Gas vs. Diesel, 3.73 vs. 4.10, 2500 vs. 3500

CoRamGuy

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Ok... I've seen separate discussions o these issues but can't find one where all are combined or that fit my specific circumstances. I'm hoping to come across some new pearls of wisdom to help me decide which way to go because I'm honestly stuck at this point. The only good thing is that my options are completely open at this time... probably why I'm stuck. LOL. I'm 56 and my wife is 54 and we live in Colorado. We've been towing a 2K lb. popup for a few years with a SUV. We know that the RV life is for us and we're looking to upgrade into a 5th wheel to take us into our retirement years and beyond. The 5th wheels we're looking at are the "Half Ton Towables" from Jayco/Eagle HT, Keystone/Cougar and Grand Design/Reflection. Dry Hitch Weights are between 1400-1800 lbs. and Towing Weights range from 11K-15K lbs. Despite how the RV companies market their products we know we can't get away with a half ton truck and we're looking mainly at the 2500 but also potentially 3500. I also don't want to be maxing out the trucks rated capabilities. This will be my first truck, but after doing the research and multiple testdrives I've settled on RAM. That said, the issues I'm stuck on are transferrable to a Chevy or Ford discussion as well. Based on our lifestyle today, the truck we purchase would be my daily driver back and forth to work and I would switch off with my wife from month to month so she gets accustom to driving it as well. Daily Mileage would only be 15-25 miles. The RV would only be pulled 10-12 times per year and within 2-4 hrs max from home base at least to start. As we approach our retirement years and beyond we're going to want to branch out, go further distances and take longer duration trips. Once retired, we envision seeing the entire country and driving long distances, dropping the 5th wheel in place for a month at a time and then using the truck to take day trips. This probably won't be the last vehicle I purchase, but I do want to keep it for 10-15 yrs and it will been to fit the long term lifestyle I just laid out.
I'm looking at the 2021 Rams but know by the time I make a decision I'll be into the 2022s. Big Horn Crew Cab 4X4 is what I've settled on and if fully loaded I can get everything I want... don't need the leather or heated rear seats that the Laramie offers. I'm not opposed to spending the extra cash on Diesel but would not get the HO if I move into the 3500.

So, here are my questions...
Gas or Diesel? In the 2500, if I go Diesel I'm sacrificing significant payload but gaining towing capacity and I understand the discussion around Diesel being best in the mountains
If Gas... 3.73 or 4.10 gearing? Going Gas would be giving me the additional payload and 4.10 gearing additional towing, but it seems it will be rough on the MPG
Short or long bed? 8' Bed is slightly better payload and I like the idea of a 50 gal tank but I'm afraid it will be too much truck for my wife and she wont want to drive it
Do I move into a 3500? A 3500 Diesel will squash all my concerns around payload or capacity but the leaf spring suspension will be rough as a daily driver

If I were to rank how I'm leaning, it would be...
1. 2500 Diesel Crew Cab Short Bed
2. 2500 Gas Crew Cab with 4.10 Gearing
3. 2500 Gas Crew Cab, 4.10 Gearing, Long Bed, 50 gal tank
4. 2500 Diesel, long bed, 50 gal tank
5. 3500 Diesel, no HO, no Dually

Any thoughts? I'm looking for input from the pros that have been doing this for a while. I've also heard it said in other discussions "I've met plenty of gassers that wish the went Diesel, but never the other way around"... so I'm also looking for the gassers in this forum to speak up and be honest about their decision.
Thanks all!
 

ramffml

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2500 diesel will kill your payload, not recommended for 5w towing.

I'd stick with either 2500/gas or 3500/diesel. Can't speak for the gearing, but you have to prioritize what means more to you; towing power or MPG.

So that leaves "ride quality" and the only thing you can do is drive them with your wife and decide after that. 3500/diesel would probably be how I go given your description of towing at least once a month and wanting to keep your truck for years. Sometimes you just need to pick the weekspot in the truck and live with it; you know ride quality won't be the best, but the rest of the truck will be a beast and should never let you down. You can't have it all, unfortunately :)
 

14hemiexpress

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Pulling 11k in Colorado you’ll really want to step to the 3500 diesel. 3500 for the payload and diesel for the mountain pulling. No need for the H.O. That is a lot of weight for the 6.4 going up the hills and the diesel will carry you right into retirement. I would go SRW you can get the 3500 in a short bed as well. You will probably want the slider hitch if you do so but if your going long distance the 50gal tank in the long bed would be worth it. Also ram offers air bag leveling on the 3500 I’m not sure if they use a softer leaf when coupled with the airbag system but that could possibly improve your unloaded ride quality.
 

Bearcatrp

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For get towing with a short bed and a 5th wheel. Am doing it now and almost take out my back window on a 90 degree turn. Flat, I can barely make it but articulate any and cannot turn tight. Go long bed. Am currently looking to upgrade myself. If you can afford the maintenance cost of a diesel, get it. My research on a 2021 cummins is oil change at 15000 miles plus 2 fuel filters at 15000 miles. I talked to service department last week on costs and found the fuel filters are around $400 to change, plus around $130 for oil change. With tax, thats around $600 every 15000 miles.Plus your dealing with DEF. Just came back from colorado pulling my 10,000 5th wheel. My 6.4 did the job but did it ugly with my 6 speed tranny. High rpm's in wyoming. Looking for a 6.4 with a 8 speed and a 50 gallon gas tank in a 3/4 or 1 ton. Get the diesel if you can afford it.
 

NH RAM

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For get towing with a short bed and a 5th wheel. Am doing it now and almost take out my back window on a 90 degree turn. Flat, I can barely make it but articulate any and cannot turn tight. Go long bed. Am currently looking to upgrade myself. If you can afford the maintenance cost of a diesel, get it. My research on a 2021 cummins is oil change at 15000 miles plus 2 fuel filters at 15000 miles. I talked to service department last week on costs and found the fuel filters are around $400 to change, plus around $130 for oil change. With tax, thats around $600 every 15000 miles.Plus your dealing with DEF. Just came back from colorado pulling my 10,000 5th wheel. My 6.4 did the job but did it ugly with my 6 speed tranny. High rpm's in wyoming. Looking for a 6.4 with a 8 speed and a 50 gallon gas tank in a 3/4 or 1 ton. Get the diesel if you can afford it.
Get a sliding hitch if you only want a longbed to save your back window. I have a sliding hitch but han't needed to use it for anything other than making the hookup process easier because I can actually see the pin and the hitch when it's in maneuvering position.
 

NH RAM

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I have a 6.4 with 3.73 gears and I tow a Cougar 30RLS "half ton" that has a gvwr of 11,000#. My empty pin weight is 1546#. I don't tow at high elevation, mostly below 3500-4000#. I do take longer trips once per year, but this is my first year with the 5w and I've only gone 5 hours away with an average of 3% grades. I took a shorter trip of about 90 minutes away towing a lot of 5-6% grades and one 12% grade, but that was short. The truck handles it well and maintains speed even with 34" tires.

If I had the money at the time and if I would have known I was getting a 5w I would have tried to find a Cummins truck IF the ride of the srw 3500 isn't too harsh. I have a bad back and already had a discectomy, so I cannot deal with an overly harsh ride the majority of the year as a commuter to feel that the truck is working less while towing. I have a roughly 1500 mile round trip coming up next weekend towing the 5w and that will really tell the tale. I've towed my 7500# travel trailer to South Dakota and back (about 3000 miles) with the truck and it handled the trip with no drama, but we're about 3,000 pounds heavier now.
 

Firebird

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I see you are in Colorado, so the Rocky Mountains are something you will be pulling in regularly?? If so, the 3500 Cummins all the way.
 

Bearcatrp

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Get a sliding hitch if you only want a longbed to save your back window. I have a sliding hitch but han't needed to use it for anything other than making the hookup process easier because I can actually see the pin and the hitch when it's in maneuvering position.
You won't need a a glide hitch if you have a long box! Only a short box needs this!!!!!
 
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