For some, prepping for Moab Easter Jeep Safari begins months in advance. For me, Moab prep usually starts about two weeks before the departure date. I look around my disaster of a garage and decide which pile of somewhat-put together 4x4 is most up for the task. I almost always fall back on my ’53 Willys flatfender, which normally resides in my garage. Only this year a pipe let go in my kitchen and the insurance company came in with demo hammers a swinging. I came home from work one day to find a storage pod had been dropped off kind of sideways, fully blocking my garage and RV parking, thereby relegating my flattie, trailer, Cherokee, and CJ-6 to their existing spots until my house is all put back together.
The Ram 2500 4x4 is equipped with front and rear coil springs. The ride quality unloaded is actually really nice. Even though it’s a ¾-ton truck, it rides nicer than many older ½-ton suspesnions.
I had already lined up a 2015 Ram 2500 ST Tradesman 4x4 Crew Cab Long Bed with the Cummins turbodiesel and a six-speed manual transmission to tow to Moab with. I was really hoping for a heavy-duty tow test using my trailer and a heavy project vehicle, but alas, the only thing free, clear, and running was my 1989 Wrangler, Project Why-J. I loaded my tools, spares, and recovery gear inside, topped off the oil in the front diff (the inner axle seals kinda leak) and dropped the tow bar on. After loading up the wife and kids, we headed north up I-15. All in all, it was pretty drama-free. Turns out, the Ram has so much power I probably could’ve loaded the flattie inside the storage pod and just dragged it all the way from San Diego to Moab. Maybe next year.
Step By Step
I left pretty late on Thursday evening. I topped off the fuel in Barstow, California and made it to Vegas around 3:00am.
With a temporary storage pod blocking my garage and trailer the simple solution was to grab the tow bar from my shed, slap it on the YJ Wrangler, and haul tail to Moab.
When you’re a family of five, cargo room is always a problem. That is, unless you’re driving a long-bed diesel pickup. I hung the kids’ bikes over the tailgate and still had room to bring along what felt like half my home in the remaining bed.
One of the nicest things about the ST Tradesman loaner was the rubber floor coverings and vinyl seating. French fries and apple juice from the drive-through? It’ll wipe off. Or how about mud and sand on shoes? No problem.
The interior has plenty of storage. The rear seat flips up and there’s room underneath, there are generous door pockets, and these cool little cubby holes in the passenger-rear footwell area. Inside we found a 2 ½-inch receiver adapter. The tow rating of these things has gotten so big they now come with a 2 ¾-inch receiver.
Got kids, need to haul, and sometimes require seating for six? Vinyl bench seats, rubber floor covering, and a six-speed manual transmission are about as bulletproof as it gets. Spills and dirt wipe right off and you always know what gear you’re in.
With 3.42:1 axle gears and small 245/70R17 tires, the Cummins likes to turn right around 2,000-2,100 rpm at 70 mph. Mileage numbers towing the 3,300-pound (estimated) YJ wound up coming in right at 14.1 mpg and ¼-tank of Diesel Exhaust Fluid. Given the Cummins takes about 10,000 miles to properly break in, we’d expect the fuel economy to increase with some more miles. Our test truck had less than 4,000 miles on it when we pulled into Moab.
Made it to Moab!
Body-colored bumpers are cool, but who can argue the purpose look of an all-black grille and bumper package. And if they ever get scratched, just hit ‘em with a little rattle can.
The first day in Moab I ran into some old friends, namely the guys from Jeep. Anybody know the famous Jeep in the photo. I mean, besides Why-J.