Humming Dodge Hemi Dumps a Trailer
Everyone’s heard of the Dodge Hemi. And hearing that deep factory exhaust tone is part of the fun! I played with a couple 2003 Dodge 2500 Hemi Quad Cabs for a few weeks, pulling trailers and checking hay fields in the sand hills. Just as GM phased out it’s famous 5.7L V-8, Dodge brought back the famous Hemi of stock car legend as a 5.7L V-8. In the auto industry, the Hemi was the buzz everyone was talking about this year. I try to test gas mileage with the trucks I review, but it was too much fun flooring the Hemi at stop lights that it took several days to ease off the throttle and do that civilized driving thing. Also new as the automatic transmission option with the 2003 Hemi, is the 545 RFE 5-speed. This smooth shifting auto is the only 5-speed automatic available with a gas engine in trucks until the Nissan Titan comes out next month. The Dodge automatic is a unique tranny with two overdrives; so 3rd gear is direct drive (1 to1). Second gear is a dual range, which helps getting the truck up to highway speeds. Having 4th and 5th gears as ratio overdrives helps with gas mileage but having two high ratio gears tends to cause more shifting pulling a trailer. Especially with a high revving V-8 like the Hemi. It’s surprising how powerful the Hemi truck is as a conventional engine using push rods to produce the power similar to overhead cam engines. The hemispherical design of the Hemi domed pistons and heads concentrates the heats to the middle of the cylinder were two spark plugs cause the explosion! Its 345 cubic inches produce 345 horsepower, more than Dodge’s V-10. The peak horsepower comes wide open at 5600 rpm with the 365 lb.-ft of torque at 4400rpm's.
The trucks I used both had 3.73-axle ratios. For pulling a trailer I would recommend the optional 4.10 ratio. Big difference between the SLT and Laramie models. I'm getting to like the heated seats and power pedals. Mono colored grill and bumper.
Dodge’s 40-20-40 front bench seat is the best I’ve seen for usable space. The wide folding center section is ideal for a writing table with great room under its lid with movable dividers. In the Laramie model, the center seat had another compartment under the bottom cushion for more storage. Shift on the fly 4x4 new for 2003 in the 2500/3500, also gives you some feet room if you want to use the middle seat for a passenger. The folding adjustable cup holder completes my mobile workstation with refreshment and a place for my phone. The Laramie had radio buttons on the backside of the steering wheel, so you could keep your eyes on the road and still play with the radio. The radio was easier to control than setting the cruise control on the front side of the steering wheel.
The trucks I drove had the standard bed which is 6’3” with Quad Cab, 4x4 and didn’t turn very short even with the short bed. The cab had good head room except the A-pillar (windshield frame) with more rake (angle) than the previous model 2500/3500 cab. The white gauges are easy to see, something the other truck brands seem to reserve for their sport trucks. The way the hood opens, with a gas engine gives you a step up into the engine compartment and makes cleaning the radiator a breeze. With the diesel, the intercooler and larger radiator uses up more of this space.
I did get around 10 mpg pulling close to 4000#’s of trailer in the mountains. But the combination mpg was 15.6. When I could stay under 60 mph, I got close to 17 mpg, but it’s torture driving a Hemi that slow. Ever see a coyote in a zoo pacing back and forth. It’s just made to run!
The rear doors of the Quad cab open up wide, but it’s not a crew cab. The rear seat folds up with storage space underneath and an optional fold out steel self for a large flat surface for inside storage.
Of course I pulled a trailer with the Dodge Hemi. As a 2500 HD ¾ ton, it’s made to work. I picked up a Sport Trail dump trailer from Max-Air and headed up the hill called Poudre Canyon. Sport Trail, which is made in Colorado, had an empty weight of 3800#’s. A very versatile 12’ trailer I wish I had on the farm. With a Harsh Hoist, self-contained hydraulics and slipper springs tandem axles, this trailer would come in so handy! One big wheelbarrow, I could stand away from the trailer with the cabled control switch and dump it.
The trailer came with ramps for loading a small tractor or skid steer and D-rings inside to chain to. The outside bed reinforcing channels had stack pockets for adding sideboards to expand what could be hauled with this trailer. There is a toolbox on the adjustable trailer hitch. Opposing gates swing open for access to the rear of the trailer.
|Scissors hoist by Harsh. A famous name in hydraulics.
|The second Hemi was the same but in an SLT. Big difference. from the grill to the leather.
|The trailer came with ramps for loading a small tractor or skid steer and D-rings inside to chain to. The outside bed reinforcing channels had stake pockets for adding sideboards to expand what could be hauled with this trailer. There is a toolbox on the adjustable trailer hitch. Opposing gates swing open for access to the rear of the trailer.
|Self contained electric over hydraulic system.
|Tailgate, swings open, let the hay, manure, rocks, etc. roll.
Till next time, Good Truck'n.
Kent Sundling (MrTruck)
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