"Ram increased the chassis cab's capability by increasing axle ratings and GVW, yet retained the same proven chassis and powertrain," notes Elshoff. The 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 gasoline engine delivers 383 hp at 5,600 rpm and 400 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. The 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo diesel engine is rated at 305 hp at 3,000 rpm and 610 lb.-ft. of torque at only 1,600 rpm.
The powertrains and frame design allow the Ram Trucks to provide impressive capability. The Ram Chassis Cab 3500 features a 26,000-lb. gross combined weight rating (GCWR) and 19,000-lb. trailer tow capability. The Ram Chassis Cab 5500 features a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 19,500 lbs.
For 2011, General Motors pumped up performance of its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra chassis cabs with a more powerful 6.6-liter Duramax diesel that delivers 335 hp at 3,100 rpm and 685 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,600 rpm. GVWRs have increased up to 13,200 lbs., with a GCWR of up to 27,500 lbs. on dual rear-wheel models. The front axle weight rating has increased to 6,000 lbs. and the rear axle weight rating has increased to 9,750 lbs.
GM has also introduced new frames. "All of these frames are significantly stronger than their predecessors, and allow us to carry a lot more payload than we have in the past," says Tigges. Maximum payload has been increased to 7,293 lbs.
Longer wheelbases - ranging from 133.6 to 167.7 in. - and wider front/rear tracks enhance the ride and handling characteristics, giving them a greater feeling of smoothness and control. Larger engine and transmission mounts, coupled with a 125% stiffer front frame structure, also provide greater vibration control, while hydraulic body mounts are incorporated under the cab section on extended and crew cab models for a more isolated feel inside.
There are more configurations to consider, as well. GM has increased its range of 2WD regular cab offerings. "It used to be that all we offered was a box delete on the 2WD regular cab," notes Tigges. "It had to be single rear wheels and only the gas engine was offered. For 2011, we will offer that 2WD regular cab with single rear wheels or dual rear wheels. We will offer it with the gas or the diesel engine."
Ford introduced a 6.2-liter gas engine to replace its previous generation 5.4-liter gas engine in the F-250 and F-350 trucks. But the big news from Ford is the 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel that pumps out 735 lb.-ft. of torque and 390 hp, along with the six-speed TorqShift transmission. "We had a radical redesign of the diesel powertrain in the Super Duty," says Kaufman. This allows the F-550 to tow up to 26,400 lbs. The 2011 Super Duty also has a payload capacity of 6,520 lbs.
Looking at the numbers and options available, it becomes clear that the 2011 trucks will offer an advantage in terms of total cost of ownership and capability. With improved fuel economy and increased horsepower and torque, these trucks are a win-win scenario. The trick is to get the truck that most closely matches your application.
GM ROLLS OUT CREW CAB
Despite the fact that the regular cabs dominate this market by a significant margin, there is a growing interest in crew cabs. "It's a growing piece of the market," says Dan Tigges, General Motors.
To address this, General Motors made some changes to its lineup. "We dropped our extended cab chassis cab and added a crew cab chassis cab in its place," says Tigges. "If you are using the vehicle to haul people, the crew cab is going to give you a much more comfortable ride. You can sell someone the advantages of a crew cab chassis, but it is pretty hard to move them down."