RAM 2500 6.4 vs Cummins for Travel Trailer with 7500lb GVWR

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2003F350

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Get my numbers from Fuelly. The majority of owners are seeing 14-16 average. And that's all going to depend on terrain, altitude and driving style.

You can certainly squeeze a whole lot more out of nearly any vehicle if you drive like you have no place to be anytime soon. Staying out of boost saves a lot of fuel, gas or diesel.
I'll admit I run the speed limit everywhere I go. For my drive to work that's 55mph, and expressway is 70-75 depending on where I'm at in the state. Towing is typically 65...Short bursts above if needed. I guess I'm no fun because I follow the rules.
 

Tommy lee

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Actually, that's my setup. I have 2019 RAM2500 Diesel + Imagine 2400BH. I used to tow this trailer with a large SUV, but the SUV was struggling when going uphill and also had hard time controlling the trailer. I could definitely feel the trailer. We decided to upgrade our TV one day when we had to hit the emergency brake due to sudden heavy traffic. It was really dangerous. After changing my TV to RAM2500, it's been really easy and stable. Even when we had to hit the emergency brake, the TV handled the situation really well. The TV's curb weight is about 8,000 lbs, even heavier than the trailer. It might be a overkill, but there is no such too much safety. Anyway, I think either Gas or Diesel should do just fine for your trailer, but if you want more power for uphill and overtaking, go with Diesel. No stress what so ever. Otherwise, Gas should just do every task just fine.

IMG_0770.jpg
 
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seatrout46

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I've had a 2006 Cummins, a 2015 6.4 hemi, and am now back to a 2021 Cummins, all 2500s. The Cummins tows MUCH better than the hemi for all the reasons mentioned in the posts above. My 2015 6.4 hemi blew up at 130K miles the Cummins are just getting broken in at that mileage. The $10K for the Cummins you will get back if or when you sell it.
 

Gooseman

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I was in the same dilemma as you. Pay the extra for the diesel vs gas for about 3-4 months a year whole towing. I traded in a 2016 Cummings for a 6.4 mega cab and I pull a 40ft toy hauler around in Idaho. But not paying the crazy price for the Cummings or the maintenance to keep it running. 6.4 does excellent except on giant mountains. That is where the Cummings does shine. Love my 6.4!
 

xracer

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We have a 2016 1500 w/5.7 and trailer pkg, used it to haul a 3 horse GN trailer with overhead bed and sleeping area, etc. Dry weight was about 4000 lbs as I recall and 7600+ with 3 horses, track, hay etc. We drove mainly in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio for about 3 years. It worked great. All fluid temps remained well within spec. It now has 130000 miles and runs will, never threw a code since new.

I never owned a diesel but know several that do. They are fantastic but $80k+? A 2500 with 6.4 I'd think would be fine. The 5.7 has plenty of power but there in replacement for displacement as they say.

I will say when going to the shows most everyone had 2500's and 3500. Never once did I see a comparable Ford or Chevy 1/2 ton pulling a trailer like ours. Later on GM started offering the 6.3 which does good.

No offense to my Ford and Chevy brothers
 

Andrei20

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We currently have a Grand Design Imagine 2400BH with a GVWR of 7500lbs (weighed weight loaded for travel for us was 6600lbs) but if we travel more I guess that number will definitely get higher. We have no future plans to get a larger trailer and currently tow this with a large SUV rated to tow almost 9000lbs. We want to travel more and further distances and we feel that for the size of trailer and the amount of travel is where we would prefer to be in 2500 territory. Just wondering if those with experience with the 2500's if the 6.4 Hemi would be up to the task travelling 1000's of miles with some mountain travel as well. My other concern with the Cummins is this travel would be for 1-2 months a year and then otherwise the Truck would only travel a 100-200km a week at best unloaded.

I appreciate any feedback!

Thanks!
We have almost same situation. A Grand Design XLS21BHE, 6300lbs gross weight, and we tow it a few times a year for a total of about 2-3 thousand kms. Our truck is a 2016 3500, 6.7 HO, deleted. Very good for towing. I don't even put it in the "tow haul" mode, my engine brake is in Auto mode, maintains the speed on the downhills as when you last time stepped on the brakes, like doesn't let it accelerate. The only thing what I want to do is upgrade my 3000lbs axles to 3500lbs, like have some extra strength and confidence when I pass the railroad crossings or the bridges junctions.
For the rest of the time the truck is parked, we have other vehicles to drive around. In the winter is mostly parked for half a year with the battery maintainer connected. I give it a fluid film rustproofing in the fall, keeps it like new.
Sometimes we drive the truck when we have to travel to Edmonton or Calgary, we live in Fort McMurray. Fuel mileage when towing is s about 17-19 l/100km, when just cruising on the highway empty is around 10.5-11.5 l/100kms.
Very satisfied with the truck. And it's a work truck, it pulls the trailer. It's not a daily driver, will last us a lifetime.
 
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zenderxt

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Actually, that's my setup. I have 2019 RAM2500 Diesel + Imagine 2400BH. I used to tow this trailer with a large SUV, but the SUV was struggling when going uphill and also had hard time controlling the trailer. I could definitely feel the trailer. We decided to upgrade our TV one day when we had to hit the emergency brake due to sudden heavy traffic. It was really dangerous. After changing my TV to RAM2500, it's been really easy and stable. Even when we had to hit the emergency brake, the TV handled the situation really well. The TV's curb weight is about 8,000 lbs, even heavier than the trailer. It might be a overkill, but there is no such too much safety. Anyway, I think either Gas or Diesel should do just fine for your trailer, but if you want more power for uphill and overtaking, go with Diesel. No stress what so ever. Otherwise, Gas should just do every task just fine.

View attachment 528130
Good looking setup!

We tow ours with a Dodge Durango R/T Tow N Go. While it's comfortable towing, we usually take mostly country roads etc... on the highway you can definitely tell it's there even for a larger SUV. The shorter wheel base really does become a factor at higher speeds. While I haven't encountered an unsafe situation, driving for hours and hours as part of future plans has the potential to be exhausting. I think that's why we are looking at the RAM 2500, having way more truck than trailer just seems like it would make long trips much more enjoyable.

We have no real interest in changing the size or the trailer as it then severely limits the parks we can get into.

Do you have rear air in your 2500?
 

2Tallguy

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We currently have a Grand Design Imagine 2400BH with a GVWR of 7500lbs (weighed weight loaded for travel for us was 6600lbs) but if we travel more I guess that number will definitely get higher. We have no future plans to get a larger trailer and currently tow this with a large SUV rated to tow almost 9000lbs. We want to travel more and further distances and we feel that for the size of trailer and the amount of travel is where we would prefer to be in 2500 territory. Just wondering if those with experience with the 2500's if the 6.4 Hemi would be up to the task travelling 1000's of miles with some mountain travel as well. My other concern with the Cummins is this travel would be for 1-2 months a year and then otherwise the Truck would only travel a 100-200km a week at best unloaded.

I appreciate any feedback!

Thanks!
I'd get the 3500 with the rear leafs for towing. They are much more stable
 

Lainey

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We currently have a Grand Design Imagine 2400BH with a GVWR of 7500lbs (weighed weight loaded for travel for us was 6600lbs) but if we travel more I guess that number will definitely get higher. We have no future plans to get a larger trailer and currently tow this with a large SUV rated to tow almost 9000lbs. We want to travel more and further distances and we feel that for the size of trailer and the amount of travel is where we would prefer to be in 2500 territory. Just wondering if those with experience with the 2500's if the 6.4 Hemi would be up to the task travelling 1000's of miles with some mountain travel as well. My other concern with the Cummins is this travel would be for 1-2 months a year and then otherwise the Truck would only travel a 100-200km a week at best unloaded.

I appreciate any feedback!

Thanks!
You'll have no problems towing that trailer. I have a 1500 4x4 5.7 and it tows my 34 ft travel trailer without issue.
 

man n black

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If we are all honest with ourselves....
@OP: If you at all are going to tow on one of the main interstates of this great country..except near cities, the flow of traffic will be 70-75mph (or higher). If you're not able to do that you become a hazard for everyone else.

A gas powered 2500 just wont do that as comfortably or as safely as a Cummins powered truck.

Here's a few recent quotes from my experience with my 2 trucks and actually towing a 6800-8000+lb trailer all over this country and Canada for the last 10 years.

I see these threads here all the time.

Alot of folks quote weights and say "you'll be just fine with a 1500 and load levelling.... don't believe the 1500 naysayers etc".

In my pic here, you'll note that this trailer empty, even well within the weight limits of my combo, without levelling bars or sway control attached, sags the back of our 2500 with Carli progressive overloads.

View attachment 522163


Towed exclusively with that truck, I have (several times) driven this 31 foot trailer (Keystone Cougar 31RLT) literally from the Monterey shore..up to Olympic National Park across Canada and all the way back and forth across America from the Florida Panhandle to Denver, to Los Angeles, The Dakotas..you get the picture.... Both unmodded and modded (Carli overloads, Thuren suspension system, airbags and tuned).

Quoted to be 31 feet, that trailer was 35 feet from tongue to tail and I think a listed 7000 lb empty. Well within the limits of the 2500 Cummins combo. Your smaller bumper pull I suspect is no different. You will for 100% certainty carry tankage (propane, batteries, tanks) and belongings - food etc..its just a part of what makes RV life great.

Having roadraced cars and motorcycles and driven other vehicles across this country many times, here's a few things that were stressful..even with my well under weight limits, totally dialled (flat towing) setup:

High winds - In my experience, extremely common from St. Louis to Hollywood. Worst in Nebraska and the Mountain Desert West

Strong Thunderstorms with heavy rains- common everywhere, often with high gusty winds, hail (ice) and anytime you're in the mountains or northern latitudes it can start snowing

Long Steep Freeway Grades - I'm talking places like Eisenhower, The Grape Vine, Sierra Nevada, Grants' Pass and the Kooteneys. Dont be fooled theres a few out East too.

My point in saying all of this is NOT to discourage you. Some of the absolute best times in my family's life has been RVing, even when we have been stranded for months due to mechanical breakage.

What I'm trying to point out is that conditions can change very quickly out on the road, particulary in areas you may not be familiar with or rural areas. IF your setup is on the edge in the best of conditions, I think you will find that it can get out of hand pretty quickly.

For the folks saying just drive slow..well...

You IMHO should be able to safely and competently go AT LEAST as fast as the Commercial Trucks in MOST conditions. Otherwise you're in for very long stressful days of being bullied by the truckers..particularly on long steep downgrades in the wet. THIS is where the 2500/3500, the Cummins in particular inspires confidence...because of the exhaust brake. Even compared to the motorcoach we have now with its 3 stage Jake.

For my money....match the trailer to the truck you have; keeping a good safe margin for error. There are some smaller very light 5th wheels out there, and those tow immeasureably better in high winds. IF you want the long heavy bumper pull, get a 2500 for sure, preferably the Cummins AND sway control. YMMV

Happy Towing,
Chris H

Some things to consider OP:
1. If you think you need/want the Cummins...GET IT....particularly for towing your life will be much improved with heavier chunk of metal under the hood, the lower revs and particularly the exhaust brake. Further, the Gen4 and newer CrewCab trucks are super comfy for long distance trips..even unloaded and with the 3.42 diff ratio they get decent gas mileage too.

2. What is the requirement for Emissions testing where you live?
...My first Cummins was a 2009 6.7 that I ran on a tuner for bit in Cali with the DPF installed. It did regen more often but was also a freeway queen and I never had any problems with it. My second, a Gen4 Cummins powered 2500 we bought shortly before we moved to a place where all we had to do was VIN verify to register and re-register. Deleting the DPF was a no brainer at that point and for the next 10 years, when we weren't towing our trailer, the truck rarely if ever was drove for more than 20 minutes at a time and there were no freeways where we lived. In winter the truck would often spend a month or more outside, buried under 2-3ft of snow though we kept it plugged in. We have had ZERO engine related problems with our truck.

My point in saying this is it would be smart to check into your local / state emissions testing requirements AND if you can delete the DPF you should, unless the truck is DEF equipped in which case it doesn't matter as my understanding of the DEF system is to increase burn temps so that DPF filters dont get clogged.
Ymmv
Ch
 
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jvbuttex

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And with the Cummins there is basically no chance a lifter/cam will wear out and implode leaving you stranded!! Both have their plusses and minuses...
When we got the trailer, and my 1500 was pushing 98k. this was bid deterrent for me. Yes many 5.7 out with no problems. Given the weight and CTD pulling up hills, i went CTD. I dont drive slow, and hated how that 5.7 would scream. I dont know, but imagine the 6.4 will do the same.
 
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zenderxt

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If we are all honest with ourselves....
@OP: If you at all are going to tow on one of the main interstates of this great country..except near cities, the flow of traffic will be 70-75mph (or higher). If you're not able to do that you become a hazard for everyone else.

A gas powered 2500 just wont do that as comfortably or as safely as a Cummins powered truck.

Here's a few recent quotes from my experience with my 2 trucks and actually towing a 6800-8000+lb trailer all over this country and Canada for the last 10 years.
I live in Ontario, Canada where we have pretty strict emissions laws. So deleting any of the after treatment systems of the Cummins is probably not something I would be willing to do. So factoring the maintenance of those systems I would have to keep as part of my budget for sure.

Thanks!
 

HEMIMANN

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FYI - I understand the newest generation of Cummins B engine went to 10W-30 oil requirement, from flat tappet lifters and 15W-30 oil requirement.

I forget why they went to roller lifters, but I recall the decreased viscosity was to get higher oil flow to those lifters. Engine itself will likely experience higher rate of wear, but if it's a million mile engine to begin with, who cares, right?

Ghost of Hemi roller lifter failures! Lubrication-related.
 

man n black

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I live in Ontario, Canada where we have pretty strict emissions laws. So deleting any of the after treatment systems of the Cummins is probably not something I would be willing to do. So factoring the maintenance of those systems I would have to keep as part of my budget for sure.

Thanks!
The one thing then to consider is gas mileage then. The Cummins gets much better gas mileage particularly when pulling. If you have biodeisel available you'll see a huge improvement in range..particularly unloaded. Some peace of mind when driving off the beaten path through say The Kooteneys where theres not alot of gas stations. Dunno how it is up there in Ontario only been as far Northeast as SK.
 

HEMIMANN

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Biodiesel gels at much lower temp than No. 2. Biodiesel also rots - will slime and destroy your injectors unless you spike with biocides.

Life isn't that simple today. $10,000 is a lot of money to tie up for only towing a little per year. More than pays for the extra gas needed in a gas engine.

Choose wisely. Many of us aren't rich.
 
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zenderxt

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The one thing then to consider is gas mileage then. The Cummins gets much better gas mileage particularly when pulling. If you have biodeisel available you'll see a huge improvement in range..particularly unloaded. Some peace of mind when driving off the beaten path through say The Kooteneys where theres not alot of gas stations. Dunno how it is up there in Ontario only been as far Northeast as SK.
I definitely agree with this, as we are planning to head further north, where the distance between gas stations does increase. Having the extra range between them would definitely be worth looking at.
 
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zenderxt

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Biodiesel gels at much lower temp than No. 2. Biodiesel also rots - will slime and destroy your injectors unless you spike with biocides.

Life isn't that simple today. $10,000 is a lot of money to tie up for only towing a little per year. More than pays for the extra gas needed in a gas engine.

Choose wisely. Many of us aren't rich.
Yep, for sure that's why I appreciate all the feedback in this thread. Never thought it would get to 8 pages though! 10k is a lot of money and I want to make sure that it's money well spent if we go that route.

Thanks!
 

man n black

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Biodiesel gels at much lower temp than No. 2. Biodiesel also rots - will slime and destroy your injectors unless you spike with biocides.

Life isn't that simple today. $10,000 is a lot of money to tie up for only towing a little per year. More than pays for the extra gas needed in a gas engine.

Choose wisely. Many of us aren't rich.
I've not had this problem with biodeisel at all..Further the Cummins trucks has the block heater as an option and I believe at least on my truck it heats alot more than just the engine block.
 

crash68

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I'd get the 3500 with the rear leafs for towing. They are much more stable
The OP doesn't need a 3500 to tow his trailer, and it royally sucks for driving around with no weight in the bed. At least the 2500 has rear coils which offer a smoother ride unloaded.
Pulled a 9K lbs enclosed trailer with '22 3500 CTD w/rear air suspension, it wasn't bad with the trailer hooked up but wasn't a nice trip without.
@zenderxt if you do pull the trigger on a diesel be forewarned, once you've towed with a diesel you really don't want to back to a gasser.
 

crash68

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Further the Cummins trucks has the block heater as an option and I believe at least on my truck it heats alot more than just the engine block.
Unless something has been added to your truck, all the 6.7 Cummins have used the same 700 watt immersion coolant heater that's tapped into the block right by the oil filter. Both the EcoDiesel and Cummins have fuel heaters in the rear fuel filter assembly but that has nothing to do with the plug in block heater.
 
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