Cummins-3500-6.7L.jpgby Patrick Rall

    The Ram 1500 pickup is the bestselling model from the Ram Truck brand. Since before being spun off from the Dodge brand, the Dodge Ram 1500 has long been one of the Chrysler Group’s bestselling models.  The modern Ram 1500 offers a variety of powerful engines, including the 5.7L Hemi V8. Even so, Mopar faithful have long pondered why the Cummins diesel engine is not offered in the half ton truck.  We recently had a chance to speak with a handful of Ram Brand personnel that included brand CEO Fred Diaz and we asked the powers that be why there hasn’t been a diesel Ram 1500 and if we might see one in the future.

    The key reason that we have not seen the mighty Cummins Turbo Diesel
    under the hood of the half-ton Ram 1500 is the weight and the size.  The
    6.7L Cummins diesel that produces 350 horsepower and a punishing
    800lb-ft of torque uses an inline 6-cylinder configuration that
    distributes the weight in the engine bay differently than a V8. The Cummins
    also weighs a great deal more than the 5.7L Hemi (which churns out 390
    horsepower and 407lb-ft of torque).  This means that the front
    suspension of the Ram 1500 would be stressed too much by the added
    weight of the Cummins.

    Even if the front suspension was beefed up to
    handle the mass of the Cummins drivetrain, that extra weight up front
    would heavily alter the handling capacities of the Ram 1500.  This means
    that in order to offer the current Ram 1500 with a Cummins diesel would
    require a vast overhaul of the chassis and suspension of the truck. 
    When you figure that amount of cost and effort required to make this
    happen – it becomes a little clearer why we don’t get to select the
    mighty Cummins in the Ram 1500.

    However, there might be good news on the horizon for those who want a
    diesel-burning Ram 1500.  The growing popularity of “clean diesel”
    technology in the US has spurred many brands to look into offering
    small, fuel efficient diesel engines in America. 

    We have seen smaller
    diesel options for a variety of US-sold Jeep models, and comments by
    folks from the Ram Truck brand lead us to believe that seeing a smaller
    common rail diesel in an upcoming Ram 1500 is not entirely out of the

    The issue is balancing fuel economy (diesel is as expensive
    as premium grade gasoline) with enough power to do “truck stuff”.  The
    diesel engines used in the older Jeep models simply wouldn’t be enough
    to allow the Ram 1500 to perform as an American truck should, but it
    should be kept in mind that Fiat has a large lineup of small, successful
    diesel engines in use overseas.  Depending on the price of fuel in
    the US and the rate of demand for diesel engines (in vehicles other than
    heavy duty trucks), we could soon see a Ram 1500 packing diesel power –
    but don’t expect it to wear the Cummins badge.

    Would a diesel Ram 1500 be welcome, even if it weren’t a Cummins? Shout off in the Forums!