A Payload Warning about Ram 2500 Pickup Trucks

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I recently received this email about matching the right pickup truck with a 1997 Lance 3000 Squire Truck Camper.

Hi, Mike! I’m just getting started with the truck/camper set up and after reading your informative Truck Camper 101 article I feel more informed. I haven’t bought anything yet. I just looked at a very clean and well-kept Lance 1997, 3000 Squire, one owner, for only $5,000. And it turns out I know the guy! So now I want to make sure I get the best truck to haul it. I’m sold on the Dodge Cummins Turbo Diesel but I’m not sure between the 2500 or 3500, 2015 model. I do not tow at this point, but I want to be able to go off-road. It appears that the 2500 can do the job, but it seems like you lean heavy on the one-ton. Any recommendation? Thanks, Bryan in California.

Bryan, the engineers at Ram made some significant changes to their 2014 and 2015 2500 pickup trucks. The most notable of these being the change to the rear axle suspension from leaf springs to coils springs. This change, they claimed, was made to improve the truck’s ride. In this Ram engineers were successful. The ride is much smoother. But this change, is some cases, also impairs the truck’s ability to haul a heavy load like a truck camper. Why? Because leaf springs, in general, offer more support than coil springs. This change means that new generation Ram 2500 trucks will, in some cases, have significantly smaller payloads. For instance, one crew cab, short-bed, 4×4 version of the Ram 2500 with the 5.7L V8 Hemi offers only 2,370 pounds of payload. Yes, different configurations of the Ram 2500 with certain options offer more payload, but why bother with a 3/4-ton, especially if you want a Cummins diesel. Spend a little more for a much more capable pickup truck like the Ram 3500 (you can get a crewcab, short-bed 3500 with a Cummins turbo diesel and 4×4 power-train and still get a 4,000 pound payload). However, if your heart is set on a 2500 then be cautious, avoid the low payload 2500’s out there (like the Ram Power Wagon that has only a 1,400-pound payload), and buy the right 2500 with the right amount of payload for your truck camper hauling needs.

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About Mello Mike 299 Articles
Mello Mike is an Arizona native, author, and the founder of Truck Camper Adventure Magazine. He's been RV'ing since 2002, is a truck camper and Jeep enthusiast, and has owned and restored several Airstream travel trailers. He enjoys college football, hiking, travel, off-roading, photography, and fishing. He retired from the U.S. Navy in 2004 as a CWO3 after 24 years and now works as a project manager for a major banking and security firm. He also does some RV consulting and RV inspections on the side.

5 Comments

  1. I just traded in a 2012 Ram 2500 Laramie Bighorn short bed crew cab that had leaf springs but only a 2200 pound payload. I just took delivery of a new 2016 long bed 3500 HD turbo diesel with 4400 pounds on payload. Granted I have one of the lightest hard-sided truck campers on the market at 1700 pounds but I decided not to take the chance.

  2. I stand corrected! Surprised also. I did indeed find this on the Ram website as well as your PDF. I certainly agree, upgrading to a 3500 is a good idea!
    Thanks for the info!

  3. I can not believe your numbers after looking at the Ram truck website. I suspect there is a mistake?

    • I included a link to a PDF file with the numbers. Two readers of this blog who own 2014-2015 Ram 2500s recently showed me their trucks. Both had 1,500 pound payloads. They’re pretty common out there. Yes, there are some new 2500s out there with higher numbers (another reader who I recently met has a 2014 Ram 2500 with a 2,600 pound payload), but why limit yourself when it comes to the future. Spend a little more and get a much more capable pickup truck. Buy a 3500. My 2013 Ram 3500, for example, has a nearly 4,000 pound payload.

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