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2008 Dakota SXT towing

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8 replies to this topic

#1 dakota2112

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Posted March 19, 2010 at 07:37 am

I have a 2008 Dakota SXT Extended Cab 4x2 with the 3.7L and 6-speed manual transmission and I am trying to ascertain the towing capacity. I cannot find this listed in the owners manual nor on any of the door stickers etc.

The Dodge website lists standard tow capacities for 2010 and 2009 models only, at least from what I could find browsing their site. They list the base model 2009 Dakota (with 3.7 and 6-speed) as having a standard tow capacity of 4700 lbs.

So I contacted Dodge at their hotline and they looked up my VIN and they're telling me my 2008 has a tow capacity of 3250 lbs.

Assuming both of these figures are correct, why in the world would the 2008 have such a significantly lower tow rating than the 2009? As far as I know, these are nearly identical trucks - same cab, same bed, same engine, same transmission, and I am pretty sure (but not certain) they have the same axle ratio (3.21). What am I missing here?

Edited by dakota2112, March 19, 2010 at 11:53 am.

#2 dakota2112

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Posted March 19, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Ok further research indicates that the standard axle ratio on the 2009 Dakota went to 3.55... figures, just my luck.

#3 Trailmaster


    Move Over Plymouth Aproaching Rapidly

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Posted March 21, 2010 at 09:05 pm

The axle ratio could have some to do with it, also some things you didn't mention that could have a lot to do with it are the frame, springs and brakes, these have a lot to do with the tow capacity of the truck.

#4 boxdin

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Posted May 7, 2010 at 04:47 pm

My 2004 4.7 5sp 4wd reg cab 6.5 bed pulls a 3500lb 5th wheel very well. 15mpg towing, 21 empty. IMO, dakotas got lighter equip in the 2005 re-do, plus as you notice towing info was sparse. This will be my last newer truck as I like to shift gears and newer trucks don't offer manual trans. Love these 04 style Dakotas, best of the breed !!

#5 PCRMike

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Posted May 22, 2010 at 04:33 pm

Mine is a 99, with a 9.25, and I have towed over 5K with it, happily, (3.92 gears help a lot!) and swapped RT springs with an extra leaf into it. I had to move out of state, and it was a Godsend. I did have to replace the brake discs, and pads, but it was a definite help. The old v-6 with the 3.55 would comfortably do around 3K, but the lighter weight of the truck I would not want to try too much more. The 5K was the bed and a big tandem UHaul trailer with brakes.

#6 Rodger

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Posted December 16, 2010 at 01:04 am


If you speak with a Dodge Place remember they also want to
sell larger vehicles, hence the towing of a larger amount.

The number one place that sells and installs hitch's is U-Haul.
All they do is have the vehicle engineerly inspected to see
what the true legal Tow Spec's are and have a contacted vendor
make a unit that will match this information. Some of their
makers are Draw-Tite, Reese and Curt.

The U-Haul site will sell you a Frame Mounted Hitch that is
made for your Dakota which has a 5,000 pound rating ( they
only sell one design/version for the Dakota's ). If you
use the Weight Distribe Unit the ammount goes to a 7,500
pounds towing limit.

If you are going to tow more than a Lawn Mower Trailer get
the OEM sold Trailer Electric Plug that has the Seven Plugs
( The left Rear Light Harness plugs to the Left and the Right
Plugs to the Right ) and any brand of Trailer Brake Controller
( The Trailer Brake Controller is the Law to have ).

If you happen to pull more than the 5,000 pound amount, this is
OK from time to time since they quietly expect this from the users.
It is part of the built in "Safety Margin". If you do this remember,
"Loose Lips Sinks Ships".

Rodger & Gabby

#7 awyseguy

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Posted December 16, 2010 at 11:43 pm

I agree with Rodger.. If it's for occasional use.. I'll move what ever I need to.. I was a bit apprehensive when I was asked to move a triple axle flat bed.. But had no problem with it. Once..

#8 boxdin

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Posted March 15, 2011 at 07:15 pm

3500 lbs seems to me to be the limit, and I'm doing it 5th wheel stylePosted Image
This rig handles like the sports car of RVs

#9 Doug D

Doug D

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Posted March 16, 2011 at 09:53 am

Just remember regardless of the tow rating, legally you cannot exceed the CGVWR (Combined Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) - that is the truck, trailer and everything (including passengers in them). There is a misperception that adding air bags or a better suspension increases the CGVWR - it does not from a legal standpoint. Yes, those items do increase the true capability of the truck (physically) but not from a legal standpoint. If you were to have an accident, and the authorities suspect it is due to being overweight, the only thing they will check is the original OEM ratings - not anything that has been done aftermarket wise.

Example of how tow ratings are not accurate.

I have a 2006 Dodge Ram SLT Quad Cab Short bed Hemi w/3.55 gears. According to Dodge, my Ram has a tow rating of 7,750 lbs.

Let's look further:

CGVWR = 13,000 lbs (legal weight limit of truck & trailer loaded - this cannot be exceeded)
GVWR = 6,700 lbs
Weight Empty (no passengers or cargo) = 5,200 lbs
Payload Rating (GVWR - empty weight) = 1,500 lbs (now subtract the weight of any passengers - say 500 lbs) and now the "true" payload rating is 1,000 lbs
Actual towing rating (CGVW - GVWR) = 6,300 lbs

So how did Dodge come up with a 7,750 lb tow rating for my Ram? Simple - they used the difference between the CGVWR and the empty weight rating, not the GVWR. They are not "wrong". but as the owner you need to realize you need to factor in payload (passengers included), tongue weight and 10%-20% safety margin to get your "true" tow rating.

The following link has a good calculator for towing. It's more or less for those towing travel trailers but the concept applies regardless of what you are towing:



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