Towing with a v6 Pentastar and 3.21 differential

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tsherv

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Hi,

I've been doing a lot of research on the 2019 or newer Ram 1500 Big Horn. I took a 2019 with a v6 Pentastar / 3.21 differential for a test drive and really liked it. The problem I have is a lot of discussion about the v6 includes opinions from people who have had the v6 in trucks from 20 years ago. The new v6 seems to put out more HP than a lot of v8's from 20 years ago.

Here's my current situation: I currently drive a 2008 Honda Ridgeline (5,000 lb towing capacity) (I know...not a real truck, but it's been an outstanding vehicle). I commute round trip to work about 40 miles a day. This is the primary use of my vehicle. However, I also have a small travel trailer (17' R-Pod, about 3,000 lbs). Once a year, we pull the travel trailer from WI and go somewhere in the mountains out west (Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, etc.). I've pulled this trailer thousands of miles with my Ridgeline (including through the mountains. The Ridgeline handled it well, although there were a lot of 4,000 RPM slow climbs. The vast majority of the time, my vehicle is used on the highway as a commuter vehicle.

I need to replace my Ridgeline. I always said that I'd like my next truck to have a bit more towing capability than my Ridgeline. We have no intention of ever pulling a big camper. However, we may get something slightly larger than our R-Pod. Maybe something like 500 lbs. heavier.

Everybody says "buy the v8". I'm just trying to figure out if it's truly necessary in my situation? Yeah, the power is fun, but I'm kind of past needing to drive a rocket. Is it worth a higher purchase price / lower fuel economy for the 1 trip each year that we take? Would the v6 with the 3.21 be an upgrade over pulling with my Honda Ridgeline?
 
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Loudram

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For a trailer that size and as often as you'll be towing, the V-6 will be plenty. Just look up the specific tow rating AND payload using the vin of the actual truck your looking at to get the most accurate numbers. Just remember the more options the truck has the more it weighs and the less it tows and hauls. Don't forget to deduct for any aftermarket add ons like a tonneau cover and step bars. That'll come off your payload but with a V-6 your payload will be pretty decent.

Will it be an upgrade?
Absolutely.

Edit: Doc is right, you'll still be high in the RPM range but that's where the V-6 makes its power when it's towing. No way to escape that with a V-6 but it'll still be an upgrade. However I do admit that I never towed with a V-6. I've always had a Hemi or a 360 with my '01 Ram.
 
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Docwagon1776

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Hi,

I've been doing a lot of research on the 2019 or newer Ram 1500 Big Horn. I took a 2019 with a v6 Pentastar / 3.21 differential for a test drive and really liked it. The problem I have is a lot of discussion about the v6 includes opinions from people who have had the v6 in trucks from 20 years ago. The new v6 seems to put out more HP than a lot of v8's from 20 years ago.

Here's my current situation: I currently drive a 2008 Honda Ridgeline (5,000 lb towing capacity) (I know...not a real truck, but it's been an outstanding vehicle). I commute round trip to work about 40 miles a day. This is the primary use of my vehicle. However, I also have a small travel trailer (17' R-Pod, about 3,000 lbs). Once a year, we pull the travel trailer from WI and go somewhere in the mountains out west (Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, etc.). I've pulled this trailer thousands of miles with my Ridgeline (including through the mountains. The Ridgeline handled it well, although there were a lot of 4,000 RPM slow climbs. The vast majority of the time, my vehicle is used on the highway as a commuter vehicle.

I need to replace my Ridgeline. I always said that I'd like my next truck to have a bit more towing capability than my Ridgeline. We have no intention of ever pulling a big camper. However, we may get something slightly larger than our R-Pod. Maybe something like 500 lbs. heavier.

Everybody says "buy the v8". I'm just trying to figure out if it's truly necessary in my situation? Yeah, the power is fun, but I'm kind of past needing to drive a rocket. Is it worth a higher purchase price / lower fuel economy for the 1 trip each year that we take? Would the v6 with the 3.21 be an upgrade over pulling with my Honda Ridgeline?


And you'll still be doing "...a lot of 4,000 RPM slow climbs."

Even with just passengers, a lighter Classic was running at 4k to get up inclines in CA on my recent rental. You do you, but if you're tired of 4k rpm hill climbs you aren't going to see a difference.
 

crash68

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The 3.6L has better horsepower and torque specs than the Ridgeline, also the ZF 8SP transmission has a lot better gear stager. It should tow your trailer nicely.

As for the rpm issue, torque is what pulls a load. A gasser engine needs to rev to get where the torque band/peak is which is usually in the 4K rpm range. If you want to tow a trailer at 2K rpms buy a diesel, theyre torque band is around 2K.
 
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tsherv

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Maybe a different way of asking the question about the difference between the 3.21 and 3.55 differential: Pulling a 3,500 to 4,000 travel trailer, would I notice a difference in the driving / towing characteristics between the 2 differentials with the pentastar v6?
 

Loudram

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I believe the difference is a 3.21 rear is usually paired with the 8 speed tranny and the 3.55 is paired with the 6 speed tranny. In that case the 3.21 with the 8 speed is the better choice. I'm not even sure if they offer the 3.55 w/ 6sp tranny option anymore. Someone else may know for certain.
 
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NOV87

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I have Hemi with 6sp and 3.55. My son has Pentastar V6 with 8sp and 3.55.
In my opinion, the V6 feels faster from a stop than mine. Those first two gears in the transmission make a big difference. I think 3.55 or even 3.92 paired up with 8sp make v6 a good choice for daily driver with occasional towing.

Here is a very good thread about Pentastar vs Hemi:
Thread 'Pentastar vs Hemi, which should you choose?' https://www.ramforum.com/threads/pentastar-vs-hemi-which-should-you-choose.185792/
 

Docwagon1776

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I believe the difference is a 3.21 rear is usually paired with the 8 speed tranny and the 3.55 is paired with the 6 speed tranny. In that case the 3.21 with the 8 speed is the better choice. I'm not even sure if they offer the 3.55 w/ 6sp tranny option anymore. Someone else may know for certain.

There's no 6 speed transmission option any longer and hasn't been for years. 3.55 is a $95 option and doesn't require any other change.
 

Loudram

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There's no 6 speed transmission option any longer and hasn't been for years. 3.55 is a $95 option and doesn't require any other change.
I know there wasn't in the 5th gen I wasn't sure about the 4th gen. Thanks.

That being said the 3.55 is a better option. But at this point I'd look for a 3.92. The difference in mpg is minimal. Might as well get as much as you can out of the V-6.
 
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BossHogg

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Everybody says "buy the v8". I'm just trying to figure out if it's truly necessary in my situation? Yeah, the power is fun, but I'm kind of past needing to drive a rocket. Is it worth a higher purchase price / lower fuel economy for the 1 trip each year that we take?
Outside the initial cost for the V8, compare the cost to drive per mile between the V6 and the V8 with respect to the number of miles you drive. That number will help you make a better decision.

RAM offers two axle ratios in a 1500 with the V6, 3:21 and 3:55, the 3:92 is only available with the ED or the Hemi. You could compare the tow rating of the truck with each axle ratio, this will give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

Here is a link to the RAM tow/payload chart;

At the RAM website, you can put in axle ratios and engine type and get back a towing number. Keep in mind it is a number that represents a low-optioned vehicle so depending on the options you chose, it could slightly reduce your tow weights.

For example, a 2022 Big Horn with 3:21s and a V6 is rated at 6,500 pounds of towing, a 3:55 ratio will take the tow weight up another 1,000 pounds.
 

Loudram

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RAM offers two axle ratios in a 1500 with the V6, 3:21 and 3:55, the 3:92 is only available with the ED or the Hemi.
OK, I plead exhaustion for getting these things wrong. I'm at work (12hr night shift) as I type this with not getting enough sleep.
 

crash68

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Maybe a different way of asking the question about the difference between the 3.21 and 3.55 differential: Pulling a 3,500 to 4,000 travel trailer, would I notice a difference in the driving / towing characteristics between the 2 differentials with the pentastar v6?
The differences you would notice is a 3.55 axle ratio truck would run slightly higher rpms (about 10%) but downshift less in comparison to a 3.21 geared truck. The 3.55 truck would also accelerate faster.
Seems a bunch of people seem to not like a gasser spinning the higher rpms while towing. The higher rpms is not going to hurt the engine, lugging due to low rpms can.
 

ramffml

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My 2 cents, and to answer your question, the v6 will not be an upgrade over your ridgeline. The 2008 ridgeline makes less power but is faster 0 to 60 than the v6 ram is. Perhaps the 8 speed will help, but as others mentioned you're going to still see high RPMs, the Ram is much heavier and bigger. The rest of your experience will be better, more stable, probably more payload, but you're already thinking about a bigger trailer.

The hemi is the upgrade you're looking for. The v8 3.21 will happily pull your trailer and the next one as well, while still giving you equivalent gas mileage on the freeway if you drive conservatively. I regularly get 23 to 25 MPG sitting at an average of 63 mph and refusing to pass people etc.

Don't fixate on the rear gear ratio for what you're pulling. The high rpms is the problem according to you, and you won't get away from that regardless of gear ratio. It's not a magic bullet, it essentially moves your shift points down but your engine makes power by revving, your transmission and gear ratio work together to get you at 4000 rpms. You need to be there, doesn't matter what combination of transmission or rear end gears got you there, you need those rpms. The only place it helps you is from a dead stop, which funny enough, is the last place I'm looking for more power towing my trailer.

Otherwise (hate to say it), but look at the 1500's from GM, and the 4 cylinder 2.7 turbo. It has tons of low end torque, and gets decent MPG as well.
 

dillardgl

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I owned with a 2015 ram 1500 crewcab with a 3.6 v6 and used it to tow a tow hauler around 6500 lbs before I had knowledge of payload and towing capacity. We bought the truck new before we owned an Rv so we just used it. It actually did really good even though it was overloaded. Two trips 1k miles round trip and a couple of 500 miles round trip. We traded it for a new 2018 with a 5.7 and 392 gears to be in the correct tow capacity and payload range for the Travel trailer we owned at the time. The v6 towed really good and actually got better fuel mileage towing the same load. So if you’re only towing 3k lbs a couple times a year you’ll be fine. And the v6 did great on fuel economy empty. By the way the 15 had 30k on it when we traded it in without any issues whatsoever at all. Great little Truck!
 

rvance

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Hi,

I've been doing a lot of research on the 2019 or newer Ram 1500 Big Horn. I took a 2019 with a v6 Pentastar / 3.21 differential for a test drive and really liked it. The problem I have is a lot of discussion about the v6 includes opinions from people who have had the v6 in trucks from 20 years ago. The new v6 seems to put out more HP than a lot of v8's from 20 years ago.

Here's my current situation: I currently drive a 2008 Honda Ridgeline (5,000 lb towing capacity) (I know...not a real truck, but it's been an outstanding vehicle). I commute round trip to work about 40 miles a day. This is the primary use of my vehicle. However, I also have a small travel trailer (17' R-Pod, about 3,000 lbs). Once a year, we pull the travel trailer from WI and go somewhere in the mountains out west (Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, etc.). I've pulled this trailer thousands of miles with my Ridgeline (including through the mountains. The Ridgeline handled it well, although there were a lot of 4,000 RPM slow climbs. The vast majority of the time, my vehicle is used on the highway as a commuter vehicle.

I need to replace my Ridgeline. I always said that I'd like my next truck to have a bit more towing capability than my Ridgeline. We have no intention of ever pulling a big camper. However, we may get something slightly larger than our R-Pod. Maybe something like 500 lbs. heavier.

Everybody says "buy the v8". I'm just trying to figure out if it's truly necessary in my situation? Yeah, the power is fun, but I'm kind of past needing to drive a rocket. Is it worth a higher purchase price / lower fuel economy for the 1 trip each year that we take? Would the v6 with the 3.21 be an upgrade over pulling with my Honda Ridgeline?
I've had the V6 in 4
Hi,

I've been doing a lot of research on the 2019 or newer Ram 1500 Big Horn. I took a 2019 with a v6 Pentastar / 3.21 differential for a test drive and really liked it. The problem I have is a lot of discussion about the v6 includes opinions from people who have had the v6 in trucks from 20 years ago. The new v6 seems to put out more HP than a lot of v8's from 20 years ago.

Here's my current situation: I currently drive a 2008 Honda Ridgeline (5,000 lb towing capacity) (I know...not a real truck, but it's been an outstanding vehicle). I commute round trip to work about 40 miles a day. This is the primary use of my vehicle. However, I also have a small travel trailer (17' R-Pod, about 3,000 lbs). Once a year, we pull the travel trailer from WI and go somewhere in the mountains out west (Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, etc.). I've pulled this trailer thousands of miles with my Ridgeline (including through the mountains. The Ridgeline handled it well, although there were a lot of 4,000 RPM slow climbs. The vast majority of the time, my vehicle is used on the highway as a commuter vehicle.

I need to replace my Ridgeline. I always said that I'd like my next truck to have a bit more towing capability than my Ridgeline. We have no intention of ever pulling a big camper. However, we may get something slightly larger than our R-Pod. Maybe something like 500 lbs. heavier.

Everybody says "buy the v8". I'm just trying to figure out if it's truly necessary in my situation? Yeah, the power is fun, but I'm kind of past needing to drive a rocket. Is it worth a higher purchase price / lower fuel economy for the 1 trip each year that we take? Would the v6 with the 3.21 be an upgrade over pulling with my Honda Ridgeline?
Get the 3:55 gears. Voice of experience.
 

DJW01

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We have a 2016 V6/3.21 and a 2000 lb trailer. No problem towing, we went across Canada this summer, no issues, but it downshifted a few gears on the long inclines north of Lake Superior. The 3.55 would probably hold a higher gear on some of those hills, where ours would sometimes hunt on the long inclines to hold speed. I never hit a hill that it couldn’t maintain speed. On hilly terrain with the trailer fuel economy drops quite a bit, but regular roads are not bad (9.5 - 10L/100km empty, 12-13 with the trailer on regular roads, 17+ through the hills, we typically go 105-110 km/h empty and 95 or so with the trailer), google can translate that to mpg and mph.
 

El Huapo

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My 2019 Classic Quad is a 4WD gas V6 w/3.55's. Pulled a few loaded open car trailers up and down the hills with no issues. The little engine hums and needs RPM's for big loads. It's an all Aluminum, double-overhead cam w/chain drive, variable valve timing go-getter engine. The 8-speed tranny makes all the difference. Tow rating per Ram w/3.55's is 7400#.
 
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