By Patrick Rall
While getting the most in terms of pulling out of your Ram Heavy Duty has generally meant operating with steeper gears, the 2013 Ram 2500 and 3500 will only be available with a 3.42 gearing radio. The 3.73 and 4.10 gears previously featured in the Ram HD lineup are no longer available with those trucks equipped with single rear wheels – although Chrysler insists that the 3.42 rear gear ratio will allow the 2013 Ram 2500 and 3500 to tow more than a similarly equipped 2012 model. Best of all, this lower gearing ratio will allow the 2013 Ram three quarter ton and one ton pickups to offer better fuel economy since the engine RPMs will be lower across the range of speeds.
According to Allpar, unnamed sources have confirmed that in the dealership ordering system, Ram 2500 and 3500 models cannot be equipped with anything other than 3.42 gears. 3.73 is listed as being standard but when the system advances, the 3.42 gears are automatically added. The 4.10 ratio is available in the dealership ordering system but it cannot be selected.
What Chrysler does not address is whether or not the 3.73 or 4.10 gears will actually allow the 2013 Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups to tow more. They do point out that the 2013 Ram HD with 3.42 gears will tow more than the 2012 Ram HD with bigger gears but we should keep in mind that the 6.7L Cummins Turbo Diesel powering the 2013 Ram is stronger than the one used for 2012 model year trucks. In addition to the high output Cummins that churns out 385 horsepower and 850lb-ft of torque, the standard 6.7L CTD mated to an automatic transmission offers 370 horsepower and 800lb-ft of torque – up from 350hp for 2012. Also, the Cummins diesel mated to the manual transmission offers 350hp and 660lb-ft of torque but improving on the 2012 diesel Rams with the manual transmission, the 2013 model makes peak torque at a lower engine RPM. This additional power is likely the reason why the 2013 Ram HD can tow as much with 3.42 gears as the 2012 models can with steeper gears.
Even if the 2013 Ram HD is capable of towing more weight with the more aggressive gearing, the battle of the full size pickups has become as much about fuel economy as it is about power and capabilities. The 2013 Ram HD offers best in class towing for both the 2500 and 33500 so once that was taken care of, Chrysler went to work on making the new Ram HD more efficient.
This might seem like a hassle for those 2013 Ram HD buyers who insist on the bigger gears but the good news is that bigger gear sets are readily available in the aftermarket and once equipped – the 2013 Ram HD may have even more impressive capabilities.