Thoughts on going from 2500 to 3500 DRW - Dodge Cummins Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-20-2019, 09:00 AM Thread Starter
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Question Thoughts on going from 2500 to 3500 DRW

Background: Right now I have a 2018 2500 MegaCab CTD and we have a 31' travel trailer I tow with it occasionally. It's been great and I love the truck. In the next 1-2 years we're going to upgrade to a ~42' fifth wheel (13-14k lbs). Technically my 2500 will be able to handle it based on the axle ratings but it definitely can't according to a sticker - so that's a little worrisome to me if something ever did happen.

Right now I have an opportunity to get a new 2018 MegaCab 3500 CTD HO dually in the same trim as my truck for about $2500 cash + my trade. The dually will give me capacity to spare, more stability, extra tires, and completely legal. However, I won't actually need it for potentially 2 years.

So my hangups are:
1. I live in the city so there are those normal drawbacks to having a dually (though I always park far anyways). I think I would adjust to it pretty quick.
2. The 3500 has 3.73 gears and the 2500 3.42. I average 16mpg in the 2500 hand calculated - will the 3500 mpg be considerably less? I regularly cruise at 75 - 80 on the freeway and wasn't sure if the 3.73 gears would drain the tank at that speed.
3. I could just wait it out and use my 2500 initially for the 5th wheel and then eventually upgrade to the dually. I'll have to pay more out of pocket for the upgrade this way, though.

What are your thoughts? Pay out of pocket now to save money in the long term or save money now and pay more in the long term.

Also, what kind of mileage do you 3500 with 3.73s get (stock, not deleted)?


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post #2 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-20-2019, 09:30 AM
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I personally think that that trailer is well within the capabilities of your 2500, payload sticker ratings aside. I had upwards of 3500lbs in the bed of my 2500 (CCSB) and it handled it just fine. If I was going to do it regularly I would have considered some airbags to just give a little more stability and be able to remove any squat (though there wasn't much), but even unaided it handled it great. In the event of getting stopped or an accident, your axle and particularly tire ratings are what are going to matter more than anything else, though bringing any of that up is always a bit dangerous around here. Lots of people with lots of opinions.

That said, if you think you will need the capability later, either upgrading to something bigger in the future or just from a comfort standpoint, I totally get the temptation to upgrade. You'll have a more capable truck in the dually. You will probably lose 1-2MPG I'd guess between the higher gears and the extra tires. The AISIN also has a different service interval, needing fluid changes every 30k miles. This can get expensive, especially if you're not prepared/capable/willing to do it yourself. Just something else to consider.
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post #3 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-20-2019, 09:40 AM
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I went from a 3/4t to a dually when I went from a 7200lb 5er to a 9600lb 5er. I hated the 97 ctd 3/4t with the heavier 5er and the dually was way better. Now I have a 15k 5er and they dually is just as stable with it as the 3/4t and 7200 5er. I also DD the dually as my only vehicle for 9 yrs in the Phx area... no problems. I love my 3.73 gears and I also don't waste any time on the freeways. I bought my 12 deleted at Cave Creek Az and drove it to Pueblo at 75 mph and got 17.5 hand calced. Is the dually new or similar miles to yours? I'd say, you'd be doing darn good for that little bit of difference. Craig

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post #4 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-20-2019, 09:54 AM
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I have a 2018 3500 dually that I daily drive - I don't live in a super tight area though. The usual problems emerge...most drive-thru's don't work, and you may need to park further away, and you may need to make more 3-point turns.

My truck is a 6-speed manual, but still has the 3.73 gears and is stock. I can achieve as high as 20mpg on 55mph roads; I get about 15-16 on the interstate at 70+ mph in hilly NH.

Your 2500 would handle your future trailer just fine; it sounds to me like you might be itching to try a different truck...which I understand as I've traded many times myself in short periods of time.
Note that the 3500 dually is going to ride quite a bit rougher than your 2500, and it will use more fuel. Some of your "cost savings" by upgrading now will be eaten up in higher fuel (and DEF) consumption, plus likely higher insurance and registration costs.

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post #5 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-20-2019, 10:24 AM
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Yeah, that whole "the 2500 can totally pull that trailer" thing is almost a religious issue.

I have 3.73 gears but the 68RFE. When I do nothing but a short commute, 8 miles each way, I see less than 13 mpg. When I mix in regular rounds to our rental properties, I get about 14 to 15. When I spend most of my time on the highway at a steady and easy 55 to 65 mph, mileage can exceed 17. Towing, everything comes down. The truck can cruise at 70 to 75, but I rarely drive it that fast. What's the point of driving your living room from your favorite easy chair if you rush?? The extra 10 to 15 mph, subjectively, does seem to suck the fuel a bit disproportionately -- but again, that's just subjective. My mods are probably an extra half ton over stock... and my tires are far larger than the stock skinnies. So, as they say, your mileage might vary!

Living with the dually is more of an issue that you might suspect. It's not just parking. It's finding construction areas and venue parking where the cones are literally too close together for you to fit. It's credit union drive-throughs where there is no way for you to exit the one-way entrance when the ATM maintenance guy has his truck in front of the unit he's working on. It's parking lot after parking lot where there's literally no place to fit your truck. Granted, the mega cab's length gives you a few more options, but there are times there's just no place for the truck to go. Heading to Costco? No problem! I'll park in the back with the other fifteen lifted duallies! Visiting my grandson? Sorry -- no place at all to park the truck in my daughter's apartment complex!

A 42' fifth wheel is a lot of trailer for a SRW truck. DRWs not only get you increased real and legal load. They get you better stability and tracking. There have been times I was on I30 or I40 with one of my previous trucks and a tandem axle bumper pull car hauler and that wind would just sweep across the highway.... Frankly, given what that felt like, I can't imagine the wind pushing on a high cube 42 footer. On the other hand, a fifth wheel box behind the 3500 dually is rock steady, all the time. Since you're going to be pulling a travel trailer, and presumably won't lack for space in that big box, you might want to consider a crew cab long bed when the time comes to pull it. The extra foot of wheelbase adds just that much more stability. You're going to be traveling, right? So you want to minimize fatigue and maximize ease of driving.

Knowing what I know now, were I aiming at a big fifth wheel travel trailer, I think I'd have a long bed conversion done on a megacab dually when I was closer to having the new trailer.

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post #6 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-20-2019, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BFD View Post
Is the dually new or similar miles to yours? I'd say, you'd be doing darn good for that little bit of difference. Craig
Yep, the dually is new and has the HO cummins vs the regular I have now. It's definitely a really good deal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by troverman View Post
Your 2500 would handle your future trailer just fine; it sounds to me like you might be itching to try a different truck...which I understand as I've traded many times myself in short periods of time.
Note that the 3500 dually is going to ride quite a bit rougher than your 2500, and it will use more fuel. Some of your "cost savings" by upgrading now will be eaten up in higher fuel (and DEF) consumption, plus likely higher insurance and registration costs.
I wouldn't say I'm "itching" for a new truck This started because I was realizing how heavy the fifth wheels we like are (13000-14000 lbs with 2400 lb pin weights, not including a generator) and thought maybe it would be smart to have more capacity in the truck. I love my truck now so I would be sad to get rid of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TriBeard View Post
I personally think that that trailer is well within the capabilities of your 2500, payload sticker ratings aside. I had upwards of 3500lbs in the bed of my 2500 (CCSB) and it handled it just fine. If I was going to do it regularly I would have considered some airbags to just give a little more stability and be able to remove any squat (though there wasn't much), but even unaided it handled it great. In the event of getting stopped or an accident, your axle and particularly tire ratings are what are going to matter more than anything else, though bringing any of that up is always a bit dangerous around here. Lots of people with lots of opinions.

That said, if you think you will need the capability later, either upgrading to something bigger in the future or just from a comfort standpoint, I totally get the temptation to upgrade. You'll have a more capable truck in the dually. You will probably lose 1-2MPG I'd guess between the higher gears and the extra tires. The AISIN also has a different service interval, needing fluid changes every 30k miles. This can get expensive, especially if you're not prepared/capable/willing to do it yourself. Just something else to consider.
That's good to hear it worked well for you. Mine has the auto level rear suspension from the factory so I would think it would handle the weight well, just had my concerns mentioned in my original post. It's also a good point about the increased service frequency for the Aisin (twice as often as the 68RFE). I'd do the work myself but it seems like it's not a cheap or quick job.

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post #7 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-20-2019, 02:47 PM
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In the last month I've sold my 2014 2500 and bought an 18 3500 dually w/ Aisin and 4.10's.

My 2500 pulled my 38' fifth wheel fine, or so I thought..... The first trip with it hooked to the dually I was blown away. IMO it's a night and day difference. Not blown away with the power, but stability. I don't drive the dually everyday, so I can't get really help you there. I'm not fond of the mileage going from 3.42's to 4.10's, but it does get the load moving easier, and never shifts out of 6th when on the highway. If your planning on a getting a fifth wheel that heavy I would get a dually.
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post #8 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-20-2019, 02:53 PM
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I can speak to the inconvenience of having dually and MPGs. My 2014 Ram has 3.73 gears, I get 21 MPG, daily driver, 75% highway/25% city. AS for inconvenience, yes have to pay more attention to driving, parking, but you get use to it. Love it!
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post #9 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-20-2019, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by cowboy_caddy View Post
The first trip with it hooked to the dually I was blown away. IMO it's a night and day difference. Not blown away with the power, but stability.
What I said. OP won't appreciate it until he feels it.
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post #10 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-20-2019, 03:46 PM
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My buddy pulls a 42' 5th wheel (around 18k) all over the Country with his 2500. I mean, liiterally, all over the Country. From Florida to the UP of Michigan and from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Been doing it for the last 4 years as a full-timer. Averaging over 10k a year.

He was, at one time, the owner of a trucking service, big rigs, so he knows what he's doing. I think he's a little nuts.... No.... I KNOW he's a little nuts. But he does it.

My other Buddy owned a F-350 dually. I've driven it several times. I've driven a few dually's a few times.

They suck. I mean, they really, really, really suck. I know that's gonna make the owners of them in here mad as a wet hen but I'm telling you...... They suck. (ETA: When they're not loaded) Just my totally worthless opinion.

Look at the specs on virtualy every car ever made. Know what they have in common?

The Front Track is almost always wider than the rear track.

There's a reason for that. A big reason. Handling.

Then there's the parking. And the tires.

Some people love driving a dually. But, some people go swimming in frozen lakes, too.

If you NEED a dually, get one. Nothing else will do the trick.

If you don't NEED one, you've got my 2 cents.

Which is about what it's worth.

Good luck and do what's best for you. Don't listen to me.

another ETA:
Ask a couple of Dually owners how much fun they are in the snow
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post #11 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-20-2019, 04:54 PM
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I love my dually. Crew cab long bed. Dont haul heavy and rarely tow. Parking takes getting used to. Drive thru won't fit. Unloaded ride is fine with me, it's a truck. It is my daily driver. Driving the interstate is great. Had a dually in PA and driving in the snow is not bad, takes getting used to. I am glad I bought mine. Do I need a truck that big, no. Why did I buy it, because I can and love it.

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post #12 of 68 (permalink) Old 08-20-2019, 05:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daltana View Post
I love my dually. Crew cab long bed. Dont haul heavy and rarely tow. Parking takes getting used to. Drive thru won't fit. Unloaded ride is fine with me, it's a truck. It is my daily driver. Driving the interstate is great. Had a dually in PA and driving in the snow is not bad, takes getting used to. I am glad I bought mine. Do I need a truck that big, no. Why did I buy it, because I can and love it.
Everybody's different. And my opinion is just that -- Opinion; and essentially useless. Personal preference.

I've driven my buddy's dually in the snow and it won't make it up a 1% grade in 2WD. Even with 300lbs of sand in the bed.

I can't get it to stay pointed in one direction on a less-than-perfect road. Wants to wander all over the place. He had his front end checked out and they said it was darn near perfect.

Maybe it's the F-350's???

OBTW, my brother had an F-350 IDI 7.3 stick shift, 2WD that handled pretty good.

Whatever.


My Buddy is the same way as you. He has no need for a dually but won't give his up for anything. Loves it.
But he's strange, too.

I have a lot of strange friends.

Makes me wonder
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