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Should I buy a RAM 1500 to tow my caravan?

Updated: Nov 20



It’s a question we have been asked from time to time by caravan owners who have found their current tow vehicle may not be 100% suitable for their current set up.


I have weighed only one RAM towing a caravan that weighed 3000 kgs.

So keep that in mind whilst reading this blog.

At Check Weight we have weighed over 160 caravan and vehicle combinations.


Should you buy a RAM 1500?


Firstly the entry-level 1500 Express (4X4) costs $79,950, while the range-topping 1500 Laramie (4X4) lists at $109,950.


RAM trucks are owned and built by Fiat Chrysler and the trucks are converted to right hand drive in Melbourne by RAM trucks Australia.




THE HYPE


Can tow UP to 4.5 tonne

Eats utes for Breakfast

Integrated towing function with Trailer (thats pretty cool)

Brake control built in.

A Massive 3450 GVM and and 7237 GCM




They sound like a great vehicle for touring Australia and towing a caravan.

But are they?


So here’s the specs on the RAM 1500 Laramie Crew Cab

  • GVM 3450 –

  • GCM 7237

  • Front axle Maximum 1770

  • Rear Axle Maximum 1770



So fully loaded (impossible to do exactly) at the rear and the front that adds up to 3540


Kerb Weight (kerb weight includes the vehicle with a full tank of fuel and all standard equipment excluding occupants) is 2650 kg and GVM of 3450 kg so a payload of only 800 kg. In comparison a Landcruiser has about 720 kg payload and a RANGER XLT 1069 kgs.



(Disclaimer on RAM Website re payload and weights)



But if your towing 4500 kg then you tow ball download is going to be at least 400-450 kg. So assuming tow ball payload of 400 – you now have only 400 kg left.


So two people at 100 kg and 70 kg. Equals 170 kg

You now only have 230 kg left for all your gear to go in that gigantic tub ! So put in some kids, a dog, some drawers, esky and some chairs, tools and your at (or over) your maximum GVM !


Tow Bar is at least standard and included already.





Rear Axle weights


Before I weighed the RAM the rear and front axle weights concerned me – most dual cab utes have a higher loading on the rear axle than the front, but on the RAM they are the same.


But after weighing the RAM I think I know why.


When we weighed the RAM empty (except for a driver) and not hooked up to a caravan the front axle weighed 1530 the rear 1220 – Maybe that big Hemi 5.7 weighs a bit ?


Hooked up to a caravan with a tow ball weight of 290 kg – the front axle now weighed 1410 kg and the rear axle 1650 kg.


So a 290 kg weight attached to the tow ball increases the weight on the rear axle by 148 %.


However the RAM has a limit of 1770 kg so that leaves only 120 kg left before you exceed the rear axle weight.


Now if it had 1950 kg limit like a Landcruiser - that would be awesome.



Now if your towing 4500 kg, and put 400 kg on the tow ball – that means you add 592 kg to the rear axle (148%) that means 1812 kg on the rear axle.


Which means you have exceeded the rear axle weight – with nothing in the back !!


So how can you tow 4500 kg with a RAM 1500 ?


Well we are currently watching a TV series called Heartland on Netflix – its all about horses – and I truly believe the show is sponsored by RAM and Ford because everybody has a truck. But interestingly all the horse floats (it’s a show about horses and cowboys after all ) are all what we call a 5th Wheel arrangement.





With a 5th Wheel trailer (or Caravan) the weight is entirely over or in front of the rear axle. So you don’t get the multiplication factor on the rear axle – and therefore it might still be under (depends on what weight it is...)



(RAM 2500 shown)



So if you want to tow a 4.5 tonne caravan (or a 3.5 tonne for that matter) with a RAM 1500 make sure you have a 5th Wheeler –




because otherwise you be overloaded if you put stuff in the tub – and after all what’s the point of having a massive tub if there’s nothing in it !


Other Pluses for a RAM

* You can at least put stuff in the tub in front of the rear axle – in other dual cabs like a ranger the rear axle is at the front of the tub

* The Wheelbase is bigger – giving you more stability

* The motor is powerful – really powerful

* There’s more headroom legroom – well there’s just a lot more room, because they are big.













Minuses

  • RAM sold 245 vehicles in August out of an Australian total of 60986 vehicles - that’s just 0.4% market share.

  • If you’re out in the sticks, and you break down, how many mechanics will have worked on a RAM ?

  • They cost a lot.

  • Fuel costs can be high whilst towing.


So the answer to the Question.....


Should I buy a RAM to tow my 3500 kg caravan?


Well my answer is – maybe - maybe not.....


If you overload the back tub then its not much different to any other dual cab being over the rear axle weight.


If it had a greater rear axle load then it would be a big YES. but I would like to weigh a few more to get a better picture.



If you are unsure about Axle Weights read our other blog at

https://www.checkweight.com.au/post/check-weight-mobile-caravan-weighing-importance-of-maximum-axle-weight-loads


Not sure about Caravan Weight Acronyms.

Email info@checkweight.com.au for a FREE Cheat Sheet on Caravan Weight Acronyms.


To book a weigh online got to

https://www.checkweight.com.au/book-online










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