Introducing Our New Ram 3500 Truck – Big Blue II

After waiting over three months for our factory ordered 3500 Ram pickup truck, we finally got it! We had decided to factory order since we had the time and wanted to get just the features we wanted at the lowest cost. Oh, and we wanted Blue. 🙂 So many dealer lot trucks these days come in black white or silver.

After shopping around for the best price via the internet and email, we ended up paying $69,199 (about 53,000 USD) plus the BC provincial sales tax of 12%. We purchased the truck at a small dealership in Campbell River BC called Bill Howich Chrysler. So far they have been pleasant and helpful to deal with. Kudos to our salesman Rob Priestley for keeping me well informed as the truck was being built and shipped.

Video Look at Our New Big Blue Ram

Features

To keep costs down, we went extremely light on any bells and whistles and luxury components. My main concern was to build the best tow vehicle for the money. Frankly after seven years fulltiming with a 1994 vintage truck, this 2018 Ram (even though its mostly only a base model) feels quite fancy to us.

The main feature I went for was the combo of the high output Cummins 6.7L diesel with a heavy duty AISIN transmission. This option delivers the most power and torque to the wheels: 385 horsepower and 930 ft/lbs of torque.

Cummins 6.7L diesel engine

Other cool options we have:

  • Fifth Wheel Prep Pack
  • Factory M20 Ram Hitch
  • Spray in Bedliner
  • Back up Camera with Park Assist
  • Running Boards
  • Switch on the Fly Electronic 4WD
  • Diesel Turbo Exhaust Brake
  • Built-in Brake Controller

Why Not a Dually?

One of the most asked questions I get. Basically, this truck even in the SRW setup has more than enough towing power than we will ever need. Having RVed full time for over seven years, we know that we do not want to go with a super huge rig. We may someday step up into a little heavier better-built trailer but not much longer, that’s for sure. Driving around a dually that we don’t need would be a pain. I’m already really enjoying the slimmer width.

Big Blue back end not a duallyeel

Towing Specifications

 Our current Keystone Cougar 30 foot fifth wheel has a GVWR of 10,141 lbs and a pin weight of roughly 1700 lbs. Here are the towing capacity specs of our new truck and a comparison to our old 1994 Ford F350 dually.

2018 Ram 3500 6.7L Cummins

  • 3.42 Rear Diff Ratio SRW
  • GVWR 12,300 lbs
  • GVCR 25,300
  • Payload 3995 lbs
  • Rear Axle GWR 7000 lbs
  • Front Axle GWR 6000 lbs

1994 Ford F350 7.3L Diesel

  • 4.10 Rear Diff Ratio DRW
  • GVWR 10,000 lbs
  • GVCR 20,000 lbs
  • Payload 3000 lbs

I would have liked to get a 3.73 rear end as it would have bumped up the towing capacity significantly, but in Canada, the SRW 3500 Rams only come with the 3.42 ratio rear ends. So I was back to debating a dually or not and ended up doing without. One interesting fact I learned about the AISIN transmission is it has lower 1st and 2nd gear ratios than the standard Chrysler tranny so should help with getting the rig moving well even with the higher 3.42 gears at the back end.

Anne driving the new truck

Conclusion

It’s early days yet, having only driven the truck less than 300 kilometers but so far I’m a happy camper and can’t wait to test it out towing the rig. First, though the manual says I need to drive it a minimum of 805 km (500 miles) before I can hook up.

Next task is to match up my Air Ride pin box and the new Ram M20 hitch with our Cougar fifth wheel and see if I can get good bed rail clearance and a level towing setup. I ordered the Ram with the smaller diameter 18″ versus 20″ wheels to help keep the bed height a little lower, so fingers crossed. Stay tuned…

Introducing our new tow vehicle a brand new 2018 Ram 3500 we've named Big Blue Two - https://www.loveyourrv.com

Share this post with other RVers, thanks!