailer (dirt/street bike(s), ATVs, other)? 

Comments:  Do you feel comfortable with what you are towing?  Do you feel you need something larger for what you are towing.  Anything else you want to add.

Thanks!
 

Bill_Frisbee

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I am a genuine newbie to the world of RVing ... so take what I have to say with appropriate skepticism. I have a friend who is hauling a 2005 Montana 3400RL (37', 13950 GVWR, 1770 on the pin) with what I believe is a 2004 or 2005 short-box Ram 2500, SRW, Cummins Diesel. Don't know the specs on the truck other than that. I am also hauling a 2005 Montana 3400 RL with a 2005 short-box Ram 3500, SRW, Cummins Diesel, auto. I certainly have no concerns about the ability of truck to pull the load. A couple of weeks ago, I hauled the RV up out of the Mohawk River Valley in upstate New York. I started at 50 mph at the bottom of the hill and was close to 60 mph at the top. The Cummins is a beast!  As several others on this forum have stated, the issue that concerns me to a much greater degree is whether I have enough truck to CONTROL the RV properly. Perhaps I am either naive or overly cautious ... but hauling an RV that weighs at least 2 tons more than the tow vehicle definitely has my undivided attention! 

Bill
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I have seen Ram 2500's hauling fivers in the 17,000 lb range.  There is no question the Cummins 5.9L can move it. Whether it can be adequately controlled and stopped and whether the transmission, rear axle, etc. will last a "normal" lifespan is perhaps another question.  Most Dodge 2500 owners are quite happy, though.
 

Ron

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What can be towed behind any given truck and what can be towed legally and safely are two different things.  The truck manufacturer provides the weight ratings.  Exceeding these ratings places the operator and any passengers as well as others on the road near them at risk of injury or worse in addition to exposing the operatorowner to serious liability issues.  Check the weight ratings for your truck and don't exceed them.  I know some folks do it but they are taking a big chance. 

 

Bill_Frisbee

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Ron ...

I agree completely. The max towing capacity for my Ram 3500 is listed by the manufacturer as 13, 950 lbs. The max GVWR on the RV is 13, 960 lbs. with a Dry Weight of 11,380 lbs. Since we are newbies and not doing any extended trips (yet), we carry very little in the RV that did not come from the dealer. My guess is that we would be hard pressed to reach 1,000 lbs of "additional" weight, the heaviest items being the two 6' 2X6s I carry to level the unit. And, contrary to the advice of some, I do not travel with water in the fresh water tank. As a result, I feel reasonably confident that we are well within the prescribed weight limitations as far as towing capacity is concerned ... which does not stop me from being paranoid about the issue of properly controlling the RV on the highway. My basic rule is, "if it is not absolutely necessary, we do not need it. If it is absolutely necessary, find a light-weight version that is acceptable for our use." To my wife's dismay, I do not consider china dishes, cups, etc. to be a "necessity". There are some lovely light-weight items available that I consider to be perfect for the RV and which double as unbreakable Frisbees when the grandkids are around!!!! 

The other thing that I am doing (that is dismissed as totally unnecessary by some other RVers I know) is getting formal training for a Class A license ... the designation in Ontario required to drive a commercial semi. Seems to me that for my own safety and that of others around me on the highways, it is an exercise well worth the investment in time and money.

Bill
 

Carl L

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Bill_Frisbee said:
Ron ...

The other thing that I am doing (that is dismissed as totally unnecessary by some other RVers I know) is getting formal training for a Class A license ... the designation in Ontario required to drive a commercial semi. Seems to me that for my own safety and that of others around me on the highways, it is an exercise well worth the investment in time and money.

Bill

Maybe.  However, I would be very cautious about actually getting a license for that classification.  Check with your insurance agent about what that will do to your automobile insurance rates and policy provisions.
 

Ron

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Sounds like you have covered all your bases.  I would recommend you take Carl's advise about checking with your insurance to see if having a CDL could cause any undesirable affects on your insurance rates.  One would think it shouldn't but better safe than sorry.
 

Bill_Frisbee

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The law in Ontario - a law that is apparently widely ignored by drivers, RV dealers who insist even when asked directly that there are no special driver's license requirements, and various enforcement officials - is that anyone towing any vehicle that has a GVWR in excess of 4600 kgs (10,120 lbs) is required to have a class A license. The fact is that there is not a single Montana 5th wheel on the lot where I bought my RV that has a GVWR less than 4600 kgs. I have paid attention to many discussions on this forum and others involving issues related to properly controlling RVs on the highway, the increasing weight of the RVs being made available, bigger and more powerful tow vehicles, etc. I am convinced that it is only a matter of time before it occurs to someone that, in many cases, an old guy like me who has never driven anything more intimidating than a 4-door Buick with cruise control is suddenly piloting 10 - 11 tons of motor home or some combination of tow vehicle and trailer/5th wheel down the highwayat 65 mph. When that light goes on - one hopes it does not require a bad accident for that to occur - and the right person decides to champion a change, some form of training will be required and an appropriate license issued to those who meet necessary standards. I am doing it for two reasons ... first, it IS the law and second, it is my responsibility to know as much and be as safe on the highway as possible. The training I am taking is the avenue open to me at the moment in Ontario. If it impacts on my insurance rates (as a guy who has spent many dollars modifying Jeeps for driving off-road, I know a thing or two about the nonsense that passes for "company policy" in the auto insurance industry), then I will certainly send my broker on a search for a better deal. If none is available, then I will have to consider it a cost of being an RVer and get on with my life.

Bill
   
 

Jim Dick

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Bill,

It sounds to me like you are a very concerned RVer which is not rare on this forum but quite rare overall. Good for you!!!

If you feel more comfortable with a class A license then go for it as long as you don't mind any increase in insurance fees that might occur. I have done orientations with individuals that make me very uncomfortable with them on the road. Nothing I can do about it but I would like to see more formal training required for driving a huge rig though it doesn't necessarily have to be a CDL. There obviously are many individuals who don't really need the training and do quite well.

When we owned our first Bounder we belonged to a couple of clubs. I remember vividely talking with one couple who obviously had their rig overloaded. My wife casually mentioned this possibility to the wife and her response was "oh, we don't get weighed". I made sure they were never close to me on the road! 
 

Ron

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Bill,

Since the law where you are located dictates that thou shall have a class A license then realistically you have no choice but to comply with that law, regardless of what the effect is on insurance.  I would think that one should not be penalized for  taking actions to make themselves more competent safer drivers.  I commend you for your diligence in complying with your local laws.  Obviously you are the type individual we all welcome on the highways. 

Sam & I both have the class B license required by Texas for rigs 26001 lbs and over.  This required passing a written exam, take from the CDL test and a driving test in our Eagle.  We had no problem with compling with that law either.  The ones that make me nervous are those that feel the laws are only applicable to the other guy and not themselves. :D  Saw a motorhome going past Sam's Camp the other day obviously at least 70 ft long including the very large over width boat and the large SUV being towed behind it.  I'm not really sure how he negotiated the turns he had to make to get on the truck bypass.

 

Bill_Frisbee

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Hi, Jim ...

I agree with the notion that the same license as the person who drives a big commercial semi for a living is a bit ridiculous ... actually, it is a lot ridiculous ... but it is the only option currently available in Ontario and, as I indicated above, it is the law. Fortunately, the Department of Motor Vehicles has come to its senses to the point where I will be allowed to road test with my own truck and RV. There was a time not long ago, apparently, when I would have been required to test on a true 18-wheeler ... including demonstrating my capacity to back it up to a loading dock at my local Loblaws!

I hope it is only a matter of time before something between a commercial 18-wheeler driver's license and the same license that permits Joe Blow to drive his Honda Civic to the local donut shop can be developed for RV owners ... something that ensures at least a modicum of demonstrated skill and knowledge as well as some minimum level of physical capacity before us grandpas and grandmas are permitted to pilot 20,000 lbs of steel and aluminum down the Interstate to Florida! It would also be nice if that could be accomplished without having auto insurance companies driving rates off the charts for those who have demonstrated their competence.

Bill

 

caltex

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Ron, you are probably one of the few in Texas that are complying with the law.  Most of those that I talked to (including the dealer) swear that no special license is required. "If all else fails read the directions" worked for me in this instance, I read the book and decided to make myself legal.
 

Jim Dick

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Hi Bill,

Since we live in Florida we are well aware of the many RVs traveling in that state. :) I must say though, there are "relatively few" accidents involving RVs compared to the driving public in general. We were at a rally in PA where one of their State Troopers gave a talk about safety on the highway. He said that in his almost 30 years of work he had never investigated a serious RV accident. He also said "you must be doing something right". Obviously there are some and they can be devastating for all involved. Given that I still agree some sort of licensing would be nice just to ensure each driver is capable of handling the rig.

 

Ron

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caltex said:
Ron, you are probably one of the few in Texas that are complying with the law.? Most of those that I talked to (including the dealer) swear that no special license is required. "If all else fails read the directions" worked for me in this instance, I read the book and decided to make myself legal.

You know what they say DON'T believe anything the dealer tells you even license requirements. ;D ;D
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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The max GVWR on the RV is 13, 960 lbs. with a Dry Weight of 11,380 lbs.

Since you are obviously concerned with safety and want to do everything proper, you should get your rig weighed ASAP.  The dry weights posted in brochures or on the trailer itself are usually generic for the model and often do not include optional equipment, even factory installed stuff.  Even modest items like a slide topper or extra TV can add up.  A weigh-in can tell you a lot about your rig.
 

Rottweiler

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a friend I work with had the same truck as you and was towing a 36' 5th wheel.  He had the performance upgrades as you did, he also added the air bags in the suspension.  He towed everywhere with that setup.  He recently bought a new 2005 dually Dodge diesel.  His new truck is a 6 speed standard tranny, his last truck was an Auto.
 

Bill_Frisbee

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Bill_Frisbee said:
Have sent an email to my broker re the insurance impacts of the Class A license. Will post the answer here when I receive it.

Just received an email from my broker. The Class A will have no impact on my insurance. All the company cares about is that I am a properly  licensed driver.
 

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