We’ve talked about our new home, and I’ve even made a post about the Toad, but we haven’t made a post on what pulls our home yet. Let’s fix that.
I’m going to also include some information on our past trailers. While they were mostly for weekends and occasionally longer, they are the reason for our upgrade process.
Our tow rig is a 2017 Ram 3500. It’s a Dually, with 4.10 gears and the AISIN transmission. I’ll try to explain why we chose this truck.
We’ve had several Rams in the past, as a matter of fact I think is our sixth one.
Our first one was a 2005 in 2005, it was a 2500. We had that about a year when on a whim we decided to upgrade to something with more features.
So… we graduated to a another, nicer 2500 in 2006. (Hey, come on, it had a sunroof!) It was around this time that we also purchased our first trailer – a thousand-dollar Hunter’s Special. It was a Fleetwood Wilderness. We dragged this trailer hunting and exploring, and we did on occasion manage to sleep 6 people inside.
Shortly after this we realized leasing a truck is a bad idea. The 2006 Ram was our first and only leased vehicle, and we just didn’t want to do that again. Fortunately, after a couple of years when the lease was up, we spotted a screaming deal on a used 2007 Ram that had some damage inside the bed. We bought it, straightened out the bed a bit, put a shell on it, and drove it for a while.
This Ram was our first 3500, it was a long bed, and it had a MANUAL! But, we lost the sunroof. As one of the vehicles we were using to teach Ariel (my stepdaughter/Nate’s daughter) how to drive, she got to spend time out in the desert with us throwing around this truck. It was also about this time that we upgraded from our Hunter’s Special, to a brand new 2010 Outdoors RV Timber Ridge 260RLS. Yes, we we had been bitten by the trailer bug. Hard.
After several years with our Timber Ridge, we were starting to stay out longer, weeks at a time. We were running out of storage space and room for friends to stay with us, if they wanted. So we started looking for a bigger travel trailer. Knowing this was coming, we decided to upgrade the 2007 Ram to a used 2011, our first Dually. We then ordered a 2016 Outdoors RV Wind River 280RLS. The main reason for the Dually upgrade at that time, was the fact that we were travelling farther away from home than we used to, and the Dually really helps with stability and windy situations.
We only had this 2011 Ram for a little over a year, and we had actually done really well for ourselves on trade-in values and price for the truck… so we decided we wanted to upgrade one more time, to what we thought was T.L.T.W.W.E.B. (The Last Truck We Will Ever Buy), a 2015 Ram 3500 Dually, Limited. Every option we thought we would ever need.
This truck was awesome. High quality leather, sunroof, navigation, heated and cooled seats, and we had the shell painted to match as well as adding a bed rug. We added off road lights. We worked hard on this one to install all of our ham radio gear too.
But… when we decided to embark on our full time adventure, and wanted to make an order for our fifth wheel, we ran the numbers, and found out that much to our surprise, our T.L.T.W.W.E.B. wouldn’t work! So… looking hard around the area, we found our current 2017 Ram with the right specs nearby. It didn’t have the super fancy leather, or a sunroof, but it has most everything else we needed.
So… here’s where you have to really research what you need when you’re planning to buy that trailer that you so desperately want. We already HAD a Dually! It was a Limited! Surely you would think it would tow what we need? But, NO!
Our Grand Design 376TH Specs:
Our 2015 Ram, as optioned:
And now, our 2017 Ram, as optioned:
As you can see, our fifth wheel’s Gross Vehicular Weight Rating is 20,000lbs. Our 2015 Ram’s Max Trailer Weight Rating was 18,660! That meant our old truck would be 2,340lbs short. It just wasn’t going to cut it. Oh, sure, we could have changed out the differential gears to 4.10’s and then it would tow it, but it’s a little close for comfort. Also, if a person of legal or law enforcement stature wants to check you out, you want to make sure the factory sticker on the truck shows that it is indeed capable of what you are doing with it, should anything happen. Since what we are towing is our home, we want to make sure we are within our limits and totally safe in this regard.
The truck came with a 100 gallon diesel fuel tank in the bed, and a push bumper up front. We installed a B&W Companion 25k fifth wheel hitch. We also installed a solenoid in the 100 gallon tank so we can just transfer into our main tank with the flip of a switch inside on the dash, and we’ve installed some radio gear. We put on Yakima bars so it could hold our Kayaks. Most recently, the truck got the Air Lift Smart Air II Dual Path air bag system for the rear suspension. It carries a 70 gallon water tank for boon-docking. It’s been great. I wish it had a sunroof (we’re without that sunroof again!), but, it meets our needs. As for if this truck is T.L.T.W.W.E.B. … I hope so? I mean… who needs a sunroof anyway?