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Doug D said:
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.
The 4.7 in the Dak isn't bad either. It's a 2000, so my hp is nowhere near 300, more like 230 hp. Moderately fun to drive unloaded, especially w/ the manual gearbox. Fully loaded, up a hill, highway speed ... more like work. ;) Wasn't a bad choice, the 5.9 only offered 20 more horses, and probably would have ruled out the 5-spd and I don't want to think about the mileage. I did test drive a 6 bolted to an auto before I spec'ed out the order. Not sure if it was the 2.5 or 3.9 probably the 2.5, but absolutely zero regrets not choosing either 6-cylinder. Keep in mind those were all y2k engines.
 

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oOOOo said:
The 4.7 in the Dak isn't bad either. It's a 2000, so my hp is nowhere near 300, more like 230 hp. Moderately fun to drive unloaded, especially w/ the manual gearbox. Fully loaded, up a hill, highway speed ... more like work. ;) Wasn't a bad choice, the 5.9 only offered 20 more horses, and probably would have ruled out the 5-spd and I don't want to think about the mileage. I did test drive a 6 bolted to an auto before I spec'ed out the order. Not sure if it was the 2.5 or 3.9 probably the 2.5, but absolutely zero regrets not choosing either 6-cylinder. Keep in mind those were all y2k engines.
The 2.5 was a 4 cylinder engine. That's what was great about the Dakota lineup. You could choose either a 4 banger, a V6 or several sizes of V8 depending on use case scenario. Someone living in the flat midwest with modest hauling needs could get the 4 cyl and save a little on gas and enjoy an easier to work on power plant.
 

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This article from Edmunds speaks well about the Pentastar in the Ram 1500 on the subject of towing. http://www.edmunds.com/ram/1500/2013/comparison-test.html

They towed a 23 ft. trailer weighing over 5700 lbs. The Ram performed better than the Ford in the test going up the Jacumba grade. I should be getting my Ram 1500 V6 next week and I will be towing a hybrid trailer with a GVWR of 4950 lbs. I used the Changing Gears towing capacity calculator to check the weights against the max rating and the max rating with 10% safety margin.

After break-in, I will follow up with some observations on Ram Pentastar towing.
 

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Great link for this thread and an excellent article by Edmunds. For the OPs goals & uesage the Pentastar & 3.55 gear would be the best overall configuration. The 4.7 is a good durable engine, I love the Hemi 8, and plan to order a 14 with the lil ecodiesel. All would serve him well but again looking at his current uesage & goals looking solely at the facts. If he towed more often & could afford to wait then maybe the Ecodiesel.

My only concern & thought is the weaker for Pentastar only 8 speed is rather untested as for long term reliability at least when combined with the harsh use it may see here in a truck. It could be expensive to repair and I would not do it except for the 5 year 100,000 mile power train warranty with free towing & transferability. Notice most foreign companies dont warranty their powertrains this well.

Like the OP I research & buy what I want not what I can find locally for cheap, and then maintain & keep them a long time. We had 6 drivers & no less than 7 vehicles at our house for several years so burning through them wasn't an option. In fact if I bought & kept this truck at the 100k mark I would buy an extended warranty to cover the next 100k.

Maintained unabused domestic gas motors routinely run 250,000 miles before electronic problems a failed transmission or other non cost effective repairs make them.. well not always cost effective to repair. I would expect no less from Pentastar & 8 speed & Ram. Just rust proof it good, keep the salt brine off of it & inspect & maintain the under carriage from time to time.
 

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Doug D said:
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.
BINGO!!!
This is the correct answer!
 

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Bingo? Aren't you ahead of yourself Norm.. that bingo ball hasn't been sucked into the tube yet. :). I read OP to say his current tow vehicle has died, it's primarily to be a commuter with only about 4 tows a year, and that he would like to have it by summer. As in 2013 not 2014.
 

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My insurance ended up $75 cheaper per month then the V6 and $100 cheaper per month then the Hemi so I figure I am saving money with my 4.7 and It cost less to buy as well. I have more power then I need and I personally know of at least 10 4.7 Rams with over 300,000 miles and very little maintenance needed.
Good luck with your decision I know its a hard one.
****
 

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Ramfan said:
Bingo? Aren't you ahead of yourself Norm.. that bingo ball hasn't been sucked into the tube yet. :). I read OP to say his current tow vehicle has died, it's primarily to be a commuter with only about 4 tows a year, and that he would like to have it by summer. As in 2013 not 2014.
I would have preferred the V6 diesel as well; but, we needed it this summer, not next. Dart GT comes to mind when it comes to the timing of new launches.
 

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sebring96hbg said:
I would have preferred the V6 diesel as well; but, we needed it this summer, not next. Dart GT comes to mind when it comes to the timing of new launches.
There has not been a published release date yet, however, it will be sooner than next year. It's a great truck and worth the wait.
 

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We towed our new Jayco hybrid ultra lite camping trailer to a campground in Michaux state forest this past weekend. The approach is on a grade that is somewhat steep at two different points. The trailer weighed about 4350 lbs. We carried 450 lbs in extra passenger weight, 100 lbs for WDH and sway control bar and 50 lbs in gear.

This was just a familiarization trip. Next weekend's trip will takes us by a CAT scale and we will have the racks installed and bikes and canoe loaded. A proxy for this weight is 240 lbs of water which was loaded on the return trip.

We traded in our popup camper on Friday. It weighed about 2300 lbs dry and you would hardly know it was back there. With the new trailer, the weight and resistance is felt. Safe highway speeds are easily maintained on flats and slight grades. As the grade becomes increasingly steeper, the 8HP goes into a lower gear, the engine revs up to 3500 and engine noise is much more noticeable.

The towing was done in tow/haul mode with about 1000 miles on the truck. There was hardly any gear hunting. The TFT display was customized to show transmission temps. Engine and transmission temps stayed normal throughout the whole trip.

My truck is rated to tow 5800 lbs between trailer, passengers and cargo. I will be using most of this capacity for my camping trips. My comments above are just from one trip. We have some more trips over the next couple of months and more comments will follow
 

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That's good to know. I'm getting ready to tow with my new Wrangler and the 3.7 was really taxed to tow a pop up, it's going to be nice to have 85 additional HP, although the torque increase is not as great. The smaller torque increase has me worried, but the 5 speed is a big improvement over the 4 speed, so I'm optimistic.
 

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As a follow up, we went to Raystown Lake last week. We stayed at the Army Corps of Engineers Seven Points Campground nestled in the Alleghenies. The truck was loaded with mountain bikes, a canoe and kayak using Yakima rack equipment and CrashPad and the Jayco X23B was loaded with food, clothes and gear. Between the payload, inclusive of passengers, and trailer, I estimated about 5300 lbs. being towed.

The V6/TF8 combo performed well going up gradual and steep grades on approach to the ACoE Project. I did not notice any issue with temps. I simply tried to maintain a safe speed within the peak torque range. My Ram also handled the rather steep grade upon departing the Point Camp Loop with aplomb to my pleasant surprise. By then, I had already known that my 2013 Ram could pull an extra 900 lbs so long as I did not have to stop and put it in park.

Next week, I have a mostly flat land route to Assateague.

For our needs, the V6 has so far performed.
 

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The V6 Pentastar Ram should be fine for towing 4 times a year--unless he has to haul up and down hills. If so, upgrade to a V8 or diesel.
 

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dak4x4 said:
The V6 Pentastar Ram should be fine for towing 4 times a year--unless he has to haul up and down hills. If so, upgrade to a V8 or diesel.
We will be towing about two times per month during the camping season. The RAM V6/TF8 combo would definitely handle the OP's four times per year towing needs. My truck in the picture below has handled gradual steep grades and abruptly steep, but short, grades with a slight increase in temps. I think it can handle camping trailers with a GVWR of 5,000 lbs. or less. Mine has a GVWR of 4,950 lbs.


 

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Thanks for the follow up.
 

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I just seen this thread and thank you for the real world update.

I am more then sold on the 3.6 Ram! :w00t:
 

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I have a 92 Dakota 3.9L V-6 4-spd auto 4WD with club cab, 3.55 axle. My brother towed a 22' Catalina sailboat cross-country with it. I towed my 93 Daytona 200 miles with it (3500 lbs). It pulled strongly and still got 14 mpg with O/D off while towing.

I would not be afraid to tow moderate loads with the V-6 and 3.55 axle. I believe the dealer is wrong, I would check elsewhere and see if you can get this combo. I get 20 mpg empty.
 

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Obviously the 3.55 is available as it was used on the comparo. Many times I have found that dealers were absolutely dumb about the options available. Not a standard order package for that dealership and they were out to lunch. Visited a dealership late last year in Texas and I knew a whole lot more about the V6/8-speed combo than he did. They had one on the lot and did not even know where it was (or even what color it was). After they found it, I took it for a test drive and was very impressed with the power and fuel mileage I saw during the test. Salesman also was suprised at how well it performed. He was a five year employee and this was his first time in that combination.
 
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