New 2019 2500 Ram Too Tall for Gooseneck Horse Trailer
I'm really hoping someone can help me here. I don't know much about this stuff, and also if I'm not posting in the right category, please let me know that too.
I just bought a new 2019 Ram 2500 Diesel 4x4 because we are moving to Colorado where it will also be the snowplow. I have a 2012 Sundowner Charter SE Gooseneck 2H Horse Trailer that I have towed easily for the last 8 years with a 2008 Ram 2500 Diesel 4x2.
I was horrified to discover when my new gooseneck hitch arrived and I hooked it up that the new 2019 Ram 2500 is too tall for my gooseneck trailer. With the gooseneck column adjusted all the way up, the trailer sits nice and level, but the problem is that even on perfectly level ground I only have 1"-2" of clearance between the frame of the gooseneck and the top of the tailgate or sides of the bed (if I'm turning). When the trailer is just on a slight decline behind the truck I have less than a 1cm of clearance.
If I crest a steep hill or hit a bad driveway, the trailer is going to crunch into the top of the tailgate. I called the shop that has serviced my trailer for years, and they said that they are hearing this more and more, that the new trucks are being built too high for the gooseneck trailers. And they said they've had a lot of clients who have crunched their new trucks with their goosenecks.
They said I could have a welder try to "lift" the trailer, but that seems like a bad idea, because when towing you want all the weight as low and stable as possible and it will also make my ramp steeper for the horses trying to back out. The horses I tow weigh about 1,400 lbs each, so it's not a light load back there (2 horse trailer).
It seems like a much better idea to lower the truck than raise the trailer, but I have no idea how to do that. I saw that Belltech makes some "lowering kits" but it looks like only for 1500s that are 2015-2018, not for 2019s.
I called a suspension shop and they're looking into it for me, but he explained that the 2019 Rams have an "arced" frame or something, so he's not sure I'll be able to lower it much. It has at least a foot of clearance between the top of the tires and the wheel well, so it seems like there should be plenty of space to lower it 3"-5".
In googling around I've seen people talking about "flipping the axle" but I don't know what that means or if they are referring to the axle of the truck or the trailer.
When I called the dealer they weren't much help. They asked if my truck has the "leveling system" which it does not. I asked why they didn't tell me it was too tall to tow a gooseneck since I told them that's what I was buying it for, and they said they'd never heard of an issue. But the same complaint is all over the internet and the trailer service company says they're hearing it all the time.
Does anyone have any suggestions for me? I would really really appreciate it. I'm supposed to move (towing the horses) to Colorado in 3 weeks, and I have no idea what I'm going to do.
P.S. My truck came with the pre-installed Gooseneck/5th Wheel Prep Package, and I hate it. My old truck had a turnover B&W hitch which I loved. The Prep Package requires me to hook the safety chains onto the rear pucks which are over next to the back of the wheel wells, so now the chains run across the whole bed preventing me from putting other stuff in the bed between the hitch and the wheel wells.
The safety chain anchors for the B&W turnover hitch I used before were right next to the hitch, so I could put a bale of hay along each side of the gooseneck hitch and my tack trunk behind it. Now I think I'll only be able to fit my trunk at the center back and that's it. If anyone has a solution for this problem (less catastrophic than my main problem) I'd also love to hear it. Can I get safety chain anchors installed next to the hitch maybe so it's like the B&W?
I think the major issue is that a 4x4 sits about two inches higher than a 4x2. and I am not surprised the salesman didnít know that or point it out.
Is suspect this has less to do the the 2019 you bought and more to do with the 4x4 versus the 4x2 you used to have.
I am no expert but I think it will be easier to raise the trailer than lower the truck.
ďFlipping the axlesĒ refers to how the axle mounts to the leaf springs. In many trailers the axles are above the leafs but when you flip the axles the axles are mounted below the leafs which then increases your trailer height by roughly the thickness of your leaf springs.
Not sure what else to tell you and I donít know if flipping your axles is an option but should be easy to tell if you look under your trailer. And see what side of the leafs your axles are mounted.
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If the springs are on top of the axles already you can either put blocks to lift the trailer higher or cut the suspension off and did a spacer and weld the spring shackles back in place.
Thank you both, I will look under the trailer. Maybe I could get a couple inches on the trailer just by flipping the axle. But I am really hoping to lower the truck vs. raise the trailer.
The height difference between my old truck (2008 2500 4x2) and the new truck (2019 2500 4x4) is at least 6 or 8 inches, not just two. Like you said, I had only expected that switching to a 4x4 would raise it about 2 inches, but it's a lot more than that.
I had tons of clearance with my old truck. And my friend has a 2014 Ram 2500 4x4, and my new truck is at least 4 inches taller than hers is in the back, so they've definitely gotten a lot taller recently. And that's what the trailer guys said also.
I'm thinking that maybe it will have to be a combination of both. Raising the trailer slightly, and also lowering the truck. I looked in the rear wheel wells of the truck and it has coil springs in the back. Is it possible to just put in shorter coil springs?
I don't need much payload, so if I had shorter springs and and that meant I could carry less weight I would be ok with that. I just need enough to tow the trailer and carry a couple of bales of hay, a tack trunk and maybe a couple hundred lbs for a Weatherguard Gullwing crossover box.
I think you will have a much easier time lifting your trailer than lowering your truck. Not to mention you might void your warranty on the truck.
Your trailer suspension is much less sophisticated. They also make leaf springs with more leafs in them too so you might be able to swap out what you have for heavier duty leafs with more of an arc to them.
There are plenty of forum members here who could rebuild and redesign truck suspension in their sleep and they might have a better idea but my vote is to mess with your trailer and not the truck.
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Your new truck doesnt have the rear air suspension does it? Also what size tires do the 19s come with?
Flipping the trailer axle/raising the trailer, reverse leveling the truck, or time for a bumper pull trailer.
In that order, from simplest to most extreme, are my suggestions for you.
For what itís worth, putting 2800lbs another 2-3in in the air really isnít going to affect your center of gravity. Letís face it, the bulk of the weight in your load is already chest high and standing on 8 stilts. I bet you wouldnít think twice about putting 2 different horses in there that were less than a hand taller than your current horses.
You are making this way tougher than it needs to be.
I'd be moving the trailer axle under the springs or welding a 4" square tube between the trailer frame and the spring mounts and calling it a day.
Either shouldn't cost more than $4-500 and a day in the shop.
I'd think that the most practical solution would be to ditch the original bed and install a flatbed.
Raising the trailer would be a last resort, as loading and unloading horses isn't all that easy even with a low trailer.
Thank you everyone
Thank you everyone for your help and suggestions.
It does seem that lowering the truck is very difficult or maybe impossible. The tires are Firestone Transforce HT LT275/70R18.
And it is a good point that my horses are already very tall so I already have a high center of gravity, and HFolb23 is right that I wouldn't hesitate to put a horse that was 4" taller in my trailer, which is basically the same thing as lifting the trailer. I did talk to the trailer manufacturer, Sundowner, today.
They said this problem is becoming more common with the "older" (pre ~2015 gooseneck trailers) and the new taller 4x4 trucks. They recommend using 3" square tubing (1/4" thick) to raise the trailer frame or two 2" square tubing pieces to raise it 4 inches. The trailer has an aluminum frame and torsion bar suspension, not leafs.
But even going for 4" lift may not get me to the 6" of clearance they recommend as the minimum, but it would be close. They told me that in ~2015 they changed the gooseneck design to put the frame up into the gooseneck part rather than under the gooseneck floor like my 2012 has, so the new trailers have more clearance. They also sell a ~3" bumper that can go under the edge of the ramp so that the horses kind of step up onto the ramp and then walk up the ramp, and that way the ramp doesn't get a ton steeper after you lift the trailer, which I would probably get if I lift it.
I measured both my 2008 Ram 4x2 (53.5") and my new 2019 Ram 4x4 (60") from the ground to the top of the tailgate. That is really a substantial difference... definitely more than I was expecting. For now I think I've decided to keep the 2008 Ram and use that to get us (and the horses) moved to CO in a couple of weeks. And then when things aren't so rushed, I'll work with welder in CO to confirm that adding the 4" of lift would really be enough. Otherwise... I guess I need to get a new trailer.
Thanks again everyone.
One last thought about your new truck: Have you considered getting a flat bed for it instead of the pickup bed?
Yes, I donít really want a flatbed.
Yes, Iíve considered a flat bed, and itís a good idea, but I throw lots of stuff in the back all the time, bags of shavings, trunks, hay, saddles, etc. and I donít want to have to tie it all down all the time, or deal with removable slats.
Iím never putting much in there, so I donít need a lot of carrying capacity like flatbed, just a place for a couple bales of hay and a trunk or something.
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