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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few weeks ago, we picked up a 2021 Starcraft 26BHS. This weekend, I finally took it out for the season. I know a lot of people think a 31 foot camper is too long for the DD, but I have to say that it pulled really well.

The equalizer hitch made sway (which is absolutely necessary) virtually nonexistent. On the way home after picking it up, I was fighting 18mph winds and some moderate hills on the highway, so I got 7mpg. However, our trip to deliver it to the seasonal site only had 5-8mph winds and fewer hills. I ended up with 10mpg. Hemi had plenty of power to accelerate, but definitely struggled up hills as it kicked down into 2nd gear, but only a few times. Usually, 3rd gear handled hills just fine. I was driving at 60-65 mph.

I wouldn't try towing this through mountains, but for the semi-flat midwest, it did just fine. Since the seasonal site we parked at has power and water, I didn't have much cargo besides the basics inside and 2 bikes on the bumper of the camper, which put the camper at about 6000lbs.

2005 Durango SLT AWD, 5.7L, 3.92 gears
I did upgrade my shocks to Monroe heavy duty and I also have an electric fan conversion that I turned on for the whole trip. It didn't look like the coolant rose past the usual temp even once.
 

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These Durangos are impressive. Great to hear that it wasn't to much of a struggle to pull that large of a trailer.
 

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A few weeks ago, we picked up a 2021 Starcraft 26BHS. This weekend, I finally took it out for the season. I know a lot of people think a 31 foot camper is too long for the DD, but I have to say that it pulled really well.

The equalizer hitch made sway (which is absolutely necessary) virtually nonexistent. On the way home after picking it up, I was fighting 18mph winds and some moderate hills on the highway, so I got 7mpg. However, our trip to deliver it to the seasonal site only had 5-8mph winds and fewer hills. I ended up with 10mpg. Hemi had plenty of power to accelerate, but definitely struggled up hills as it kicked down into 2nd gear, but only a few times. Usually, 3rd gear handled hills just fine. I was driving at 60-65 mph.

I wouldn't try towing this through mountains, but for the semi-flat midwest, it did just fine. Since the seasonal site we parked at has power and water, I didn't have much cargo besides the basics inside and 2 bikes on the bumper of the camper, which put the camper at about 6000lbs.

2005 Durango SLT AWD, 5.7L, 3.92 gears
I did upgrade my shocks to Monroe heavy duty and I also have an electric fan conversion that I turned on for the whole trip. It didn't look like the coolant rose past the usual temp even once.
A few weeks ago, we picked up a 2021 Starcraft 26BHS. This weekend, I finally took it out for the season. I know a lot of people think a 31 foot camper is too long for the DD, but I have to say that it pulled really well.

The equalizer hitch made sway (which is absolutely necessary) virtually nonexistent. On the way home after picking it up, I was fighting 18mph winds and some moderate hills on the highway, so I got 7mpg. However, our trip to deliver it to the seasonal site only had 5-8mph winds and fewer hills. I ended up with 10mpg. Hemi had plenty of power to accelerate, but definitely struggled up hills as it kicked down into 2nd gear, but only a few times. Usually, 3rd gear handled hills just fine. I was driving at 60-65 mph.

I wouldn't try towing this through mountains, but for the semi-flat midwest, it did just fine. Since the seasonal site we parked at has power and water, I didn't have much cargo besides the basics inside and 2 bikes on the bumper of the camper, which put the camper at about 6000lbs.

2005 Durango SLT AWD, 5.7L, 3.92 gears
I did upgrade my shocks to Monroe heavy duty and I also have an electric fan conversion that I turned on for the whole trip. It didn't look like the coolant rose past the usual temp even once.
We tow 28 foot jayco 28bhe with our 2005 Durango SLT WD same as your
I find that the trailer is at the max towing capacity for this truck wo added overloaded shocks and air suspension in the coil springs the wheel base way to short and hlthe front end lifts. Make for some white knuckle driving.
In terms of braking and power sure go does just fine. Trucks has 105 k miles on the odometer. My next tow vehicle gonna be 2015 suburban 2500 HD

A few weeks ago, we picked up a 2021 Starcraft 26BHS. This weekend, I finally took it out for the season. I know a lot of people think a 31 foot camper is too long for the DD, but I have to say that it pulled really well.

The equalizer hitch made sway (which is absolutely necessary) virtually nonexistent. On the way home after picking it up, I was fighting 18mph winds and some moderate hills on the highway, so I got 7mpg. However, our trip to deliver it to the seasonal site only had 5-8mph winds and fewer hills. I ended up with 10mpg. Hemi had plenty of power to accelerate, but definitely struggled up hills as it kicked down into 2nd gear, but only a few times. Usually, 3rd gear handled hills just fine. I was driving at 60-65 mph.

I wouldn't try towing this through mountains, but for the semi-flat midwest, it did just fine. Since the seasonal site we parked at has power and water, I didn't have much cargo besides the basics inside and 2 bikes on the bumper of the camper, which put the camper at about 6000lbs.

2005 Durango SLT AWD, 5.7L, 3.92 gears
I did upgrade my shocks to Monroe heavy duty and I also have an electric fan conversion that I turned on for the whole trip. It didn't look like the coolant rose past the usual temp even once.
 

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Cerd:
What kind of rpms were you turning on those 3rd gear pulls? I'd bet the sound of the Hemi was precious! You have a bit of a rare bird there, as roughly 1 out of 3 Gen 1 or 2 Durangos got the shorter 3.92 gears. I imagine they helped.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Cerd:
What kind of rpms were you turning on those 3rd gear pulls? I'd bet the sound of the Hemi was precious! You have a bit of a rare bird there, as rougnly 1 out of 3 Gen 1 or 2 Durangos got the shorter 3.92 gears. I imagine they helped.

Don
I actually have a manifold leak, but I know those are a slippery slope, so I am getting my other vehicle running before I tackle that job. with the leaking door seals and the exhaust leak, the truck sounds like hell either cruising at 1500RPM or 4k. Most of my drive, I was at about 2200RPM on flat road. When a big gust or 18mph wind hit me from the front or steep grades, it was about 3500-4000RPM; nowhere near redlining still, but I am used to driving a 2002 Lesabre with air ride suspension so anything more than a whisper annoys me. lol

The gears for sure helped. While this DD is a bit of a cancerous POS, it can pretty much tow anything I need, gets decent MPG after the e-fan conversion, hauls about as many people as a minivan and I paid $2500 out the door from a used car lot. Then a few winters ago, a college kid that didn't know how to drive on ice hit my rear passenger door and the insurance company paid me $1300, so for $1200, this truck owes me nothing. Its currently at 230k miles and should last at least until 300k. However, I don't cheap out on maintenance, so I bet it goes closer to 400k. My Buick is currently at 360k and still has 150psi compression in all cylinders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
We tow 28 foot jayco 28bhe with our 2005 Durango SLT WD same as your
I find that the trailer is at the max towing capacity for this truck wo added overloaded shocks and air suspension in the coil springs the wheel base way to short and hlthe front end lifts. Make for some white knuckle driving.
In terms of braking and power sure go does just fine. Trucks has 105 k miles on the odometer. My next tow vehicle gonna be 2015 suburban 2500 HD
If your front end is lifting, then your WD hitch isn't set correctly. You need to fix that ASAP. When I added my Monroe HD shocks, they were only $40-50 each on Rockauto. It makes for a bumpier ride unloaded, but rides great if you tow a lot. With a lot of weight in the back, it rides almost as smooth as my Buick. I took a few loads of pavers in the back across town since my trailer was out of commission and it handled it pretty well.

I agree that the wheel base is a bit short, but it exceeds my expectations when I use it for heavy loads. A few summers ago, I needed a half yard of sand for a project and since their front loaders were so big, they ended up giving me closer to 2. Even with 2 tons in the trailer, I hardly felt it behind me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
We tow 28 foot jayco 28bhe with our 2005 Durango SLT WD same as your
I find that the trailer is at the max towing capacity for this truck wo added overloaded shocks and air suspension in the coil springs the wheel base way to short and hlthe front end lifts. Make for some white knuckle driving.
In terms of braking and power sure go does just fine. Trucks has 105 k miles on the odometer. My next tow vehicle gonna be 2015 suburban 2500 HD
Have you looked at the manufacturer spec sheet on this trailer? It looks like the 28BHE is actually 33 feet long. The number in the model does not always represent the actual length. Our 26BHS is 31 feet. In addition to the WD hitch, you are also pulling a 33 foot trailer.

Dry weight is 6640lbs compared to the 5725 lbs of the 26BHS that we have. Depending on what you have for cargo, I bet you are over 7000lbs. In ours, we only have the basics so we keep the weight down. If you fill the fresh water tank, you will be closer to 8000lbs.The dry weight typically only accounts for the rig as manufactured; not including water or full propane tanks. When we bought ours, the dealer said we would have to let them know when we pick it up so they can put a new battery in it and fill the propane tanks since they were supplied empty.
 

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Cerd:
When you tackle the manifold, be sure you get the updated version. Also, if your windshield cowl is not the updated version, one good storm or car wash, may get you a hydrolocked engine. I would sure hate to see such a worn, but still dependable soldier die that way.

Part of me wants a Gen 3 to replace my trusty but rusty '04, but everything except the rear heat still works, and the engine simply roars to life anytime you twist the key. The AWD system along with it's 5000+ pounds has taken us anywhere we needed to go. The fuel companies also appreciate it! 😂 😂

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
When you tackle the manifold, be sure you get the updated version. Also, if your windshield cowl is not the updated version, one good storm or car wash, may get you a hydrolocked engine. I would sure hate to see such a worn, but still dependable soldier die that way.
I already have the updated cowl. It's getting a few cracks from age, but I think I will just patch it with some RTV and renew the color with some spray paint.

Is there a new version of the manifold or the gaskets? How do I know which version of manifold I have? I assume these ones are original to the engine from late 2004 (early 2005 model).
 

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Cerd:
My Hemi was replaced for the original owner in September of '08 at 39k. At the time, the intake installed on the new engine was P/N 5127193AF. I recall seeing a corporate memo stating that if a 5.7L engine was replaced under warranty, use of the updated intake was required for the warranty to be valid. I am not aware of any changes to the intake seals.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Cerd:
My Hemi was replaced for the original owner in September of '08 at 39k. At the time, the intake installed on the new engine was P/N 5127193AF. I recall seeing a corporate memo stating that if a 5.7L engine was replaced under warranty, use of the updated intake was required for the warranty to be valid. I am not aware of any changes to the intake seals.

Don
Oh, I was talking about the exhaust manifold, not the intake. Sorry for the confusion.
 

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Ok. Good on the clarification. I'm not aware of an updated exhaust manifold P/N. There may have been one along the way. The 5.7L is known for loose/broken EM attachment bolts. Thankfully, mine are intact (but quite rusty) since the new engine install in '08. The heat shields that covered them are long gone though.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ok. Good on the clarification. I'm not aware of an updated exhaust manifold P/N. There may have been one along the way. The 5.7L is known for loose/broken EM attachment bolts. Thankfully, mine are intact (but quite rusty) since the new engine install in '08. The heat shields that covered them are long gone though.

Don
Yep. I am looking for a better solution than OEM bolts. I'm sure the heat and salt caked roads during winter in my state don't help the issue; even with heat shields blocking some of the salt, snow and rain.
 

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I have a 2017 Citadel with the 5.7 towing a 2021 Jayco 24RBS which is very close in size and weight to your Starcraft 26BHS. I added a K&N cold air intake and a Mopar Catback Exhaust to my Durango. Have a Fastman throttle body and Hensley Hitch on order.
2 weeks ago I was getting 13.5 - 14 mpg towing thru Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. Adding those upgrades definitely improved power and MPG's for towing over the stock intake and exhaust I had prior towing our 2017 Jayco 212QBW which was shorter and lighter. Will be going to Kentucky and Tennessee later this summer. And I know it will tow better than the last time we were there towing the 212QBW. Considering South and North Dakota also later this summer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I need to address some broken manifold bolts, so I was thinking about upgrading to some headers and eventually changing the exhaust before they become obsolete due to age. My only conundrum is that I hate loud exhausts and the droning sound is unbearable to me. I have a lot of white noise working on an office for the last 10 years and my kids are quite obnoxious after they get home from school, so my ears are extremely sensitive. My ears are pretty much ringing every time I have some quiet time. That's also part of the reason that I am desperately looking for new weather stripping. Its water tight, but there is a lot of wind noise coming through the seals.
 

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Exhaust is louder, I just turn the radio up a little louder. Droning sound on the 2017 is usually when operating in ECO mode, which I don't because of droning sound and doesn't really do anything. I have tinnitus too, have gotten use to it.
 
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