For 2011, the Ram Heavy Duty diesel gets a sweeping package of upgrades and improvements to help it keep up in the red hot towing race between Ford and Chevrolet. While horsepower is always a top notch, with diesels, torque and towing capability are king.
Now boasting the ability to pull a 22,700-lb. trailer, the one-ton Ram 3500 Heavy Duty gets a power boost to its venerable 6.7-liter Cummins turbo-diesel engine increasing its torque to 800 lb.-ft. The power increase is combined with other upgrades that raise the Ram’s gross combined weight rating (GCWR) to 30,000 lbs.
The power comes courtesy of new programming. A revised performance calibration allows what Chrysler now calls the “High-Output” 6.7-liter, six-cylinder Cummins Turbo Diesel to reach peak torque at 1,600 rpm and exceed the previous model’s output from 1,200 through 2,800 rpm. While peak horsepower remains unchanged (350 @ 3,000 rpm), the engine’s new calibration delivers more than 40 additional horsepower at typical highway cruising speeds.
Getting that power to the wheels is a new higher-rated torque converter to improve engine/transmission integration for better towing capability on grades and optimizes engine performance. In addition to the new PCM and torque converter, the 800 lb.-ft. High Output Cummins-powered Ram Heavy Duty trucks receive a new crankshaft damper, reducing engine noise and vibration (NVH).
On thing that sets this diesel apart from Ford and Chevrolet is that it meets 2010 EPA emissions regulations without the need for Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF). While many diesel car and truck owners have come accustomed to having to keep DEF on hand, it’s nice not to have to worry about it.
When equipped with the optional “Max Tow” towing-optimization package, the Ram 3500 Heavy Duty maximum trailer weight is rated up to 22,700 lbs., the highest trailer weight in its class. The Ram also comes with a standard exhaust brake. This feature reduces brake fade, prolongs brake life and provides unmatched confidence and safety when hauling heavy loads on downhill grades.
Even so, the Ram has the largest brakes of any heavy duty pickup; 14.17-in.x1.54-in. front and 14.09-in.x1.34-in. rear with an integrated anti-lock brake system (ABS) that increases brake life and braking stability. The Max Tow also includes an engine-mounted, oil-to-coolant transmission cooler and upgraded power steering oil coolers to manage the larger loads.
On thing you might have noticed in this article, or rather not noticed was the name Dodge. Since Chrysler has reorganized under the control of Italian automaker Fiat, the Ram truck brand has been separated from Dodge, who is now a car only brand.
The goal of course was to separate the two so Ram could be what trucks need to be, and Dodge could take their brand off in another direction not always fitting with trucks. The Ram Truck brand will further enhance its commercial vehicle presence with more commercial-grade work trucks including the new 2011 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs.
Whatever they are called, they for at least this year can say they are the king of the trailer pull race.