Ram 2500 / 3500 Heavy Duty Trucks
02-06-02 15:00 Updated
one of the perks of the press is that the auto manufacturers feed the
journalists during media previews. But at this year's Chicago Auto Show
Dodge went a step further than any manufacturer has gone before - literally
taking 90 journalists out to lunch after unveiling its all new 2003 Ram
2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty pickups.
once a podium where Rich Schaum, Executive VP of Product Development and
Quality, introduced the trucks, collapsed to reveal a hidden tow hitch.
The hitch was attached by rope to a fire engine red Ram 3500 dually hidden
behind a backdrop. The curtain dropped and the media was driven for some
down home Chicago pizza about 25 feet away. It was an impressive display
of the new Heavy Duty's power and capabilities.
Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 Heavy Duty trucks get that towing power from two
brand new, class leading engines.
Dodge powertrain ally Cummins provides its newly redesigned 5.9-liter
I6 High Output Turbo Diesel, adding a high-pressure, common rail fuel-injection
system to produce 555ft-lbs of torque at 1,400 rpm and 305hp at 2,900rpm.
The bump in the engines capabilities gives the Dodge Ram an astounding
gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 23,000 pounds when towing a trailer.
The highest tow rating of any full size pickup.
with Bob Lee, Director of Dodge's Rear Wheel Drive Vehicle Engine Engineering,
who provided more details about the Cummins I6 and their partnership with
the Ram team. He also controlled a lot of rumors in the process.
In a slightly
disappointing move, Lee informed us that the new Cummins carries over
the NV4500 manual 5-speed and NV5600 HD manual 6-speed transmissions from
the 2002 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty pickups. No mechanical or physical changes
were made. Instead, the Cummin's 60hp / 50ft-lbs increase in power and
torque, "is handled by beefing up the transmission electronically."
about the possibility of using Allison transmissions we we're told that
would not happen.
be using a Mercedes diesel engine anytime soon either. Lee told us that
"the matter had been studied (and tabled for now.)" The Cummins
relationship means a lot to Dodge and during consumer clinics many Ram
Heavy Duty owners told Dodge the reason they buy these trucks is because
it has the Cummins name on the side.
of current Ram Heavy Duty pickups are sold with a Cummins diesel engine
powered engine owners won't be disappointed either with the new Rams.
Dodge is bringing back the HEMI engine as a 5.7-liter V8 with 365ft-lbs
of torque at 4,400rpm and 345hp at 5,600rpm. It replaces the old 5.9-liter
derives its name from its hemispherical combustion chambers. This design
allows for larger valves per cylinder and greater airflow during combustion,
creating about 10% more horsepower and torque than a conventional engine
of the same size.
produced the HEMI engine from 1951 to 1958, brought it back from 1966
to 1971, where it was best known as the 426 cubic inch powerplant in the
Barracuda muscle car, and revives it for a third time with modern engineering
its compact size, we could also put this in a car," Lee told us.
"But for now it's only an option on the Ram Heavy Duty. The HEMI
will not be offered as an engine choice on the light duty 1500 Ram pickup."
choices for the 2003 Ram HDs include the Standard Output 5.9-liter I6
Cummins Turbo Diesel, also equipped with high pressure common rail injection,
and famous Viper derived 8.0-liter V10. The Standard Output Cummins jumps
from 235 to 250hp and provides 460 ft-lbs of torque.