Towing a boat with the 2017 Ram Power Wagon: 6 things you need to know

May 2, 2017

The 2017 Ram Power Wagon's main mission in life is to slowly pluck its way through treacherous situations, like rock crawling, the woods, and other various off-road situations. But at its core, the Power Wagon is a heavy-duty 2500 Ram pickup truck, which means it's also built to serve all your hauling needs.

Out of the box, it's ready for those off-road situations with a fully array of trick features: an electronic disconnecting sway-bar, Warn 12,000-pound electric winch, along with front and rear locking differentials.

But when it comes time to tow with the Power Wagon, there are some things you need to know:

2017 Ram 2550 Power Wagon

2017 Ram 2550 Power Wagon

2017 Ram 2550 Power Wagon

2017 Ram 2550 Power Wagon

2017 Ram 2550 Power Wagon

2017 Ram 2550 Power Wagon

2017 Ram 2550 Power Wagon

2017 Ram 2550 Power Wagon

You'll probably need some extra gear

Between the off-road-ready suspension and big 33-inch Goodyear DuraTrac tires the Power Wagon sits over an inch higher than the standard Ram 2500. This is important because that means you'll need a hitch with a larger drop to keep your trailer level and maybe even a safety chain and light wiring harness extensions to reach the receiver area.

2017 Ram 2550 Power Wagon

2017 Ram 2550 Power Wagon

You can only tow up to 10,030 pounds

You might think that sounds like a lot of weight, but the Ram 2500 is rated to tow up to 16,350 pounds in non-Power Wagon trim with a gas engine, and that goes up to 17,980 pounds should you opt for the available Cummins turbodiesel. The Power Wagon's down on towing capacity compared to other 2500 models due to the lift kit, big tires, 300 pound Warn winch, lockers, and its softly sprung off-road suspension.

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2017 Ram 2550 Power Wagon

2017 Ram 2550 Power Wagon

Tow/Haul Mode is important

When towing a load, whether it is a 4,000-pound boat setup like we did, or something larger, engaging Tow/Haul mode via the dashboard-mounted button is something you'll want to do. It locks out overdrive on the transmission, disables cylinder deactivation on the engine, and changes the shift schedule to hold gears longer and keep the engine in its power band longer. It's most noticeable with the 1-2 and 2-3 shifts. If you don't engage the Tow/Haul mode, even with just 4,000 pounds behind the Power Wagon, the transmission hunts up and down the gears from 4-5 and 5-6 constantly on the highway.

2017 Ram 2550 Power Wagon

2017 Ram 2550 Power Wagon

Fuel economy isn't even a thing

It's not that we expected good fuel economy while hauling a heavy load, because that would be ridiculous... but the Power Wagon is particularly thirsty and requires some planning ahead. Cruising at 70 mph on the highway lugging a 4,000 pound boat and trailer, we saw an average of just 7.2 mpg over the course of 275 miles indicated by the truck's trip computer. Imagine doubling that weight—you'll be stopping very often for fuel.

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2017 Ram 2550 Power Wagon

2017 Ram 2550 Power Wagon

You won't even notice the trailer

With a mass and weight the size of Texas, you might not even realize there's a boat behind you while blasting down the highway. Towing a 4,000 pound boat setup at 70 mph down the highway and barely even noticing it is surreal. It's also vastly different and more confidence-inspiring than towing with a half-ton pickup or an SUV. Between the larger, more powerful 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 engine, heavy-duty frame, beefed up brakes, increased cooling performance, and chunky suspension, the Power Wagon hardly broke a sweat hauling a 4,000-pound boat.

2017 Ram 2550 Power Wagon

2017 Ram 2550 Power Wagon

Plan your stops accordingly

Planning on stopping at Perkins for breakfast while towing? Make sure you remember that the truck itself is just under 20 feet long— this is a very large truck. Throw on a 20-foot boat and engines, and your rig is now approaching 43 feet in length. Suddenly you're taking up over half a row in a parking lot and you'll need to think about turning before you do it. 

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