New Ram 3500 packs 800 lb-ft of torque!

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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Dodge understands the motto "nothing succeeds like success" when it comes to the Ram truck brand and its winning Cummins engine partnership that goes way back to 1989, but with the new 2011 3500 HD it needs to be rewritten to "nothing exceeds like excess!"

The numbers read: 800 lb-ft of torque for a 22,700-pound (10,296-kg) towing capacity and a gross combined vehicle rating (GCWR) of 30,000 pounds (13,608 kg), up from the outgoing model's 24,500 lbs (11,113 kg), when equipped with the Max Tow package! Dodge can't take all the credit, mind you. While the chassis of its most formidable pickup truck (now upgraded with a revised dual-rear wheel axle featuring a 4.10 gear ratio, a new rear-axle pinion, new helical gears, stronger bearings and a heat-dissipating, and finned aluminum differential cover) is responsible for carrying the load, Cummins' 6.7-litre inline-six turbo-diesel is in charge of making sure that load gets moving.

"A Ram Heavy Duty truck owner's most important concern is towing capability – 79 percent of them rate towing as extremely important," said Fred Diaz, President and CEO - Ram Truck Brand, Chrysler Group LLC.

The staggering torque figure of the new High-Output Cummins represents no small step in output, but rather a shocking 23-percent increase over the outgoing engine's 650 lb-ft rating. And that full dose of torque becomes available earlier on in the rev range at 1,600 rpm compared to the outgoing engine's 1,200 through 2,800 rpm range.

Improvements to the engine also include a new engine-mounted, water-to-oil transmission cooler, while an upgraded power steering oil cooler helps to truck in control (the 2500 HD gets the latter upgrade, too).

Horsepower is important for keeping things rolling at highway speeds, and to that end the Cummins engine supplies an ample 350 now available from as low as 1,200 rpm.

The High-Output Cummins is paired with a beefier transmission incorporating a higher-rated torque converter that according to a press release is said to improve "engine/transmission integration for better towing capability on grades and optimizes engine performance." The new engine also reduces engine noise and vibration via a new crankshaft damper.

"Reliability and engine performance are tied for second – named as extremely important by 73 percent of owners," added Diaz.

Ask any seasoned trucker what matters more than performance, towing and even reliability and he or she will respond differently, however, if the brakes start to fade halfway down a steep, curving mountain pass. Ram takes the 3500 HD's newfound hauling capability seriously in that it's upgraded the brakes with the largest rotors offered in the full-size pickup truck class at 14.17 inches up front and 14.09 inches in the back, plus, in true road-hauling fashion the truck comes equipped with what the Ram folks claim to be the strongest exhaust brake available in the class.

Unique to the segment, the new Cummins engine doesn't require Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) treatment processes to meet stringent 2011 compliance regulations, simplifying mechanicals and reducing maintenance cost.

Last but hardly least, fleet managers and retirees towing fifth-wheels will both appreciate a 350,000-mile (563,270-km) lifespan between major overhauls.

While the Ram HD 3500 comes standard with the new High Output Cummins, which incidentally can only be had with the automatic transmission (the manual-equipped 3500 maintains the 650 lb-ft torque standard), it remains an option for the 2500 HD. The latter model's GCWR remains unchanged at 22,000 lbs (9,979 kg) due to its single rear-wheel axle.

The new upgraded High Output Cummins-equipped 3500 will arrive in Ram showrooms in Q2 of this year.

Fred Diaz, Ram Truck Brand President and CEO, Chrysler Group LLC, introduces the Ram 3500 Heavy Duty with new 800 lb.-ft. High Output Cummins Turbo Diesel at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show. Ram 3500 pickups can tow a segment-leading 22,700 lbs. maximum trailer weight.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Pickup, Dodge, 2011, RAM 2500, Ram 3500, Cummins,

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