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Recommended Trailer Hitch and Weight Distribution System for 2004 Dodge Ram 1500

Question:

I am conflicted! I have an 04 Ram 1500, Quad Cab, 5.7L. I plan to tow a 28foot travel trailer with total weight of 7000 lbs. I will definitely purchase a weight distribution hitch to the setup. The truck came equipped with an aftermarket heavy-duty bumper with hitch receiver attached to the bumper. I included a photo example of the type of bumper, though its not of my exact vehicle. I understand the truck came from the factory with a tow package of some sort, not sure if it was a ball on the bumper or receiver below the bumper. Ive determined to replace the aftermarket bumper with an OEM or similar bumper, and add a hitch. The truck is equipped with a bumper support/beam, though I suspect this has nothing to do with a tow package,perhaps all Ram 1500s include the bumper support beam with hitch receiver attachment points. My question is, should I purchase the Curt 13333 and simply attach it to the bumper support, then install an OEM type bumper, or must I purchase a whole hitch assembly to go beneath or in place of the bumper beam such as the Draw-Tite 75420. Is the bumper support with Curt 13333 designed to carry as much weight as a whole new hitch assembly?

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Expert Reply:

The Curt Trailer Hitch Receiver # 13333 referenced in your question is confirmed to fit your 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 as long as you replace what you have with the standard OEM bumper. The Curt hitch is going to attach to the truck's factory bumper support that you mentioned with the included hardware. I have attached an image from the instructions so you can get a clearer picture of this.

This hitch does feature a base towing capacity of 6,000 pounds but this is increased to 10,000 pounds when used with a weight distribution system. As long as your Ram also has the needed capacity to pull your 7,000 pound camper (you can verify this in your copy of the owner's manual) this hitch is up to the task assuming you use a weight distribution system as well. You will not need a different hitch design such as the Draw-Tite unit that you referenced.

I have attached an installation video that you can also use for reference.

Then it's just a matter of choosing a weight distribution system that is properly rated for your setup. When choosing a system the most important factor to consider is your total tongue weight, which is the loaded tongue weight of the trailer plus any added cargo weight coming from behind the rear axle of your Ram. Ideally this number will fall somewhere near the middle of the operating range for the system you choose.

Using a scale like the Sherline # 5780 is the most accurate method for determining your trailer's loaded tongue weight. In the meantime though we can take a quick estimate using the 7,000 pound trailer weight you mentioned. A trailer's tongue weight should be 10 to 15 percent of its total weight so if this 7,000 pound weight is with the trailer loaded, we can estimate a loaded tongue weight of around 700 to 1,050 pounds.

A system like the Reese Strait-Line # RP66084 fits this range well, as it features a tongue weight capacity of 600 to 1,200 pounds. This still gives you a good bit of wiggle room to account for added cargo weight behind the rear axle of the truck. This is a really nice system that uses dual-cam control to actually prevent sway before it starts and it will do a great job of creating a more level ride for both your Ram and the trailer. The only thing you would need to add to this system is a compatible hitch ball like the 2 inch # A-90 or the 2-5/16 inch # 19286.

I have attached a short video demonstration on this system that you can check out as well.

click to enlarge
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Chris R

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