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Could you please talk me into (or out of) buying a new Power Wagon?

power wagon ram 2500

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#1 wolfhound

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Posted 01 February 2016 - 07:58 PM

Please help! I'm a long time reader, but infrequent poster. I just like to come here and absorb helpful information as I have little to share at this point. We need a new truck soon and I'm in a decision pickle.

 

Our needs: probably won't be toting a camper, but will very likely have a basic topper (shell) for secure storage of gear. We will be pulling a 17' Casita that will be our home, roughly 3k with a tongue of 250-300 lbs. Stuff that will go in the bed: camping gear, out-of-season clothes, some basic tools, occasionally 25 gallons of fresh, canoe up top (on shell), a few odds and ends. When I calculate a rough number, I come to around 1500 lbs of payload including all the gear, tongue weight, and weight of passengers in truck. 

 

So, the number we have come to is right at Power Wagon payload (or within spitting distance). Don't really know if we have a pop-up camper in the long-term future, but it's not in the plan for now. I really want to get a Power Wagon, but I am the smallest bit anxious about being so close to payload on that truck. I'm the kind of guy that does 68 in a 70, for reference :) I like keeping things within spec, but my heart lusts for the PW like no other truck. I sure would love to hear some other perspectives on this dilemma.

 

Right now, we live in a Class A and pull a Subaru, but have been itching to downsize to get more off the beaten path. The Casita will do nicely with a few modifications. Also, I'm leaning toward the 6.4 Hemi over the 6.7 CTD because we would like the freedom to travel south of the border, where ULSD availability can be scarce. I've had the 6.7 before and it was a very nice powertrain, but I think I would be plenty happy with the 6.4 Hemi given how little we will be taxing the motor and chassis, and though the MPGs will be less favorable, I won't have that uncomfortable feeling of wondering of the complex emission equipment will throw a CEL for some reason or another. Oh, and I understand the PW is only available with the 6.4, I am just including the above in case others suggest I go looking at the non-PW 2500 with one of those drivetrains. 

 

Thank you fellow campers!

Adam


Edited by wolfhound, 01 February 2016 - 08:00 PM.

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#2 Mickey Bitsko

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Posted 01 February 2016 - 11:21 PM

Is your main concern payload ? Have you calculated the cost difference in fuel/maintenance ? If you're more comfortable with gas, get the larger payload truck ..Larger Payload is better ... within reason....IMO


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#3 wolfhound

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Posted 02 February 2016 - 01:34 AM

Perhaps I muddied the waters with mention of the 6.7. The diesel is not really being considered at this time because we want to travel Mexico. I'm not sure that the Power Wagon and 4.10 gears would mean much lower mpg or maintenance than the standard 2500 with the 6.4. I'm mostly concerned with nearing, and occasionally going over by 200-300lbs the payload of the PW.
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#4 Mickey Bitsko

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Posted 02 February 2016 - 03:08 PM

Many rigs on this site are occasionally over payload capacity including mine, perhaps aal or airbags would 

fit the bill.

You might be over concerned/thinking.


Edited by Mickey Bitsko, 02 February 2016 - 03:10 PM.

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#5 LookyLou

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Posted 02 February 2016 - 04:32 PM

There was a discussion I believe on the Expedition Portal site about a guy that wanted a Power Wagon with and FWC.  I little different than you because of the topper.  In the end he ended up getting a RAM 2500 because of the payload differential and wanting to be below GVRW.

 

The Power Wagon and my old Nissan Titan had about the same payload, 1,300 lbs.  My Titan, which is considered a 1/2 ton, was a pig when loaded to capacity and only used to haul short distances when loaded.  Not saying that will happen with the Power Wagon because it's built as a 3/4 ton so it has the correct brakes, springs, etc.

 

It also doesn't sound like you'll drive it as a matter of habit at GVRW as you would if you had a camper in the back all the time.  The PW's springs our softer and long travel to give you a better off road ride, a compromise.  If it squats loaded and you decide to add air bags you'll might give up some of the wheel extension it was built to have.  In the end, this is the reason the guy above went with the 2500 over the PW, but remember he was keeping his camper in full time.

 

Personally, if I knew a topper was all I'd ever want and I wanted a PW, I'd get one.  If I thought there was any chance of wanting a camper in the future, I'd go with the 2500 or even 3500.


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#6 wolfhound

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Posted 02 February 2016 - 05:41 PM

Thank you! I'm just about convinced that the Power Wagon will meet our payload needs. It looks like airbags and Daystar cradles are the way to go when you need an extra boost out back to even things out, so that's a very viable option. If I were worried about exceeding payload more frequently, it might be wise to toss on a set of E rated tires, but I don't think I'll be there with just a Snugtop. 

 

I went back and re-read that thread on ExPo and I think it did me some good too. There is a possibility to do a FWC down the line, but it's a very small chance. I don't want to make my choice based on that necessarily. 

 

Thanks! I really appreciate the feedback.


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#7 sourdough

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Posted 02 February 2016 - 07:08 PM

My heavily optioned Hawk shell weighed 1050 Lbs. and loaded with my gear was 1400/1500 on my 1st gen Tundra. I wouldn't be concerned with a PW and some overload assist. Much beefier than my rig and I put a lot of offroad miles on it. I had bags and cradles on my Tundra and didn't like them. I blew a bag and then beat the cradle to death and blew the shock before I could get back on pavement. I have had good luck with these...http://www.activesuspension.com


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#8 smlobx

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Posted 02 February 2016 - 08:42 PM

I'm going to go against the grain here and say that the PW does not have the weight capacity you need. As an example your camper weighs 3000 pounds that means that your tongue weight should be 300 to 450 #'s not 250 - 300 as you stated. Also, everybody always brings more stuff than they think. If your towing a camper you won't be going to do any serious off roading anyway so a 3/4 ton Dodge or whatever flavor you like will in all likelihood be a better choice..
(Flame suit on )

Edited by smlobx, 02 February 2016 - 08:42 PM.

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#9 Seemore

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Posted 02 February 2016 - 09:56 PM

We bought our Powerwagon in 2007 along with a ATC Cougar and tow a 12 ft trailer with our ATV and other gear. The camper stays on the truck full time. Most of the time we stay on the backroads of BC now, but we have taken the truck and camper on places like the White Rim Trail and Death Valley (Goler's Wash). Not long after we bought the truck we put Rancho 9000 series shocks (turned to max) and Super Springs on the rear. It doesn't waddle as much as our previous truck (HD2500 GMC 4x4) and there is no sag at all. The mileage ranges from 13 to 15 mpg (Imperial), depending on how fast you drive. The trailer doesn't make any difference.

 

There was a notice in our glove box that said no slide in campers, but we were told that applied to full sized campers.

 

The main reason for buying a PowerWagon is its offroad capabilities. It seems to go where ever you point it, except when all 4 wheels are on ice!


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2007 Dodge Powerwagon, supersprings, Rancho 9000XLs, ATC Cougar

#10 wolfhound

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Posted 02 February 2016 - 10:31 PM

It looks like the tongue weight is 365 lbs, so I was a bit conservative in my estimate. Still, that's not heaps, and it is always possible to use load bars if need be, though that's not really a worry at that weight range. No need for flame suit, smlobox. Sure, I don't plan on pulling the trailer down many tricky trails, but I do plan to set up the camper and explore from there as a home base. It would be nice to have the PW goodies when I get further off the beaten path without the trailer. That said, I could deploy air bags as needed to compensate for tongue weight and, once I have camp all set up, could reduce pressure in bags and go off and explore :)

 

I still believe I will be within 200-300 lbs of payload at the heaviest time. We I already live in an RV and have some experience with getting by with less stuff, we're just downsizing to a smaller rig (much smaller). We lean toward the minimalist side of things, so I don't see the truck bed getting bogged down with lots of odds and ends.

 

sourdough, I took a look at the link you provided, but I don't believe that solution would work for the 2014+ PW as it has a coil rear setup (and a lower payload than previous years).

 

Seemore, that's not the first time I've heard that about the fuel economy. As bad as it is, at least it doesn't get much worse when you're pulling something around! I'm not sure there are stiffer spring solutions yet for the 2014+ coil rears, but I'll be honest hat I haven't looked much. I suppose one could go with stock 2500 rear coils and a spacer to bring it up to PW height, but I'm sure that is much less than ideal what with spring rates and whatnot. Thanks for the input!


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