signature of the Power Wagon is its stance, which features a 14.5-inch
running height; 2.5 inches higher than a standard 2500 4x4. The extra
height is achieved by the taller tires and different springs that provide
a 1.4-inch lift in the front and 1-inch increase in the rear. The spring
rates are softer than standard Ram 2500 Hemi-powered models to allow more
axle articulation (more on that later), therefore payload ratings are
lower. Another reason for the lower payload ratings is the increased vehicle
weight with all the extra armor and accessories, but the tow ratings remain
Regular Cab Power Wagon
listed in pounds
higher stance not only puts the roof at over 80 inches high but also boosts
the Power Wagon’s approach angle to 35-degrees, departure angle
to 26.5 degrees and the breakover angle to 25.5 degrees. (Can you imagine
the breakover angle if the Power Wagon was available in a regular cab,
short bed?). Ground clearance is 8.3 inches at the rear axle. Dodge rates
the Power Wagon at water-fording with a depth of 24 inches at 10 mph and
30 inches at 5 mph. But beware: the door sill height is 25 inches, so
don’t test the maximum depth for too long.
most important number on the spec sheet is 655. That’s the Ramp
Travel Index, which is a measure of a truck’s suspension articulation.
The number is determined by driving one of the front wheels as far up
a 20-degree ramp as possible without lifting any other wheel off the ground.
This distance up the ramp is divided by the wheelbase and that factor
is multiplied by 1000 to arrive at the RTI.
The Power Wagon’s RTI of 655 means you can articulate one front
wheel 32 inches in the air while the other three wheels remain in contact
with the ground. This extraordinary ability is achieved through a number
of design features, including solid front axle and softer springs all
around. But most important is the “Smart Bar,” an electronically
controlled device mounted up front that disconnects the front stabilizer
bar from the axle with the driver’s flick of the switch on the dash.
The bar can be disconnected for speeds below 18mph in either 4HI or 4LO,
and automatically re-engages at speeds above 18 mph. Stabilizer bars are
designed to distribute load force from one side of the vehicle to the
other, minimizing body roll while cornering. But they also limit axle
articulation off road. The common practice for hardcore off-roaders has
been to bring along a set of wrenches and disconnect the stabilizer bar
from the end links while on the trail and then bolt them back up for on-road
use. It’s an annoying routine but needed because one doesn’t
want to drive a lifted 4x4 on the highway without the added stability.
With the stabilizer bar connected, the Power Wagon’s RTI drops to
460 or 9 inches lower than with the bar disconnected.