There’s an expression that you can’t put the cart before the horse.
The same is true for a fifth wheel or travel trailer and a truck.
For whatever reason it’s taken us awhile to decide if we should continue researching larger rigs (cart) when we don’t yet have the truck (horse).
We are firm believers that everything happens for a reason, so we’re confident that, if we’re meant to find a new RV, then we won’t find the right one before we find the right truck.
“What if” still tends to resonate, though. But we don’t believe in what-ifs!
Even still, finding a horse has been elusive. And although we don’t exactly need a new truck right now, we have a long trip coming up over the summer and we’ll be towing all over the country. We’d like to have a stronger truck, whether or not we get a larger rig, if for no other reason but to feel safer and have better control when towing.
But what should we go with?
First of all, Ford and Chevrolet/GMC are not even considerations for us. The overall muscle, room, and comfort just isn’t there. We’ve owned Fords and Chevys enough to know we don’t want to go with them again, and Mama ‘Skiy’s parents work in construction and have seen enough trucks and heard enough stories to know they would never own anything other than a Ram. It’s true that the Silverado has more-responsive pickup, but we’d much prefer steady, consistent power than quick get-up-and-go. It’s a truck, after all, not a sports car. Plus, our experience at dealerships for either of the other brands has not been overly positive, including one filling us full of so much bull just to try to sell us a truck that he never considered that what he told us was not only an outright lie but also dangerous because that particular truck couldn’t safely tow what he claimed. So it goes without saying that we’re sticking with Ram. Others have differing opinions, and that is totally fine. This is just our opinion based on research and experience, and it’s not one up for debate.
Done with the rant. Now back to the horse hunt.
We love the Ram 3500 mega cab. That extra 12-18 inches of room behind the back seat and that row’s ability to lay flat are quite enticing. Seriously, the back seat turns into space for a full-size blow-up mattress!
The negative? It only comes as a short bed. Due to the extra length of the cab there is no long-bed version of the mega cab, and although we haven’t chosen any particular rig model we’re fairly certain it would be safest if we got a truck with a long bed because, regardless, we know that rig will be a fifth wheel. So it would seem the mega cab is out of the running.
It looks like we need to go with a longbed 3500. The issue — if we should call it that — is that we’ve never driven such a long vehicle before. Ever. It’s true that we currently tow a 30-ft travel trailer behind our Ram 1500, but that’s not the same because there’s flex where the rig attaches to the bumper.
Furthermore, since we may eventually upgrade to a fifth wheel, we also think it would be best to get a truck with a dual-wheel axle (aka dually). The extra width of the truck would allow for more stability while towing.
So not only are we now looking for a longer truck, but also a wider one.
Is anyone else as nervous about this much truck as we are?!
Okay, so we’re not nervous, per se. But when you’ve never driven anything longer than 229 inches and you’re transitioning to a 260-inch beast of a truck, it’s easy to be intimidated! That is, after all, an extra two-and-a-half feet.
Now that we’ve gotten past the beauty aspect, we need to consider the brains and brawn.
Most of the Ram 3500 longbed trucks tow an average of 17,000 pounds, depending on the year, axle ratio, engine size…
There is a Ram 3500 that tows even more: those with the high-output (HO) Cummins diesel engine and 6-speed automatic AISIN transmission. That puppy can tow an average of 25,000 pounds!
When you’re an RVer considering any form of tow-behind rig, there’s an unwritten rule to never tow a rig that weights more than 80-85% of your truck’s GVWR towing capability. One of the reasons you need the extra 15-20% for wiggle room is to help decrease sway from passing trucks or wind shear and instability from cargo not being evenly or properly distributed. You also don’t want the additional strain on either vehicle. You should never max out on your truck’s tow capacity.
With that said, if we were to ever go with something like a 40-ft-long fifth-wheel toy hauler, then we’re looking at a rig with a GVWR of anywhere between 15,000-21,000 pounds.
We’re not certain that we’d ever go with a toy hauler or something so big, but we want to err on the side of caution and consider the possibility. And since regular fifth wheels don’t need the muscle to carry golf carts, motorcycles, or other toys, that type would have a considerably lower GVWR.
Therefore, we’ve finally narrowed down that we need to look for a Ram 3500 Laramie or Longhorn (we like the bells and whistles) longbed dually with the HO Cummins diesel and at least a 3.73 axle ratio.
Phew…that’s a mouthful!
It’s with confidence that we can say we’ve figured out what kind of horse we need to get. The next challenge is finding an affordable one within our budget.
Again, what’s meant to be will be.