Ask TFLtruck: Can My Lifted Off-Road Ram HD Truck Tow a 5th-Wheel?

2018 ram 2500 hd mega cab aev prospector xl
2018 Ram 2500 HD mega cab (AEV Prospector XL)

Can a lifted Ram HD truck tow a 5th-wheel camping trailer? We recently received this question from Roland from Shreveport, LA.

I have a Ram 2500 Mega Cab Prospector XL. This vehicle was built by American Expedition Vehicles. I am considering purchasing a 5th wheel trailer. I would like your thoughts. What weights should I be looking at? Is this possible? Will I have the rake effect? Do you have any experience that could help me make this decision?

Roland, your AEV Prospector XL is a cool-looking truck. As big and long as the mega cab is, the 3-inch lift and the 40-inch tires make it more proportional and imposing at the same time.

When considering a 5th-wheel camping trailer, please keep in mind the following elements.

Payload / Towing Ratings

A stock Ram 2500 HD mega cab 4×4 with a 6.7L Cummins I6 diesel and an 68RFE transmission has a maximum payload rating of 2,020 lbs and a maximum towing rating of 15,440 lbs. The payload capacity is a huge limiting factor for a 3/4-ton truck.

A relatively light weight 5th-wheel camper trailer with a total length between 30-35 feet and a Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) of under 11,000 lbs. A tongue weight (aka. hitch weight) of such a trailer is between 17-20% of the total trailer weight. A fully loaded 11,000 lbs trailer will be pushing on the truck with about 1,900 lbs of tongue weight. If your payload is 2,020 lbs – then you barely can carry a person in the truck before being overloaded.

Does the AEV Prospector XL package change the springs and provide additional payload capability? If yes, then you may be able to get around the payload problem with a slight smaller 5th-wheel trailer.

Truck Bed / Hitch Height

A stock Ram HD 4×4 truck is relatively tall truck to begin with. The AEV Prospector XL is about 6-7 inches taller. The “neck” of the trailer need to clear the bed, and the coupler needs to be close to the same height as the 5-th wheel hitch coupler. Naturally, you want the truck and trailer to sit as level as possible. Most common 5th-wheel couplers sit 14-18 inches above the bed floor.

You should measure how tall the bed rail and the bed floor are off the ground. Then, take a look at the trailer you are looking to buy, and measure the height of the trailer neck and the hitch pin.

Truck Bed Length

All Ram HD mega cabs have a “short” bed (about 6 feet 4 inches). This is a concern when making tight turns with a 5th-wheel trailer behind you. The front of the trailer may come into contact with the back of the cab when making tight maneuvers. There are the hitch extensions that help resolve this issue, but we generally recommend a long 8-foot bed for trailering a 5th-wheel.

These are the primary considerations, but there are some others – such as appropriate brakes to stop this heavier/lifted off-road truck with big wheels/tires.

Here is our recent Ram 2500 HD towing test.