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Old 01-30-2017, 02:22 PM   #1
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Exclamation Towing my camper at 10,000ft…..what do I need to worry about?

I’m thinking about towing my 19ft Zinger travel trailer (approx. 4,500lbs loaded) out to Colorado from Missouri with my 04’ Ram 1500 Hemi. With a load distribution hitch, sway control, and Firestone airbags….the truck tows the camper great and seems to have plenty of power.


One thing I’ve never done is tow up in the higher altitudes….we’re thinking about going to Pawnee Campground out by Ward Colorado this summer, where the elevation is around 10,000 feet. I’ve driven small cars up in the mountains in Colorado, and it’s amazing how much power they lose from being in the higher elevations.


It’s around an 800mile trip there….the stretch from Denver to Pawnee gains 5000ft over 50 miles, so it’s going to be a hard haul I think.


What kinds of issues (if any) will I have to deal with when towing through the mountains at higher elevations? Overheating? Loss in power? Overheating transmissions and/or differential? Breaks overheating?
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Old 01-30-2017, 02:39 PM   #2
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At 10,000 ft you are most certainly going to lose power! You'll have to use lower gears going up and your pace will be slower but shouldn't be a problem. Going back down the brakes will be an issue. Use lower gears and engine braking when possible, don't let your speed get so high you need to use heavy braking, and most importantly, do not ride the brake. Riding the brake will cause overheating quickly. If you do have to use your brakes a lot then stop periodically to let them cool.

Since your trailer isn't that heavy you should be find. Hope you have a Great time!!!
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Old 01-30-2017, 04:59 PM   #3
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Just before starting up the mountains stop & refuel, this will help as high elevations use fuel formulated for the higher elevations & recalibrates your vehicle computer for the thinner air. Both will help going up, not so much going down.
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Old 01-30-2017, 10:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iqraceworks View Post
I’m thinking about towing my 19ft Zinger travel trailer (approx. 4,500lbs loaded) out to Colorado from Missouri with my 04’ Ram 1500 Hemi. With a load distribution hitch, sway control, and Firestone airbags….the truck tows the camper great and seems to have plenty of power.


One thing I’ve never done is tow up in the higher altitudes….we’re thinking about going to Pawnee Campground out by Ward Colorado this summer, where the elevation is around 10,000 feet. I’ve driven small cars up in the mountains in Colorado, and it’s amazing how much power they lose from being in the higher elevations.


It’s around an 800mile trip there….the stretch from Denver to Pawnee gains 5000ft over 50 miles, so it’s going to be a hard haul I think.


What kinds of issues (if any) will I have to deal with when towing through the mountains at higher elevations? Overheating? Loss in power? Overheating transmissions and/or differential? Breaks overheating?
Before trading our 30' Toyhauler, in for the Axis...we pulled it all over Colorado...with our '08 F150 4 wheel drive...our Toyhauler had brakes, so Ron installed a brake controller on the truck...we had the sway bar, etc.
The F150 pulled it loaded with the dresser..weight 8-9000 lbs ... with no problem...just use your gears...and on downhill stretches gear down to slow rather than brakes...take it easy...don't push it .. Ron sez your Hemi has more power than our F150...if your truck is in good shape you shouldn't have any issues. REMEMBER..if you are on I70 west out of Denver ... there is a steep incline into the mountains...take is slow...and when returning east..when you drop down that incline...gear down..save your brakes so you don't burn them up...your transmission can handle it.
(I looked at map...you are going to Estes Park area...have FUN !)
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Old 01-30-2017, 11:29 PM   #5
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We went up there a couple of summers ago with a Nissan Armada pulling a Passport 2400BH, which is a heavier trailer than yours. We didn't do much special other than gas up and go. There will be slow spots, especially the last climb from the Brainard Lake intersection with highway 72 at Ward. Take either Hiway 6/119 out of Golden (Clear Creek Canyon) or Hiway 119 out of Boulder to Nederland. From Nederland its highway 72. All good road, though climbing either canyon is a continuous climb with lots of curves as the road follows the water. You will also have some company. I would not recommend Left Hand Canyon Road out of Boulder as you can run into lots of cyclists and the section through Ward is steep and narrow.

The road into Brainard Lake is a secondary paved road with a 30 MPH speed limit, and you will find you can't go much faster as its a good climb. Not a bad road though.


Pawnee is a very nice campground, but you need reservations. There are only a couple of first come-first served sites and they go really early, if any are available. You want to be in the west (Elk) loop, that has trees. The east (Moose) loop lost all of its trees a couple years ago due to a winter micro burst that blew down the trees. So the Moose loop sites are have little or no shade.


Don't know if you are a hiker, but if so try Blue Lake if you are up for it. Its 3 miles in with a 900 ft climb, all above 11,000 feet. The trail gets pretty rocky (it is the Rocky Mountains after all). A shorter and less strenuous hike is to stop at Michell lakes, only a mile or so in and the trail is not as rocky as it gets once you reach tree line. The trail head is a couple mile drive from the campground, and the lot fills early. Plan on being there by 8 or just after lunch and hope to find some spots as people come down.
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