Can a Dodge Ram 1500 Be Flat Towed?
If you’re traveling by RV, you may want to know if you can take your Ram with you.
And since flat towing is the easiest way to travel with your mobile home and your truck, let’s discuss whether you can flat tow the Ram 1500.
You can only flat tow a Ram 1500 if it is a four-wheel drive vehicle. If you try to flat tow a two-wheel drive Ram 1500, you will severely damage it. You should only tow Rams with two-wheel drive on a flatbed trailer or with a dolly.
In this article, I will discuss whether you can flat tow a Ram 1500, what you will need to flat tow your Ram, and how to prepare your Ram for flat towing.
Then, I will detail how to tow a two-wheel drive Ram behind your RV and whether flat towing will damage your truck.
Can I Flat Tow a Ram 1500?
You can only flat tow a Ram 1500 if it is a four-wheel drive.
And when doing so, make sure you follow all the instructions outlined in your owner’s manual to ensure you do not damage your truck.
You will find information about flat towing under your manual’s “Starting and Operating” section.
More specifically, you need to navigate to the subheading labeled “Recreational Towing (Behind Motorhome.”
If you no longer have your owner’s manual, you can find a copy for any 2006 or later Ram 1500 here.
Also, keep in mind that you can not flat tow a Ram 1500 with two-wheel drive.
If you do, you will severely damage your truck.
What Do I Need to Flat Tow a Ram 1500?
To flat tow your Ram 1500 correctly, you will need quite a bit of equipment, which I will discuss in the sections below.
One of the most crucial pieces of your towing setup is your tow bar.
A tow bar is a triangular-shaped piece of equipment that attaches your Ram to your motor home’s hitch.
When buying a tow bar, the most important thing to keep in mind is the weight it can handle.
Because if you buy a tow bar that can not handle the weight of your truck, you could run into some serious problems.
And since the Ram 1500 has a curb weight of between 4,765 and 6,440 pounds (2,161-2,921 kg), you will need at least a Class III tow bar, as they can take up to 8,000 pounds (3,629 kg).
However, you must remember that curb weight isn’t necessarily your truck’s actual weight.
The curb weight only tells you how much the truck weighs when it’s empty.
So, to determine the actual weight of your truck, you must add the weight of anything you have in the cab or bed to the curb weight.
If you believe your truck may weigh more than 8,000 pounds (3,629 kg), you should use a Class IV tow bar, which can take up to 10,000 pounds (4,536 kg).
You can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $1,000 for a tow bar.
Tow Bar Base Plate
The tow bar base plate connects your truck to the tow bar.
To find the best tow bar base plate for your Ram, you are best off buying a custom base plate so that you can ensure it fits your truck perfectly.
A quick Google search for “Custom Tow Bar Base Plates” will give you plenty of options for finding a base plate for your Ram 1500.
Tow bar base plates usually cost $400 to $600.
Typically, RVs come with a receiver hitch that can accept a tow bar.
However, if your RV does not have a receiver hitch, you will need to purchase one that can handle the weight of your truck and towing setup.
And receiver hitch classes are the same as those for tow bars.
Thus, you will need either a Class III or Class IV receiver hitch to flat tow your Ram.
Also, if your receiver hitch is any more than 3 inches (8 cm) higher or lower than your tow bar base plate, you will need to purchase a hitch adapter to get it to the correct height.
A receiver hitch will cost between $70 and $300, while an adapter will set you back $30 to $50.
Dinghy Towing Harness
A dinghy towing harness connects your truck’s taillights to the wiring in your RV.
Thus, when you press the brake or turn on the blinker in your RV, the corresponding lights will illuminate on the back of your Ram.
In most US states, it is illegal not to use a dinghy towing harness, so you should be aware of this fact before flat towing your Ram.
Dinghy towing harnesses typically run between $50 and $100.
Auxiliary Braking System
When flat towing, auxiliary braking systems are probably the most important safety feature you can use.
Auxiliary braking systems, also called towed car braking systems, help to reduce strain on your RV’s brakes.
You see, when you add the weight of your Ram 1500 to your RV, it puts a heavy burden on the brakes.
Thus, your RV may not be able to stop as easily as it normally would.
There’s even a chance that your RV’s brakes could give out while flat towing.
To prevent these dangerous situations, most US states and Canadian provinces require that you use an auxiliary braking system.
You can expect to pay between $300 and $1,400 for an auxiliary braking system.
How to Prepare a Ram 1500 for Flat Towing?
Flat towing a truck can seem intimidating, but it’s actually rather simple as long as you follow the steps below.
Steps to safely flat tow a Ram 1500:
- Get into your truck and turn the engine on
- Shift into neutral gear
- Engage your parking brake
- Find the buttons for 4WD and 2WD
- Here, you will see an “N” with an arrow pointing towards a small hole
- Stick the tip of a ballpoint pen into this hole and hold it there until the light next to it starts blinking red
- Shift back to park
- Turn your Ram off and remove the key
Your truck is now ready for flat towing.
How Can I Tow a Two-Wheel Drive Ram 1500 Behind an RV?
Since you can not flat tow a two-wheel drive Ram 1500, you will have to use another option.
One popular choice is to use a tow dolly, a simple device that lifts your truck’s drive wheels off the ground to prevent transmission damage.
Or, you can tow with a flatbed trailer.
However, remember that a flatbed trailer will cost quite a bit more than a dolly.
Generally, for a tow dolly, you should plan to spend between $1,500 and $3,500.
Meanwhile, for a flatbed trailer big enough for a Ram truck, you will likely pay between $5,000 and $10,000.
Will Flat Towing Damage My Ram 1500?
Flat towing will not damage your Ram 1500 as long as you follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions.
You can flat tow any four-wheel drive Ram 1500.
However, you should never attempt to flat tow a two-wheel drive Ram, or you could severely damage the vehicle.
Instead, you should try dolly or flatbed towing.
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