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Ram 1500 Hitches and Towing Guide

Ram 1500 Hitches and Towing Guide

Ram trucks are not the new guys on the block. They are the poster children for the American pickup truck. You can find them in all walks of life, including play, luxury, and on the work force. A major part of each one of these fields is pulling around trailers. Whether pulling your lawn equipment for landscaping service, or heading into the hills with your camper, there are a few things worth knowing about their capabilities. Here’s exactly what you need to get started.

Shop Ram 1500 Hitches & Towing

What would a truck be without the ability to haul heavy loads? Most pickups these days come with integrated hitch mounts, but if you're looking to up the ante on your payload, you'll want to upgrade your existing system to compensate.

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Ram 1500 Tow Ratings

Despite powerful engines and a rugged chassis, these trucks do have their limitations. Tow ratings can vary greatly when you’re talking about different engine sizes, and working up through the years from 2002 to modern day there are some serious variances across the models.  

There are a ton of different Rams, especially in later years, so here is a basic rundown of the capabilities by year:

  • 2002-2003 Ram 1500: 7,850 – 8,650 lbs.
  • 2004-2005 Ram 1500: 2,950 - 4,950 lbs.
  • 2006-2008 Ram 1500: 2,900 – 7,900 lbs.
  • 2009 Ram 1500: 3,650 - 6,700 lbs.
  • 2010 Ram 1500: 3,400 - 8,550 lbs.
  • 2011 Ram 1500: 3,450 - 8,550 lbs.
  • 2012 Ram 1500: 3,450 - 11,500 lbs.
  • 2013 Ram 1500: 4,100 - 8,950 lbs.
  • 2014 Ram 1500: 4,000 - 8,750 lbs.
  • 2015 Ram 1500: 4,160 - 8,640 lbs.
  • 2016 Ram 1500: 4,150 - 8,370 lbs.
  • 2017 Ram 1500: 4,190  - 10,140 lbs.

Understanding the tow rating is the first step you need to take when you’re looking to start pulling things around. After you find out what your particular truck is capable of it’s time to crack into what options are available. 

Ram 1500: Receiver Hitches

Receiver hitches are likely the most popular type of hitch you will find on a half-ton truck. They may not be as heavy duty as some other hitch types, but that doesn’t put much of a limit on their capabilities.

They are rated to pull up to around 6,000 lbs. Depending on the brand and model you buy, this can change quite a bit, but 6,000 lbs. is about average. That capacity is perfect for pulling enclosed trailers, boats, or even some small campers. For your average tradesman or recreational use these trailers are perfect.

Installation of these types of hitches is a lot easier than larger hitch types on the market. Some physically bolt to the bumpers of Ram trucks, whereas others mount to the frame.

For the frame-mounted hitches, you may have to lower the factory exhaust to get the hitch in place. For newer trucks this may not be an issue But it may be a wise choice to invest in exhaust parts while you’re underneath an older truck. 

Ram 1500: Miscellaneous Uses for Receiver Hitches

Receiver hitches are designed with trailers in mind. They’re often referred to as “trailer hitches.” Though, they have many uses aside from just pulling trailers. Bike racks, cargo carriers, and other add-ons find their home within the receiver.

You might find that a bit redundant when you have a pickup truck with a ton of bed space. You might also find yourself in a situation where you’re on a long road trip or running out of bed space and you might not want to hook up the trailer. This is where those add-ons really create an advantage.

Front mounted hitches can also be put to use. Traditionally they are designed so that you can pull your ram around behind your motorhome or simply another vehicle. They can double as a winch mount.

This means it’s easy to pop on a winch without having to invest in an expensive aftermarket bumper. Be warned though, they are not meant for the same level of abuse. If you’re going to mount a winch here do your best to take it easy on it.

Ram 1500: Gooseneck Hitches

RV’s are massively popular these days. Why wouldn’t they be? They reconnect us with the outdoors while keeping us hooked up to the level of comfort we’re accustomed to. They are a bit heavy though and require a step up from receiver hitches. The gooseneck is the next step up and the heaviest type of hitch you can fit in the Ram half-ton trucks.

With towing capacities ranging up over 25,000 lbs., these hitches mount in the bed of the truck as opposed to the rear of the chassis like a receiver hitch. These astounding ratings are for the hitch and you have to remember that your truck can only handle so much.

The engine and chassis are put under a lot of stress by this so be sure to stick to their maximum strength and not the hitch itself. If you pick the right set up within your realm of capabilities you’re in for a comfortable ride and an awesome weekend.

Ram 1500: Safety Devices

Safety devices are the most important part of towing trailers. If something goes wrong you need to know you have the right equipment to keep things from getting catastrophic. Sway scenarios are the main concern when it comes to towing. This can happen when cross winds occur or if large vehicles pass you by. 

What happens is the trailer can begin to sway and when that happens it’s real easy for it to overthrow the vehicle and cause a major accident. There are sway control devices available though. They act to prevent this and when pulling heavy loads they are an absolute must. There are different shapes and sizes available so it’s important to pick the right one. These devices are designed to handle a specific weight range.

If you go too light it will be overcome by the trailer in a sway scenario, and if you go to heavy they can have negative effects on your control over the trailer in the first place. 
Another majorly important safety device you need to invest in when hauling heavy loads are helper spring kits. This may seem like an added luxury, but if you think this you need to take a closer look at their function.

As weight is applied to the rear of the vehicle the rear sags. As the rear gets lower it pulls up on the front of the truck. This means less of the front tires are in contact with the pavement, and obviously steering and control will suffer. There are many types of helper spring kits on the market so it’s really easy to find the perfect setup for your needs. 

Last but not least is getting a decent trailer brake control unit. This really applies to bigger trailers with their own braking system built in. Getting the Ram 1500 up to speed with a trailer can be a bit of a challenge.

Though, in the wrong situations getting it to stop is just as hard and can be twice as scary. Trailer brake controllers wire into the tow vehicle, and tell the trailer brakes to engage as needed. These are fairly cheap products and are programmable to your desire. If you plan on pulling any heavy loads with your half-ton Ram this upgrade is needed without any question.

Fitment includes: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, SRT-10, SLT, ST, Laramie, Sport, SXT, TRX, TRX4, RT, LaramieLonghorn, Tradesman, Express, HFE, Rebel, Longhorn, LoneStar, Outdoorsman, Limited, BigHorn