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Topic: Flat towing a Ram 1500 pickup (Read 621 times) previous topic - next topic

Flat towing a Ram 1500 pickup

In December we bought a 2014 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn Ecodiesel with air suspension. This past Friday we made a test run with towing it behind the motorhome. Towing went fine (although it is 50" longer than the Lincoln MKX we were towing and therefore tight turns will be harder) until I disconnected and the truck would not start. I disconnected the battery for 10 minutes and the truck started right up although the check engine light was on. The code was for lost communication with the ABS module.

If anyone else is towing a 2014 or newer Ram 1500 please PM me. I would like to talk to you about your towing experiences or practices.

Thank you
2003 U320 4010
2014 RAM 1500 Ecodiesel

Re: Flat towing a Ram 1500 pickup

Reply #1
Ed - we've got a friend who has towed 2 different Ram 1500's (current one a 2020, I believe) behind their Prevost.  I can see if he will share his e-mail address (privately) if you'd like.
Learn every day, but especially from the experiences of others. It's cheaper!  - John C. Bogle

Re: Flat towing a Ram 1500 pickup

Reply #2
Ed, I got your PM.  In between, I'd shared your question and got back the following, which I'm posting since others may benefit (because some info is useful for any toad):

"I'm assuming they have 4wd (not full time AWD) and are following the owner's manual for Recreational Towing.

If that is all good my next question would be what braking system (if any) are they using. Some systems draw heavily on the truck's battery and need a charge line from the RV to keep the truck charged. Low battery voltage does not play well with the truck's electronics.

A last item could be due to how the truck's turn signals/brakes are incorporated. This is usually a longshot but if they are tying in to the trucks existing tail lights and not using diodes properly, they can be backfeeding the system, again not playing well with the truck's electronics."

So a couple of questions - 4WD or AWD?  What braking system?  Do you have a charge line?  Do you know when installing the tow setup of the Ram, were diodes used for the tail lights?
Learn every day, but especially from the experiences of others. It's cheaper!  - John C. Bogle

Re: Flat towing a Ram 1500 pickup

Reply #3
Thank you for the questions.

Here are some answers:
1) Air Force One auxiliary brake system
2) 4WD system, 8 speed automatic transmission with shifter knob and push button transfer case selector.
3) Yes, diodes were used for the tail lights (Roadmaster diode kit).
4) RVi charge line with trickle charge for truck battery. The trial run I did on Friday was for 15 minutes so the truck battery would not have become drained in that time.

I went to the local Ram dealer today and talked to a technician that was familiar with flat towing. He had not heard of problems before and said he would research/network the issue for me. He hopes to get back to me tomorrow (Tuesday).
2003 U320 4010
2014 RAM 1500 Ecodiesel

Re: Flat towing a Ram 1500 pickup

Reply #4
Good to hear you have someone researching it on that end. 

Had you driven the truck (on its own) much after the AF1 installation? 
Learn every day, but especially from the experiences of others. It's cheaper!  - John C. Bogle

Re: Flat towing a Ram 1500 pickup

Reply #5
Yes, we have driven the truck a fair amount after AF1 install.

Have not heard back from the dealer technician yet.
2003 U320 4010
2014 RAM 1500 Ecodiesel

Re: Flat towing a Ram 1500 pickup

Reply #6
 The ABS code may simply be the Truck ECU not liking the wheel moving with the engine not running. Possibly just pull the ABS fuse.
 

Re: Flat towing a Ram 1500 pickup

Reply #7
The ABS code may simply be the Truck ECU not liking the wheel moving with the engine not running. Possibly just pull the ABS fuse.
 

Would be interesting to see what the owner's manual has for the recreational towing process.  Our friends have towed several Rams and did not mention pulling a fuse specifically, just to be sure to follow the process in the manual.
Learn every day, but especially from the experiences of others. It's cheaper!  - John C. Bogle

Re: Flat towing a Ram 1500 pickup

Reply #8
The owners manual does not discuss pulling any fuses or disconnecting the battery.

If I do not hear anything from the Ram dealer I am thinking about making a short run with the spiral cable (brake lights, turn signals, power wire for battery trickle charger, and ground wires) disconnected. The AF1 would still function and I would turn the flashers the truck on. Someone had mentioned the possibility of feedback from the truck tail lights.

I am okay with disconnecting the battery but the manual does not require this and others are apparently towing the same vintage Ram without disconnecting. I do not want to create another problem by disconnecting. The Ram technician was concerned the transfer case might go out of neutral with the battery disconnected. In that it is an electronic transfer case I do not know how it could go out of neutral with no power. 
2003 U320 4010
2014 RAM 1500 Ecodiesel

Re: Flat towing a Ram 1500 pickup

Reply #9
Disconnecting a battery on vehicle with electronics will create havoc with the ecm and other controls. When Auto Club changes out a battery on the newer vehicles, they either use an adaptor to go into the power socket or they jump the cables with another battery before removing the bad one. I have the same platform you have on my '14 Grand Cherokee with the 8 speed and electronic shifter and transfer case. I have not put the baseplate on yet but will be towing it in the near future. All the information I have found was just put the transfer case in neutral for flat towing and have the diodes if using the factory tail lights. I don't know where your battery is but mine is under the passenger seat and is a pain to change or disconnect.
1999 40 ft. U-320 wtfe build 5563 Chuck & Lynda's "Rollin' Inn"  2030 watts solar
prev. mh's 71 GMC 5 yrs. 73 Pace Setter 1 yr. 78 Vogue 5 yrs 81 FTX 40ft all electric 18 yrs. 1996 Monaco Signature 3 yrs.
2014 Grand Cherokee Overland
Dream as if you will live forever. Live as if you will die today.  James Dean

Re: Flat towing a Ram 1500 pickup

Reply #10
I tow a 15 Ram 2500 with no wiring to motorhome. I just use wireless LED tail lights that attach on a bar I made to go in the truck receiver. I do use an air slave on the truck brakes so only thing to hook up is the air line to coach. Much simpler never have any issues just put electric transfer case in neutral then truck is ready to go.

Larry
Larry & Debbie Town
2000 U320 4210 
Previous 88 GV U295

Re: Flat towing a Ram 1500 pickup

Reply #11
We made another trial run today with the truck and motorhome. Truck start up was successful in two attempts.

On Wednesday I went to the Ram dealer again. The technician had talked to a few people and decided I can do a battery disconnect if I want to even though I should not have to. They did not know why I had the no start issue.

After hearing from several people that they tow a similar truck with no problems I decided I would read the owners manual again. It is rather confusing because it intertwines directions for a manual trans and two different automatic transmissions. Nonetheless, I realized I missed a step. After putting the transfer case in Neutral and turning the truck Off, you are supposed to cycle the push button start to Run and then back to Off. I think this last step that I had not done must tell the truck modules to go to sleep and not pay attention to the movement of towing.

I have heard from some that the no start issue can be intermittent, so time will tell. Right now I am thankful to have that little dilemma behind me.

Thank you to all that helped me through the process.

Ed
2003 U320 4010
2014 RAM 1500 Ecodiesel

Re: Flat towing a Ram 1500 pickup

Reply #12
Ed, we made a laminated, large print, step by step procedure for Hook Up To Tow on one side and End of Towing on the other.

We get it out and follow it step by step every time. As soon as we think we don’t need it we forget something.

Glad you got your PU.

Re: Flat towing a Ram 1500 pickup

Reply #13
We have towed  a 2017 Ram Laramie behind 2002 U320 for most of four years with no problems.  We do not disconnect battery.  We contacted the manufacturer before we bought the truck to verify the truck could be flat towed. We use a heavy duty Big Ox tow hitch and Big Ox Plastic Rock guard to protect the truck.  We also tow a 2015 Jeep Wagoner. We like having the truck. We made set of tail lights that fit in hitch on back of the truck and plug into trailer light plug, so we did not have to tie into truck wiring.
Miles and Kim Pepperd
Pep6@cox.net
2002 Foretravel U320 4020
   2017 RAM truck
   2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee
1994  Foretravel 36 ft Unihome
1978  Foretravel 36 ft FTX

Re: Flat towing a Ram 1500 pickup

Reply #14
We made set of tail lights that fit in hitch on back of the truck and plug into trailer light plug, so we did not have to tie into truck wiring.

Great minds think alike. I made mine wide enough to see the outer marker lights in the coaches side mirrors. Not that I could ever expect it to be whipping around, just like to look back and see them at night. To this day I have no clue if the steering wheel lock is disabled when transfer case is put in neutral. Will check next time I put in neutral to see. I had disconnected the batteries and left a dummy key in the unlocked position. Probably don’t need to go threw the heartache of that.
2006 Dodge 3500 4x4
Scott
If your going to be dumb, you got to be tough.
June 30, 2020
2001 U320 3610 Barn find
Build 5834