How to make “Tow/Haul” default mode for $32

yomanne

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After using the “Tow/Haul” setting on my 2014 RAM 1500 Express (5.7L with 6-speed transmission) and seeing how much better the truck shifted, I just had to come up with a way to make it the default setting. I’ve only owned the truck for a few months or I would have done this years ago. As others have noted, the “Tow/Haul” behaves like a “Sport Mode”. The owner’s manual says there’s nothing wrong with always using it if that’s what you prefer. The only catch is you have to enable it every time you start the truck. I also wanted to disable “Traction Control” as I prefer to allow the rear wheels spin when I tell them to (the truck has a limited slip differential).

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Although my reason for doing this mod was strictly the “Tow/Haul” and “Traction/Control” functions, not to be overlooked is another possible fringe benefit of making “Tow/Haul” the default. My understanding is that “Tow/Haul” also disables MDS (Multi-Displacement System), but only if your truck has the 6-speed transmission. I cannot either confirm nor deny this theory as my MDS had already disabled via a performance tune by the previous owner. As you probably know, MDS shuts down the front and rear cylinders on the left bank and the two middle cylinders on the right bank. Many owners hate this “feature”. As much as I love and use the “alphaobd” app, I couldn’t find any way to have it make “Tow/Haul” the default or make it remember its last state. Also, I don’t know of any way for alphaobd to permanently disable MDS.

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My solution automatically activates the “Traction Control” and/or “Tow/Haul” buttons each time the truck is started by using a programmable timer/relay and 2 relays. The timer/relay is powered by tapping into the “switched” 12 VDC outlet located just to the left of the switch panel. After starting the truck, both dash lights turn on and the buttons behave as normal – i.e. pushing them by hand turns the lights back off. And the best part is, parts for this modification cost only $32 and it does not involve any special tune or programming.

Although this project took me much longer than it should have, if I did it again using the attached instructions, it would only be a couple hour project. If you have a basic understanding of electrical wiring and relays, the procedure is pretty straightforward. There’s a tiny bit of soldering required, which gave me pause at first, but it turned out to be pretty easy as well.

A pdf file is attached to this post with step-by-step instructions, pictures and links where you can buy the timer/relay and relays. I should point out that the small toggle switch in the picture is not required, but it’s something I added as an option in case I ever wanted to temporarily disable the automated system.

What I do know, is that every time I start my truck, it brings a smile to my face when I see the “Tow/Haul” and “Traction Control” indicator lights come on all by themselves. Priceless.
 

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  • Tow-Haul default procedure.pdf
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stembridge

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I wish I had run across something like this when I had my '15 2500 5.7/6AT. One of the worst-shifting transmissions I've ever owned, I habitually hit the tow/haul button on every startup, as it made it oh-so-much-more drivable.

My current 3.6/8AT is very well-matched and I only use tow/haul when I'm actually towing.

es
 

jonhimes

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Great Write Up. I always miss pressing the tow button when I am out towing and this would really help. What do I need to remove from your instructions to just do the Tow/Haul mode and leave the traction control alone. Thanks
 

yomanne

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To do only the "Tow/Haul" switch, you need only one of the little black relays and on the Printed Circuit Board you would only solder wires to two of the points, labeled #3 and #4. Everything else would be the same.
 

Sanihut

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FYI here is a temporary mode for the tow/haul disable that I came across.

07-12-2019
John F Jensen’s “How to engage “TCS Off” or “ESC & TCS Off" with Stock tune or SFT tune”

STOCK TUNE: 2WD, 4WD AUTO & 4WD LOCK
“TCS Off” ------------- Press “Traction Control” switch whenever needed.
“ESC & TCS Off" --- Not available.

4WD LOW
“TCS Off” ------------- Press “Traction Control” switch whenever needed.
“ESC & TCS Off" --- Vehicle stopped, engine running, in neutral, press and hold “Traction Control” switch for five seconds.
This turns ESC and TCS off and retains “limited slip”. ESC and TCS are
turned off until the vehicle reaches 40 mph. At 40 mph the system
automatically returns to the normal “TCS Off” mode.


SFT ECM TUNE:2WD
“TCS Off” ------------- Press “Traction Control” switch whenever needed.
“ESC & TCS Off" --- Not available.

4WD AUTO & 4WD LOCK
“TCS Off” ------------- Press “Traction Control” switch whenever needed.
“ESC & TCS Off" --- Engine running, vehicle stopped, or under 10mph, press and hold “Traction Control” switch for five seconds, you’ll see “ESC Off” displayed.

4WD LOW
“TCS Off” ------------- Not Available. “ESC & TCS Off" --- Vehicle stopped, engine running, in neutral, automatically goes into “ESC Off”, you’ll see “ESC Off” displayed. There’s no need to press or hold the “Traction Control” switch.
 

yomanne

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Did you mean temporary tow/haul "enable" instead of disable? Regardless, as interesting as the info is, it is not valid for Gen 4 - or at least not valid for the 2014 Ram Express I have. I've tried pressing and holding the "Traction Control" button for five seconds, but that doesn't do anything for my truck.

Also, I was not looking for a temporary solution. My procedure is for the long term default so you don't have to press buttons every time you start the truck.
 
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