Ram 1500/2500/3500 Owners & Service Manuals

Ram 1500/2500/3500: Towing Requirements

To promote proper break-in of your new vehicle drivetrain components the following guidelines are recommended:

CAUTION!

  • Do not tow a trailer at all during the first 500 miles (805 km) the new vehicle is driven. The engine, axle or other parts could be damaged.
  • Then, during the first 500 miles (805 km) that a trailer is towed, do not drive over 50 mph (80 km/h) and do not make starts at full throttle. This helps the engine and other parts of the vehicle wear in at the heavier loads.

WARNING!

Improper towing can lead to a collision. Follow these guidelines to make your trailer towing as safe as possible:

  • Make certain that the load is secured in the trailer and will not shift during travel. When trailering cargo that is not fully secured, dynamic load shifts can occur that may be difficult for the driver to control. You could lose control of your vehicle and have a collision.
  • When hauling cargo or towing a trailer, do not overload your vehicle or trailer. Overloading can cause a loss of control, poor performance or damage to brakes, axle, engine, transmission, steering, suspension, chassis structure or tires.
  • Safety chains must always be used between your vehicle and trailer. Always connect the chains to the hook retainers of the vehicle hitch. Cross the chains under the trailer tongue and allow enough slack for turning corners.
  • Vehicles with trailers should not be parked on a grade. When parking, apply the parking brake on the tow vehicle. Put the tow vehicle transmission in PARK. For four-wheel drive vehicles, make sure the transfer case is not in NEUTRAL. Always, block or chock the trailer wheels.
  • GCWR must not be exceeded.
  • Total weight must be distributed between the tow vehicle and the trailer such that the following four ratings are not exceeded:
    1. GVWR
    2. GTW
    3. GAWR
    4. Tongue weight rating for the trailer hitch utilized.

Towing Requirements - Tires

  • Do not attempt to tow a trailer while using a compact spare tire.
  • Proper tire inflation pressures are essential to the safe and satisfactory operation of your vehicle. Refer to "Tires - General Information" in "Starting and Operating" for proper tire inflation procedures.
  • Check the trailer tires for proper tire inflation pressures before trailer usage.
  • Check for signs of tire wear or visible tire damage before towing a trailer. Refer to "Tires - General Information" in "Starting and Operating" for the proper inspection procedure.
  • When replacing tires, refer to "Tires - General Information" in "Starting and Operating" for proper tire replacement procedures. Replacing tires with a higher load carrying capacity will not increase the vehicle's GVWR and GAWR limits.

Towing Requirements - Trailer Brakes

WARNING!

  • Do not connect trailer brakes to your vehicle's hydraulic brake lines. It can overload your brake system and cause it to fail. You might not have brakes when you need them and could have an accident.
  • Towing any trailer will increase your stopping distance. When towing you should allow for additional space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. Failure to do so could result in an accident.

CAUTION! If the trailer weighs more than 1,000 lbs (454 kg) loaded, it should have its own brakes and they should be of adequate capacity. Failure to do this could lead to accelerated brake lining wear, higher brake pedal effort, and longer stopping distances.

  • Do not interconnect the hydraulic brake system or vacuum system of your vehicle with that of the trailer.

    This could cause inadequate braking and possible personal injury.

  • An electronically actuated trailer brake controller is required when towing a trailer with electronically actuated brakes. When towing a trailer equipped with a hydraulic surge actuated brake system, an electronic brake controller is not required.
  • Trailer brakes are recommended for trailers over 1,000 lbs (454 kg) and required for trailers in excess of 1,653 lbs (750 kg).

Integrated Trailer Brake Module - If Equipped

Your vehicle may have an Integrated Trailer Brake Module (ITBM) for Electric and Electric Over Hydraulic (EOH) trailer brakes.

NOTE: This module has been designed and verified with electric trailer brakes and new electric over hydraulic systems. Some previous EOH systems may not be compatible with ITBM.

Towing Requirements
Integrated Trailer Brake Module (ITBM)

  1. GAIN Adjustment Button
  2. GAIN Adjustment Button
  3. Manual Brake Control Lever

The user interface consists of the following:

Manual Brake Control Lever

Slide the manual brake control lever to the right to activate power to the trailer's electric brakes independent of the tow vehicle's brakes. If the manual brake control lever is activated while the brake is also applied, the greater of the two inputs determines the power sent to the trailer brakes.

The trailer and the vehicle's brake lamps will come on when either vehicle braking or manual trailer brakes are applied.

Trailer Brake Status Indicator Light

This light indicates the trailer electrical connection status.

If no electrical connection is detected after the ignition is turned on, pressing the GAIN adjustment button or sliding the manual brake control lever will display the GAIN setting for 10 seconds and the "Trailer Brake Status Indicator Light" will not be displayed.

If a fault is detected in the trailer wiring or the Integrated Trailer Brake Module (ITBM), the "Trailer Brake Status Indicator Light" will flash.

GAIN Adjustment Buttons (+/-)

Pressing these buttons will adjust the brake control power output to the trailer brakes in 0.5 increments. The GAIN setting can be increased to a maximum of 10 or decreased to a minimum of 0 (no trailer braking).

GAIN

The GAIN setting is used to set the trailer brake control for the specific towing condition and should be changed as towing conditions change. Changes to towing conditions include trailer load, vehicle load, road conditions and weather.

Adjusting GAIN

NOTE: This should only be performed in a traffic free environment at speeds of approximately 20-25 mph (30-40 km/h).

1. Make sure the trailer brakes are in good working condition, functioning normally and properly adjusted.

See your trailer dealer if necessary.

2. Hook up the trailer and make the electrical connections according to the trailer manufacturer's instructions.

3. When a trailer with electric/EOH brakes is plugged in, the trailer connected message should appear in the EVIC (if the connection is not recognized by the ITBM, braking functions will not be available), the GAIN setting will illuminate and the correct type of trailer must be selected from the EVIC options.

4. Press the UP or DOWN button on the steering wheel until "TRAILER TOW" appears on the screen.

5. Press the RIGHT arrow on the steering wheel to enter "TRAILER TOW".

6. Press the UP or DOWN buttons until Trailer Brake Type appears on the screen.

NOTE: 1500 Models Only - Light Electric and Heavy Electric will only be available due to the tow capacities of the vehicle.

7. Press the RIGHT arrow and then press the UP or DOWN buttons until the proper Trailer Brake Type appears on the screen.

8. In a traffic-free environment, tow the trailer on a dry, level surface at a speed of 20-25 mph (30-40 km/h) and squeeze the manual brake control lever completely.

9. If the trailer wheels lockup (indicated by squealing tires), reduce the GAIN setting; if the trailer wheels turn freely, increase the GAIN setting.

Repeat steps 8 and 9 until the GAIN setting is at a point just below trailer wheel lockup. If towing a heavier trailer, trailer wheel lockup may not be attainable even with the maximum GAIN setting of 10.

Towing Requirements

* The suggested selection depends and may change depending on the customer preferences for braking performance.

Condition of the trailer brakes, driving and road state may also affect the selection.

EVIC Display Messages

The trailer brake control interacts with the Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC). Display messages, along with a single chime, will be displayed when a malfunction is determined in the trailer connection, trailer brake control, or on the trailer. Refer to "Electronic Vehicle Information Center" in "Understanding Your Instrument Panel" for further information.

CAUTION! Connecting a trailer that is not compatible with the ITBM system may result in reduced or complete loss of trailer braking. There may be a increase in stopping distance or trailer instability which could result in damage to your vehicle, trailer, or other property.

WARNING! Connecting a trailer that is not compatible with the ITBM system may result in reduced or complete loss of trailer braking. There may be a increase in stopping distance or trailer instability which could result in personal injury.

NOTE:

  • An aftermarket controller may be available for use with trailers with air or electric-over-hydraulic trailer brake systems. To determine the type of brakes on your trailer and the availability of controllers, check with your trailer manufacturer or dealer.
  • Removal of the ITBM will cause errors and it may cause damage to the electrical system and electronic modules of the vehicle. See your authorized dealer if an aftermarket module is to be installed.

Towing Requirements - Trailer Lights And Wiring

Whenever you pull a trailer, regardless of the trailer size, stoplights and turn signals on the trailer are required for motoring safety.

The Trailer Tow Package may include a four- and seven-pin wiring harness. Use a factory approved trailer harness and connector.

NOTE: Do not cut or splice wiring into the vehicles wiring harness.

The electrical connections are all complete to the vehicle but you must mate the harness to a trailer connector.

Refer to the following illustrations.

Towing Requirements
Four-Pin Connector

  1. Female Pins
  2. Male Pin
  3. Ground
  4. Park
  5. Left Stop/Turn
  6. Right Stop/Turn

Towing Requirements
Seven-Pin Connector

  1. Battery
  2. Backup Lamps
  3. Right Stop/Turn
  4. Electric Brakes
  5. Ground
  6. Left Stop/Turn
  7. Running Lamps

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