Posted: 03/17/15 02:33 PM
I bought a 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 V8 5.7L that I will be using for my junk removal business with a 14'X7' enclosed tandem axel trailer. I was just wondering if or what I should do to my truck to help with towing the trailer. The trailer weighs 2000lbs empty and 7000lbs fully loaded. Should I get leaf springs, air bags, all terrain tires, etc.? Will my transmission be fine towing this much weight with a half ton truck regularly?
Thanks guys and girls,
Posted: 03/17/15 11:06 PM
This is coming from someone who has towed many thousands of miles with a 1999-2005 GM 1/2 ton and now, a 2000 F350 Diesel, along with a myriad of other vehicles of varying years, ratings, and trailers from small to huge. Tow weights have been from incredibly light, to way overloaded.
My personal recommendations:
1. Load range E tires. Why chance with P rated stuff? More confidence, stiffer sidewall, better control. I switched to E's on my 1/2 ton and have never looked back. Don't do 20" wheels with low profile tires. Your ride will suffer! Get a tire with a sidewall more than an inch!
2. Air bags with on-board compressor. 10-20# unloaded, 70-100 loaded. Smooths out ride with or without trailer. Way more comfortable. Make sure to use a dual control setup, one paddle/control per bag, not one for both! Trust me, there's a difference.
3. If you are towing that often, find an AirSafe air ride hitch. I have a Class V version, rated to 14,000#. Use it on 1/2 and 1 ton and the difference is insane vs a solid hitch! Once you tow with this, you will NEVER tow with a solid hitch again. You can find on Craigslist every so often for about $500 or on Ebay. Have not used load distribution yet with it, but have before. If you find one across the country, shipping is about $125, as they are not light!
Use this link to search Craigslist nationwide for Airsafe:
4. Use load distributing hitch if you can, of which, Airsafe has a height adjustable adapter for use with your load distribution hitch. May also have sway control, USE IT. Again, can find on Craigslist for way less than new.
5. Use a GOOD electric brake controller for your trailer.
6. Put LT tires on your trailer. Almost every ST/Trailer tire is made in China and most are crap. Not cheap, but stuck on the side of the road loaded sucks beyond comparison!
7. Synthetic fluids/greases/oils.....EVERYWHERE POSSIBLE.
8. (bigger)Transmission cooler or bigger pan. Keep it cool!!
Your truck is rated for that weight, or it should be, as my 2005 GM is, although just. Regardless, just take it easy, don't pull hills on overdrive, and let the motor do the work. You really shouldn't need 1/2 of things up above, but there is no harm in trying to make things last longer. The rest are for comfort and control. You won't know you're missing those things until you use them for a week and then don't use them the next week. Don't lug your motor, all you will do is build heat. When you tow up a hill, do not go maximum speed, go just below to where if you press the pedal, you can still accelerate. Do NOT use anything lower than midgrade gas, your motor will not like you very much for very long. If you have a towing mode in your truck, use it, makes shifting quicker and harder, reducing heat build up in transmission. Maybe a programmer with a towing tune, but maybe not. I use one on my diesel, but not on my gas truck.
My mileages on my trucks: 210k on GM, original transmission and rear end, only motor work has been a water pump. 260k miles on Ford 7.3 diesel, also a water pump, but transmission and rear end original, both tow right up to and once in a while, beyond rated weight. Would hop in either truck and two max weight across country in a heartbeat.