Friday, December 27, 2013

Opinion On The New Dodge

While no cowgirl in their right mind would ever complain about receiving a new pickup from a loving husband...I was a little surprised when MH bought the Dodge for me. After all, I wasn't really in the market for a new pickup. My black, Chevy dually only has 70,000 miles on it. Basically, I just got it broke in.

After driving The Black for 5 years, I'm fairly attached to it. I love the way it drives and love the way it pulls. I've never had a problem with The Black having enough power to pull my big LQ. I could always go as fast as I ever wanted to go, even dragging a loaded trailer. :-)

The ONLY problem I have ever had was on the downhill slopes in the mountains. I had to be very, very careful not to let The Black get up too much speed because once the trailer got to pushing it...getting slowed back down could be some scary shit. Even using the trailer brakes and the manual shift couldn't dissuade the front-end of The Black from shivering and bucking as it tried to slow down.

So while I could go up the hills as fast as I cared to...Going down was slow and methodical. I was ever conscious of keeping my speed well under control and by the time I hit the bottom of those mountain passes, I would be a nervous wreck.

One tidbit to realize is that my '09 Chevy was one year off of having an exhaust brake. Of course, for years Chevy has had the feature on the automatics where you tap the brake and it hits a lower gear and stays in that gear when you are going downhill. My '02 3/4 ton duramax does that and that is all I ever needed when pulling my stock trailer through the mountains.

There are really only 2 things people with monstrous trailers talk about when it comes to pickups...How fast can you go?....And how good can you stop?....

WHAT the brand name is of little relevance to most of us.

For the majority of the drive down here, the Dodge was comparable to my Chevy. I didn't notice that it had any greater pulling capacity. But then, going fast was never a problem with The Black, so he was hard to beat in that department.

The Dodge sits higher than my Chevy, so I was missing the feeling of 'hugging the road' that the Chevy has.

As far as I was concerned, the only test the Dodge had to pass was how it would handle the downhill slopes out of Flagstaff. I had a heavy load on and I knew that in my Chevy I would be creeping down that mountainside.

That is where the Dodge just blew my Chevy away. I was well down the mountain before I ever had to tap the brakes or the engine exhaust brake ever kicked in. Even on the steepest part of the slope, those few miles right before you drop down into the bottoms, it never once felt like the trailer was pushing the Dodge. I was able to navigate down the mountain much quicker than I ever could have with the Chevy...without ever feeling like I was on the verge of losing control. It was AWESOME!!!

The last test was coming back out. There's a substantial hill you have to go back up and I know how fast I can go up in the Chevy. The Dodge handled it well. I did have to use my manual gears to keep the rpm's steady because the temperature started to come up when I was in auto. But that is nothing new, I use my manual gears in the Chevy all the time for that very purpose. I will have to remember to ask the hubby if the Dodges have a blower on them like my Chevy does for when the temps gets to a certain point.

Rising engine temps when pulling uphill are a problem most people encounter and that is when the manual shift option becomes really valuable. I have had many people ask me if I had problems with my Chevy getting hot going up mountainsides and I did...ONE TIME. After overheating The Black on Rabbit Ears Pass, I called MH, practically in tears and he had to explain to me what those buttons on the side of the shift column were for. LOL. Heyyyy...I didn't know. The Black was the fanciest pickup I had ever owned and up until that point, I had always had a stick shift. After that, whenever I was towing, I always used the manual shift option on the Chevy and never had problems with overheating again.

The biggest difference between the Chevy and the Dodge lies in the rpms you run them at. The Chevy Duramax engine is a much higher rev engine than the Dodge Cummins. Anytime the Chevy rpm drops below 2 (x1000) it has no power. It's best power is around 2.5, and up to 3 when it really needs to pull. The Dodge on the other hand runs around 1.8 and by the time you get it revved to 2.5, it's maxed out, and 3 is red lined. MH was adamant that I know this before taking off with the new Dodge. ;-).

I'm still giggling about coming down that mountainside though. Now I know why I could pass pretty much every other rig on the way UP and then was subsequently passed on the way down. In fact, I was trading lead positions with another LQ (pulled by a Chevy) all the way from Moab to the downhill slopes south of Flagstaff the whole day...and then they had to slow their roll and I never saw them again. I actually shaved about 45 minutes off of my total travel time on this trip.

The only thing I have yet to get a feel for is the gas pedal. I did have hell trying to maintain a steady speed. I don't use my cruise control when pulling a trailer. But I've got a few more miles to go to so should have it figured out by the time I get everything moved. :-)


Cindy D. said...


fernvalley01 said...

sounds good, how fast you can go is way less important than how good it stops and handles slowing down to me too

Chelsi said...

I haven't hauled any sizable rig but can vouch for the fact that, even in a half ton with a small trailer, the feeling of being underpowered going up hill is NOTHING compared to the feeling of being pushed going down hill or while trying to stop. Egh! That feeling is awful! We had a one ton cummins and I loved it but never did get to use it as it was meant to be used. I did like how high I sat in the dodge, it felt like I could see the whole road (and Im short so that is a cool feeling).

Madeline C. said...

Definitely think that's a good trade off.

C-ingspots said...

We've had 2 Dodges now, and love them. They have stiffer suspension than the Chevies, ride higher and seem a bit less cushy inside, but they have go when you need it, and yes, the ever-important gearing to slow you down on the downside. My biggest complaint on the Dodges is the paint. Tends to flake and peel more than they should. Can you tell me more about the auto/manual gearing you mentioned?

Cindy D. said...

I am curious what kind of mileage you got. The one complaint we have about our new dodge is the mpg. Our older dodges don't have quite the pulling power, but much better mpg.

Laura said...

Good to hear that the new Dodge is keeping up to the old truck. I know zip about towing anything, so I'll take your word for it all!! :-) I would probably wet my pants driving a big rig through the mountains! lol

My uncle, who was a big truck driver his whole life, swears by his Dodge (1 ton, 3/4 ton???). When he retired from driving big trucks, for fun he would tow 5th wheeel trailers from Ohio to Quebec/East Coast. Last I heard, his Dodge had close to 750,000kms(466,000) miles on it!

Crystal said...

Sounds like your hubby new what he was doing buying you that truck! I have a dodge and I love it, of course its only a half ton gas model but it pulls my 3 horse loaded without a problem...of course we have a lot less hills that you have too