By Patrick Rall
Rumors around the automotive water cooler suggest that the 6.4L Hemi V8 that currently powers the majority of the Street and Racing Technology lineup will soon be offered in the Ram Heavy Duty lineup – but it will not be the next generation of the SRT pickup. Instead, this specially prepared 6.4L Hemi will likely serve as the entry level engine for the Ram 2500, 3500 and Chassis Cab models, replacing the 5.7L Hemi that has been the base engine for quite some time now.
The 5.7L Hemi has done a fine job serving as the sole gas engine option in the Ram (and Dodge Ram) Heavy Duty lineup since back in 2003. Starting in 2009, the 5.7L Hemi for the Ram HD featured a unique tune that allowed it to offer differing power outputs than the 5.7L Hemi used in the Ram 1500 and the most recent iteration of the HD 5.7L makes 383 horsepower and 400lb-ft of torque while the half ton Hemi makes 395 horsepower and 407lb-ft of torque. We can expect that the 6.4L Hemi will also receive a unique tune so it most likely won’t pack the same 470 horsepower and 470lb-ft of torque that it provides for the various SRT8 vehicles. Instead, the 6.4L Hemi in the Ram HD will be tuned to optimize the SRT Hemi’s workhorse capabilities rather than being tuned to serve as a high performance engine.
The rumormill suggests that the next Ram HD will offer somewhere in the area of 450 horsepower and 480lb-ft of torque so while it will offer less power than the SRT8 vehicles, it will provide significantly more power than the current entry level V8 in the Ram HD. More importantly, this 6.4L Hemi-powered Ram HD would pack substantially more power than any of the competitors from Ford or General Motors. This engine will likely be significantly less expensive than the Ram HD powered by the Cummins Turbo Diesel engine so those prospective buyers who want a three quarter ton or one ton pickup with big power and big towing/hauling capabilities without the big price of the diesel, the specially tuned SRT Hemi could be the answer.