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Old 01-30-2017, 08:22 AM   #1
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Exclamation Towing my camper at 10,000ft…..what do I need to worry about?

I’m thinking about towing my 19ft Zinger travel trailer (approx. 4,500lbs loaded) out to Colorado from Missouri with my 04’ Ram 1500 Hemi. With a load distribution hitch, sway control, and Firestone airbags….the truck tows the camper great and seems to have plenty of power.


One thing I’ve never done is tow up in the higher altitudes….we’re thinking about going to Pawnee Campground out by Ward Colorado this summer, where the elevation is around 10,000 feet. I’ve driven small cars up in the mountains in Colorado, and it’s amazing how much power they lose from being in the higher elevations.


It’s around an 800mile trip there….the stretch from Denver to Pawnee gains 5000ft over 50 miles, so it’s going to be a hard haul I think.


What kinds of issues (if any) will I have to deal with when towing through the mountains at higher elevations? Overheating? Loss in power? Overheating transmissions and/or differential? Breaks overheating?
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Old 01-30-2017, 08:33 AM   #2
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One thing that I had heard about, so planned for it, when we went that high ( Wolf Creek Pass getting there) is that the Sleep Number bed (and any air filed device) increases in PSI on it's own...
Have heard of some of them ACTUALLY popping

My concern is that you may not have enough engine grunt in a naturally aspirated engine - our cummins with a turbo didn't lose as much since the air is pushed by the turbo...

Just be ready to go slow, put your flashers on, and have a good set of gauges to watch...

going slow allows the driver to watch the beautiful scenery too - We went there in August and both Colorado Springs and Durango were fabulous ! took the Jeep up some HIGH trails - good luck !
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Old 01-30-2017, 09:06 AM   #3
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I see no reason to worry , I did the mountains with and with out a diesel and noticed no difference either way. Your truck is sold in your home town and in Colorado from the same factory and people in colorado pull trailers ok....so I think.
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Old 01-30-2017, 09:54 AM   #4
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We went over the great divide around 10,000-11,000 feet last year with an F150 3.5 turbo ecoboost pulling about 8,500 lbs. and had no problems. As far a brakes, use low gears going down grades and take your time. I think you'll be fine.
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Old 01-30-2017, 01:31 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by IQRaceworks View Post

What kinds of issues (if any) will I have to deal with when towing through the mountains at higher elevations? Overheating? Loss in power? Overheating transmissions and/or differential? Breaks overheating?
If you are concerned about the Tran., install an auxiliary cooler.
The brakes will over heat if you ride the pedal going down hill. Slow down at the top and use your lower gears to help with holding the trailer back.
I don't think loss of power will be an issue.
Make sure your radiator is clean and the fluid is circulating well and the fins are clean so air can flow thru.
Relax and enjoy your trip. That should be a nice one.
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Old 01-30-2017, 01:47 PM   #6
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Use your exhaust brakes on the down hills. Lower gears, def don't ride the brakes. If you go slower, you likely don't have to worry about overheating. I wouldn't worry about it, my motorcycle trailer/camper wasn't as big as your camper, but my Hemi did just fine the first season we were out here.
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Old 01-30-2017, 04:23 PM   #7
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Just before starting up to the higher elevations stop & refuel, fuel in those areas are formulated for the thinner air, also by shutting off your engine the computer will reboot sensing the thinner air, these will help going up, coming down not so much.
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Old 02-04-2017, 12:59 PM   #8
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I camped at Pawnee this last summer. It was very windy when we were there and was told that was the norm. It is a very nice and clean campground with plenty of trees to shelter you from the wind. The lake is another story as far as the wind goes as is is not sheltered. At that altitude it can really blow. The other thing about the altitude is that it gets cold at night even if the daytime temps were fine. Bring some warm clothes for campfire time.

Hope you made reservations already. You can make reservations up to six months in advance. It fills pretty quickly.
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Old 02-04-2017, 02:37 PM   #9
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That's right in my neck of the woods. I would suggest going up to HWY 66 into Lyons, then HWY 7 up to HWY 72. Piece of cake really, no big scary hills. Coming through Boulder is steeper, more curves and more cars.
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Old 02-08-2017, 11:43 AM   #10
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I see no reason to worry , I did the mountains with and with out a diesel and noticed no difference either way.
You must have had a non turbo older 7.3l or the like?
I can see a regular aspirated diesel not responding compared to a efi gas.
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