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32v: The Truck

So, it makes sense if we are buying a trailer then we’re surely going to need a truck to pull it! =)

I will do my absolute best not to go on a rant here. I promise. But it won’t be easy!!!
Why? because I found it ludicrously difficult to match a truck to the trailer. We knew the 32v we settled on had a GVWR (fully loaded) of about 13,600 lbs. So I wanted to find a truck capable of pulling at least 15,000 pounds — giving us headroom to account for hills, passing, headwinds, and just not pushing the truck to its limit all the time.

We contacted over 24 dealerships (roughly 8 each of Chevy, Ford, and Ram). Only a couple came back with honest, trustworthy responses! We were looking to have the pros tell us the capability of each individual model because the tow capacity can vary greatly by options (such as wheel size, wheelbase, axle, etc). In the end, we did all the work ourselves, looking up every single VIN to get tow capacity. :/

I will say that Ram made it MUCH easier than the other two!! Chevy is getting there, now (apparently) adding tow capacity stickers to the door jambs, but that doesn’t help with online searches, nor since we were looking at used models (prior to this new sticker).

I had one dealership tell me their truck pulled 16,000 lbs. I looked up the VIN and replied to the email, correcting them to the 12,000 it was actually rated for. If we had bought that on the salesman’s advice we would have been way under powered and threatened the normal life span of transmission, brakes, axles, shocks, etc! Even after (gently) correcting him and advising him to be careful about his stats, he came back AGAIN with the wrong capacity of that same truck! [face palm]

Bah, I ranted. I really did try not to, honest!!

Bottom line: Just be sure to do your homework! Don’t go by what the salesperson says, check it out yourself. Our truck is rated for over 15,000 lbs and I’m very glad we went that extra!!! When we picked up the trailer in Michigan it was as light as it will ever be – no vehicles in the garage, bone dry tanks, etc. (roughly 10,000 lbs). Even still the truck had some work to do in the hills of Pennsylvania, as well as backing up our (moderate) incline of a driveway.

Our RAM 3500 tow vehicle

The Ram is a 3500 Tradesman with factory (yuk) stereo. It didn’t even have bluetooth, which we use a LOT. We bought a Pioneer DMH-1500NEX for just over $400 (including USB port, Maestro, and mounting kit). Now I can use the USB cable and Android Auto to display our map (Google Maps) on the screen, while she is connected via Bluetooth for music. I recently did a radio replacement in our Jeep and regret spending so much money on it. This Pioneer seems to have all the features we like at a fraction of the cost. The Alpine system in the Jeep was great because it was a bundle and guaranteed to fit the Jeep, but I won’t do that again.

See this page about adding white spots for easier hitching, plus the sway bars.