Ram Truck Options

Eventually I’ll have a chance to test drive the Ram. Maybe this fall I’ll let you know if we go with the Ford or Ram and which truck trim package. For now, I’d like to discuss the build options available in the Ram. I’ve already written about in the Ford. I’ll not be writing about the Chevy/GMC.

It’s important to pass along from what I’m reading, the next generation Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks will be coming out in 2020.  The next generation 1500 trucks are out in 2019 and there are plenty of photos to find on the internet. As of today, I’ve not found any confirmed photos of the next 2500/3500 generation trucks. And of course, Ford came out with their next generation truck in 2017.

2019 on the left and 2018 on the right. Wonder if the New 2500/3500 design will copy the 1500 series truck?

I intentional skipped a few options the Ram had in common with the Ford which were covered in my Ford options blog post last month.

  (Warning opinions ahead)

2018 Ram Options: (If we were to buy a Ram)

  •  Diesel engine, dual rear wheels with 4×4: (Yes) What sold me was having always purchased a truck with 4×4 and knowing already how often I’ve used it in the past. Just try finding a dually diesel without 4×4. Hard to do. A theme Karen and I have maintained when considering which trailer we want has been to not limit where we stay any more than necessary. We don’t want to limit where we drive any more than necessary either. I’ve read that even slick grass can sometimes be an issue when parking the trailer. A diesel is nice for the trailer weights we are considering (16,500 to 19,000 pounds) and the automatic or manual exhaust braking will be important for descending big hills. Most would agree, a leading reason to buy the Ram is its Cummins 6.7 liter I6 turbo diesel. Some say the Ram exhaust brake is the best of the big three brands.
  • Aisin 6 speed automatic transmission: (Probably). A $2,695 option with maybe a 12% discount at a dealership puts its initial cost at $2,375. Transmission service intervals are twice as often as the Dodge 68RFE transmission. The high-output Cummins engine is only available if purchased with the Aisin transmission. The “regular” Cummins comes with less horse power and torque. Along with gear selection, one must be careful with the specifications you choose because of tow capacity. For example, the 2017 Ram dually diesels configurations which can handle at least 19,000-pound capacity are: 68RFE transmission and 4.10 gears only.  Option in the Aisin transmission and any available gear ratio will work for 19,000 fifth wheels to include 3.42, 3.73 and 4.10 gears.  Another benefit of the Aisin is a transmission oil cooler. Less chance of overheating a transmission while climbing a mountain is one less thing to worry about. A real towing beast. Some say Chevy’s Allison is no better than the Aisin. Get a towing chart for every truck year you are looking to purchase is my advice.
  • Axle Ratio: (leaning towards 3.73 or 4.10). A numerically lower axle ratio results in lower engine rpm and improved efficiency. A numerically higher ratio improves acceleration, climbing grades, carrying loads or pulling a trailer. I’m thinking the 3.73 is a happy medium for those using the truck as a daily driver. If I was only towing with it, the 4.10 would be a no-brainer.
  • Auto Level Rear Air Suspension: (No) A $1,595 option. I’ve read aftermarket products are slightly less expensive installed. The RAM auto level works only with a trailer hitched. I think I’ll wait and see if it’s needed.  At the time of this writing, Ram is the only truck of the three major brands that offer a factory installed leveling system. You want to tow the trailer as level as possible so as not to put unnecessary weight in the wrong places such as the back axle of a two axle trailer.
  • 5th Wheel/Gooseneck Towing Prep: (Definitely yes). This option provides mounting holes for a fifth wheel hitch and for a gooseneck ball, covers for these mounting holes, and a bed mounted 7-pin connector. This is called the puck system and allows for easy fifth wheel hitch removal in case you want to use the bed to haul stuff. When looking at the B&W hitch for the Ram I found it a few hundred dollars more than the Ford hitch. The holes for the Ram are spaced further apart for the legs of the beefy hitch.
  • LED Bed Lighting: (Yes) It’s a $165 luxury item for sure. But if we are going to be on the road full time then why not. Safe way to keep your hands empty by not having to hold a flashlight.
  • Headlights: Although not a selectable option, I sure do like the shape and function of the Laramie trim package headlights over the Big Horn.
  • Factory Tri-Fold Bed Cover: (No) At $545 they are charging to much. I’ll have an after-market cover. I’d prefer a cover that can partially close during fifth wheel towing. We will have to make sure if we get a tool box or auxiliary fuel tank that it sits even with or below the bed rails. By the way, the newer Ford F350 has a much larger diesel fuel tank than the Ram so I’d be more likely to add an auxiliary tank to the Ram.
  • 8.4” Navigation: (Yes with the Laramie Trim, Maybe with the Bighorn Trim). Uconnect includes an 8.4-inch touchscreen for displaying music info and climate controls, AM/FM radio, available satellite radio, integrated voice command, which includes hands-free calling, voice commands for radio functions and blue tooth streaming audio. I’ve read over and over again the Ram navigation screen, features and  layout is second to none. It’s high definition and easy to see in the sun. The 2019 1500 Ram can option in a 12” screen – why? Maybe will come with the next generation Ram 2500/3500 in maybe 2020.
  • Forward and Reverse Parking Sensors: (Yes). Ram’s got a leg up on the Ford here with their on/off switch which is great for backing up a trailer and not having to listen to the backup alarm. I understand you can turn it off on a Ford but have to page through a menu on your dashboard.
  • Fold Electric Tow Mirrors: (Yes). I’ve had a chance to talk with a couple people who drive Rams. Generally speaking, most of the reading I’ve done resulted in finding out most prefer the Ford mirrors. But the Ram owners I’ve spoken with say the Ram mirrors in the tow position are awesome. They may not extend electrically, but they do have electric folding.

 I hope I’ve been able to shed light on a few of the Ram options that are more unique. Hope it helps you decide on your own truck and I’d appreciate any feedback you have to offer. By the way, do any of you have a truck with the lighter cloth or leather tan interior?  And if so, how is it holding up to staining?

Ram Leather – Really like this trim color

I’m combing through the online truck sales sites. I know a few of these truck options might have to be sacrificed if I can find a slightly used truck at a very fair deal. Although our budget covers a new truck just in case.  I’ve really appreciated your blog posts concerning your own decisions on a truck and absorbed every word. I’m believing there is also a 50/50 chance we might someday have a second vehicle to follow the truck and trailer. So, I’m keeping that in mind. Although Karen and I enjoy traveling together in the same vehicle. I’m also impressed with the resale prices on these expensive trucks.  I attempted a small study on resale value between the Ford and Ram to no avail. Some say the Ram Cummins engine is more marketable as a used truck because commercial users want it.

Big Truck Big RV: 2018 Ram 3500 dually test drive and full review. Two-part video.  Go to his YouTube page for a lot of truck information. Keep in mind he owns a Ford F450. In other videos he admits the Ram is a better value for the dollar. The video series does a good job at comparing smaller details between the Ram, Ford and Chevy.

Here is a good article on the Ram heavy duty truck transmissions, 68RFE and Aisin. Remember, the high output Cummins engine is only available with the Aisin transmission.

Roads Less Traveled blog post about why they went with the Ram 3500 dually, 4.10 gear, Aisin transmission.


38 thoughts on “Ram Truck Options

  1. I’ll have to get you a link to our bed cover/tool box, Mark. We love it. A bit pricey, but it has worked like a charm. Also, I totally agree on the 4×4. Even a steep gravel drive in a campground can be an issue without it. Our older Ford backup alarm has a button….too bad the new ones rely on paging through the menu. That stinks.


  2. As always, enjoy reading your blog posts. I wanted to chime in on our recent purchase to complete our combination. I read earlier you were looking at the 34RL2. Our custom one was completed by the factory 2 weeks ago. I drove from MA to OH on the IN border to pick it up and bring it home.
    The 2017 Ford F350 DRW 4.10 and 34RL2 combination towed like a dream. At 65mph on cruise control I got 10.7mpg. Parts of that route are very hilly and I never had any reason to complain. Extremely quiet and stable tow.
    I’m sure the Ram would have done al least the same. Just sharing.


    • Thanks for the info Stephen. And the 34RLS is still in our top five so I’d be interested in your opinion on your new one. Congrads on the new trailer! I wish that trailer had cabinets over the TV for internet and tv equipment or is there another place to install it? What dealership did you buy your Cedar Creek at?


      • I have been through every nook and cranny of this trailer while installing our 2 Victron Multiplus’s and 10kW of Tesla lithium battery modules. I give it a thumbs up rating.

        Problems I had found at the dealer: Loose exit window screws, an impacted shock absorber on the Trailair and a cracked spray port fitting by the front steps. These were fixed on the spot by the dealer.

        Problem I found after I got it to our summer spot on Cape Cod: the microwave vent fan blower was not converted to exhaust through the wall. I fixed this myself.

        I had Jeff Couch order this unit from the factory to our specification. If you buy there, or most anywhere, be sure to do a comprehensive PDI yourself. Just because the microwave vent fan runs make sure it draws too for example. I give them 3.5 of 5 stars because they should have caught the leak on their PDI. But man, the price sure was right……

        We stream everything so we need a WiFi booster, a cell phone booster and a streaming box. We use Plex media server and Nvidia Shields. The Jensen head already has a DVD player and we will never do satellite TV (though the trailer is prewired for two). So, our space required for home entertainment devices is minimal. There is cavernous room behind the 55″ livingroom TV to mount way more than someone will ever need. That made the cabinet moot to us.

        The search for info on the 34RL2 lead me to your blog.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The 34RL2 dropped to second place for us, just behind the Montana 3120RL. But mostly because of price. The 34RL2 is still ahead based only on our overall rating of what we most want out of a trailer. Waiting for the 2019’s to come out before making a final decision. We will most likely shop around for our top three and decide on one of them.

        Good to know about storage space behind the television!

        I may be hitting you up for some info on the trailer as we get closer.


      • Hi Mark,

        Yes we ordered through Jeff Couch’s RV Nation. I’m not sure of the price for the Montana but this 34RL2 was super affordable for what it offers IMO.

        We ordered a 2018 but got a 2019. We added dual pane glass, Trailair pin box, upgraded quality king mattress, heat pump option, supplemental bedroom heater, receiver for bike rack, power theater seating, slide toppers, 2nd AC, 20cuft Resi fridge and 12 gal elec/lp water heater in place of tankless. It was less than $56k.

        I would be happy to answer any questions. Good luck with the truck decision!


      • Stephen,

        Appears a typical cost for the 2019 Montana 3120RL is about $52 to $54K if one is willing to travel to Michigan. That’s without the Legacy package. Notably the Montana with the legacy package is what I used to grade it against what we wanted. Extra retail cost of Legacy package is $6,000. After discounts, maybe $4,200 for total Montana Legacy cost of $57,000 to $59,000.

        Appears you got a heck of a deal on your Cedar Creek. You specked it with about what we would want other than the second awning outside over the living room slide. We might skip the residential fridge and maybe the slide toppers. Anyway, I adjusted my spreadsheet and now the Montana 3120RL and Cedar Creek 34RL2 are tied at first place. I’m still watching the 2019 versions and waiting for the 2019.5 maybe. Perhaps I’ll just let Karen select the trailer from the top two that end up on our list:)



      • I’ll bet you could be happy in either the CC or the Montana. I know we could.

        “Perhaps I’ll just let Karen select the trailer from the top two that end up on our list:)” Heh, it’s what I did except her name was April. So now I have to learn to like a bathrobe that hangs on a hook in the elaborate bathroom. HA!

        Good luck and be well.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Another excellent article, Mark. I really appreciate your thorough research! Just wanted to chime in on the RAM and give you my experience with our new 2018 RAM 3500 Laramie. It’s a dually with the 6.7 liter Turbo Diesel Cummins engine and the Aisin tranny geared at 4.10.

    We just finished driving the northern route from CA to MI, which means we had to drive over the San Bernadino mountains as well as the Rockies. The owners manual recommended not to tow for the 1st 500 miles so I’m glad we got it a month before leaving. I made it to 440 miles before having to leave. We towed a 6′ x 12′ U-Haul packed to the limit with heavy furniture, exercise equipment, and heavy boxes of pots & pans and lots of books. I’d hate to see how much that thing weighed. I bought a 6,000 lb. Reese ball hitch to tow with, which required the reducer sleeve that came with the RAM.

    Another thing the owners manual recommended was to not drive over 50 mph for the first 500 tow miles. I tried that for the first 350 miles I think before increasing the speed to 55 mph until the 500 miles were up. There were times I had to speed up to pass a truck, but I tried to take it easy until I got to the 1,000 mile mark.

    One of the things I loved about this configuration was the comfort of the leather bucket seats with the cooling option. Even after driving 8 hrs. plus, the seats were still comfortable.

    The Diesel brake is a godsend! Using the tow/haul mode, once you start to brake the diesel brake kicked in and did a fantastic job of slowing us down those steep mountain roads. I barely had to use my brakes! Even coming off the exit ramps it was fantastic how quickly I was able to bring the truck down to those slow ramp speeds.

    I was also impressed with the fuel economy. For the bulk of the trip we were getting 15 – 15.5 mpg including our trip through the San Bernadino mountains. Colorado was not as kind as there were more steep ups and downs, and some crazy twists and turns, plus by then I was driving more in the 60 – 65 mph range when possible. I also had many more trucks to pass uphill. I had no problems with acceleration, even up the steepest mountain grades.
    I would have liked to drive faster more often, but the U-Haul trailer was a P.O.S. and got too bouncy on the rough roads. As a matter of fact, once we got to Michigan the U-Haul trailer ended up getting a flat tire. Fortunately, we noticed the nearly flat tire after we got out of the Cracker Barrell. I drove over to a gas station and by then it was totally flat.

    The U-Connect controls were super easy to figure out. I like how RAM gives you both a touchscreen and buttons or dials to carry out many tasks. Sometimes a button or dial is just more convenient. The navigation screen has some neat features like showing you what the speed limit is as well as a heads up as to which upcoming exits have fuel or food.

    The tow mirrors are great (when put up in the vertical position). There is literally no blindspot.

    I look forward to seeing how she does with a 35 foot Montana attached. Fortunately, unlike that crappy U-Haul trailer, the Montana comes with G-Rated tires.


    • Excellent information. Glad you guys made it safely. I’d have to think it is good to get that mountain driving under your belt. I’ve got four things to complete before I go out and get a truck. Forcing myself to accomplish something. Friday the first of fourth should be done. The second and third are in the works. The last is selling a car or trading it in on the truck.

      Montana and the G rated tires will be nice. As I understand it the other manufacturers are going to have to step up with better rated tires as well. I read somewhere a new federal law requiring the tires must have 10% more weight capacity than what would normally be required by the trailers gross weight. Going to be seeing a lot less E rated tires in that price point.

      Have fun at your dad’s!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hands down Ram!!!! We have used the 4 wheel drive, we have ran it hard and long… and it hasn’t had a single problem…. I’ve had a lot of trucks and coming from the country most of my friends all have trucks ( big horse people) Fords just don’t go the distance… but you never know every year is different they just might prove me wrong!! Lol

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Mark,
    I recently came across your blog and I am loving your write-ups on trucks. I am somewhat in the same boat as you, but perhaps a few months ahead. Two weeks ago we picked up our rig for fulltiming (starting next summer). It’s a used NuWa and its GVWR comes in at 14,300. We have begun the search for a truck in earnest and have found myself leaning strongly towards a RAM 3500. What really pointed me in this direction was Emily and Mark Fagan’s piece (Roads Less Travelled) about the Ram 3500 which I read a few months ago. It seems you are thinking along the same lines as me. BTW, I live in south central Iowa, so we are also in the same neck of the woods!
    On Saturday, I am going to look at and drive a 2013 RAM 3500, Laramie-Longhorn dually. What a sweet looking truck, I especially like the interior trim. Very sharp. It is clearly a top-of-the-line package – the only thing lacking is a sunroof.
    As far as towing the Nu-Wa, it has all I am looking for: diesel, Aisin, 3.73 axle ratio, long bed, trailer package. I believe it is priced very fairly when comparing to KBB and Edmunds as well as all the other listings I have seen in my research. I have one hang-up: the truck has 96,000 miles on it, which is making me a little gun-shy.
    This leads me to a question I have for you. In all your pieces, I haven’t seen (forgive me if I missed it) your thoughts on mileage on a used truck. What would your thoughts be on a 2013 with 96,000 miles?

    Thanks and looking forward to keeping tabs on your blog.



    • Debbie and Steve at Down the Road Blog have the exact 2013 truck, but I believe they have the sun roof. They love it.

      I’m not sure I have a qualified opinion on a diesel truck with 96,000 miles as I’ve never owned one. I keep thinking about mileage in terms of what if I own the truck for six years and drive 20,000 miles a year. I compare that mileage to my experience with gas trucks. So if I buy a new one after six years that’d be 120,000 miles. Or if I get a used one with 30,000 then that is a total of 150,000 miles after six years.

      I have no concerns about a gas truck with 150,000 miles so don’t have any concerns with a diesel in that mileage range. Speaking in terms of major issues like engine, transmission and such.

      I had a gas truck with 260,000 miles and no issues. But it did not pull a heavy trailer around. Had another gas truck that got a new engine after 180,000.

      From what I’m reading, the Cummins engine will outlast the truck body. I wonder if there is any merit to considering the cost of a used truck to what they cost new. If folks are still getting 60% of the original purchase price when they sell then does that mean only 40% of the usable service miles are gone? If that makes since.

      Wish I had a better answer on the dependability with higher mileage. Maybe someone else will chime in here with an opinion when they read the comment.


      • Thanks so much for your prompt reply. One thing which we haven’t decide for 100% certain yet is if this — or any truck –will be our “daily driver.” We’ve got an SUV we really like and are carefully considering our options on keeping that as a second vehicle in our travels.
        Along those lines, my thoughts have been that if we keep a second vehicle and the truck is strictly for towing, mileage would become much less of a factor. In such a scenario, I don’t think we’d be putting any more than 10,000 miles per year on our tow vehicle.
        I guess we’ll see how it goes on tomorrow’s test drive. This will be the first dually we have ever driven, so if nothing else, it will be a good learning experience and a good starting point.


      • Keeping a second vehicle would certainly change the decision. Let us know how the test drive went.

        I talked to a diesel mechanic today. At one time he had 1100 pieces of construction equipment and trucks his group kept repaired for a single company. I asked him about the three truck brands. He, like others, described his perfect truck as a mixtures of all three brands. The Chevy cab for it’s ride with it’s transmission. The Ford suspension and frame. With the Ram’s Cummins engine. And it highlighted the weaknesses. Such as, in his opinion, the Chevy Duramax over the long haul overheating with the newer Ford transmission and the Rams issues with front ends. I suppose in the end, one has to just go with what they prefer given the pros and cons. So I’ve studied the Fords and Rams, mainly because of cargo capacity. Figure I’ll find a good deal, new or used, with one of several colors we prefer. Easier because I’d basically take either truck if the features and price are right.

        I’ve seen some pretty nice deals in the 2016’s also. The diesel mechanic I talked to has a Ford F350, would only tow with a dually and hauls a 18,000 Newmar fifth wheel when he travels. He went with an extended cab rather than the full four door larger cab and said the 2′ less length in the truck makes a difference. He noted that it’s just him and his dog now when he travels.


  6. I must say Mark we were totally impressed with the truck. Being our first experience with a diesel and dually, I was really impressed with how the truck rode. Much quieter than I ever imagined and I thought it drove and handled more like something much smaller. To be sure, it has a bounce to it going over bumpy roads but overall it felt easy to handle and very responsive. I can tell that watching one’s speed will be important as when we got it up to 65 MPH, it felt more like 30 MPH!! The interior on this Laramie Longhorn is just plain beautiful, comfortable and extremely functional. We were impressed all the way around and are very seriously considering doing this deal.
    If we go this route, we have decided that since the truck rides so well and is more comfortable inside than we had imagined, we would likely utilize it as our daily driver at least to start off our full timing adventure. But we still see the many benefits to having a second vehicle. One good thing if we purchase it now would be that since we’d be driving it and using it to tow our Nu-WA over the next year, we will have a really good idea if we would still use it as a daily driver.
    For sure, we didn’t have any baseline to compare this truck to and explained that to our salesman. He let us drive a different used Ram 3500 and we found the rides to be very similar. Still haven’t driven a Ford or Chevy, but given how this truck rode, I find it pretty hard to imagine either would be significantly better.
    While the mileage (96,000) is something to be carefully considered, this vehicle was regularly serviced over the past 3 years at the dealer where it is located and all of the records were made available to us. No major issues on any of the service and we were impressed with how this particular dealership and salesman conducted their business. This is something we think is important in this process.
    Like anything else, there are many pros and cons to be weighed. In the end, we will make the call we feel is right and live with the good and bad. As I said, just like anything else.


  7. Thanks for the update Peter. I’ve yet to drive the Ram 3500 and was wondering if that Cummins engine is load inside the cab. I’ve heard the turn radius is good compared to the Ford. I’m really interested in the higher mileage question. The last several vehicles I’ve bought had miles on them and I’ve had zero problems. My wife’s current car was, I think at 30,000 and mine was about 65,000. They are nothing like the old ones when we expected not to get 100,000 out of them.

    I started off looking at used in the less than 20,000 range and thinking about going out as far as 30,000 or more. Not sure yet. As we discussed earlier, the potential for a second vehicle would change things.

    Higher mileage is definitely a good way to get a decked out truck. And the slightly used ones are hardly less than a good deal on a new one.

    For sure I’m thinking the Aisin transmission is best with a heavy trailer, even if you have to have the transmission serviced every 30,000.


  8. Thank you for the link Mark. Some time ago (many months) I came across their blog. Seems I have some catching up to do there!!
    For sure, mileage on (any) vehicles these days doesn’t mean nearly as much as it used to. We bought our 2012 SUV last year with 62,500 on it and it has been mostly perfect in the year since we’ve had it. The 96,000 isn’t scaring me off as it most certainly would have 7-10 years ago. Maybe I’m just finding reasons to justify it?? You know how that is!!
    As far as the cabin noise goes, again, I just was blown away at how quiet it was inside. Granted, the A/C was blasting away, but the wife and I held a perfectly normal conversation without having to raise our voices. We left the radio off most of the time to more closely monitor engine noise. But we also cranked up the radio for a little while (10 speakers!!!!). Sounded great.
    I have perused listings for a couple of months now. Most of what I was looking at was the Tradesman trim level. Certainly, the lower end finish doesn’t bother me at all. I’m sure it would be perfectly comfortable and functional in its own right. In fact, last week, I stumbled across the rarest of the rare — a pair of regular cab Ram 3500’s. Both in KC area and both had really, really low mileage (one around 9,000 and the other 25,000). One was a 2015 and the other a 2016. I figured since they are so rare to find — the only 2 standard cabs I’ve seen — the dealers are likely to be more negotiable on these than other trucks. If I knew for 100% certain that the truck would be used only for towing, I would certainly consider a standard cab.
    As of now, we are having the truck we drove Saturday going through a full inspection by a diesel mechanic. We’ve decided if he gives a good report, we are going to pull the trigger.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We just finished our first 5,000 miles on our new 2018 RAM 3500 dually Laramie with the 4.10 Aisin tranny. The only time I notice the engine is when hauling our 35 ft. Montana up a mountain or when the diesel brake kicks in on the downhill. I really appreciated the dually tires a couple times when driving through high wind areas. They really helped us stick to the road. The ride on the 3500 was bouncy when unloaded but once the fiver was attached it really smoothed the ride out considerably. There were times we literally forgot it was back there!

      The bucket seats with the cooling feature made those long days of driving a pleasure.

      As for the mileage question, I’ve seen RAM Cummins engines with more than 1 million miles on them if that puts things in perspective. You can get badges added to your Cummins for every 100k miles you drive.

      Peter – wish you well on your hunt for your “new” tow vehicle!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Only negative comment on the Ram I could get out of a local diesel mechanic was the front ends have been an issue on the 4x4s. Not sure he is that current on the new models (2013 and newer) so I’d want to fact check that.


      • Thanks for the well wishes! Looks like the “hunt” is over. Should be making the deal this weekend. Super excited. Now, time to start looking into a hitch…..

        Liked by 1 person

  9. The diesel mechanic who inspected the truck for us said the same thing about the front end on RAMs. Control arms and the like. Luckily, no such issues with ours.
    Looks like we will be wrapping up the deal on Saturday. There was one minor issue the mechanic found and the dealership will be taking of it for us.
    At this point, I am now contemplating quite seriously purchasing an extended service agreement for the truck. I think its one way to allay any issues which may arise from a truck with 96,000 miles. Although the truck came through the inspection with flying colors, we are still thinking this might be a wise choice.
    Does anyone here have an opinion on extended service agreements?


    • Wonder what the typical front end repairs would be and the cost associated with them on a Ram? Hope someone chimes in about if they have extended warranties. The same diesel mechanic I talked to said all the three truck lines have at least one problem area so it’s down to personal choice.

      I know it’s somewhat off topic regarding an extended warranty on a truck, but of course there is the same decision to make regarding a trailer. I’m starting to lean towards an extended warranty on a trailer because they are, to some extend, not built for long-term full time living. For example, are the slides really designed to go in and out constantly, or just for the typical weekend or vacation periods over the years. Appliances, furniture and more could be built for the same “minimal” usage. That said, some of the more expensive trailer brands do have upgraded appliances and slide mechanisms compared to the lessor priced brands. If price is an indication of quality then that might make a difference.

      The hard part of the decision on an extended truck warranty is they are built for long-term high mileage usage. But for full time they are hauling heavy loads more frequently.

      Some say just build up a savings account to cover big repairs and put the money there rather than an extended warranty. In the long run the folks that sell extended warranties will win the beat that you will pay more for the warranty than you receive back. Or they would not stay in business. That is self evident. But, like all insurance, sometimes we buy it for risk avoidance or just to make us feel better.

      Good topic!


  10. I just can’t believe that nearly two months have gone by since I last posted here. I want to give an update of where we are at.
    Well, we purchased the RAM 3500 dually in mid-July. Since that time, we have taken our complete new rig setup (Nu-Wa & Ram) out three times and we are just totally stoked!! The camper is just perfect for our needs, is just the right size, and is also a quality unit. We really did well with our extensive research and then having the patience to wait for just the right unit. The truck has been flawless. We have now put a total of 2,000 miles on it since the purchase (mostly towing, though there is considerable “around town” miles in there as well) and it pulls the camper with absolute ease. Pulling the camper, it’s getting between 10 and 12 MPG, depending on the terrain. On the highway solo it gets roughly 17 – 18 MPG. I’m pleased with both figures. On one of the trips we took along our 20 something son and daughter and there was plenty of room for the four of us in the truck as well as the camper.
    We did purchase an extended warranty on the truck to help alleviate some anxiety over purchasing a truck with 96,000 miles on it. I think it was the right move to make, as it is reassuring to know we are good for the next four years if something major breaks down. Early next year I plan to dig into extended warranty’s for the camper as well.
    To close out this season, the wife and I are planning a two week trip in early October. After that, the camper will be winterized and the truck will be mostly parked all fall, winter and spring. We’ll probably go out a couple of times next spring before heading out full time later on next summer. In the meantime, we have some finishing touches left to do around the house prior to selling it, and we still have a good deal of stuff to get rid of before the full time adventure begins.
    One final thing. We never thought we’d have our new to us camper and truck this soon before leaving for full timing. We thought all along we would make both purchases over this winter or next spring. I am really glad things have broken as they have. We ended up with the exact setup we wanted (which may not have been out there over the winter of spring) and we have the added bonus of having the chance to become completely familiar with the entire setup well before our full time launch.
    Sometimes it’s funny how things seem to just fall into place, even when the actual plan gets blown up!!
    Any questions?…… Ask away!


    • Good call on the extended warranty Peter. It’s like any other insurance, for the most part it’s about not having to worry about a catastrophe. What trim level did you end up with on the Ram. I read back and it appeared you were looking at the tradesmen. I’ve got four trucks in mind which are two trim levels from both Ford and Ram. Figure increases my odds of finding one. I’m still not giving up on finding a decent used one. In the past we tried to buy a car that still had a few thousand miles of warranty so we could catch everything before it expired. I can’t remember the last time I ever had a major issued after a warranty expired and before we wanted to trade out the vehicle.

      How are you storing your trailer. In a storage lot or elsewhere? We will end up in the same shape when we buy at least a few months before going fulltime.

      Good to hear from you.


      • During most of my search for a used truck, I was focused in on Ram and Tradesman trim. I’ve never been too obsessed with “top end” trim packages. It just so happened that the truck we ended up with has the Laramie Longhorn package, which I believe is the top end for a 2013 Ram 3500. While this was never something we were specifically looking for, it just so happened that this truck checked all of our other (and most important) boxes — diesel, dually, long bed, Aisin transmission, 3.73 gear ratio and trailer package. In addition, the truck just happened to be only 60 miles from us. I’m not gonna lie, it is awesome to have the top end trim. We love it.
        During our search, there were very few used trucks mechanically equipped as we wanted, and what few I was able to find, most all of those were a couple hundred miles away, at best. As I have said, so funny how things work out sometimes!!
        As far as storing the camper, we live on a farm and will have it out at our place. Don’t have an outbuilding big enough for it, so outdoors will have to do. We stored our little Scamp fifth wheel outside for 3 Iowa winters, so I am imagining the Nu-Wa will do just fine outside.


      • I’m finding the same thing so far, few to none in trucks with the package we are looking for as a used unit. Also looking for Aisin, dually, long-bed crew cab with the 3.73 gears. Although any gear ratio would work for a 16,500 gross weight trailer with the Aisin. So I’ve tentively decided on four different trucks in hopes of finding one. Two Ford and Two Ram trims. The Ram is the better value in my opinion. I’ve bought higher trim packages in the past but only as used units because those trims depreciate quickly – in cars. Maybe not the case with the used truck market right now.

        I’ve stayed away from Chevy’s because of the lack of cargo capacity for heavy pin weights. Not a problem with a 16,500 trailer but no way they would safely handle 19,000 which at one time was among our top five picks for a trailer.

        Farmer you say. I drove to southern Missouri the other day. Most all the heavy towing trucks I saw, with hay or whatever, were Rams. Followed by Ford. The Chevy’s were more configured as work trucks with tool beds such as for utility workers.

        My instinct is not to worry about the mileage so much with these great engines and transmissions. Everything else that goes wrong could for the most part be fixed during a one day trip to the shop. Still looking for one that is in factory warranty so I can find anything wrong with it and have it repaired under warranty. But come to think of it, I’ve done that with a couple cars and never did have to use the warranty.

        Was that extended warranty expensive? I’m thinking about getting one after the first year on the trailer because they are not built, in many parts, for fulltime travel.


  11. Can’t speak to the cost of an extended warranty on the camper Mark as I really haven’t begun to take a close look at those yet. I’m thinking I will tackle that early next year, probably in the spring a few months prior to launch.
    For the warranty on the truck, we opted for the “second tier” which included not only the basic drive train extended warranty, but also includes what they call “silver” protection, which includes some suspension and front end items. By no means bumper to bumper and none of the technological stuff on the interior has coverage. It was the most we could have gotten from the dealer we purchased from, considering the truck’s age (2013) and mileage (96,500). Total cost was just over $2,800 for four years/40,000 miles. I think it was well worth it cost. I think the basic drive train package was about $2300 and the “silver” package added about $500 to the total cost.
    Farmer? No not really. At one time we raised thoroughbreds on our 7 acre spread. Small but sweet. It will make some younger couple very, very happy when they purchase it from us next year!!

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