I have a 1996 dodge ram 1500 with a 5.2 V8 318. When i tow my enclosed trailor 14 foot, Should i turn off the the overdrive button? Last season i have towed with the overdrive off. I did install a trany cooler last year,and heavy adjustable rear leaf springs, heavy duty shocks, load - E - tires, and have the tranny serviced every year -new fluid and filter .Should i keep towing with the O.D. off? What about freeway driving ?And city driving with a trailor? thank you scott.

John DiMartino Veteran
if its laboring in OD,turn it off.If you have the 3.55's id turn it off anyway,if you have the 3.90's you might be able to stay in OD.If there is any doubt stay in Drive,it will save the tranny since it is direct also it will run cooler in drive.


Junior Member
LIke john said if the truck lugs in od leave it off,i pull a 18*18enclosed with my f150 with 351 engine and 355 gears the only time i will usu od is open highway on the long downhills if i try to use it in the flats it will slowly loose speed.


Senior Member
I have a 95 with the same setup, including tranny cooler. You have to play it by feel. If it shifts down and then back up allot, shut o/d off. There are some long hills that I drive daily and the truck will shift two or three times going up them even when I am completely empty. Now I shut o/d off for these hills. Shifting up and down is what warms the tranny up. I think the gear/tire combination is too high for these trucks. They're not cars, they're trucks, they should be geared a little lower. With O/D off I'm turning a little over 2000rpms at 62mph. This is just right (sounds good, runs cooler, and makes decent power). With o/d on I'm turning a little over 1500rpms.

lawnmower man

Junior Member
Scott, and anybody else who reads this.
NEVER tow any trailer over 1000-1500lbs or drive a loaded vehicle with the tranny in overdrive. I am a mechanic at a local dodge dealership and these aod trannys don't hold up too well when under extended driving with a heavy load. I have replaced way too many trannys because folks just don't know any better than to pull the lever till they are in drive and go. Your best bet is to just take the tranny out of overdrive when towing. If you are concerned about losing fuel economy because you can't use overdrive when towing you should have bought the manual tranny. These things are just about bulletproof, espesially the new 6 speed mated with the 5.9 Diesel. Just change the fluid when you are supposed to and all will go well. If you are stopped on a hill with a heavy load, manually put the tranny into first gear before accelerating, this engages an extra clutch band and will help extend the life of your tranny.


Junior Member
What kind of luck do they have with the automatic with overdrive when plowing snow with a 3/4 ton 4x4 ext cab V-10 with trailer towing package and all of the coolers
lawnmower man

I know thats what the dealer tells you,but most vehicles will pull a lightly loaded trailer in OD with no problems.Some trannies are weaker than others,nut if your carefull,service it regularly,and have a good cooler,you should have no problems.If the truck is labouring along,then shift it down.If your towing something huge,use D.All of my chevy's,most of our ford's,and especially my dodge,pull in od no problems.I have personnaly torn down several of my trannies,and have never seen any excess wear or damage caused by this.My dodge with the 12V cummins,revs to the moon in drive,and the convertor hardly locks up.In OD it will cruise all day at 1800 RPM,with an 8000 lb tralier on and the bed full.This truck plows hard full time (4 years),and has 190,000 on the original trans.(knock on wood)

The Greenman

Junior Member
Hi all, I don't know about the newer Dodges, but my 1991 1 ton auto has the previously mentioned o/d button on the dash. This truck has an independant o/d unit, as in not an o/d gear in the tranny. The Dodge manuals clearly state" to engage or disengage o/d while NOT moving" this would then take your shifting in or out of o/d options away while towing or pulling a hill.......I was told by a Dodge tech friend that this o'd unit will expire if shifted while in motion. This truck is new to me this season and I have yet to pull my trailer with it. I have had close to capacity loads in it, while o/d was on and found no problems, I do however turn o/d off at the beginning on any plowing operation........hope this helps abit, any comments?