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The Complete Guide to the 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 Towing Capacity

Towing Capacity

The 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 is a popular full-size pickup truck known for its power, durability, and towing capabilities. With several engine options and configurations, the Ram 1500 can tow a wide range of trailer weights. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about the 2004 Dodge Ram 1500’s towing capacity.

Overview of the 2004 Dodge Ram 1500

The second-generation Dodge Ram 1500 was fully redesigned for the 2002 model year, with 2004 bringing only minor changes. The 2004 Ram 1500 features a rugged body-on-frame construction, solid rear axle, and choice of Quad Cab or Regular Cab configurations. Three bed lengths were offered:

  • 6 ft 6 in
  • 8 ft
  • 8 ft 4 in

There were also multiple trim levels available:

  • ST – Base trim with vinyl seats and basic features
  • SLT – Mid-level trim with upgraded interior
  • Laramie – Top-level luxury trim

Under the hood, the 2004 Ram 1500 came equipped with three engine choices:

  • 3.7L V6 – 215 hp, 235 lb-ft torque
  • 4.7L V8 – 235 hp, 295 lb-ft torque
  • 5.7L V8 (Hemi) – 345 hp, 375 lb-ft torque

Both the V6 and V8 engines could be paired to either a 5-speed manual or 4 or 5-speed automatic transmission depending on configuration. Two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive was available across the lineup.

2004 Dodge Ram 1500 Towing Capacity by Configuration

The 2004 Ram 1500’s maximum tow rating ranges widely from 3,300 lbs to 9,200 lbs depending on cab, bed, drivetrain, and engine choices. Here is a breakdown of the maximum towing capacities by configuration:

Regular Cab, 2WD

  • 3.7L V6 – 3,300 to 3,750 lbs
  • 4.7L V8 – 4,700 to 7,650 lbs
  • 5.7L V8 – 8,200 to 9,200 lbs

Regular Cab, 4WD

  • 4.7L V8 – 4,400 to 7,400 lbs
  • 5.7L V8 – 7,800 to 8,950 lbs

Quad Cab, 2WD

  • 3.7L V6 – 2,950 to 3,400 lbs
  • 4.7L V8 – 4,200 to 7,350 lbs
  • 5.7L V8 – 7,900 to 8,900 lbs

Quad Cab, 4WD

  • 4.7L V8 – 4,000 to 7,100 lbs
  • 5.7L V8 – 7,500 to 8,600 lbs

As you can see, the most powerful towing configuration is the Regular Cab 2WD with the 5.7L Hemi V8, offering up to 9,200 lbs of towing capacity. However, the Quad Cab offers greater versatility with its larger cabin if you don’t need maximum towing performance.

Towing Features and Equipment

To make hauling heavy loads easier, the 2004 Ram 1500 offers some helpful towing features:

  • Integrated Trailer Brake Controller: Allows proportional control of electric trailer brakes
  • Class IV Hitch Receiver: Heavy-duty hitch rated up to 10,000 lbs
  • Trailer Sway Control: Uses brakes to counteract trailer sway if detected
  • Tow/Haul Mode: Alters transmission shift points for better towing power

Popular towing upgrade options include:

  • Tow mirrors: Extendable mirrors that improve rearward visibility
  • Backup camera: Provides a view behind the truck on the dash screen
  • Bed extenders: Increase usable bed length for longer items
  • Upgraded hitches: Gooseneck or 5th wheel hitches for heavy trailers
  • Performance tuners: Adds horsepower and torque for more towing muscle

Proper trailer brakes are also essential for safe towing. For lighter loads, surge brakes that operate off the trailer momentum are sufficient. With heavier trailers, electronic or electric-over-hydraulic trailer brakes are recommended, especially if the max tow rating is approached.

Towing Capacity Factors

Many factors determine how much weight the 2004 Ram 1500 can safely tow. Understanding these variables helps choose the optimal configuration:

  • Engine power & torque: More cylinders and higher displacement increase towing muscle
  • Drivetrain: 2WD has higher capacity than 4WD if not off-roading
  • Gearing: Lower axle ratios provide greater torque when accelerating
  • Cab and bed size: Regular cab/short beds weigh less than larger configurations
  • Equipment: Added cargo, oversized tires and lift kits reduce capacity
  • Trailer brakes: Required for maximum towing, proportional control is ideal
  • Trailer type: Airstream travel trailers tend to be lighter than enclosed car haulers
  • Tongue weight: 10-15% rating should be on hitch, not exceed limits

Always consult the owner’s manual for the listed towing capacity for your exact Ram 1500 setup. Capacity decreases as altitude increases, so take that into account in mountainous areas. And carefully calculate total vehicle, passenger, cargo and trailer weights to stay within all ratings.

Matching Trailers to Towing Limits

The key to choosing the right trailer for your 2004 Ram 1500 is making sure it stays within the recommended towing capacity. Here are some properly-matched trailer examples for mid-range configurations:

  • 5,000 lb capacity → 19-21 ft travel trailer or small fishing boat
  • 6,000 lb capacity → 24-26 ft travel trailer or enclosed motorcycle trailer
  • 7,000 lb capacity → 30 ft travel trailer or midsize enclosed car trailer
  • 8,000 lb capacity → 34 ft fifth wheel RV

Always measure the fully-loaded trailer weight, including water and cargo, to determine the true towing requirement. And utilize a weight-distributing hitch system rated for the load to ensure stable handling.

Towing Safety Tips

Towing heavy loads requires extra caution. Follow these tips to tow safely and securely with your 2004 Dodge Ram 1500:

  • Verify all trailer lights, brakes and tires are in good condition
  • Check tires pressures on truck and trailer per manufacturer specs
  • Confirm hitch, ball, and wiring are correct for the trailer
  • Use tow mirrors to increase rear visibility around the trailer
  • Allow extra distance for stopping with the added weight
  • Slow down and take corners wider to handle the length
  • Avoid using cruise control on wet or icy roads
  • Check trailer lashings and tie-downs to prevent load shifts
  • Consider a backup camera for easier hookups and maneuvering

Carefully observing the 2004 Ram 1500’s tow ratings, practicing proper load balancing, and taking a cautious approach to towing will allow you to pull just about any trailer you need with confidence.


With multiple powertrain options, the 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 offers owners excellent utility, including hefty towing capabilities for a full-size truck. Just be certain to abide by the 3,300 to 9,200 lb maximum towing limits based on your exact configuration and equipped options. Understanding the many factors that affect towing capacity is key to choosing the right Ram pickup for your trailer needs while staying safe and in control. Whether you need to tow work equipment, a camper, or car trailer, a properly equipped 2004 Ram 1500 can handle the load.

2004 Ram 1500 Towing BobCat 10000ish lbs

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