Re: towing story

From: Sam (
Date: Tue Aug 20 1996 - 16:34:51 EDT

Following Bob Allen's format, here's my story:

Truck: 1995 Club Cab SLT, stock suspension, V8, 5 speed, 3.90 axle,
sure-grip, 2-wheel drive

Modifications: K&N FIPK air cleaner, Bosch Plat. Plugs, Ultra Flo
3" CAT back exhaust, Mopar Performance SBEC (*Stock SBEC used while towing)
Deflectashield bug shield, and BFG AT 215-75-15 tires

Boat: 1995 ULTRA 21LX Jetboat w/390 HP Mercruiser 454. Set back Dominator
Pump, w/Jetovator, dual batteries, high power stereo/woofers, etc. (*This
is my FRIEND's boat) The trailer is a Hensley jet boat trailer, w/ hydraulic
surge brakes, and dual axles. The boat and trailer are about 4,000 pounds
by themselves. The boat was towed without a cover, bimini down,
skis/2-coolers, and 4 folding beach chairs aboard. In addition to the
listed weight, the boat had both 19 gallon tanks filled prior to leaving for
our trip.

Bed: Gem top cab high shell (aluminum that weighs about 180lbs. I know from
lifting it onto my back!!! Ouch!) We had 2 coolers full of food & drink
(in addition to the 2 in the boat), 4 fishing poles, 2 tackle boxes,
clothing/stuff for three people, a weed wacker, 20 gallons of gas in 5
gallon cans, and a spare tire for the trailer.

Hitch: New DrawTite Class III frame mounted hitch.

Was if fun? Well, yeah... The truck has the 1450 lbs. payload (not the
2000lbs), so the springs were about 1-1.5" from the stoppers. Towing this
load was the heaviest I have ever pulled with the truck. To my surprise
once I got going (30-45 mph) the only thing different was a longer time to
gain speed. I was able to hold a steady 70 mph on flat ground w/head wind
in 5th (cruise on). Driving east towards Yuma AZ from San Diego I dropped
down to 4th on the big hills w/60 mph being my slowest speed. In comparison
my old 1986 Mitsubishi Mighty Max P/U could only muster 55 w/2 jet skis in
tow!! The surge brakes of the trailer were excellent, as they were used
extensively while decending into the desert from the mountains. On the
return trip we encountered a nasty 35-40 mph head wind from Yuma AZ to the
grade back into the San Diego County Mountains. I held a steady 65 mph
during that time (70 was acheiveable, but my fear of getting less than 10
mpg made me go slower). At the grade (a 13 mile 4-6% grade) I held 60 in
4th except in one section where 3rd at 55 mph was needed. The remaining
part through the mountains back into San Diego was 60-70 mph.

Performance: Extremely Pleasing! Averaging 62 mph to Yuma I got 12.5 mpg.
On my return trip to San Diego w/headwind I managed 11.5 mpg. I usually get
14-16 around town, and high 17's, mid 18's on this particular drive
unloaded. The boat ramp thing was cool. I can actually IDLE THE TRUCK/BOAT

"Now to do something about those springs!" (as quoted from Bob Allen)
I second that. I would like to put air shocks on, but have heard that you
cannot do it. Hmm.. Maybe if I can find an Add-A-leaf that's not WAY to

    Now, 1 month later my friend bought a new truck. Ford F-250 4X4 w/460
Supercab. He pulled the same boat, with the same conditions. He told me,
"I wish my Ford pulled as good as your Dakota. I was only able to manage 50
up the grade, but then around 60-65 the rest of the way. I could have gone
faster than 50, but the thing was winding out in 2nd (automatic). "

    He went on to tell me that he got 9.5 going, and 8.5 mpg coming back!!!
    Sam Parthemer

    San Diego, CA.

    '95 SLT


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