Noise, vibration and harshness levels have been dramatically reduced in the 2003 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty pickups by re-engineering the chassis and suspension.
Chrysler claims the Ram's new hydroformed chassis is the stiffest and strongest available in the segment. It uses 'box' construction methods to reduce the number of welds along with manufacturing complexity. Fewer welds also improves the frame's integrity so it's sturdy enough to accommodate a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of up to 6 tons.
The 4x4 and 4x2 Heavy Duty Rams get different front suspensions, custom tailored to better accommodate their owners and the way they use their pickups. The 4x4 Ram gets a newly refined five link, coil suspension setup based on the same "Quadra Link" front suspension found in the previous truck. It also adds a new front beam axle. An all new independent front suspension, similar to the 2002 Ram 1500's, is provided on 4x2 HDs.
The rear suspension is the same for both 4x2 and 4x4 2500 and 3500 models. Live axle, longitudinal leaf springs have added 3-inches more length to help reduce compression stress. 3500 model spring rates are reduced to improve ride quality in unloaded and slightly loaded conditions. All new rear axles help boost payload capacity to 12,000 pounds.
Rack and pinion steering is newly provided on 4x2 pickups while 4x4 models get a redesigned recirculating ball system. Both improve steering response and feedback to the driver.
The 2003 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty pickups set new firsts in driver and passenger safety and convenience. Side curtain airbags are added along with the largest brakes in the segment, providing best-in-class stopping distance. Power adjustable pedals help drivers fine tune their seating position. 17-inch wheels and tires are the largest available as standard equipment in the heavy duty segment.
Perhaps controversial to those 'in the know', the Heavy Duty Rams retain the same looks as the light duty trucks. They were once rumored to carry the same form pioneered on the Power Wagon Concept truck from the 1999 North American International Auto Show.
Overall, the 2003 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty 2500 and 3500 Series pickups set the stage for the next iteration of competition in the class that determines which manufacturer has the bragging rights to the most powerful truck on the road.
Engine / Transmission Matrix