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Old 06-10-2012, 08:10 PM   #1
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Default Towing 215WSK with 2010 Ram 1500 Hemi

We just returned home from our second trip out with the new 215wsk. both our trips have been west of Calgary out to Canmore and Banff.
Despite two trips to the dealer for warranty work, we love our trailer and the roomy feeling inside.
Towing, however, has been a bit frustrating. I am not used to driving standard so am still trying to get the hang of the tow/haul mode in the truck. We find driving that the truck seems sluggish in that it takes a long time to accelerate without pushing the RPM's to closer to 3500/4000. Our mileage this trip on the way out was 8.9 MPG. It was 12.2 on the way back.
Is this common? Perhaps it is the way I am driving? Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-10-2012, 09:03 PM   #2
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Hi Safetygirl, I am far from an expert but my last job before I retired was hauling a 24' trailer with 14 motorcycles used in training. I hauled the trailer with a Chevy 3/4 ton diesel pickup with the tow/haul option. We found that our milage increased by about 10% using the tow/haul. The tow/haul does change the way your truck behaves. The following is from the "How things work" website;

Trucks with Tow/Haul Mode

Your bumper isn't the only thing to consider when hauling a heavy load. Another important factor is your truck's power. While many trucks have the ability to haul a trailer, some have a special tow/haul mode that helps you tow heavier objects safely.

The tow/haul mode changes a vehicle's transmission shift patterns. Pulling a heavy load requires a lot of power. The tow/haul mode reduces shift cycles. Depending on the truck, it may also boost torque and engage an engine braking mode to help drivers maintain control while driving up and down hills.

In general, the tow/haul mode changes shift points to higher RPM limits. This helps you keep moving as you haul your trailer. As you go down hills, you may notice that your transmission will downshift earlier than normal. This allows the transmission to help you slow down and saves wear and tear on your brakes, too.

Many manufacturers design the tow/haul mode so that it disengages a vehicle's overdrive feature. Shifting frequently can cause overdrive to burn out.

Check your owner's manual to see if your truck has a tow/haul mode. If it does, consider engaging it when you need to haul a heavy load. It will help you maintain control of your vehicle and trailer and cause less stress to your truck's transmission over a long haul.


Hope this helps some. I am not sure what you meant about driving "standard". If you have a manual trany, I have no experience with tow/haul and a standard trany. If that's the case, I'm sure someone with more experience will be along to help.
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Old 06-11-2012, 04:41 PM   #3
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Towed my FunFinder with an '08 Hemi Commander... IMHO, the Hemi is a marvelous towing engine, but, like all gas engines, they like to rev... I wasn't aware that Chrysler put the Tow/Haul system in a manual transmission truck, but, what the heck My Commander had the "auto stick" automatic transmission...most of the time; switch the Tow/Haul on, put it in drive and let'er rip. No need to manually shift to a lower gear except on long steep grades or "technical" slow speed grades (lots of twists and turns). Otherwise, just let Tow/Haul take care of the shifting of the automatic transmission, 95% of the time you should let the very well designed Tow/Haul + automatic transmission do its thing. Tow/Haul will change the shift points to keep the engine revving (it's supposed to rev) and it (Chrysler's Tow/Haul) does, indeed, lock out the overdrive to keep from toasting the overdrive lock up. Acceleration? You won't have it. Gas engines are free revving, but, add a bunch of weight and your rear end's gearing (probably 3.73) and you lose the "umph" until the engine gets up to that magical 3800 to 4200 rpm range where it is doing it's best work. RVing isn't a race. Let the engine build up gradually...you won't be the first off the line at the light, ever.

Most good sized gas engines will develop peak horsepower and torque in the 3800 to 4400 rpm range, the Hemi doesn't red-line until between 5600 and 6000 RPM (depending on application). Don't be afraid of it, that's where the engine likes to be and believe it or not, it is much more efficient at that range. Fuel thirsty, yes, but, efficiency and peak performance are found at those rpms. Hauling up a steep grade? Downshift (either manual or with the "stick shift" automatic until the engine's tach reads between 3900 and 4200 (for the Hemi). It will pull all day long and never complain, when ever I encountered those situations, I'd aim for the 4000 mark and keep it there until I'd crested the hill or was done with the twisting tediousness of a winding steep grade. Easier on the automatic transmission that way.

A diesel, on the other hand is just the opposite. Doesn't like to rev...develops huge amounts of torque at relatively low rpms (my Cummins Turbo Diesel's max output (800+ ft. lbs. of torque) happens at between 2000 and 2200 rpm. That's why they (diesels) make such good "tow" engines. They don't have to get up to 3800+ rpms to get to their peak output (my RAM red-lines at 3500 rpm, it would blow up before your Hemi is doing its best work) Their downside? Diesel engine and the cost of the diesel option ($7000+ on the RAM over the Hemi version), diesel fuel and it's cost, weight (the 6 cylinder diesel in my RAM weighs 976 lbs more than the 8 cylinder Hemi), noise and rougher idle. If all you were going to do is tow with a vehicle; get a diesel or if you need tow a great deal of weight get a diesel. If you tow infrequently and use the vehicle for around town, get a gasser; it is up to the task of occasional towing and is cheaper in the short term.

MPG? You are doing just about "par for the course". You are towing a square box that has a frontal area of 8' x 10' in round numbers. That's a really big square sail that you are dragging through the air pressure created at 55-65 miles per hour. Weight really doesn't figure prominently in towing. A short lightweight trailer might get 1 or 2 mpg better than a heavier longer trailer given the same frontal area. It is what it is and your mileage is pretty much dead on for what the majority of RVers get. Whenever I plan a trip I allow for 10 mpg as an average. A lot of uphill or strong headwind? Figure 8-9 mpg...a lot of level flat land or good tail wind, 11-12 mpg. A good average for some hills, both up and down and level areas with some high speed (58-63 mph) between 9 and 10. Trip average? Most will find that they will be in the 9.5 to 10.5 range. You will find some that "claim" 13-15 mpg, some even higher... I always take those with a grain of salt (fish stories comes to mind... ), but, I suppose there are some that achieve that; most don't. I got 8.5 to 11.5 towing my 6,000 lb FunFinder with the Hemi and I get 9 to 12 with the diesel towing a 12,000 lb. Cougar. That's just RVing. If you are looking for fuel-economy, RVing is not a good hobby!



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Old 06-11-2012, 07:28 PM   #4
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Wow, thank You for the detailed explanation. It is extremely helpful in putting my worrisome mind to rest. I was under the mistaken impression that I had to shift gears when in tow mode (we have an automatic transmission). Happy to hear I don't have to. I've been worried that higher RPMs were potentially bad for the engine:transmission. Having to replace the trannie in my ford escape from towing a tent trailer has made me pessimistic.
To me RVing is about the journey and working is safety, I'm the last one to be in a rush to get somewhere.
Again, the advice is greatly appreciated.
Happy trails!
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Old 06-13-2012, 06:05 PM   #5
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Actually, higher revs are good for the transmission...the fluid will circulate through the cooler faster and dissipate the heat generated better. Let'er rev into the power band; that's how it was designed. The Tow/Haul mode makes the shift points happen later to keep it revving for just that reason

Enjoy your truck and trailer and let them do their work as the engineers designed them to. The RAM 1500 with the Hemi is a towing machine and your 215WSK is good exercise for it



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Old 06-15-2012, 08:05 AM   #6
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Agree with everything webslave stated.

I ALWAYS use the tow/haul feature on my 1500 w/hemi and automatic transmission pulling my XT276 that is heavier than your trailer and the Dodge Hemi does fine.

OH, and my Dodge was mfg before they put the MDS on the Hemi engine and fully loaded, mpg is about the same.
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Old 06-16-2012, 12:21 PM   #7
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One of the things Tow/Haul does on the newer models...along with locking out the torque convertor's overdrive lockup, it disables the MDS so that you have full use of all 8 cylinders at all times. No MDS gas savings when towing...



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Old 06-18-2012, 10:21 PM   #8
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Thanks again for the information. We had the TT out again the weekend. Mileage was worse due to the wind, but I felt more confident knowing the Hemi was doing its job.
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:02 AM   #9
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I have the 2012 Ram 1500 5.7L Hemi. I pull the 2012 Shadow Cruiser 285RLS. This vehicle is strong enough where, if needed I still can get up and go. I was real disappointed at first with the 10-12 MPG I was getting, but after reading so many articles, I am in the ball game on this one. I use the Tow/Haul without fail. It works just as Webslave described. Good luck.
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Old 08-14-2012, 08:06 PM   #10
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Just returned from the Black Hills of South Dakota and pulling up and down thru the Hills and on curvey roads was no problem. The hemi never let me down for power in the Hills nor out on the flats with a stiff 30-40 mph wind coming at me at an angle. Normal highway speed was about 65 mph and once hit near 80 to quickly pass an overside load on the interstate. The hemi ran strong and true......while the Equa-l-izer hitch w/sway control proved itself.
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:56 PM   #11
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Your mileage is about spot on. Towing equal not good mileage period. The Hemi is a capable power plant but mileage on any 1/2 ton gas power plant is 10 at best don't let anyone tell you otherwise. And for those diesel claims read between the lines on that. Todays sulfur removed diesel ain't what it once was. They suffer too and it goes deeper into their pockets.

Sounds like operator error on the Hemi try some different things like tow/haul mode verses sequential because different terrain requires different things from the truck that the computer can't always work out just right. I've found sequential shift sometimes works best especially in windy conditions.

Experiment it can only be a good thing.
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