The 2013 Ram 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty trucks will boast improved towing and Gross Combined Weight Ratings (GCWRs) with new frames and suspension and upgraded powertrain options. “To answer the needs and wants of our customers, Ram Trucks has taken a big step forward in capability while improving the cost of ownership and efficiency,” says Fred Diaz, president and CEO, Ram Trucks Brand and Chrysler de Mexico.
The backbone of the trucks is a frame constructed of high-strength 50,000-psi steel, which adds much more capability that the 30,000-psi steel typically used in this application. The frame includes eight separate crossmembers, hydro-formed main rails and fully boxed rear rails for optimal strength and mass efficiency.
The front frame rails are approximately 1 in. per side wider to enable the front suspension springs to be positioned slightly outboard. This enables increased roll stiffness. Center frame rails are roll formed to maintain consistent strength in less complex longitudinal sections. In the rear portion of the new frame, the structure includes fully boxed rear rails and a factory-installed rear axle crossmember with provisions for 5th wheel and gooseneck hitches.
The conventional trailer hitch system has been upgraded to Class 5 with a 17,000-lb. load capability and 1,800 lbs. of tongue weight for use with 2-in. or 2.5-in. receiver hitches.
Put Power to the Ground
New powertrain options and increased horsepower and torque compliment the new frames and further enhance capability. The 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 that is standard in the Ram 2500 Heavy Duty makes its debut in the Ram 3500 Heavy Duty single rear wheel drive pickup as standard equipment. This engine pumps out 383 hp at 5,600 rpm and generates peak torque of 400 lb.-ft. at 3,950 rpm. It is mated to a 66RFE six-speed automatic transmission.
And for those that prefer a diesel, the 6.7-liter Cummins High-Output Turbo Diesel I-6 is now available in three versions. The first version, paired with a six-speed manual transmission, delivers 350 hp at 2,800 rpm and 660 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,500 rpm. This is an increase from 600 lb.-ft. of torque last year. The second option matches the Cummins to the 68RFE six-speed automatic transmission. This combination cranks out 370 hp at 2,800 rpm and 800 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,600 rpm.
Finally, the Cummins for Ram 3500 is paired with a new Aisin six-speed automatic transmission to produce 385 hp at 2,800 rpm and 850 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,600 rpm. This new transmission features wide gear ratios that contribute to upgraded shift performance and improved driveability.
The Cummins engines offer a 15,000-mile oil change interval and a 10% improvement in fuel efficiency. This is partially due to the design of the SCR system with a larger EGR cooler and a high-pressure common rail fuel system. These diesels are also compatible with B-20.
Diesel-equipped Heavy Duty pickups feature the Ram Active Air intake system. When the intake system senses extreme heat, it draws cool air from the front of the vehicle. This function also engages at high altitudes for improved throttle response in low-oxygen environments. When conditions are wet from snow, ice or water-fording, the system pulls air from an underhood inlet clear from snow packing and water ingestion.
Increased Capacity Calls for Suspension Upgrade
To handle the increased towing and payload capacities, Ram Trucks designed a new front and rear suspension system with advanced geometry. A three-link front suspension system on the Ram 3500 is necessary to accommodate the higher GVWR and for use with heavy front loads, including snow plows.
A newly designed Hotchkiss leaf spring rear suspension on the Ram 3500 offers improved ride and handling while delivering higher towing and payload capability.
In addition to frame, powertrain and suspension enhancements, there were other new features added to the 2013 Ram Heavy Duty pickups. Central locking includes the RamBox cargo management system and tailgate power locks, creating a convenient solution for locking all exterior doors and storage with one push of a button. Auto rain-sensing wipers and SmartBeam headlamps are also offered.