A new Gen-IV 6.0-liter gasoline V-8 engine with variable valve timing is rated at 353 hp and 373 lb.-ft. of torque. It is paired with a new Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic transmission. At 18,500 lbs., this combination offers a higher gross combined weight rating than previous gas powertrains.
A more powerful Duramax 6.6-liter turbo-diesel has ratings increased to 365 hp and 660 lb.-ft. of torque. It is partnered with the 1000 Series Allison six-speed automatic transmission, which features a range selection feature that allows the driver to select the desired gears to match driving conditions, such as towing a trailer on a steep grade.
A stronger ladder design frame allows the use of a larger 2.5-in. trailer hitch receiver platform. This enables the trucks to pull a maximum of 13,000 lbs. with conventional trailers. Trucks with fifth-wheel hitches can tow up to 16,700 lbs. when properly equipped.
Two suspension packages are offered. The Z85 suspension is standard. The optional Z71 off-road suspension includes additional chassis and suspension equipment, including skid plates.
Dodge enters new territory
Dodge enters the Class 4 and 5 market segments with the 2008 Ram 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs. These trucks feature industry standard 34-in. frame rail spacing. The frame rail itself is a one-piece C-channel made of 50,000-psi steel. All chassis components are below the frame surface.
The trucks will come in 60-, 84-, 108- and 120-in. cab-axle lengths. This includes 4x2, 4x4, dual-rear-wheel, regular and Quad cab models.
Power is derived from a standard 6.7-liter Cummins turbo-diesel engine that generates 305 hp at 3,000 rpm and 610 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,600 rpm. It also has a claimed life-to-major overhaul interval of 350,000 miles.
Transmission options include a six-speed automatic or manual transmission, both with PTO capability. An electronic shift transfer case is available, while a factory-installed exhaust brake is standard. Four-wheel disc brakes with 390mm rotors and 66mm caliper pistons work with the standard anti-lock braking system to keep loads under control.
Aiding productivity is a 52-gal. fuel tank. An optional mid-ship fuel tank frees up more space behind the rear axle for special upfit applications.
These new product offerings position Dodge to take advantage of the growth in the Class 4 and 5 market segments. Industry forecasts for these chassis cabs were 140,000 units in 2006. This is expected to grow to 156,000 units by 2012.