2019 Ram Heavy Duty: A Closer Look
Slideshow: A host of new upgrades make the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty more relevant than ever. Take a quick look back at the NAIAS debut of the new Ram hauler.
Resetting the Benchmark
The RAM nameplate has been ruling the road since 1981. The long lineage of trucks can be traced back as far as 1917, with the most recent addition to the nameplate being released at the North American International Auto Show. The new trucks, Ram 2500 and 3500, sport an unprecedented amount of new tech and boast over 1,000 lb-ft of torque.
Photos: Jakob Hansen
Best in Everything
It seems the goal of the Heavy Duty team was simply to be best in class at everything. Best torque output, highest payload, highest towing capacity, and so much more. A newly redesigned interior creates a space that is more comfortable and built with higher quality materials than any other truck before. The new Heavy Duty is continuing a long-standing tradition of being the best truck on the market.
The Important Numbers
Let’s start by cutting to the chase. In the top configuration, the new Ram has 1,000 lb-ft of torque and 400 horsepower. It is capable of a payload capacity of 7,680 lbs and a towing capacity of 35,100 lbs. This is all offered with a diesel powertrain warranty of five years or 100,000 miles.
The new Ram Heavy Duty comes with three available engine options. A Cummins 6.7-liter I-6 high-output Turbo Diesel with 1,000 lb-ft of torque at 1,800 rpm and 400 horsepower at 2,800 rpm, and a standard-output 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel with 370 horsepower at 2,800 rpm and 850 lb-ft of torque at 1,700 rpm. Lastly, a 6.4-liter HEMI® V-8 gasoline engine with 410 horsepower and 429 lb-ft of torque.
1,000 lbs.-ft. of Torque
That 1,000 lb-ft of torque is a huge number. Not only is that enough power to pull the moon into a closer orbit, but Ram is the first truck manufacturer to reach that number in a standard passenger vehicle. The engine is utilizes compacted graphite iron, and is over 60 lbs lighter than its predecessor. A new cylinder head sits atop with block with redesigned exhaust valves and springs, and new rocker arms.
More on That Engine
Ram has tossed in new lightweight pistons as well. These light-weight pistons are stronger than the outgoing model and include low-friction rings. Power is sent down through newly designed forged connecting rods and bearings. The exhaust manifold holds great innovation as well. It acts as a mounting point for the turbo, reducing turbo lag and keeping better heat control. The variable-geometry turbo is capable of boost pressures upwards of 33 psi, insanely high numbers, but then again, so is 1,000 lb-ft.
The high-output Cummins 6.7-liter will be connected to the Aisin AS69RC electronically controlled six-speed automatic. The trans is specifically designed to be able to withstand the high torque figures but also provide road car quality smoothness. An upgraded trans cooler will help to keep heat under control and a double memory than the previous along with a dual-core processor ensures the trans controller is providing the optimal gearing under any condition.
Other Transmission Options
The standard-output Cummins 6.7-liter receives an upgraded version of the 68RFE six-speed automatic transmission. Upgrades are intended to increase strength along with comfort. Most notably, Ram included variable-force solenoid controls to the torque-converter clutch, making smoother and stronger shifts every time. The 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 will come with the TorqueFlite 8HP75 eight-speed automatic. A first for Ram. This is a shift by wire transmission, creating much more design freedom for Ram. It has over 40 shift maps preloaded to perform perfectly for every scenario. No manual transmission is available.
Transfer Case and Axles
The new Ram comes with a BorgWarner transfer case in several different configurations to distribute the mounds of torque the new Ram exhibits to the four corners of the truck. The gas and standard-output diesel receive either an electronic (BW 44-46) or manual shift (BW 44-47) transfer case. The high-output 6.7-liter comes with a newly designed BW 44-48 transfer case, capable of withstanding the higher loads. The new Ram has completely redesigned front and rear axels with focus on comfort. The NVH has been dramatically reduced while strength has been increased. A newly designed 12-inch AAM rear axle is available in the 3500 as well.
Frame and Body
The frame has been dramatically strengthened as well, with 98.5-percent of it built from high-strength steel. There are also six separate crossmembers, hydroformed main rails, and fully boxed rear rails. The frame also puts to use two Active-Tuned Mass Modules (ATMM) to help eliminate unwanted noise and vibration. Over 140 lb have been cut from the body by using lightweight materials such as aluminum in the hood. The body has been sculpted in wind-tunnel, with a segment-leading drag coefficient of .409. Have a look through the photos from Ram.
Hauling 35,000 lbs requires significant suspension upgrades. Frequency Response Damping (FRD) shocks are used that include valves that automatically adjust depending on vertical wheel input. Progressive springs help to handle the dramatically different load weights the truck can have when under load. Air suspension is available across the line with class-exclusive Active-Level. The 2500 comes with a five-link coil rear suspension while the 3500 retains a Hotchkiss leaf spring design. Both are compatible with the air suspension.
Power Wagon is Here to Stay
The Ram Power Wagon has a list of upgrades as well, keeping it the best full-size off-roading pickup on the market. Notably, upgraded suspension with a factory lift, and most importantly, locking front and rear differentials and a disconnecting sway bar. The standard Warn Zeon-12, 12,000-lb winch comes with synthetic line saving an additional 28 lbs. A useful 360-degree is fitted as well, aiding in off-road endeavors.
A host of new safety features have been added to the Ram Heavy Duty, including many active systems. Blind-spot monitoring, automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, 360-degree parking camera, and cross-traffic sensors are just a few of the many available safety features. There is a tire pressure monitor system capable of monitoring the six tires on the truck along with up to 12 trailer tires. A standard back-up cam compliments an available carbo box camera along with an available trailer mounted back up camera.
The redesigned interior of the new Ram is far too comprehensive to cover in a single post. Just look at the amazing new Laramie Longhorn. The interior gets a host of upgrades, including the 12-inch touchscreen running the award-winning UConnect 4C NAV. It is also capable of splitting and running two apps simultaneously. A fully configurable 7-inch driver information display sits behind the wheel. Full color and 3D animation capable, the display allows the driver to easily control what information is communicated.
Designed For More Comfort
Active noise cancellation system and acoustic glass dramatically reduce cabin noise by 10 dB while the HVAC system pushes 30% more air at lower noise levels. In-duct electric heating elements help to warm the cabin quicker on the frigid days. Buttons are also specifically designed to all be used with gloved hands. Wireless charging is available and five USB (including type-C) and three 115-volt (400w) household plugs are available. Storage volume is dramatically increased. Center council is up from 19.7 to 22.6 liters and is fully configurable. In the Mega Cab, there are 258 liters of interior storage volume, 120 percent more than the closest competitor.
Class-Leader is No Joke
It is obvious what makes the new Ram Heavy Duty the class leader in full-size pickups. The 1,000 lb-ft of torque is far from the only offering the Ram has. Increased strength, comfort, and driveability make the new Ram Heavy Duty the best pickup on the road today.
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