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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
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.

Thanks,
Caroline

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?
 

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I think the major issue is that a 4x4 sits about two inches higher than a 4x2. and I am not surprised the salesman didn’t 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.

“Flipping the axles” 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 don’t 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.

Good luck.


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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you

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.

Thanks again.
 

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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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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 it’s worth, putting 2800lbs another 2-3in in the air really isn’t going to affect your center of gravity. Let’s face it, the bulk of the weight in your load is already chest high and standing on 8 stilts. I bet you wouldn’t think twice about putting 2 different horses in there that were less than a hand taller than your current horses.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
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.

Caroline
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yes, I don’t really want a flatbed.

Yes, I’ve considered a flat bed, and it’s a good idea, but I throw lots of stuff in the back all the time, bags of shavings, trunks, hay, saddles, etc. and I don’t want to have to tie it all down all the time, or deal with removable slats.

I’m never putting much in there, so I don’t need a lot of carrying capacity like flatbed, just a place for a couple bales of hay and a trunk or something.

Thanks.
 

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I'm just thinking if you did not have bed rails, you would not have the clearance problems with the gooseneck. Maybe a large open box forward of the gooseneck not more than 2' tall and hinged panels on a flatbed would still allow you to use the truck as a pickup and convert it to a hauler when towing yet still give you some storage. I'm sure some of your horse friends could point you to some of the brands that work for them, I use a flatbed with storage boxes attached so I can carry a truck camper and have better use of the remaining space.



You could use a nicer skirted bed with lower storage and just 4' long boxes on the front half of the deck as another option. If you are willing to go that route, it's like Lego blocks and you can build it however it works for you and even change it out later if things change.

 

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Why is it that the manufacturers keep making the trucks taller. They definitely do create an issue of clearance with gooseneck trailers.
The trucks become more difficult to get into while becoming less useful.
I just purchased a 2019 3500 4wd and am experiencing this same issue, and all my previous trucks have been four wd Dodges.
Seems ridiculous that trailer owners have to reinvent the wheel to suit what seems to to be nothing more than manufacturers getting a case of short man's syndrome.
I have two horse trailers and neither one has much clearance on the 2019.
 

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Hi CLB, i also have a 2019 4x4 crew cab, I just got a B&W turnover ball gooseneck installed and after reading your initial post was a little concerned about hauling the trailer i typically borrow from my aunt. It's a early 2000's Featherlite 3-horse gooseneck with tack room. I went over to her house this saturday and picked it up and it hauled just fine. It is not perfectly level front to back but it's not too far off and i didn't even adjust the neck from my 2016 F250 super duty. It's not the end of the world if it's not perfectly level. Ideal yes, necessary, no. I think you are overthinking this whole thing. Once you load a couple 1,200 lb horses in it there will be even more weight on the neck.
 

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I have a 2018 Ram 2500 and have the same issue with my Sooner gooseneck trailer. It is not as severe as yours though, but my trailer is nose high. One solution I am looking into is a "reverse level" from Kelderman. It is a little pricey, but seems to have some other advantages too. May be worth contacting Kelderman and see if they have any solutions for the 2019 Ram.

https://kelderman.com/shop/2014-ram-2500-2-stage-rear-air-suspension-coil-replacement
 

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This is my ‘19 3500 4x4 with auto level and my 2018 Sundowner Charter SE.

I would buy the Kelderman reverse level air bag kit. I’ve used Kelderman products for a few years and never an issue.

I reversed leveled my 2018 3500 4x4 SRW w/leafs to haul the same trailer.

I live in Monument if you need help figuring things out with your new truck.
 

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This is my ‘19 3500 4x4 with auto level and my 2018 Sundowner Charter SE.
That sure looks somewhat familiar.

This setup would not have worked where we used to live, due to some severe angles when entering the main road.
 

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I used to constantly worry about banging my top rails with my ‘18 SRW as it sat almost 3” higher than this truck.
I may adjust my gooseneck hitch down a hole to give me a little peace of mind after looking at the pictures a little closer. An extra 1 1/2” between the truck and trailer will help prevent the two from kissing.
 
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