Introducing the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 R/T
Words: Mike Levine, Photos: Ian Merritt Posted: 06-27-08 10:30 PT
© 2008

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Chrysler debuted its all-new performance-oriented 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 R/T model recently, promising the short-box, two-wheel-drive hauler with a 390-horsepower, 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 would go from zero to 60 in just under 6 seconds.

Instead of a supercharger, the 5-speed AutoStick Ram R/T uses a "loose" torque converter for its strong off-the-line performance, delivering the Hemi's peak 407 pounds-feet of torque to the rear wheels faster than a standard torque converter.

A torque converter is a critical powertrain component that connects an automatic transmission to the engine. The torque converter enables the vehicle to stop without stalling the motor, which is what would happen if you took your foot off the clutch without placing a truck with a manual transmission into neutral at a stoplight.

A loose torque converter allows the engine to rev closer to the point where the engine makes its peak torque before it locks to transfer power, via the transmission, to the wheels. This is also known as giving the torque converter a higher stall speed.

The tradeoff for a loose torque converter is usually a hit to fuel economy, particularly in stop-and-go driving, and slower throttle response as the engine revs up to the point where the torque converter will lock to gain higher torque off the line.

No pricing was announced for the R/T model. We can't wait to get our hands on it for a drive later this year.

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