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Old 10-27-2020, 02:02 AM   #1
BigFatFifthWheel
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Ram 3500 or 5500?

Hope everyone is doing well. We are looking to purchase a 5th wheel, in the 33-37foot range. New to towing/RVing, but as with many people, our work lives have changed drastically, and now's the time to hit the road for a while.



I have spec'd out 2 different builds on a 2020 Ram diesel, both coming in at a price I am comfortable with.



A few questions -- I don't need the additional payload capacity of a 5500, but I do like the significantly tighter steering, and tighter turning radius.


How much will this come into play for maneuverability in and around camp grounds/boondocking? I like the idea of the cab & chassis, to be a flat bed with gravity tank on the back, and not have to worry about the tailgate, bed rails, etc.



I don't like what the beefed up suspension will do to the ride (since we won't be using the payload capacity as it's intended) and will likely add air bags to the rear.



That being said, a nicely spec'd 3500 is another option, with or without rear air.



Will the tighter turning radius make that much of a noticeable difference?


Any real world experience from driver's who have had both trucks or driving experience with both would be awesome.
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Old 10-27-2020, 08:15 AM   #2
Notanlines
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I can only speak about the Ford F350/F450 and the difference in radius. It was the selling point that made my DW come to the F450, and she loves it over or older F350. It is considerably easier to maneuver everywhere.
You might also keep in mind that most truck manufacturers de-tune the 4504500/5500 commercial diesels (those with no bed) for product longevity. Don't talk to your salesman about this: He/she simply won't know. Do your own investigating. Your Cummins in the 5500 is probably a 800 torque/360 HP engine.
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Old 10-27-2020, 10:15 AM   #3
wingnut60
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Adding air bags to a suspension that is already too stiff for the load doesn't make sense to me. Or did I mis-understand what you are saying?
As Jim said, the C/C units of RAM and Ford are de-rated to keep multiple drivers from flogging the units...you will be disappointed with the performance of the de-tuned vs the regular models. Friend of mine with commercial units has gone to getting the pickups and pulling the beds to put flatbeds on them to get the more powerful engines.
And you definitely don't need the 5500 to pull a 37' fiver...
Another thought--most C/C units don't get the highest trim levels if that is what you would be wanting.
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Old 11-02-2020, 03:44 PM   #4
Goose_NC
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Remember when doing your truck builds, that the higher trims have less payload capacity. My 2020 RAM 3500 Tradesman 3500 crew cab long bed dually with the high oupt diesel and Aisin tranny has a payload of 5485. The Limited and Laramie trims were 1200 and 800 less than my Tradesman payloads. Still good.



Your trailers are in the range of 18k gross weight, probably around 3960 pin weight.
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Old 11-02-2020, 04:39 PM   #5
Notanlines
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I'm curious what options would add up to 800 pounds, let alone 1200 pounds. Man, that's a lot of moon roofs and Bose speakers...
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Old 11-02-2020, 04:45 PM   #6
Phil
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You only need the 3500. If you want to spend the extra money go for a 4500, but
you don't need that.
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Old 11-02-2020, 09:22 PM   #7
lionheart.fsa@gmail.com
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RAM 3500 Turbo Diesel Long Bed

I have a 2018 Montana 3790RD 5th Wheel and a 2017 RAM 3500 Turbo Diesel. My RAM has NO difficulty pulling my 40ft 5th Wheel up over Monarch pass in southern Colorado (11,000 ft+). The speed limit is 45 mph and I have to watch my speed! Going downhill, I set the transmission into 4th gear and engine braking and let the truck do the work. I hardly have to use the brakes unless there are vehicles in front of my rig. The tow package is awesome. The ride is very smooth compared to RAM trucks of years ago. Good luck and happy trails.
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Old 11-03-2020, 02:21 AM   #8
Goose_NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Notanlines View Post
I'm curious what options would add up to 800 pounds, let alone 1200 pounds. Man, that's a lot of moon roofs and Bose speakers...

I know. I looked at the door sti let's for the actual truck on the dealers lot back in Oct-Nov 2019.
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Old 11-03-2020, 06:35 AM   #9
rorr1821
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Ram 3500 dually with high output Cummins and aisin transmission and 410 rear is rated to tow at about 33,000 CGVW. I would get the factory air suspension and puk system for the 5th wheel hitch. I had this truck configuration pulling a DRV which weighted over 20,000 pounds. It had power to spare. You want a truck you can drive to the store other places and pull your trailer. These people with these semi-truck cabs pulling 5th wheel is over kill and a big inconvenience for every day use.
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Old 11-03-2020, 09:27 AM   #10
Dave A
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Cool Not wild about tight turning radius!

Hope I don't get blasted for this! I try to avoid making really tight turns in campgrounds or anywhere else for that matter. I would rather pull up and back up a time or two and avoid putting a lot of stress on the RV. It's got to be hard on the springs, shackles, axels and tires when you are twisting them around in a sharp turn.
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Old 11-04-2020, 02:45 AM   #11
Goose_NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
Hope I don't get blasted for this! I try to avoid making really tight turns in campgrounds or anywhere else for that matter. I would rather pull up and back up a time or two and avoid putting a lot of stress on the RV. It's got to be hard on the springs, shackles, axels and tires when you are twisting them around in a sharp turn.

Try to avoid, yes. But unavoidable at times. Especially in some rural filing stations.
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Old 02-02-2021, 09:47 PM   #12
TaoJones
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Flatbed

I'm late to this thread, but did want to speak to the flatbed concept. My tow vehicle is a Chevy Duramax K3500 dually, cab and chassis with a Hillsboro aluminum flatbed with a recessed ball.

I don't use the typical fifth wheel hitch. I opted for the Andersen Ultimate hitch. It, too, is all aluminum (weighs maybe 30-35 pounds), but can absolutely stand up to the demands of my 20,000# gross 36' Teton Experience Liberty. I don't have my Teton grossed out, but I'm well above the empty weight of about 13,250#.

The Hillsboro flatbed is 8' wide and 10' long. Before I got it, I worried that I'd miss the convenience and security of a typical pickup bed, but that hasn't proven to be the case. With the jockey boxes under the flatbed, I can easily carry everything that I need to set up for towing.

I leave the Andersen hitch on the flatbed all the time, since there's so much room on it and rails everywhere to strap anything I carry down (so far). The visibility all around the flatbed is great, since the typical box sides aren't in the way.

If I'm parked for an extended length of time, I'll remove the Andersen hitch, but since it has to be torqued down precisely for correct setup, leaving it onboard is just too convenient. If someone who knew how it's attached wanted to steal it, of course, and had the tools to do so, that would be an $850 mistake I would deeply regret.

I, too, have towed over Monarch Pass with this rig and my one-ton Duramax has absolutely no issues doing so. It's a really good way to burn up diesel quickly, however.

TJ
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Old 02-04-2021, 08:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rorr1821 View Post
Ram 3500 dually with high output Cummins and aisin transmission and 410 rear is rated to tow at about 33,000 CGVW. I would get the factory air suspension and puk system for the 5th wheel hitch. I had this truck configuration pulling a DRV which weighted over 20,000 pounds. It had power to spare. You want a truck you can drive to the store other places and pull your trailer. These people with these semi-truck cabs pulling 5th wheel is over kill and a big inconvenience for every day use.
Agreed!!!

I tow heavier than anyone I know with a 15 DRW RAM CUMMINS/AISIN with 4.10's and Factory rear Air.

Truck and RV are rock solid in any weather conditions. I run full RAWR of 9,750# and the truck sets level with or without the load. Rear air give a lower entry/exit than without. It also gives a great loaded and unloaded ride.

OP mentioned "significantly tighter steering" in a 4500/5500. I really don't understand that statement. Mine has very tight & solid steering.

Pics are with Alt Ride engaged.

DRV weighs 24k and combined weight in pic over 35k.



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Old 02-05-2021, 08:33 AM   #14
Goose_NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cummins12V98 View Post
Agreed!!!

I tow heavier than anyone I know with a 15 DRW RAM CUMMINS/AISIN with 4.10's and Factory rear Air.

Truck and RV are rock solid in any weather conditions. I run full RAWR of 9,750# and the truck sets level with or without the load. Rear air give a lower entry/exit than without. It also gives a great loaded and unloaded ride.

OP mentioned "significantly tighter steering" in a 4500/5500. I really don't understand that statement. Mine has very tight & solid steering.

Pics are with Alt Ride engaged.

DRV weighs 24k and combined weight in pic over 35k.



I have read that the 4500 has a shorter steering radius than the 3500. I have not found any document stating that.

My 2020 Ram 3500 was rated for a payload of 5474 originally. I need to re-weight my truck with a full tank now that I have added the 55 gallon fuel tank to see what payload I have remaining.

Pulling equipment trailers for "friends" that were over 20k and the truck does not care, except for fuel usage. They do kinda laugh at me owning that truck because I currently own a 12K toyhauler and an 8k cargo trailer. My next RV probably will be well over 12K, and that's why I bought this truck.
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Old 02-05-2021, 04:50 PM   #15
Notanlines
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Ford’s 450 has a tighter turning radius and my wife likes it a lot. Plenty of backup on Ford literature. Dodge I’m not so sure. Seems like it would be easy to Google.
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Old 02-06-2021, 09:13 AM   #16
Cummins12V98
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Goose NC, if you are going by your 14k GVWR forget that as it's only there for licensing and insurance purposes. 14k keeps it in class 3 same goes for the F450. Use your SAE RAWR of 9,750# to determine your payload.

Think about it, I run 9,750# on my rear axle and if I did not even add a pound to my unloaded 5,250# front axle I am still 1,000# over my GVWR.

License your truck for what the 6 tires carry and you are good to go.
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Old 02-07-2021, 05:58 AM   #17
Goose_NC
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Originally Posted by Cummins12V98 View Post
Goose NC, if you are going by your 14k GVWR forget that as it's only there for licensing and insurance purposes. 14k keeps it in class 3 same goes for the F450. Use your SAE RAWR of 9,750# to determine your payload.

Think about it, I run 9,750# on my rear axle and if I did not even add a pound to my unloaded 5,250# front axle I am still 1,000# over my GVWR.

License your truck for what the 6 tires carry and you are good to go.

Yup...that's what I did.
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