2019 Ram 1500: Towing an Airstream Travel Trailer | Edmunds
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2019 Ram 1500: Towing an Airstream Travel Trailer | Edmunds

DAN EDMUNDS: Today, we’ve
got an airstream flying cloud trailer latched on behind
our RAM 1500 long term test vehicle. My family and I are going
to go up into the mountains, do some camping,
and beat the heat. Just put this here. When we get to camp,
we’ll organize it. We’re about to head out. But first, we’ve got to, of
course, hook up the trailer. And the RAM 1500 has
this backup camera with a lot of different angles
to make it real easy to hook this thing up. We’ll get closer here. I’ll put the zoom. Get in there, get in there. And we’ll call that good. You want the tongue weight
to stabilize the vehicle, but you don’t really
want the tongue weight. You want what it represents. What it represents is
the center of gravity is a certain distance
ahead of the rear tires. The tongue weight pushes down
on the back of the truck, and you don’t want that. So these load equalization bars
are basically like wheelbarrow handles that kind of pick
up some of that weight and distribute it onto
the front of the truck and onto the trailer. So you still have the
stabilizing effect of the center of gravity
being ahead of the tires, but you don’t have the weight
pushing down on the truck too much. Cross the chains underneath
the trailer tongue. So if anything fails,
it’s like a cradle. It’s a good habit
for all trailers. We’ve got safety chains. We’ve got the breakaway
switch, and we’ve got the light connection. We should just check and make
sure all the lights work, and we’re ready to go. This 2019 RAM 1500 has
a lot of features that are really useful for towing. When you plug in
the trailer harness, it automatically turns off
the rear parking sensors. So you don’t have
to manually do that. There’s a built-in trailer
brake controller right here. It’s a must have option
if you’re planning to tow, I think. It’s got these pincers here
and plus minus buttons. And the pincers are really just
there to set your trailer brake gain level, and that’s what
the plus and minus are for. And the truck doesn’t know how
big or heavy your trailer is, but you do. So the idea is drive on a
straight level road about 30 or 40 miles an hour. Pinch that. You’ll feel the
trailer brakes come on. You don’t want them
to lock up, and you don’t want them to do nothing. You want it somewhere
in the middle. Use the plus and minus
arrows to set the gain. And then when you’re
set, push on the brakes. You’ll see a read out
here which shows me that I have the gain
set to five right now. This is showing me how much
voltage is going to the trailer brakes as I press the pedal. It’s a great feature to have. There’s another thing
here which is this power outlet up near the top. It’s not necessarily a towing
feature, but for me, it is. Because this screen here– if I turn on the lights,
it powers the camera on the trailer,
and it will give me an image of the
camera that’s mounted on the back of the trailer. Since I need this here
suction-cup’d to the window. I don’t want my cord hanging
down into the center console. So this plug up here is great
for anything that needs power that you might want to
attach to the windshield, like the screen. All in all, you know,
it’s pretty easy going. You just have to
point it down a road, and go where you’re going. Pick a good campsite. Hopefully we did that. Now, we’re finally on the road. Just got onto the
freeway, and we’ll be doing this for a
couple of hundred miles before we get close
to the campsite. Truck feels different
with a trailer back there. Rear bounces around a
little bit differently. Not bad, but you can tell
there’s some weight behind. The engine’s not
straining at all. This trailer has about
850 pounds of towing. Here’s an idea, for all you
truck designers out there. This rear view mirror right
now, it’s totally useless because all I see is a trailer. This feature down here that knew
where I plugged in my trailer and then blanked out the
rear parking sensors, we could have this
whole mirror turn into an image of what’s on the
trailer camera instead of me having to install this thing. That would be nice. Right now, the instantaneous
fuel economy read out is saying 8 miles per gallon. Good thing I have
a 33 gallon tank. That’s an option, but
consider it mandatory if you’re going to tow
anything like this airstream. I just wish I would’ve
bought the optional trailer towing mirrors that flip up. I mean, I can see
around this thing, but the optional trailer
towing mirrors that RAM offers are particularly good. This isn’t a steep
hill, and so– SPEAKER: And it’s not that
big a trailer for this truck. DAN EDMUNDS: Yeah. This truck can
tow 11,500 pounds. I think it’s 11,240 for
this particular one, and this trailer weighs
around 6,500 maybe. I’d have to put it on a
scale to find out for sure, but I got the 392
axle ratio, which is what it takes to boost
the tow rating from around 8,200 pounds to 11,200 pounds. So it’s a big jump 3,000
pounds for 50 bucks. Really got to ask yourself, do
I really want to tow that much? That axel ratio will
have consequences if you really don’t need to. You might hurt
your fuel economy. Traffic like this,
it’s really nice to have this blind spot
monitoring system that covers the length of the trailer. After I made a couple
of turns, the system learns how long the trailer is. And this says 30 feet,
which is about right. This weighs– this
is about 26 feet. I don’t know if
the hitch is part of that, when they say that. Little extra doesn’t hurt. Anyone who’s ever driven
out of the LA Basin knows that the place
is ringed by mountains. So you’ve got to drive
over a mountain pass if you want to get out of town. We’ve got one ahead of
us called the grapevine. It taxes a vehicle
that’s towing a trailer. And certainly a lot of the semis
are going up in the slow lane 20 miles an hour
with their 4-ways on. I think we’re going to have
no problem over this grade because this Hemi
V8 is pretty strong, and this trailer is nowhere
near the upper limit of the tow rating. But of course, it’s not
just the trailer’s weight that can tax a tow vehicle. The amount of tongue weight it
has will load the suspension. And this, like most camping
trailers, has about 15% tongue weight. You know, most of
the max tow ratings are assuming you’re going
to have 10% tongue weight. So that is actually going
to reach the tongue weight limit before you reach
the trailer weight limit, in the case of a travel
trailer like this. The tongue weight
and trailer weight are not the only restrictions. There’s also the frontal
area of the trailer. I mean, a big box creates
a lot of aerodynamic drag. If you’re towing a boat or
a flat bed with a car on it, that doesn’t present as
much of an aerodynamic drag as a box on wheels like this. The airstream is
nice and rounded on the corners, which is one
reason why it’s so iconic and why it has its name. We’ve come to the steep
part of the grade, and we’re just getting
swept up by all these trucks who had a running start and
didn’t get off where we got off just past Lake Castaic,
for those of you who are keeping score at home. The nice thing about having
an eight speed transmission is there’s enough
gears to choose from. I don’t have to make a choice. The software is
doing it so that it doesn’t dither back and
forth between any two gears. And we’re at the top. That was a piece of cake. Now on the way down, we’ve got
to keep from going too fast. In tow hull mode, if I
use the brakes to take off a mile an hour or two. It says, oh, you want
to go that speed? And then it keeps
me at that speed. It’s pretty nice. I don’t have to keep
riding the brakes. It’s almost like using the
brake pedal engages some sort of downhill cruise control. Not exactly, but it
kind of feels like that. This truck’s got a
round shift knob. Just rotary knob. There’s really no way to pick
a particular gear with this, but there are buttons here
on the steering wheel, and it’s made for
downgrades like this. I can basically trim off gears. So instead of it being an
eight speed, it’s five– seven speed or a six speed. Whatever it takes to get my
speed under control downhill. There’s a bunch of Teslas. No model threes. So we’re off the freeway. We’re not going any faster
than we were before, but it is kind of nice to be
away from the truck traffic. We’re climbing and climbing
on this little two-lane grade. We’re getting close
to the campground. We’re nearly there. Now that sounds good. We’re here. OK. Come on. SPEAKER: Yay! DAN EDMUNDS: Now, we
got to pick a spot. Got a little wheel spin there. I can get closer
to the fire ring. That trip was easy. It took a little
longer than it might have if I wasn’t towing because
California makes you tow at 55 miles an hour and
stay in the right two lanes. And that gets you
mixed in with trucks. And the towing features this
truck has really helped out. I mean, it’s got a
trailer brake controller that worked great, 33 gallon gas
tank that gave us enough fuel to get here without stop. And we’re here, the camp set up. I can’t wait to
kick back and enjoy.


  • Jerry Purnell

    Dan I pull a forest river salem 27rkss with a eco diesel 14mpg.great video. Look on YouTube about what 1500 trucks can pull camper wise very informative info you will like it

  • David Hoffman

    Hey everyone, I'm looking to purchase a RAM 1500 5.7L / 3.92 gear to tow this travel trailer –> https://www.jayco.com/products/travel-trailers/2019-jay-feather/27rl/

    Unloaded Vehicle Weight (lbs) View Definition 5755

    Dry Hitch Weight (lbs) View Definition 650

    Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (lbs) View Definition 7000

    Cargo Carrying Capacity (lbs) View Definition 1245

    However, just about everyone I talk with, sometimes even before I tell them what I"m looking to haul, tells me to get a 2500 diesel.

    Can anyone explain why a 2019 RAM 1500, 5.7L / 3.92, fitted with an Equalizer Hitch would not be able to safely haul this travel trailer?

    I appreciate the response.

  • B

    What I don't get is that my 1989 dodge 318 automatic got 10 mpg pulling a trailer now my 2017 dodge ram gets the same pulling a trailer?
    Is it ever going to improve? I think they all want to keep it there? Your thoughts on this?

  • Victor Lin

    Ford fan boys talking about tow ratings…who tf will tow to the limit of an F150 and not just get a F250. Loyal people can be dumb

  • cjr4497

    thank you for mentioning the wind resistance factor for towing. too many don't get that. towing a trailer that actually weighs 9,500+ pounds with a 1/2 ton truck is a a very bad idea, especially if something goes wrong.

  • Monkey Business

    Thank you for this information. I am always in search of real world test information. I am currently searching for my next truck to pull my current camper. 8758 pounds, and usually another 1500 pounds of cargo. I love the new 1/2 ton max towers, but am undecided on if I should step up to at 2500 series.

  • Wandering Weekends

    What’s the payload on the Ram?? I’d bet a dime to a dollar you’re overweight with the family in there. Towing capacity doesn’t generally mean squat… payload is what gets ya. I didn’t hear payload mentioned once in this vid. 🤦‍♂️ Maybe I missed it? Also realize you’re tongue weight is with an empty rig. Airstream does include propane and batteries in their tongue weights but not supplies.

  • Steve Thornton

    It is technically illegal to mount anything to the center portion of your windshield in California , such as his camera monitor. Look it up.

  • Luis Martinez

    LOL. I towed a 6000lb trailer with a 2.7 twin turbo F-150 northbound on the 93 from Kingman, AZ to Las Vegas through Boulder City. I had to slow down on the uphill stretch around Hoover Dam because I was hitting 85mph unknowingly. I was getting 8 MPG on that stretch but got 10 MPG's for the entire trip.

  • Jim Duce

    I have a 2012 Ram Laramie and a 32 foot Springdale. The 5.7 pulls like Jack the Bear. I added air bags as my trailer is about 8 thousand full of water, well fed friends, wife and two dogs.

  • Russ RV Freedom 37

    Great video. I have the same truck 1/2ton but a F150, and same trailer weight and tongue wt. I like the way you explain everything, and especially the wt distribution bars, I didn't know the concept behind those. I just started towing this weekend, a 32 foot Trlr. I have a background in Semi Driving so that has been good as far as backing up but Campers are different, as opposed to a 53 foot trailer towed by a heavy truck.

  • Jeff McCaffrey

    Dan, can you post the payload capacity from the truck’s door sticker? We have a 27’ Airstream Globetrotter on order and bought a 2019 RAM 1500 Laramie with the 3.92 axle after watching your video. I specifically told the dealer our trailer specs so we’d get the right truck. He showed us the RAM’s payload was 1840 lbs. for our truck (dealer traded). After we picked up the truck I found the door sticker’s capacity states “1220 lbs.”. That’s a big difference and a problem for us. I imagine your 25’ Airstream has at least 850 lbs. tongue weight. Add four passengers and misc. cargo and you’re over the 1220 for our truck. That door sticker is “bible” according to those who tow often. I went back to the dealer and they’re searching for an answer (said the 1840 number comes straight from RAM configuration tool). Just wondering what your Limited was rated at. Thanks and great video (sold me on the truck!)

  • Amanda Enloe

    Great video. Some nice new features on the 2019. I still love my 2016 RAM Sport with 3.21 axle ratio with the tow package. We've pulled our Coachmen 192RBS across the country twice and the RAM engine never missed a beat. BTW, at 9:04 in the video, it looked like there was a cord, maybe power cord?, hanging off of the right of the trailer or truck.

  • Google1 User

    Which Ram 1500? I've got the Laramie with air suspension. Thanks for mentioning the important things like optional larger 33 gallons fuel tank. Not sure if mine has the regular sized tank but I'm going to find out. I'll be pissed off if I don't have it because I really took time to special order this vehicle. The salesman really should have recognized I'd want the larger tank and known about this option. Most salespeople really know nothing about what they sell, it's absolutely disgusting. Maybe they can install the larger tank for free.

  • Ulics C.

    I see you have a top of the line trailer and truck. Why don’t you get top of the line weight distribution hitch that also advertise eliminate the sway 100%. I’ve seen reviews that confirm that. The name is. HANSLEY ARROW. I’ll love to see a detailed video about it from you.

  • Rxonmymind

    What a timely video. This answered two questions. I just purchased my first trailer and decided on an Airstream 23FB which had me wondering if the new Ram 1500 would be sufficient. Looks like it is. Second, I eventually want to upgrade to a 26U down the road and this Ram had no problem pulling yours.
    Wow I hit the video jackpot.
    In the meantime I'll wait to see where Toyota goes with their Tundra in 2021 and if it's a stinker I'll definitely purchase a Ram 1500 limited at 2020 year's end.
    Hope to see you on the road. Safe travels to you and your family.

  • paul stradley

    Nice video but one thing NO ONE (well, hardly anyone) seems to consider is PAYLOAD! What was the payload capacity of this particular truck? It's on the little sticker in the door jamb. The trailer's tongue weight, THE HITCH itself, all your gear in the truck bed and inside, and the passengers reduce the payload capacity of the truck. Some trucks today only have 1500-1600 lbs of available payload to begin with. Take 800-900 pounds away for tongue weight and there ain't much left for gear, people, hitch, etc. Just because a truck can tow 11k pounds doesn't mean your are OK because the payload will sink you faster than anything.

  • Tom Miller

    I understand that the 2019 Ram 1500 Limited will automatically change its height, via the air suspension system, when travelling above 35 mph.

    How did the auto lowering of the Ram affect the towing of the Airstream? Did you have to set the tongue and anti-sway bars nose up, in order to level out the trailer/truck profile, when travelling above 35 mph?

  • tfb

    You don't tow with your running lights on? 🙂 Nice video — thanks – currently towing an Airstream International 28W with a Ford F250 diesel; but watching for the release of the 2019 Ram 1500 eco-diesel as a possible replacement…

  • CQ Reviews

    You should try this trip out with the 2019 GMC Sierra SLT. Has a lot more tailoring features and that trailer camera view built into the truck.

  • Johnny Quest

    No surprises, other than you kept in real with the mpg. I expected a hemi to get 8 mpg, at 55 mph, but I didn't expect that you would admit to that. Thanks for keeping it real. Towing a travel trailer is my favorite hobby.

  • Tim Perna

    Thank you. Great video. Especially since I am just now starting to look into all the different models of Trucks and RV's and what I will need to pair up together.

  • paul bunyun

    nice rig! to bad with The New Green Deal proposed by the liberals your fossil fueled truck will be bye bye in 12yrs!

  • Dan Wheeler

    Nice truck and a nice family. I just ordered a 2019 Ram 2500 and seeing this gives me confidence in my purchase. Thanks for the video!

  • Tim Perna

    So I did purchase my New 2019 Ram Bighorn and I am loving it. Thank you for explaining the Gear system on the steering wheel for the Downhill portion of towing an RV. I will be towing one that weighs approximately 7,00 lbs. My Ram is good for 8,440 lbs in towing. I am also going to order the same distribution bars you were presenting. I read that the chain version bars are not as friendly in a turn. Happy Camping!

  • chaztikov

    Very informative, very much enjoy the detailed explanation. Recommendations for basic education on trucks, towing considerations, etc would be much appreciated.

  • Dave Leclair

    I traveled across Canada with 32 ft. land y and most time in cruise 60 mph. No problem with my dodge 2008 hemi. Plenty of power going through the rockeys.. Airstreem handled like a dream.

  • athletejmv

    Great wealth of knowledge based on all your experiences… oh, just initial experiences. For those of us who own things long term with cash or long term loans, this review doesn't represent the average long-term owner.

  • Tom Davis

    Just trade in new ones every time the warranty runs out. Standard procedure for owning ANY Fiat/Chrysler product

  • George Cass

    Can't believe you are only getting 8 mpg's
    That seems awful low for the weight you are pulling and a 8 speed transmission

  • Guy H.

    Nice review. For me personally, I love using the rear view mirror for towing. Helps me check out the trailer to see if its swaying back & forth. Thanks for telling how anti-sway bars/load levelers work; I knew what they did but not how they work. But one thing, how can you buy a tow vehicle without getting tow mirrors? Thanks for the video

  • e3mrk1

    Excellent Video but did you notice you have no license plate on the Trailer? Police take a dim view of that on the highway.

  • honest D

    Hi nice video What does your airstream weigh? Can you pull at 75 mph to keep up with flow of traffic on highway?

  • gizzy2403

    California is " th asshole " of 🇺🇸, & is in need of an enema desperately!! Good video though. I've nvr seen a harder place on a vehicle & towing than th mountain highways in Colorado. I honestly think I would consider a Ford turbo engine there, because that place destroys a truck from th ground up,& altitude sux th engine power unmercifully in th process! I think th turbo would b very beneficial in that environment. Anywhere else, I'd go Dodge or GMC

  • James Martin

    Here's an idea, design an air stream that will attach to a truck add or of like a fifth wheel and an over the cap camper with the hooked together trailer and vehicle looking like a bus conversion. Change how trailers are hauled and would not the drive be way better?

  • Aussie 1

    beautiful video, truck and trailer.
    I love RAM, but I have to tell you, FORD has better towing toys.
    I was going for RAM, and after few weeks, and more than few test drives between, Ford 150 and RAM 1500, FORD won

  • Sheryl Shupel

    wow, looked like safety chains were not completely connected…. Peeps should be careful and take into consideration payload. Payload quickly adds up with tongue weight and passengers.

  • S Winter

    Very well done! I like how you explained the truck and the Airstream. Looks like the trip was a lot of fun!

  • Devo Dar

    Great video, easy to understand and illustrates everything for towing with a 1500. Beautiful truck and trailer, looks great together and performed awesome. Great show. That truck is easily the best in class and in looks.

  • I told you not to look me up

    It's useful when someone hit your Trailer I didn't realize you was in a accident and the person blame you, you have the camera to provide its not your fault

  • HalfShell

    How much sway did you encounter with the passing traffic on the freeway? Bid issue with 1/2 ton trucks pulling longer TTs on the freeway.


    I find that wind resistance plays a bigger part in effecting fuel economy as weight , as the rolling resistance is easily overcome by inflating the tires. Even an empty cage trailer can feel like a parachute

  • Ody 2002

    Informative for sure. But although he at one time mentioned the indicated MPG, it would have been nice to hear the actual MPG out and back. I think I might have opted for a license plate on the trailer.

  • Gerry Nightingale

    IT'S GOOD TO BE RICH!  ( that's about 175-THOUSAND DOLLARS rolling along…whatI'll make in maybe ten-years…if I live that long ) On the other hand…I live maybe two-miles from a 100-ft. tall escarpment overlooking the Ohio River… complete with picnic tables and big concrete cooking grills…and costs maybe .30-cents in gas for me to sit there any time I want to and just 'look and think'…not a bad deal…yeah, they have benches there too…and restrooms

  • Old Dad

    "A little wheel spin" when backing the trailer might be averted if you pop it into 4 wheel drive before backing. I've learned to do this, and it makes parking a trailer that much easier.

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