5th Gen as towed vehicle.

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BillLee

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My first question to the forum. I have interest in picking up an RV capable of towing anther vehicle. My question is, what would it take to set up my 2020 5.7 Laramie to be towed on all fours? I have seen them being pulled. I already have a class 4 receiver attached to the frame behind the front plate that I use for carrying things while towing a trailer. I hope that would be a lot of the mechanical hookup. I really have no idea of the electrical hookup needed to make the lights work and maintain the battery. Any help or advice on this and how to set up the transfer case and trans would be much appreciated.
 

2003F350

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So it's a bit of a complex answer, but the hitch you have on the front I would NOT use for towing the truck behind an RV. They make tow bars that are specific and rated for it, and almost all of them would attach where your front tow hooks would mount, if you have them. You will want the triangular geometry of the tow bar system, NOT a straight-on shot. The straight-on shot will tend to 'wander' (think hay wagons or grain trailers for farmers), where the triangular geometry of the tow bar system will fight that 'wandering' (some even have shocks/dampeners built in).

There are wiring harnesses available to make the lights work on the towed vehicle, or you can buy magnetic ones and route the wire along the truck. The harness has to be tied in correctly to not cause issues but looks a lot cleaner and is a lot easier to hook up - no routing/tying down wires, no chance of dirt getting between your paint and the magnet, etc.

Braking I think is a different issue, if the tow rig is big enough you may not need braking but it's always advisable. There are several ways to do it, I don't know if Ram trucks are capable of getting an electronic signal to activate the brakes, there are devices you can put on the driver's floorboard to activate the brakes, etc.

Now to the really complex part - your truck MAY or MAY NOT already be set up to be towed flat. If it is 2WD I don't think it is capable without reworking the transmission, HOWEVER if you have 4WD, either you will have a 'neutral' button that can be pressed to put your t-case in neutral (no mods to the transmission), OR there is a process to go through to put the t-case in neutral (again, no mods to the transmission). I do not know if ALL 4WD models have this capability, but most should. My wife's has a little button that can be pressed to put the t-case in neutral, but since we don't flat-tow her truck I'm not sure on the process. On her old Ford there was an option in the DIC to start the process, and it gave you step-by-step instructions.
 
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BillLee

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Thank you sir for the quick reply. I should have mentioned in my initial post that my Laramie is an 8spd automatic 4x4 with eTorque. It does not have tow hooks but I would assume the mounting area is there for a triangular bar system. I hope I wouldn't need the truck brakes but if so wouldn't the truck need to be running during the tow? The external light hookup sounds like the way to go if my dreams come true.
 

2003F350

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Thank you sir for the quick reply. I should have mentioned in my initial post that my Laramie is an 8spd automatic 4x4 with eTorque. It does not have tow hooks but I would assume the mounting area is there for a triangular bar system. I hope I wouldn't need the truck brakes but if so wouldn't the truck need to be running during the tow? The external light hookup sounds like the way to go if my dreams come true.
No, the truck doesn't need to be running for any of this to work, if you have a locking steering wheel you'd need to leave the transmission in neutral as well, but I don't think many vehicles have a locking steering wheel anymore.

Yes, the mounting area for the tow hooks is there, it is likely behind some black plastic in your bumper that is hiding the mounting surfaces. This mounting surface is likely where a tow bar would attach.

I would strongly suggest having the truck brakes working, hit up some RV forums and they will tell you the pros and cons of the various systems, but remember you're basically putting a 6-7k trailer behind your rig. Even if you're getting a big unit with air brakes, the extra stopping power of your truck's brakes behind it will shorten your stop time as well as help keep the towed vehicle under control during evasive maneuvers.

Some people swear by the external lights, others swear by the harnesses that get wired into your vehicle. Done properly the harness into your vehicle is cleaner and won't scratch up your paint over time, and utilizes lights that are already there. You would simply plug in a harness from the back of your RV to the front of your truck and hitch up the truck, set up whatever braking system you choose and you're done - no need to run the external lights.

All that said, I'm not an expert on flat-towing, I've only looked into it for my FIL a few times. He has toyed with the idea of going back to a motorhome, but each time has decided to stick with a towable RV - everything about them is cheaper overall (insurance, plating, maintenance, etc), and my MIL gets seasick in motorhomes as she has gotten older.
 

Beltsand

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I flat two a Chevy Equinox behind a Class A. In looking at what was required, there are several states that require the towed vehicle to have it's own braking. There are mechanical systems that looked like a PITA to have to set up each time you towed that we avoided. We went with a product called Air Force One that uses the air brakes to feed a module that is mounted in the car and controls a small air cylinder that is mounted under the dash on the brake pedal. There is also an electric switch like all the 5th wheels and travel trailers have that will cause that module to brake the car if it gets disconnected from the coach. They had to add an air connection on the back of the coach.

Each time I tow, I hook up two tow bars, two cables in case the two bars break, a 7 pin trailer connection to run the car's turn signals and brake lights, as well as charge the car battery since it requires the key on to flat tow (the truck may or may not), an air hose for the brakes, and the electric fail switch in case every thing else fails.
 

crash68

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isn't there that pull thing under the dash the puts the whole drive train in neutral?
The release lever under the dash is just to put the transmission in neutral in case the vehicle cannot be started. This is not to be used to flat tow a vehicle.
As mentioned above the 4X4 trucks transfer case can be put in neutral to flat tow the truck. If the truck is 2WD the driveshaft has to be pulled to flat tow or wheel dolly tow the truck.
 
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BillLee

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I flat two a Chevy Equinox behind a Class A. In looking at what was required, there are several states that require the towed vehicle to have it's own braking. There are mechanical systems that looked like a PITA to have to set up each time you towed that we avoided. We went with a product called Air Force One that uses the air brakes to feed a module that is mounted in the car and controls a small air cylinder that is mounted under the dash on the brake pedal. There is also an electric switch like all the 5th wheels and travel trailers have that will cause that module to brake the car if it gets disconnected from the coach. They had to add an air connection on the back of the coach.

Each time I tow, I hook up two tow bars, two cables in case the two bars break, a 7 pin trailer connection to run the car's turn signals and brake lights, as well as charge the car battery since it requires the key on to flat tow (the truck may or may not), an air hose for the brakes, and the electric fail switch in case every thing else fails.
Beltsand, thank you for the reply but I just don't think I want to go through all that. As far as Air Force One, how does actuating the brake pedal do much if there is no power to the power brakes? I understand they still work but at a much lesser capability. As far as my truck, the park brake is electric but it is on or off. Is there a way to modulate it? At least you would have some braking.
 

2003F350

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Beltsand, thank you for the reply but I just don't think I want to go through all that. As far as Air Force One, how does actuating the brake pedal do much if there is no power to the power brakes? I understand they still work but at a much lesser capability. As far as my truck, the park brake is electric but it is on or off. Is there a way to modulate it? At least you would have some braking.
You fundamentally misunderstand how the brakes on your truck work. They don't work an any less capacity when the truck is off, it's just that there is vacuum assist when the truck is running to make it easier for YOU to press the brake pedal. The brakes, which are all hydraulic, still work just the same with the same output based on pedal position.

You also misunderstand what he means about braking if the truck comes loose - I believe there is just enough air in the unit he's talking about (or maybe it's an electric actuator, I haven't studied it) that in the event of a disconnect from the tow vehicle (a loss of electrical signal), the unit applies the truck's standard brakes by pushing on the brake pedal to bring the truck to a stop - it doesn't actuate the parking brake. I have seen these systems work - I was walking on a sidewalk, and watched a motorhome turn the corner. The little Saturn Vue behind it (an older vehicle, a tad rusty underneath) had its bumper/front frame come apart, the tow bar was still attached to the motorhome. If it hadn't been for the brakes being applied by whatever unit they were using (this was 4 years ago), the Vue wouldn't have just run over the road sign, it would have been inside the building on the corner. Thankfully no one was hurt, but it demonstrates how important it is to have all your safety devices working properly.

I understand that you don't want to go through a lot to flat-tow your truck - RVing is a lot of work no matter what your RV is. But the simple fact is that there is a SAFE way to do it that will lessen your chances of a problem happening down the road, and increase your chances of having a nice, relaxing trip.

If you want to avoid having to do all this stuff to your truck, then I would suggest either getting a car and a car dolly, OR buy a 10k flatbed trailer/car hauler and put your truck up on that, using axle straps and vehicle-rated ratchet straps to hold it down. These are still going to cause you to have some work when hooking up and loading, but you won't have to deal with getting your truck in neutral or adding wiring harnesses to it.
 

Beltsand

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2003F350 covered it pretty well.

It sounds like a lot, but in only takes a few minutes to hook everything up to tow. The complete package isn't cheap, but I am happier knowing when I'm towing the car, it is done right.

I did a quick look, and the braking system has a section on installs on RAM trucks.


It isn't the only option available, but it is nice to not have a dolly or trailer to deal with when we get where we are going.
 
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BillLee

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Thank y'all for the information and discussion. The Demco site has a lot of information. I'm leaning more now toward continuing to tow rather than a tow behind along with open and covered trailer options if a Class A wins out. Everything is a compromise. :confused:
 

man n black

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We migrated from towing a TT with our 2500 CTD to flat towing it behind our Class A.

Its easy peasy.

We are using a Roadmaster Nighthawk tow bar system and as others have alluded to we hookup the bars, cables and 7 pin connector to run lights and charge battery while towing. Even though our coach previously had an Air Force One system installed, we use a Patriot in vehicle braking unit. The manual has a great section on how to prepare your Ram for flat towing. Works a charm. Havent had a problem in 3 years.

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rneal55555

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I tow my 2017 with my Gold wing in the bed. I was able to find a Blue Ox tow bar and brake unit on cragslist for $500. I did have to buy New base plates for the truck. I bought a plug and play kit to make the tail/signal/brake lights work. I also bout a battery charge adapter link below. I made a pigtail to go between the NH and truck. I installed it all myself. All in was about $1200.

We've been to Florida and around twice with it and it works fine just be mindful of how sharp you turn it is possible to make the front corner of the truck contact the rear corner of the MH if you turn too sharp. Don't ask how I know. I have since added a 12" extension between my tow bar and hitch to add a little room.

You don't say what RV you are looking at but you need to make sure you have enough room between the actual loaded weight of the MH and its GCWR to tow your truck (about 6200 lbs). It can be a delicate balance a lot of MH manufacturers use up a lot of the cargo capacity and don't leave a lot for towing or anything else.

Message me if you want we can set up a time to talk I'm better at that than typing.


 
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