Ram 3500 vs Ram 2500 For Towing Your RV

Ram 3500 vs Ram 2500, which one is better for towing your RV? This picture is a Ram 3500 towing a fifth wheel down a desert highway.
2021 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty Limited Crew Cab Dually

Towing your RV to the local campground or across the country can be an exciting adventure if you have the proper truck for towing. Ram trucks are a popular option amongst the RV community, but which truck is for you? If you have a hard time solving the Ram 3500 vs Ram 2500 dilemma, let us help. Today we want to compare the two and help you make your choice.

Ram 3500 vs Ram 2500: Which is Better for Towing?

Both the Ram 3500 and the Ram 2500 are fantastic tow vehicles, but which is better dRAMatically depends on what kind of RV you have. The larger the RV, the larger the truck you’ll need to optimally and safely tow it.

While you won’t hear many RVs complaining about having too much truck, you will listen to them complaining about too high of a truck payment. Do you need an $80,000 truck to tow your small travel trailer? Absolutely not! You must consider what you plan to pull and buy the truck capable of towing it and is within your price range.

On the other side of the conversation, there are plenty of stories of people who have bought too small a truck for their RV. Towing a massive toy hauler fifth wheel with a Ram 2500 is not only unsafe but a great way to ruin your beautiful new truck. Knowing your towing capacity and payload capacity are great places to start, but you’ll also want to see the weight and towing numbers of whatever you plan to pull as well.

A white Dodge Ram 2500 tows a boat on a dusty road.
2021 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty Longhorn Mega Cab

What Are the Major Differences Between the Ram 3500 and Ram 2500? 

The Dodge Ram 3500 and the Dodge Ram 2500 are two different vehicles. They share many of the same features and amenities, but their capabilities are different.

Dodge Ram 3500

About: 

The Ram 3500 is a towing machine. Everything from the engine to the suspension has been specifically engineered and designed with features and hardware that make it ideal for towing. The Ram 3500 will handle anything you throw at it, whether you’re looking to tow a boat, travel trailer, or a massive fifth wheel.

The towing capacity of the Ram 3500 is an incredible 35,100 pounds. The towing capacity refers to the amount of weight the truck can pull. With a towing capacity this high, you’ll have trouble finding loads that it can’t handle. It’s a massive amount of weight and puts it at an elite level for consumer towing capabilities.

The Ram 3500’s 7,680-pound payload capacity is equally as impressive. The payload capacity refers to the weight a vehicle is rated to carry. This would include any cargo, passengers, and even weight from a trailer. Again, this payload capacity is an elite level for towing, and you’d have a hard time finding loads that it couldn’t handle. With numbers like these, it’s easy to see why many RVers with large rigs choose Ram 3500 for their tow vehicle.

One fantastic feature that is found in the Ram 3500 is the auto-level air suspension. This helps correct any sagging from a heavy load that drivers may experience and release the air in the suspension when not towing. This helps provide an optimal towing and smooth everyday driving experience.

Ram 3500 Price

The Ram 3500 base price starts at $35,345, and the fully-loaded Limited starts at $63,000. It’s important to note that essential upgrades such as trim level, diesel or gas engine, and cab or bed size will play a prominent role in the price of a Ram 3500. A few upgrades to the Ram 3500 Limited, and you’re looking at an $80,000+ truck. That’s a lot of cash!

What Kind of Campers Can be Towed with Ram 3500?

The Ram 3500 will handle pretty much any camper you hitch it up to, especially if you’re talking about a dually. The Ram 3500’s extremely high payload and towing capacities allow for even the largest fifth wheels and toy haulers. Some fifth wheels or toy haulers have a dry weight of 20,000 pounds, so the weight from adding toys such as fifth wheels or other OHVs can add up quickly. Keep it reasonable, and you’ll be fine. It never hurts to drive across a CAT scale to confirm if you’re exceeding your truck or trailer’s capacity.

The Ram 3500 is an impressive towing vehicle but may be overkill when it comes to smaller trailers. A small travel trailer doesn’t require a Ram 3500, and so unless you’re needing the power and capacity for something other than towing a trailer, it may be worth considering the Ram 2500.

Dodge Ram 2500

The Ram 2500 is like the little brother of the Ram 3500, but don’t think for a minute that means it packs any less punch. It is yet another powerful towing machine from the Ram Trucks line.

The Ram 2500 is capable of hauling 19,680 pounds and has a payload capacity of 4,010 pounds.  Being in the shadow of the Ram 3500’s impressive towing numbers is not a problem because these numbers are equally as respectable.

The Ram 2500 comes with the same optional upgrade for the auto-leveling air suspension system and is a great addition. You can select a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 engine or 6.7 Cummins Turbo; both are great options. Selecting the Hemi engine will provide optimal payload capacity as it is a lighter engine, but choosing the heavier diesel Cummins engine gives more power to increase your towing capacity.

Ram 2500 Price

While the Ram 2500 has a lower towing capacity and a lower payload, don’t think for a second that means the price will be considerably lower. The Tradesman, which is the entry-level trim, starts at $34,345, and the fully-loaded Limited trim starts at $62,035. This is a difference of only $1000 overall between the base models. As with Ram 3500, if you start upgrading the trim, engine, cab, or bed size, you’re easily looking at spending $80,000+ on a Ram 2500.

What Kind of Campers Can be Towed with Ram 2500?

While the price point isn’t a vast difference between these two trucks, their towing abilities are different. The Ram 2500 is rated to tow almost 20,000 pounds, which would allow it to tow most large fifth wheels and large or small travel trailers relatively easily. You would not have the towing capacity to tow giant toy haulers as Ram 3500 can, but smaller toy haulers would be an option.

The Ram 2500 is an impressive machine, but the differences in payload capacity vary significantly between the gas and diesel engines. Diesel engines weigh a considerable amount more than a gas engine and thus take up a larger portion of the payload capacity on a Ram 2500. The Ram 2500 Lonestar has a payload capacity of 4,380 pounds, but if you put a diesel in it, the payload capacity goes down to 3,060. 

These numbers will pose a problem if you’re looking to haul a larger fifth wheel and have a generous amount of camping gear and people going with you. You would potentially be over your payload capacity and putting yourself and your family in an unsafe (and potentially illegal) towing situation.

Are Dodge Ram Trucks Reliable? 

According to RepairPal, the Ram 2500 received a 2.5 out of 5.0 on the reliability scale, which ranks it 13th out of 17 in its class. They state that the repairs are infrequent but aren’t cheap when repairs need to be done. However, the Ram 3500 was ranked as a 3.5 out of 5.0 by RepairPal and 19th out of 32 in its class. Repairs are less frequent than the 2500 and often slightly cheaper.

Conclusion

Deciding between a Ram 2500 vs Ram 3500 is a difficult decision, but an important one. Knowing which Ram will make the perfect tow vehicle for you will largely depend on your circumstances, preferences, and whether you choose gas or diesel. Which do you think would be the best Ram truck for your towing needs?

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