Performance upgrades for my truck?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Barkleymut, Nov 14, 2000.

  1. Barkleymut

    Barkleymut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,117

    I have used a 98 Dodge Ram 1500 with the 318 for the past 2 1/2 years. It has been very reliable with just enough power to keep up with traffic without flooring the gas at every intersection. But now I want an enclosed trailer, and since I now believe in getting the biggest of everything I want at least a 20 ft trailer maybe a 24 ft. Now my questions would my truck be able to pull this as is with no performance upgrades? I doubt it. Would a cat-back system help much? Would a new performance chip help much? Headers? New gears in the rear? Would these lessen the life of the engine or transmission? Would they help or hurt with mileage? As you can tell I don't know much about any of this stuff. Also could I put in the chip, or cat-back myself? If you have any suggestions either post them here or email me at Barkleymut@aol.com. Thanks a lot guys.
     
  2. guntruck

    guntruck LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 527

    The only significant improvement would be to change the gears. Most guys towing use 4:10's but you can even go lower, usually not with landscaping trailers though. As far as chips and catback systems yes they will help some but not enough to get what your looking for. good luck!!
     
  3. CCLC

    CCLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 261

    I have to agree with GUNTRUCK. We always order 4.10's in all of our trucks, HD radiators, and Transmission coolers. We feel that we use our trucks right to the edge of their capacity. The also must be reliable when snow plowing comes around so we don't keep them forever.
     
  4. KirbysLawn

    KirbysLawn Millenium Member
    Posts: 3,486

    Do not put a chip in a gas engine unless you plan on running PREMIUM gas all of the time. What MPG do you get now? I would guess around 13 mpg running empty and 8-9 pulling a trailer.

    I had the exact truck you have now except mine was a '96. I've told this story before, I was spending around $260-$280 a month on fuel back when it was $1.05 or so a gallon. I traded my truck in for a Ford F250 crew cab with a powerstroke diesel. My payments went up $100 a month and my fuel bills dropped $110 a month! Twice the truck at $10 less a month. With my diesel I get 16mpg empty, 20mpg highway, and 13mpg towing my enclosed trailer.

    Also consider how the 1500 truck is going to handle a 20' loaded trailer. I see many gas station stops in your future with this set-up.

    Just some thoughts.

    Ray
     
  5. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,073

    hello,

    For a trailer of that size your best bet will be a upgrade in your vehicle. First, the engine will not have the power you want pulling a enclosed trailer loaded with equipment along with the back of the truck being loaded with clippings, etc. Also, as everyone else has mentioned, mileage will way down, as the truck will be floored 3/4 of the time in order to pull that weight.

    Also, a trailer of that magnitude will wear out a half ton pickup in no time. At min, a 3/4 ton would be a best bet, and then offcourse up from there. Diesel would be nice, but initial cost is high and may be out your range.

    Even if you have to trade your truck in and take on the signifigant payment increase, I would imagine it will save you money in the long run as you will be in need of serious work on that truck if you do what you mentioned.

    1500's are Ok for pulling around a boat on the weekends, taking a vacation with the trailer home, etc, but for serious work I would have to say go with a bigger truck/engine altogether and sell your current truck before you kill it.

    steveair
     
  6. excel25

    excel25 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 393

    Barkleymut, I had a 96 ram shortbed w/318 and stock rearend. when I bought my 20ft.enclosed trailer it did ok, but not great. ordered a 99 2500SC w/360 and 410 rear. pulled better, gas was killing my at 7.5mpg. I ordered a 2001 ford SC 4x4 diesel came in 3 weeks ago, AWESOME Great power and much better mpgs.
     
  7. luckylawnboy

    luckylawnboy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 431

    Get A CHEVY 3/4 Ton. If your pockets are deep get a New chevy HD with a Duramax Diesel.
     
  8. Depending on how much you use the truck on the highway you could change the gears to 5.13. You could go with a 4.54 ratio with no problem. You must have a OD trans in a 98 truck.

    Make sure you install a limited slip if you have a open diff now.

    5.13 x .75= 3.84 final ratio

    4.54 x .75= 3.40 final ratio

    Isuzu npr's have a 5.13 ratio and they are rated to haul
    6000 lbs in the bed with a 350 chevy small block.
     
  9. Greenkeepers

    Greenkeepers LawnSite Senior Member
    from NE Ohio
    Posts: 695

    Luckylb-

    What difference does the Chevy 3/4 make? Any 3/4 ton with the right setup will pull it. If your looking for efficiency they you'll have to go with the diesel. I have a 99 Ram 2500 w/ 360 and 4:10 gears and 5 speed. It would pull it without a problem but my gas mileage will be even worse than it is now with a 16' open trailer.

    Mike
    Greenkeepers
     
  10. landscaper3

    landscaper3 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,354

    1st a chip, we put them in our 97 4WD Fords with the Powerstokes and got up to 70hp at wheel and almost 200lbs tourque but gas figures will be lower. My neighbor has a 97 2500 4WD Dodge with the the 5.8liter and he put a chip and filter and dual exhuast and runs about 60hp more and 80lbs tourque wont know till December when we go back to Dyno the trucks but he siad the Chip alone made towing night and day. And did I mention he told me he gained 2mpg out of these mods so a year or so they will pay for themselves.
     

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