How to tow big and heavy? We took a 2017 Ram HD 3500 dually 4×4 Limited edition and a 2017 Cimarron Trailers Norstar 33-foot luxury horse trailer for a test run to go over the top five things to think about when towing big, heavy, and expensive equipment.
What Are We Dealing With?
The truck is fully loaded Ram 3500 dually 4×4 with a high-output 6.7L Cummins I6 turbo-diesel that is rated at 385 horsepower and 900 lb-ft of torque. A heavy duty Aisin 6-speed automatic transmission send the power down to the rear axle with 4.10 gears. This truck rings the bell at an MSRP of $79,965.
The trailer is a 33-foot Cimarron Trailers Norstar four-horse trailer with luxurious and customized living quarters in the front. This trailer has everything you could want for your horses and for living on the road in style. The cost of the trailer is $130,267. The trailer’s curb weight is nearly 14,000 lbs, but it can carry nearly 5,000 lbs of payload if you take away the tongue weight that is supported by the truck. The total maximum load rating on the trailer axles is 16,000 lbs.
Truck & Trailer Setup
Extra precautions are needed when towing big and heavy. Naturally, we checked the set screws on the gooseneck coupler. We made sure the tire pressures are correct: 125 psi in the case of these 14-ply heavy duty tires. We check all the lights, and finally made sure that the braking system is properly configured. A heavy trailer like this has an electric-over-hydraulic disk braking system. We made sure the Ram truck brake controller is set appropriately.
Maneuvering with the Trailer
The Ram dually is over 20 feet in length, the gooseneck trailer is 33 feet long. It’s not that easy to make tight turns with a rig this long. All right, it’s not a 48-foot long car hauler wedge trailer, but it’s challenging nonetheless. Check out the video and watch how Kent “Mr Truck” Sundling negotiates a tight parking situation.
Trailering Fuel Economy
There is no question that your truck’s fuel economy will go down when towing a trailer this big and heavy. The trip computer registered 9.1 MPG on our very short and non-scientific run to the truck stop. We did our 100-mile highway MPG test with a 22,800 lbs trailer several months back. Please take a look at that video for more accurate fuel efficiency results. You could improve your efficiency by lowering your cruising speed (we test at 70 MPH). On the other hand, you can increase your range by installing an auxiliary fuel tank on the truck.
A simple task such as refueling may turn exceedingly difficult when you are dealing with such a big trailer. We got lucky and were able to swing around and pull up to a regular diesel pump. However, you could opt to use pull-through diesel pumps at a truck stop along with all the big rigs. These pumps are higher flow, so additional care should be taken. They have Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) dispensers that take some of the hassle out of refilling the DEF tank.