Re: towing story

From: Robert Allen (
Date: Wed Aug 21 1996 - 10:23:49 EDT

richard_gambino@VNET.IBM.COM wrote:
> I have the same set-up but in a club cab (4X4, which I assume yours
> is). I don't have a hitch now, but would possibly add one in the
> future. It sounds like yours is not the factory option. My question
> is whether you have the auxiliary trans cooler? I should have ordered
> it with the truck but figured I could always add one. Now it looks
> like it would be a bigger job than I thought (must remove grille,
> A/C condenser, etc.).
> Also, were there any problems installing the hitch, such as spare tire
> interference?
> Rich
> '96 V-8 4X4 club cab auto

4X4? Nope, mine's a 2-wheel drive. No, no factory towing package.

I shopped around for the DrawTite. Bought that brand by reputation.
I figured the fine "DrawTite" sticker on the hitch should be
worth something but the hitch fits under the bumper so well, only
the reciever is visible under the bumper. Paid about $135 locally.

Gave another $25 for the right plug-in trailer wiring harness. That
is a lot easier than splicing wires in from the universal kit.

The hitch went in according to instructions. The big deal is buying
that 1/2 inch bit for the drill and then puncturing your frame in 4
places. You must partially unbolt the bumper and cut some bolt
brackets. Not brain surgery. Can't have "tube bumpers" however. No
interference with nuttin, tho.

Amusingly, the side plates on the hitch are over twice as thick than
the Dakota frame. And the frame is pretty soft -- easy drillin'. I'm
sure that doesn't meaning anything 8^).

Yea, I've been wondering about the transmission cooler, too. From
peering and poking, it appears there is a lot room between the
radiator and the condensor. I was thinking of installing the trans
cooler from the other side by taking the radiator out. Don't yet
know if it will work that way.

Personally, for reasonably towing, I believe in cruise control and
not using overdrive and to hell with MPG. Max torque on the V8 is
3200 RPM. Sixty to sixty-five miles per hour is just below that
without overdrive. (3.5 diff and stock tires; 2850 RPM = 60 MPH)
Overdrive is not power-efficeint and keeping the motor near it's
torque peak means it don't bog down and stress the converter on
hills. Moral: More revs mean less heat.

I bought an auto transmission once when I was young and confident
and don't really want to do that again! What I really want to do is
buy the trans temp gauge out of the Mopar catalog but haven't quite
figured out how I'm going to install it (on either end) yet.

This truck replaced a full-size, 3/4 ton, fullsize, extended cab
Chevy truck. I didn't figure it would take the weight (nope) and
would be at a disadvantage in wheelbase (yep). But there is one
thing that did surprise me: brakes. Or lack there, of. The Chevy
would come down from speed without locking the brakes (no brakes on
trailer). Now the boat will unload the back of the Dakota and I've
missed more than one turn as the ass end skidded through an
intersection. Oh well. Better tires?

Bob Allen, Kansas City

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