I had been wanting to finish up a post regarding why we deciding on a Vanleigh Vilano fifth wheel. And I’ll get back to that soon. However, for a change of pace I’ve been truck shopping and wanted to provide a few updates regarding this.
As you may recall I finally decided on a Ram 3500, having compared all three worthy brands. I spent more time studying up on the Ram and Ford options compared to Chevy/GMC. With a gross vehicle weight rating of 16,000 pounds, our future fifth wheel is a bit larger than what I’d feel comfortable towing full time without a diesel engine and dual rear wheels. If one estimates the front pin weight of a fifth wheel to be 20% of the total gross vehicle weight rating then I’d take an educated guess that our pin weight would be around 3,200 pounds at maximum. Add to that a 150 pound hitch, passengers, fuel, maybe a truck bed liner or tool box, or maybe a future external fuel tank and the weight adds up quickly.
When you start shopping around for a truck I highly suggest you consider the cargo capacity you will need. This will quickly limit the truck configurations you have to consider. In my case, I am shooting for 20% more truck capacity than what I need which probably puts me at a 5,300 pound cargo capacity. This would be a worthy truck in case we ever decided to purchase a heavier trailer someday.
Here are my wants and must haves out of a Ram truck:
Must have truck options
· Adjusting peddles (Karen is shorter than me. Be warned this is even an option in the Laramie trim level so don’t assume it’s standard)
· Electronic folding mirrors (a must for parking in tight spots, drive-throughs)
· Fifth wheel prep (with puck system in bed.)
· Rear and front parking sensors
· Rear camera
· Aisin transmission with at least 3.73 gear ratio (a mountain climbing and descending beast)
· Deiseal engine – Cummins high-output – Requires Aisin transmission option)
· Four door crew cab long bed
· Dual zone heating and cooling front passenger area
· Dual rear wheels
· Electronic 4×4 – in my opinion required in a dually for resale purposes and traction even on wet grass.
· Tow haul mode and exhaust braking (yes, like some other wants/musts, this generally comes with all newer trucks)
· At least upgraded cloth seats
· If a 2019 then get the LED headlights
· Keyless entry
· Drivers side electric adjusting seat
· 19,200 towing capacity which is 20% more than 16,000 pound fifth wheel
· Cargo capacity (ask dealer to read door sticker – figure 5300 pounds min. which includes 20% safety margin)
· Protection group with skid plates
· Cold weather group
· Steering wheel mounted audio controls to include phone
· Side step running board. (Can be added later for maybe $800 per a dealer)
· Locking rear deferential also called an anti-spin differential to lock rear tires together for traction
· Rear wheel house liners (protects underside of truck)
· Theft system
Would be nice options
· Front cooled and heated seats (probably the reason we are looking at the Laramie trim level)
· Rear window defrost
· Rubber floor mats – good ones that can be added later
· Blind spot warning (only available in 2019)
· Bed liner (can be added later)
· Upgraded audio
· Tire monitoring to include camper
· 8.4” U-Connect consul display (navigation optional)
· CD player
· Rear seat folding flat floor system (The 2019 1500 Rams have a flat floor but I’ve not heard, nor suspect, the 2019 3500 will)
· Truck bed lighting – at least a single light above
· Leather seats
· Front bucket seats
· Tailgate assist to make it easier to open and close.
· Upgraded dash instrumentation
· Push button start
· Remote controlled start
· Front driver and passenger electric adjusting seat
· Heavy duty higher capacity single alternator
· Front and rear mud flaps
· Auto level rear suspension – only Ram has this as a factory option
And finally – any color but a black exterior. Yes I have color preferences but I’m not letting that stop me from a good deal.
I have been reading everything I can about the new Ram 2019, due to be announced on Monday in Detroit. I’ll spare you the details of what I have learned so far. If you are interested in discussing the 2019 just let me know in the comments section. My best guess is maybe a $3,000 increase in pricing compared to the 2018. Our budget would maybe allow for a new 2019 in the Bighorn trim level.
At this point I’m sticking with my theory the best option for us is a one year old truck and hence that is where my focus has been. Here is a blog post concerning why a one year old truck. The reason is best described as one can save around 22% off MSRP and perhaps get a few options outside the budget it bought new.
So far I have three trucks saved in my favorites that meet my criteria. I suspect with the 2019 models just around the corner there may be more to select from in a slightly used model. However – there remains a slight chance I’ll go for a new 2019. Much will depend on if the new pricing is within budget and if they are available when we are ready to purchase. I’d really like to order the fifth wheel or find it on the lot to be picked it up around May.
One last thought that has been a tremendous help while shopping for a truck with special attention to what options the truck has on it. Researchmaniacs.com has an awesome tool where you can enter a VIN and get a copy of the original window sticker!
Update: Within hours of posting this, I found a new article at a 2019 Ram Heavy Duty truck forum I’d been watching. Go here for the article link. What’s most interesting is the sales predictions for each truck trim level and engine. This article will give you a good idea what most people are buying, hence what most may be looking for when you eventually sell. In the 3500 Ram the Laramie is the most popular. And 95% of these trucks are 4×4. There are some decent photos of the new truck as well.