The Dodge Ram 3500 is a powerhouse when it comes to towing capacity and is why most people buy these trucks in the first place, but I was actually really surprised to see how capable some of these trucks are, especially the newer models.
In this article I gathered all of the information I could from online sources and organized it in the best way possible to make it easier to read and scan through. You can find all of the information you need, including the tow charts that I was able to find and posted screenshots of.
Overview of the Data For the Ram 3500's:
Engine Choices: The engine options for the 3500 trucks really didn't change over the years, in fact they stayed almost exactly the same having only three different engine options available over all that time. There were usually at least two different engines available and this was either a gas powered (Hemi) engine or a more powerful diesel engine.
The three main choices that were offered for the Ram 3500 were the 5.7 L Hemi engine, the 6.4 L Hemi engine or the 6.7 L diesel engine. The engine you had a equipped really made all the difference in the world when it came to maximum trailer weight ratings.
Configurations: There were so many different configurations for these trucks if we look at the charts. Everything from a different axle ratios to four-wheel drive versus two-wheel drive vehicles, the bed length you had and the cab style you had, along with what engine you had equipped were all variations that affected the toe numbers.
Towing Capacity: The overall towing capacity for these Ram trucks has gone up significantly over the years. For instance, if we look at the 2021 models, we can see that the maximum trailer weight rating was set at 37,100 pounds, which was more than double the maximum rating for the 2009 model years.
If you look at each of the charts by year, you can see the maximum weight ratings go up and up and up almost every year or every couple of years.
I grouped some of the model year trucks below together because they shared the same engine options and were fairly close in maximum trailer weight rating specifications. I posted separate charts for each model year but kept the model years grouped this way because I thought it was a much better way to break down the information.
Be sure you do your own research and read your owner's manual to get familiar with your 3500 and follow all of Mopar's recommendations when it comes to anything related to your vehicle.
The 2021-2019 Ram 3500s had quite the capacity range when we look at the charts below, ranging from 13,660-37,100 pounds! We can see that there were two engine options for the 2021 to 2019 model years and these were the 6.4 L Hemi engine or the 6.7 L diesel engine.
The diesel engine had much more power, thus equating to a lot more pulling power compared to the 6.4 L Hemi engine, which is a gasoline engine, of course. It really is quite mind-blowing to see how much more weight the 3500s equipped with a diesel engine can pull compared to their gasoline-powered counterparts.
The 2018-2014 models had three different engine options to choose from and these were either the 5.7 L Hemi engine, the 6.4 L Hemi engine or the 6.7 L diesel engine. The overall towing capacity for the 2018–2014 models ranged from 10,810–31,210 lbs., which is a huge gap but is expected, mainly due to the 5.7 L engine being an option for these model years.
If we break down the engines by the capacity numbers we can see that the 5.7 L engine was definitely the weakest link and accounted for some of the lowest numbers in the charts. The 6.4 L Hemi engines had a bit more respectable numbers, in some cases, but to get the highest capacity ratings, you had to have the 6.7 L diesel engine equipped in your truck and is what most people seek out when they buy these larger trucks anyway.
The 2013-2009 models we're very similar if we look at the charts but there was one thing there was a little bit different from the 2013 models and that was the additional option of the 5.7 L Hemi engine, along with the 6.7 L diesel engine. All the other model years (2012-2009) only had the 6.7 L engine available, which you can see the rows for the 5.7 liter engine in the charts below are blank.
The towing capacity for the 2013-2009 models ranged from 8,950–30,010 lbs., another huge gap like we saw with the 2018 to 2014 models and again due to the 5.7 L engine as an engine option for the 2013 model years.
It is interesting to see how much the capacity has risen over this short period of time. If we compare the 2013 models to the 2009 models, even though the same engine was offered for both model years, the maximum capacity for the 2013 models was 30,010 lbs., while the maximum trailer weight rating for the 2009 models was set at a maximum of 17,000 lbs! A difference of more than 13,000 pounds!
GVWR, GCWR and GAWR Specs...
The gross combined weight rating specifications were listed in every single one of the charts that I found for the Ram 3500, which is really nice and convenient for those of you out there that want to make those more complicated weight calculations.
The gross vehicle weight rating and the gross axle weight ratings were not posted in the charts but can be found easily on the safety certification label, which is usually located on the driver side door pillar or door itself.
All of Mopar's vehicles have a safety certification label, along with other car manufacturers, and you can find a ton of useful information on these.
Not only will you find the gross vehicle weight rating and gross axle weight ratings for both the front and rear axles, but you will also find the VIN, along with tire pressure recommendations, paint codes for your vehicle and other things of this nature.
How Do I Find My Axle Ratio For My Truck?
In the charts I have listed above for every model year, you will have to know your axle ratio in order to look up your specific maximum trailer weight rating. This is not something that you can find on the safety certification label or anywhere else that is convenient, unfortunately but the good news is that it is pretty easy to find the information.
Look At The Build Sheet: You can find your axle ratio in a couple of different ways, the easiest way is probably to look at your build sheet, if you have one available, and that should tell you what axle ratio came equipped with your vehicle.
Look At Your Axle Housing: Another way to find out would be to climb under the vehicle and look on your rear axle housing for a stamped number. This number will be on a small metal tag and is usually stamped with three numbers, which will be the axle ratio you have in that housing.
Use Your VIN: You could also plug in your VIN to a website and it may give you the information you need. I personally do not like going this route because this method would not be accurate if somebody switched out the rear axle and change the axle ratio in the process.
A Note On Trailer Brakes...
I was able to find information on trailer brakes in the owner's manuals for the individual Ram 3500s, and I took a screenshot of what I found and posted it below. Mopar recommends trailer brakes for trailers that have a weight of 2,000 lbs. or less and requires trailer brakes when your trailer weighs more than 2,000 lbs.
I wanted to make sure that the words I used were emphasized and that Mopar only recommends trailers have their own brakes if your weight is 2,000 lbs. or lower, so this is not a requirement but more of a recommendation but is definitely the safer route to go. If your trailer weighs over that 2,000 lb. mark, then you will be required to have the brakes installed on your trailer.
Be sure to check with your local state laws to make sure that they don't have even lower requirements for trailer brakes, as some states may require brakes for your trailer for less than the 2,000 lb. mark that Mopar recommends.
Resources I Used For This Article:
I used a variety of different sources when doing my research for this article including owner's manuals, the individual model-year brochures and the ram HD brochures that had all the towing charts in them and is what I took screenshots of and posted here.
You can find most of this information on Dodge's website, but they only keep a small record of certain things, like owner's manuals and they only go back so far, so you will probably have to use a third-party source to get most of the older manuals.
I used a lot of third-party sources for this article but found that the PDFs I viewed were directly from Dodge, so the information was accurate. There are a lot of good websites that you can find many of the brochures like this one.