The 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 is still seen on the road today and is quite a popular model year, but I was surprised to see that the towing capacity had such a huge range and I wanted to find out why.
After diving into some of the engine options and different factors that contributed to the overall maximum trailer weight ratings, I was able to see what factors really contributed to some of the higher capacity numbers I saw in the charts and even listed different resources I found along the way so that you can find out your truck'smaximum trailer weight capacity. Hope this article is helpful!
Always read through your owner's manual to get familiar with your vehicle and to be sure you follow all of Dodge's recommendations when it comes to towing or anything else, regarding your truck.
2008 Ram 1500 Towing Overview
Overall Towing Capacity:
The overall towing capacity for the 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 ranged from 2,950-9,100 lbs. and the highest ratings could only be achieved by having a trailer tow prep package installed.
3.7L (V6): The 3.7 L engine that was an option in these trucks definitely had the lowest overall capacity ratings, ranging from 2,950-3,800 pounds, which was much lower than the average capacities for the 4.7 and 5.7 L engines.
4.7L (V6): The 4.7 L engine had quite a bit more power than the smaller 3.7 L engine, with maximum trailer weight ratings that ranged from 3,850-7,650 pounds, but was still greatly under powered when we compare these specs to the 5.7 liter options.
5.7L (V8): The models that have the 5.7 L engine equipped had the highest capacity numbers listed in the charts, ranging from 7,450-9,100 pounds! The highest ratings for models that have this engine equipped really came down to the axle ratio and the cab style you had on the truck.
Assumed Weight: Dodge did specify in the charts that the maximum trailer weight ratings that were listed assumed that a driver was present in the vehicle and that they weighed 150 lbs.
Any additional passengers or cargo weight in the vehicle will have to be subtracted from the gross combined weight rating, which could affect the maximum trailer weight rating as well.
The Towing Charts...
I was able to find the towing charts in the brochure for the Ram 1500 and they were divided up into two different charts, one being for automatic transmission models and the other being for manual transmission models. I posted a screenshot of these below and as you can see, the charts are full of all kinds of helpful information, but you will have to plug in a few variables in order to get an accurate metric for your particular truck.
At the top of the chart you can see the cab styles that were available, along with two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive models below that, with either a short wheelbase (SB) or long wheelbase (LB) and on the very left-hand column we can see the three different engine options that were available. You'll have to plug in all of these variables in order to get your particular maximum trailer weight rating.
Don't worry, I go into all of this information in this article and break down how to find out what do you have equipped on your vehicle.
Cab Configuration & Wheelbase Options:
Cab Configurations: I found this really helpful image below that shows the different cab configurations, along with the corresponding short bed and long bed dimensions and the different wheelbase options that were offered for the '08 Ram 1500s.
There were three different cab styles that were offered and this was a regular cab, which only had two doors, a quad cab, which had four doors with the rear doors being slightly smaller than the front doors, and finally you had the mega cab, which had four full size doors.
Wheel Bases: You can also see the different wheelbase lengths that were available for these model-year trucks, and these wheelbase measurements ranged from 120.5"-160.5". I noticed that the wheelbase length were directly tied to the cab style and bed length, which makes sense.
Axle Ratios For The 2008 Ram 1500s:
There were three different axle ratios that were offered for the 2008 1500s and these were either a 3.21 axle ratio, a 3.55 ratio or a 3.92 ratio. I was able to find this chart that lists which ratios were standard options and which ones were available as an optional upgrade for the truck.
The little dot in the chart indicates which ratio was standard for which trim level Ram truck and the "O" signifies an optional upgrade. You did have the available option of having the anti-spin rear differential in almost all models, as well.
In order to find out which axle ratio was equipped in your truck though, you'll have to do a little bit of research. You could do this a number of different ways, including looking up the VIN for your vehicle, which sometimes works, or you can look at the build sheet, if you have that available to you.
The last way to verify your axle ratio would be to climb under your truck and look on the rear differential for a stamped number (3.21, 3.55, or 3.92) on a small metal tag that would signify what ratio you have equipped.
(0) Optional | (·) Included | (P) Available within package noted in parenthesis
Trim Levels Available:
There were six different trim levels available for these model year trucks and these were identified as: ST, SXT, SLT, Big Horn, Power Wagon and Laramie. I was able to find an image that I thought was very helpful because it lays out which trim levels came equipped with the trailer tow group as a standard option that Dodge offers for these trucks and which trim levels had this package as an optional accessory that you could add on.
As far as the trim levels and maximum trailer weight rating went, there is no difference for what trim level you had, the towing capacity still ranged from 2,950-9,100 pounds.
(0) Optional | (·) Included
What's In The Towing Package?
I was surprised to see that the trailer tow group that was offered for these trucks came with minimal equipment, as you can see in the image below. All that was included in this package was a class IV hitch receiver, a 7-pin wiring harness and a 750 amp battery!
There was no mention of any oil or transmission coolers, heavy-duty radiators or anything like that, but I assume these are probably standard features for these trucks anyway and all you really need are the basics in order to pull a trailer.
I was able to find this additional note on trailer brakes in the owner's manual and it states that if your trailer weighs more than 2,000 pounds then you are required to have trailer brakes installed that are independent of your truck's brakes. Dodge also recommends trailer brakes if your trailer weighs over 1,000 lbs. but it is not a hard requirement like the 2,000 lb. limit is, just a recommendation.
On a side note, you will want to check your local laws because they may require that you have trailer brakes installed on your trailer with even less weight than what Dodge requires.
GCWR, GVWR and GAWR For The '08 Ram 1500s:
GCWR: The gross combined weight rating was conveniently listed in the tow charts at the top of this article, for those of you out there that want to do some of those more intricate calculations. For those who don't know what the gross combined weight rating is, it is basically the maximum weight that your vehicle and trailer can handle in total.
GVWR & GAWR: The Gross vehicle weight rating and gross axle weight ratings were not listed anywhere in the owner's manual or the brochure that I found online, but you can find this on the certification label that is located on your truck. If you open the driver side door, you will see a sticker that looks similar to the one I have posted below somewhere either on the door or on the door pillar.
I have highlighted the gross vehicle weight rating specs for this particular truck, along with the gross axle weight ratings for the front and rear axles. In this example, we can see that the gross vehicle weight rating for the truck is rated at 9,900 lbs. and the front gross axle weight rating is listed at 5,200 pounds, while the rear axle weight rating is listed at 6,200 pounds.
Other Important Info:
Diving a little deeper into the owner's manual, I was able to find other helpful information that I posted screenshots of below and is why I recommend everyone read their manual themselves in order to become familiar with their truck and to heed all of Dodge's recommendations.
All of the information for this article was found from either the owner's manual or the brochure that I found online, and I wanted to post links to these two resources for those people out there that may want to do their own research or to just dive a little deeper in the data themselves. The owner's manual came directly from Mopar's website, while the brochure came from a third party source (due to its unavailability from Mopar) but is still the same brochure that was offered back in 2008 from Mopar.