2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Towing 5,000 Pounds for 5,000 Miles - Part 1
August 7, 2015
I've spent a lot of time with our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel but I hadn't had a chance to tow with it yet. Lucky for me, there's an annual car meet in North Carolina I go to and the boss gave me approval to tow my Acura Integra there. The meet takes place on a road called the Tail of The Dragon, a curvy mountain road that's a bit of a Mecca for gear heads and I'm always up for a good road trip. So I rented a U-Haul trailer and started packing my bags.
The U-Haul car trailer weighs about 2,200 pounds and my Integra is around 2,600 pounds. Add some gear and supplies and you've got 2.5 tons (5,000 lbs) behind the Ram. I'm not the first person on staff to hook a rig up to this truck but this is definitely one of the most daunting tasks it's ever had.
Inside California I was restricted by the archaic 55-mph towing speed limit, but there were still some pretty challenging conditions. There's a steep grade leaving the California desert and 106-degree ambient temperatures, but the truck barely broke a sweat. I kept a close eye on the Ram's oil-temp gauge and it never went above 233 degrees - about halfway.
If you take the quickest route from Los Angeles to Deals Gap in North Carolina, it's about 2,200 miles. My route to the Tail of The Dragon was a bit longer. Phoenix was first, then Roswell, New Mexico, followed by Austin, New Orleans and Atlanta.
Along interstate highways, diesel fuel took some finding. Some stations aren't marked clearly and don't carry diesel at all. Others only have it at one pump. It's a small consideration but one that adds an extra dimension to a road trip like this, entering your mind every 300 miles or so.
Somewhere between New Mexico and Texas, the DEF needle dipped in to the red so I stopped to fill up, and for the first time our Ram 1500 got to use a Diesel Exhaust Fluid pump rather than the boxes we've been buying. This was much easier and much cheaper. More on that later.
Across much of Texas, the speed limit is a blissful 75 mph. Trucks are allowed to do that speed as well. Problematically though, the Ram's navigation system didn't seem to notice. Not once did the navigation correctly acknowledge the higher speed limit. Luckily, I did. To the Ram's credit, it had no problem towing at this speed. It passed big rigs and trudged up hills without any issues.
Leaving Austin for New Orleans, I realized I'd been driving for nearly 2,000 miles and my butt hadn't gotten uncomfortable once. The seats were friggin' excellent. There's plenty of range in adjustment and enough support to keep even a finicky back happy.
After a night in New Orleans, there was a short 7-hour drive and an overnight stay in Atlanta, then a three-hour journey in the morning up to the Dragon. Those roads are curvy and tight - that's why they're fun. But towing a trailer through switchbacks isn't an experience meant to entertain. Slow and steady keeps you on the mountain. After six days on the road though, I'd arrived, ready to unload my car and go for a spirited drive.
Stay tuned for more on the Tail of The Dragon, fuel economy numbers, and the return trip to Los Angeles.
Travis Langness, Social Media Editor @ 37,850 miles