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Discussion Starter #1
Hello

my current tow vehicle has died. I really like the RAM 1500 crew cab design, and since this will primarily be used for commuting with some towing am considering the V6 eight speed.

Some questions that I have not been able to get answered well at the dealership will hopefully be answered better by the experts here at allpar.

There are two options listed for rear axle, 3.21 and 3.55, with the 3.21 having 4300 lb towing and the 3.55 having a rating of 6050 lbs. If I remember correctly from looking at the brochure last night.

The dealer reported they cannot order the V6 and the 3.55 axle.

My trailer weighs about 4400 lbs empty and I expect we load about 500 to 600 lbs in it for a total weight of 5000 lbs or so.

Some questions,

With the eight speed transmission can I use 5th or 6th gear as the maximum and run at a better rpm for power while towing for long distances? for example leave it in 6th all day, not just for a short time to climb a hill or other short term use.

If so is there really a difference in the 3.21 and the 3.55, for example use 5th gear (1.29 ratio) with the 3.21 (2800 rpm at 60 mph) and 6th gear (1.00 ratio) with the 3.55 ( 2450 rpm at 60 mph)?

Is there a strength difference in the axle itself between the 3.21 and the 3.55?


Thanks for your input.
 

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I don't know specifics, but those gear ratios are the same as the 9¼" axle has had for the last 30+ years. If I had to guess, both are a 9¼", and probably there's no difference in the housing, differential carrier (if they're both the same type, ie, limited slip or open), or axle shafts. There could realistically be differences in brakes, and obviously the ring and pinion gears, and if there is a limited slip on one and an open on the other, then that would be different.
 

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Those towing weights are a little too close for comfort, perhaps? I'd probably just go for the V8 Ram (4.7 flex fuel) with its 7,250 tow rating. Gas mileage shouldn't be too different (5 mpg less on the highway according to the website). The V8 will probably last longer as it's less strained than a V6 towing a trailer. The 4.7 V8 has more torque -- about 25% more.

And you can get the 3.55 or 3.92 with the 4.7 liter V8.

But according to the website, you can order the V6 with the 3.55 rear axle so I think the dealership is wrong.
 

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I agree, the web site does show it. And the limited slip is a separate option from the gear ratio. But they've had incorrect info on the web before.
 

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jd_1138 said:
Those towing weights are a little too close for comfort, perhaps? I'd probably just go for the V8 Ram (4.7 flex fuel) with its 7,250 tow rating. Gas mileage shouldn't be too different (5 mpg less on the highway according to the website). The V8 will probably last longer as it's less strained than a V6 towing a trailer. The 4.7 V8 has more torque -- about 25% more.

And you can get the 3.55 or 3.92 with the 4.7 liter V8.

But according to the website, you can order the V6 with the 3.55 rear axle so I think the dealership is wrong.
If one is considering a V8, you might as well go with the Hemi - more hp (390), torque (407) and higher tow rating as well as better fuel mileage than the 4.7L. With theHemi/ 6 speed fuel mileage is rated 14/20 and with the 8 speed (late availability) it's 15/21. Depending on the rear gears tow rating is 7,150 (3.21), 9,150 (3.55 or 3.92). Those figure are with a regular cab. Quad Cab is 6,750 (3.21), 8,750 (3.55), 10,250 (3.92). Keep in mind the tow ratings don't take into account any safety margins and tongue weight.

My '06 1500 SLT QC SB 4x2 w/Hemi - 545RFE is rated 7,750 tow rating. But by the time you factor in the safety margins the true toe rating is 5,000 lbs.

The following link is a good guide for figuring how much you can tow:

http://changingears.com/rv-sec-calc-trailer-weight-tt.shtml

With the V6/8 speed/3.55 I think you'd be coming real close (if not exceeding it) to the max tow rating by the time you factor in the safety margins and tonque weight. With the 3.21 gears the trailer would be too heavy.

jd makes a good point about the V6 having to work harder almost all the time compared the 4.7 or 5.7.

In my opinion the V6/8 speed is just a little too close for comfort to tow what the OP needs to tow. Remember it not just the hp/torque, but also the brakes and suspension.
 

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Yeah, Doug, it probably would make sense to just get the Hemi if someone's talking V8 Ram. And the Hemi is only $750 more than the Pentastar V6. Plus it'd probably have better resale value than the Pentastar.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the replies so far.

Anyone know when the 8 speed might be available behind the hemi? I read that was worth 2 or 3 mpg over the 6 speed.

I would like to have a new vehicle by summer, but can wait if needed. We are really looking only at the crew cab truck option now, Had an extended cab that died, and the kids knees were beginning to bump the seat backs.
 

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I think the Hemi / 8 speed will be late in the production run if I remember correctly - later this summer I think.

If you want real good towing ability AND good fuel mileage, wait for the '14 1500 diesel........ rumor is well above the 25 mpg hwy of the V6 / 8 speed.
 

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I'd contact a different dealer to find out about the axle. If the 3.55 axle with that tow rating is available with the 3.6, that's probably the best choice for only occasional towing, and is something that I've kept in the back of my mind as with trailer brakes, it would be enough for a B-body on a car trailer.
 

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TWX said:
I'd contact a different dealer to find out about the axle. If the 3.55 axle with that tow rating is available with the 3.6, that's probably the best choice for only occasional towing, and is something that I've kept in the back of my mind as with trailer brakes, it would be enough for a B-body on a car trailer.
Another factor is how long the OP's commute is. According to the specs, the Pentastar gets 4 mpg more (24 mpg) than the Hemi or 4.7 liter on the highway (20 mpg). So let's say he commutes 100 miles a day via mostly highway, the V8 Ram would use 5 gallons per day in gas, and the Pentastar would use 4.2 gallons. That is a cost savings of about $2.80 per day times 20 days a month equaling $56 more per month to drive the V8 (Hemi or 4.7 V8).

He might be able to recoup that if he goes to resale a Ram Hemi -- probably higher resale value. Also, of course, we don't know the exact details of his commute or how often he needs it to tow. But, the resale value of a Hemi, the added towing ability, and the probable longer life of a V8 in a towing truck may add up to mean more to him than the savings in gas? Who knows. Plus if his trailer doesn't have brakes, he will have to buy a kit and add it if he wants to go with the V6 Ram.

Lots of options to consider. Also, if his commute is super long, it might make more sense to get the Hemi Ram, and then just buy a nice used economy car that gets 40 mpg highway. If the commute is long enough, he will save enough on fuel and wear and tear on his brand new Dodge Ram to more than make the payment on the economy car. And a smaller car is usually easier to drive in traffic.
 

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Don't forget about insurance though. Sometimes it does not make sense to have an extra vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The first reason I looked at the v6 is the highway mileage, I do currently have a 95 mile commute, mostly rural driving. The two vehicle that died got about 19-20 mpg unloaded. So a 20 percent increase in unloaded mpg would be nice. Cost for insurance is about $60 per month with multi vehicle discounts.

The trailer does have brakes, and weighs 4400 lbs empty, we put about 500 lbs of stuff in there when we go. Typically would tow about 4 times a year. With one trip of maybe 1000 miles, and the others more local less than 200 miles.

Hope to find a new job that will have a shorter commute, both for time to spend with the family and $ going to the gasoline tank.
 

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I know it would be a bit of a wait, but given your needs (towing/fuel mileage), I'd wait for the 2014 1500 Diesel. With the diesel you'll get even better fuel mileage than the V6 and it should have a tow rating equal to or better than the 4.7 or Hemi. Even the fuel mileage while towing will be better - that's where a diesel really shines.
 

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How does the purchase price of the 3.6L truck with the eight-speed compare to the V8 options? I'm gathering that you drive until the wheels fall off, so resale isn't as big of a factor as cost-to-buy and cost-to-operate. If you need to buy before the small diesel 1500 becomes a viable option, if the 3.6 would meet your needs then that's probably the most cost-efficient option.

I'm a little biased I guess, but we used to tow three ATVs on a single-axle flatbed trailer up from the desert basin to the Colorado Plateau with a four-cylinder body-on-frame SUV, so I guess that I'm less concerned with how good the towing is as long as it'll move the load at all. I don't think that this near-300-hp V6 will give you any issues compared to the 100hp vehicle we towed with though.
 

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TWX said:
How does the purchase price of the 3.6L truck with the eight-speed compare to the V8 options? I'm gathering that you drive until the wheels fall off, so resale isn't as big of a factor as cost-to-buy and cost-to-operate. If you need to buy before the small diesel 1500 becomes a viable option, if the 3.6 would meet your needs then that's probably the most cost-efficient option.

I'm a little biased I guess, but we used to tow three ATVs on a single-axle flatbed trailer up from the desert basin to the Colorado Plateau with a four-cylinder body-on-frame SUV, so I guess that I'm less concerned with how good the towing is as long as it'll move the load at all. I don't think that this near-300-hp V6 will give you any issues compared to the 100hp vehicle we towed with though.
3 ATV's on a single-axle trailer is a lot less weight than the 5,000 or so that the original poster is needing to tow. Plus being able to do something is different than being able to do it safely.
 

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Okay, well, considering that my car is capable of towing 5000lb with a load-levelling hitch and technically with less horsepower (albeit more torque) I expect this truck could handle it.
 

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TWX said:
Okay, well, considering that my car is capable of towing 5000lb with a load-levelling hitch and technically with less horsepower (albeit more torque) I expect this truck could handle it.
Yep, torque is more important than hp when towing. What kind of car do you have -- a Ford Crown Victoria or something?
 

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jd_1138 said:
Yep, torque is more important than hp when towing. What kind of car do you have -- a Ford Crown Victoria or something?
1995 Chevy Impala SS. 260hp, 330lb torque. about 14,000 miles on it now, so the engine should still be putting out peak power.

And yes, I know, the Impala was not considered to be as strong for towing as the Caprice, but that's correctable with the right helper airbags in the rear coils, which I plan to do.
 

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jd_1138 said:
Yeah, Doug, it probably would make sense to just get the Hemi if someone's talking V8 Ram. And the Hemi is only $750 more than the Pentastar V6. Plus it'd probably have better resale value than the Pentastar.
I've got a 4.7 in a Dakota. It's slightly too little engine in the Dak. I would not put one in a Ram. I think they just ended production on the 4.7 - probably not really an option much longer anyway.
 

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oOOOo said:
I've got a 4.7 in a Dakota. It's slightly too little engine in the Dak. I would not put one in a Ram. I think they just ended production on the 4.7 - probably not really an option much longer anyway.
The 4.7 in the Ram was not bad. Especially the last version which had over 300 hp (310?). Had a '10 Ram SLT as a loaner (the black one in my avatar) that had the more powerful 4.7L. While it was no Hemi, it still had decent adequate power. Know of several 4.7L Ram's used for towing - they all did fine. The Hemi has the advantage though - more hp/torque and slightly better fuel mileage. I actually liked the exhaust note of the 4.7 over the Hemi - seemed to be more mellow and smoother. Hemi is more brash.

With the diesel in the works, the new Pentastar V6 and Hemi available, it does not surprise me to see the 4.7 cease production.
 
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