By Patrick Rall
When the Chrysler Group introduced the new 3.0L EcoDiesel from VM Motori for the Ram 1500 earlier this year, the expectation was that the EcoDiesel would be the first diesel option in the half ton American truck segment early for the 2014 model year. However, as the 2014 model year is all but officially upon us at this point, it has become clear that the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has been pushed back in the 2014 model year and with the 2014 calendar year close upon us – it seems that it could be some time until the EcoDiesel arrives in showrooms. In fact, it is rumored that the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel will not arrive until mid-January at the soonest.
The VM Motori-built 3.0L V6 EcoDiesel will make the Ram 1500 one of the most efficient half ton trucks sold in the US but unlike many other super-efficient pickups on the market, the Ram EcoDiesel will offer substantial towing and hauling capacities. With 240 horsepower and 420lb-ft of torque, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel could offer similar towing and hauling capabilities to that of the 5.7L Hemi V8 but thanks to the advancements in turbo diesel technology and the help of the ZF 8-speed automatic transmission, this new diesel engine should be the most efficient option in the 2014 Ram 1500 lineup while possibly being the most fuel friendly half ton truck engine available in America.
The problem is that there has been an series of unexplained delays that have reportedly forced VM Motori to hold a large number of EcoDiesel engines in the plant while also shutting down the engine production line building the American-bound diesel mills. A report at Allpar suggests that the problem rests in the emission levels of the 3.0L V6 diesel engine and the engines that have already been built in Italy are being held for a recalibration of the engine electronics to meet various emission requirements for the US market. In addition to the calibration issue, the fact that the Jeep Grand Cherokee also packs the same EcoDiesel engine as the Ram 1500 may have played a part in the diesel Ram launch delays. The diesel Jeep was the first priority so any delays in the production and shipping process for the 3.0L diesel V6 engine would have also affected the oil burning Jeep. With Jeep EcoDiesel production pushed back, the company would have to first ship motors for the Grand Cherokee before shipping the engines for the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and that would push the Ram engines back even further.
Regardless of the cause of the delays, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel will be the most efficient and one of the most capable half ton truck engines sold in the US – although it could be as long as 4 months before they hit dealerships in this country.