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post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-11-2007, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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OT Tow Ri...improving performance...

Hi,

I'm looking for some input on my 2000 Dakota 4x4 Quad Cab with the 5.9...it will be my "tow" rig. It came from the factory with the towing package...It has a set of Firestone ride rite air halper springs...My trailer has brakes on both axles...

Is it the ideal vehicle for towing no...but it's not like I will be towing something everyday, or every weekend...what can I do to make it better?

Short of buying a different vehicle...what can I do? I'm looking for general areas...specific products...approximate costs...and why you recommend it...

Intake? Exhaust? Gears? Computer chips? Blinker fluid cooler?

At the same time I'm looking to make it more comfortable for cruising for myself, the wife and kids for trips to grandma's house...

Same thing...what, what products, how much and why...

Thanks for any input!!

Patrick
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-11-2007, 01:59 PM
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Re: OT Tow Ri...improving performance...

If it has an automatic transmission, I'd suggest a transmission temperature gauge. If that shows that it's necessary, install an auxiliary transmission cooler.

There really isn't much sense in trying to do more - it will still be too light for a Jeep and trailer. Tow with great care. Save the bux. Buy a 3/4 ton when you can afford it.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-11-2007, 04:51 PM
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Re: OT Tow Ri...improving performance...

I agree with Jim, I messed with half tons for years. never was happy but got the job done through good maintence and alot of money. I finally laid out the dough for a 3/4 ton with a 7.3 and have never looked back. I can haul anything I want to. As for the auto tranny a cooler couldn't hurt, just make sure it is on the outgoing fluid from the raditator. no sense in cooling it down just to let the rad warm it back up..
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 02-11-2007, 04:57 PM
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Re: OT Tow Ri...improving performance...

[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/nodrama.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]


Depending on the terrain in your area, it should be fine for occasional towing. Mob pulled "Clifford" to Tellico & back with his 5.9L Durango. Other than winding it up on the hills, it did fine...

OTOH, that was one trip and he swapped it for an Excursion shortly afterwards...

We've been going around about this ("Is it OK to tow with a '1/2ton' rig?") on a local board for months. Most will say you *must* have 3/4-1ton *and* a diesel, but do agree that the newer "1/2ton" trucks are coming with some pretty impressive tow capacities (true or elevated sales hype? you decide!). Several folks have logged a few thousand miles towing with "lesser" rigs (1/2ton V8 Tundras, Titans, F150s, etc) without any issues or concerns. I can tell you that my recently sold F250 4x4 (regular cab, diesel) weighed less than 1000# more than the average '06 1/2ton 4x4 truck...
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 02-11-2007, 08:27 PM
 
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Re: OT Tow Ri...improving performance...

I'm going to agree with the trans temp gauge and cooler if you need it and then leaving it alone. I tow with a '90 light duty 3/4 ton chevy (pretty much a 1/2 ton with a bigger rear axle and springs) with an old TBI 350 and a granny 4 speed. It's not a great setup but 17 years ago i'm pretty sure it was a decent tow rig and it still gets the job done and it's paid for. I'm a believer the average wheeler doesn't need a 3/4 ton diesel but i'm sure if i ever get one i'll be happy I did. Use what you have, be careful and remember what your towing with.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 02-12-2007, 01:29 PM
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Re: OT Tow Ri...improving performance...

[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img] I'm really not the one that you want to be listening to on this "tow rig" issue, because it is my firm belief that you should absolutely, positively, positively, absolutely, NOT choose an automatic transmission as a tow rig gearbox, UNLESS and even this is a "maybe", it is an Allison. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img] Yes, I do think like an old guy, [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/codger.gif[/img] but I probably have more miles towing than most of the people on this BBS have if they added up the miles they have driving. Cow trailers, tractor trailers, hot rod trailers, stock car trailers, pipe trailers, cargo trailers, water trailers, and hay trailers. Goosenecks of every description, not to mention highway trailers behind highway diesel trucks. Electric brakes, air brakes, inertia brakes, hydraulic over air, air over hydraulic, electric over hydraulic, you name it, I have used it. Believe me when I tell you that when it comes to towing, there is no substitute for having lots and lots of GEARS under the floor. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img] Yep, you got to have lots of gears so you can put the engine RPM exactly where it needs to be so you don't have to choose between holding everyone up on a long grade or lugging the crap out of the engine in a gear that it can't handle. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img] A few years ago I had a chance to start with a blank slate and build the ideal tow rig. I chose a FS GM 3/4T 4 X 4 with 350 with SM465 and an NP 205 transfer case. I split the transfer case to get EIGHT useable forward gears in 2WD. Extra heavy engine cooling, a 14-bolt rear axle.....the one with THREE pinion bearings, not just two.....and floating axles. Plus,lots of insulation on the floor to keep the heat off my feetsies on that long, truck-killing, upgrade out of Laramie Wyoming. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] When I'm not towing, the 3.73 rear end ratio keeps the pickup zippy, and gets the fuel milege into a reasonable range. When I tow, I have plenty of gears to choose from with that 4 X 2 setup. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img] If I had it to do over, and I wanted to really get "cute" about it, I wouldn't even use a 3/4T. I'd use a softer-riding half ton, and transplant a 14-bolt rear axle to the half ton and use air assisted springs in the rear. I would still use the SM465 and the NP 205 for gearing behind a muscular 350. In fact, some friends of ours did that with a 1/2 ton Ford that they had. Their new fifth wheel trailer didn't know the pickup wasn't a 3/4T because from the hitch on down it was all heavy stuff. Full floating rear axles are everywhere and it's an easy conversion. You can change the front hubs to get the eight-bolt pattern up there or carry two spares. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img] The two most common breakdowns when it comes to tow rigs are......drum roll here......opens the envelope.........crinkle, crinkle....... wheel bearing failure in non-floater rear axles, and burnt auto transmissions. I met a guy clogging the uphill lane on Carson pass coming out of Californey (Hiway 88) with his GM 3500 dually with a 454 and auto tranny in front of a heavy gooseneck trailer loaded with steel. He had burnt the tranny SO BAD that it coughed up tranny fluid out of the dipstick and got it all over the hot engine and caused a fire. He got the fire put out, but that was the end of his trip. I was pulling 19,500 pounds gross over Carson, with my 350/SM465/NP205, and saw my rear axle temp go to 265 degrees....YEEK! I know as gear boxes go that isn't all that hot, but it was still kind of unsettling. I was in second-under and almost full throttle as I snaked my rig around the burnt out 1-tonner. We pulled over and walked back after we found a good spot, but we couldn't do much but offer the guy condolences. Needless to say I didn't say: "Ya shoulda had a manual tranny!" I think he was in a position to understand that issue pretty well. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thud.gif[/img]
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 02-12-2007, 02:11 PM
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Re: OT Tow Ri...improving performance...

while I can't comment on actual towing, I will comment on the Durango and pose some questions/comments.

First: Chrysler is certain known for their Auto trannies... unfortunately they are known for being crap. If it's in the 42RE/RH & 46RH models, I'd be a little leary of towing with it. I would certainly hope it's not a 42RE in that thing. Check on that and make sure the tranny is truely up to it, tranny cooler or no tranny cooler. Go by consumer reports, not Factory specs.

As for the 5.9, I had a 5.2 in my ZJ and from other consumer reports, I wouldn't bother with a Chip, I'd go straight to an MSD ignition box. I ran the MSD on mine and it made a real difffernece.

That's all I got, my biggest concern is the tranny.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 02-12-2007, 03:14 PM
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Re: OT Tow Ri...improving performance...

CJDave is spot-on about the manual transmission. As long as there's a low enough ratio to get rolling without excessive clutch slipping, it's hard to beat a good old manual shifter. Way too many people think they're grown-up drivers but are still in the shiftless category. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/codger.gif[/img]
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 02-12-2007, 03:34 PM
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Re: OT Tow Ri...improving performance...

[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] Jim, you should be riding with me someday when I'm making a hard pull on an upgrade so you could witness first hand the ultra-critical, Third-Direct to Fourth-Under two-lever downshift. It's something that is reminiscent of the "old days" when all highway trucks had two transmissions, and you had ONE chance to make that downshift, and if you missed, it would be YOU blocking the uphill lane. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 02-12-2007, 05:51 PM
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Re: OT Tow Ri...improving performance...

I think you have a pretty good setup for pulling a jeep. The 5.9l should have plenty of power and the air bags give you the added suspension you need. I agree with the manual tranny guys (thats what I run) but since you have the tow package you may have the aux. transmission cooler for your auto already. Like others said a lot of today's 1/2 tons have plenty of power, you just have to realize the trailer behind you will push that lighter truck around easier than a 1 ton. My buddy Tim's truck is a good example. He has a Nissan Titan, the 5.6l V8 is rated at 305hp with a 5 speed auto and he has the tow package with tranny cooler. His truck is damn fast and pulls his jeep like nothing, BUT it does concern me sometimes when I see him hit the brakes hard and the ass end of his truck wiggles from the trailer pushing him around. Just realize your truck is on the light side and you should do fine.
Aaron. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/40BEER.gif[/img]
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