2009 Dodge Ram pickup trucks
The 2009 Dodge Ram has revised engines, a new rear suspension setup featuring coil springs fitted to a solid rear axle held in place with multiple links, a first-class interior, and two revolutionary storage systems, along with nearly every gadget seen on a minivan. The fastest 2009 Ram pickup will do 0-60 in a remarkable seven seconds - with a normal V8 available on most models.
2009 Dodge Ram interiors
Ralph Gilles said, “We spent a lot of time rethinking the layout, functionality, feel and packaging of the interior. The new interior was conceived drill home a new level of perceived and actual quality. Much higher grades of materials and finishes were selected throughout, culminating in the Laramie interior. All surfaces have been carefully thought-out, as we wanted a robust feel to the interior that communicates to the owner that he is driving an extremely high quality piece of engineering.”
An optional package will include chrome trim and upper door map pockets; standard soft door bolster and armrest, large door speaker grilles, built-in garment hangers and assist handles. The Laramie interior has a contrasting stitch on its soft instrument panel, chrome trim throughout, unique color combinations and wood-grain inserts on each door and the center instrument-panel stack.
Seats include industry-first heated and ventilated seats covered in YES® Essentials stain resistant, odor resistant, anti-static seat fabric or improved leather. Seats have redesigned frames and trim, with improved seat bolsters, unique stitching, full power with memory, and dual map pockets. Also new for 2009 is the addition of rear heated seats, optional on the crew cab.
The dashboard uses Thermo-Plastic Olefin top panel and PC-ABS plastic retainers that are recyclable; soft upper panel with stitching (Laramie and Sport models); two large airflow registers in the center stack and two at the outboard ends of the panel deliver air flow for rapid interior cooling and heating.
An optional center console has a floor-mounted automatic transmission shifter with Electronic Range Select, deep dual map pockets, abundant upper and lower storage space in the new soft, oversized clamshell center armrest, multiple storage compartments around the gearshift lever and multiple power outlets available for electronic devices
The center stack is designed for optimum “reach zones” – the placement of controls in the most intuitive and comfortable locations. The center stack includes strategic placement of a large radio yet still allows room for a navigation system screen, two large “Venetian-blind” style airflow outlets with chrome accents, upper and lower switch banks for control switches (based on vehicle options), climate controls, improved cup holders, 12-volt and 115-volt power outlets and a sunglass bin.
2009 Dodge Ram pickup truck engines
A revised Powertrain Control Module (PCM) includes Smart Start control, which prevents starter operation if the engine is running, and automatically disengages the starter when the engine reaches operating speed to prevent excessive starter overrun. Engine choices are a V6 (rear drive only), 4.7 V8, Hemi V8, and, starting in 2010, a Cummins turbodiesel. All but the V6 come with a five-speed automatic transmission (the transmission for the diesel is not yet known).
Hemi engine updates: 380 hp / 404 lb-ft
For 2009, the Hemi was revised to improve engine breathing and gas mileage, with variable cam timing; a higher compression ratio; higher-flowing heads, intake, and exhaust; and an active intake manifold that switches from long runners (for low-end torque) to short runners (for high-rpm power). The MDS system has been updated so the engine will spend more time in four-cylinder mode, saving fuel. Other upgrades build on the quality, reliability and durability reputation of the HEMI engine, including crankshaft structural upgrades, a dual-mass crankshaft damper, floating pin piston design, valve spring design, and oil pump capacity increase.
The results of all this work are a 10% boost in power to 380 hp (283 kW) and 404 lb-ft of torque (548 Nm), up from 345 hp and 375 lb-ft. At the same time, gas mileage increased by nearly 5%. The Dodge Ram R/T rear-wheel-drive model, with a short bed, regular cab, and 4.10:1 gears, can reach 60 mph in a mere 7 seconds.
Variable cam timing (VCT) closes the intake valve later, and increases the expansion process of combustion. This allows more work to be transferred to the crankshaft instead of being rejected out of the exhaust port as heat. VCT improves engine breathing, which improves engine efficiency and power.
The MDS system, which shuts off or restores four cylinders in a small fraction of a second, has, according to Chrysler estimates, saved nearly 100 million gallons of gasoline since 2005, along with reduced carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions of close to a million metric tons. When MDS is operating, it is indicated by a “Fuel Saver” readout in the 2009 Dodge Ram’s Electronic Vehicle Information Center.
The 4.7-liter V-8 has been boosted to a 310 horsepower (231 kW) and 330 lb.-ft. (447 N·m) of torque with increased fuel economy; that puts it close to the outgoing Hemi's horsepower. It now has two spark plugs per cylinder, a higher compression ratio, better head port flow, and a new slant/squish combustion system. This engine is also compatible with E85 fuel.
Standard on 2009 Dodge Ram two-wheel-drive regular cab and Quad Cab® models is a 3.7-liter Magnum V-6 engine, generating 215 horsepower (160 kW) and 235 lb.-ft. (319 N·m) of torque. Similar to the 4.7-liter and 5.7-liter V-8s, the 3.7-liter V-6 is equipped with Electronic Throttle Control, which provides engine torque control while compensating for changes in engine load caused by the air conditioning compressor, alternator and power steering pump. The 3.7 liter engine has best-in-class gas mileage.
The big news will be a new turbodiesel from Cummins, showing up in 2010; it will greatly increase low-end torque while slashing gas usage by nearly a third and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20%, compared to a similar gas engine. The Cummins diesel will meet 50-state emissions standards for 2010.
The Ram Hybrid is on the way, with gas mileage rivalling mid-size sedans.
Suspension, steering, wheels
For 2009, a multi-link coil-spring rear suspension will provides improved ride and handling characteristics with no loss of capability. A coil-spring setup centralizes and absorbs bumps and impacts, while reducing the amount of friction in the spring system. This setup also weighs 40 pounds less than a leaf-spring configuration. Coil-spring setups are commonly used in heavy-duty applications such as semi trailers and railroad cars; and for the 4x4, the Ram now has a larger articulation range than its leaf-spring competitors, with less freeway hop.
Shock absorbers are forward-facing and positioned on the outside of the frame for optimum damping. Shocks are tuned for optimum balance in order to reduce ride harshness and provide more of an absorbent feel.
Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering is standard; wheels run from a 17-inch stamped steel (ST) to 20 inch aluminum (optional on SLT, Sport, and Laramie), while a full sized spare is standard across the board.
According to Steve Williams, the rear sway bar faces the rear due to packaging. The only room for the bar was behind the axle; this required a full redesign of the hydrofromed frame. He also said that the hybrid would be similar to the Aspen but retuned for truck use.
Bob Sheaves, independent suspension engineer, wrote: “I am impressed with the efforts of the suspension design engineers and development engineers on the new rear suspension of the Ram pickup. Building on the success of the original ZJ Jeep (Grand Cherokee) rear link-coil suspension design, it appears that many of the shortcomings of the original ZJ design have been corrected. The new spring layout shows the attention to details and vehicle dynamics that the people at "JTE" [Jeep-Truck Engineering] are famous for.”
The RamBox and other storage systems
The RamBox, an option on Crew Cab 1500 models, is Avalanche done right: instead of small plastic containers stuck onto the pickup bed walls, Dodge has set up full-length storage bins, lighted, drainable, lockable, and weatherproof, as wide as the wheel well, with 8.6 cubic feet of space. They include configurable bed dividers, an adjustable bed extender that fits onto the lowered tailgate for another 2 feet of length (7 feet long total), and a cargo rail system with sliding adjustable cleats for tie-downs. The system can hold 240 twelve-ounce cans, or golf clubs, fishing rods, toolboxes, or other gear, while still leaving enough room in the bed for a flat sheet of plywood.
Lids include swing hinges with intermediate and full-open positions that lift the lid 90 degrees perpendicular to each side. Side bins are large enough to hold items including a set of golf clubs, helmets, toolboxes, kayak paddles, fishing rods, chainsaws – or 12-ounce cans with ice. Bed dividers create individual compartments in the pickup bed to separate payload items such as tools or equipment.
“All of our research indicated that new customers are buying a truck for the first time not only because it’s cool and capable, but also because it gives them a place to put all their stuff,” said Kunselman. “The RamBox storage system is Dodge’s response to that need.”
In addition, in-floor storage allows customers to store items in floor compartments using removable bins so different sets of equipment can be swapped or garaged. Two bins are each 8 inches x 13.25 inches x 5 inches; as they are under the rear passengers’ feet, they do not intrude on rear-seat leg room.
An upper glove box provides 391 cubic inches of storage capacity, and combined with the lower glove box volume of 426 cubic inches (!), provides best-in-class glove-box volume.
Visibility and safety
- Dual and quad headlamps: Dual-filament halogen headlamp bulbs with more light per watt, an average life of 3,000 hours, and inexpensive replacement cost. With quad headlamps (average service life, 1,000 hours), a “four-bulb burn” is now possible, lighting all four headlamp bulbs to light at once.
- Electronic Stability Program (ESP): uses braking and engine controls to try to keep the vehicle’s intended course. Includes Hill Start Assist (especially helpful with manual transmissions), Brake Assist, and Trailer Sway Control. Hill Start Assist maintains the level of brake pressure of the driver for a short duration once the driver takes his foot off of the brake pedal. Brake Assist overcomes the tendency of not applying the brakes hard enough in an emergency by using the ESC system to instantly apply the maximum available pressure to the brake. Trailer Sway Control (TSC) recognizes a swaying trailer and applies individual wheel brakes and/or reduces engine power to eliminate the trailer sway
- Exterior Mirrors: new turn signal lamps and puddle lamps integrated into outside mirror housing (not available on ST), new memory function (Laramie only), new body-color finish (Sport) and new chrome finish (Laramie). Power and heat functions also available, depending on trim level.
- Fog Lamps: Halogen bulbs distribute light through ultraviolet- and abrasion-resistant, coated polycarbonate lenses.
- More safety features are listed in the safety section, later on this page.
Comfort and convenience
- Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC): Redesigned controls are mounted on steering wheel. Functions include compass, outside temperature, average fuel economy, distance to empty, trip elapsed time, and system preferences.
- Express Up/down Windows: for Quad Cab and Ram Crew 1500
- Heated Steering Wheel
- Dual-zone automatic temperature control
- Power Adjustable Pedals
- Spare Tire: New 17-inch full-size spare
- SIRIUS Backseat TV™
- Tailgate: All-new, one-piece, fold-over stamping with new lift-assist that releases tension created when the tailgate is lowered to help raise it for closing
- Trailer Hitch: Redesigned Class IV trailer hitch attachment to frame
- Wireless Ignition Node (WIN): Panel-mounted node replaces the conventional key cylinder mounted on the steering column
The 545RFE five-speed automatic transmission is standard on 2009 Dodge Ram pickups equipped with the 5.7-liter HEMI and optional on Ram pickups equipped with the 4.7-liter V-8. It is a fully electronically controlled transmission containing three planetary gear sets that provide a wide ratio capability for optimum performance. It has a tow-haul mode that balances engine speed and load conditions which improves performance and fuel economy.
The five-speed automatic includes a new Electronic Range Select (ERS), which enables the driver to manually limit the highest available transmission gear, allowing manual upshifts and downshifts based on road speed and engine speed. Also new is an optional floor-mounted automatic shifter – available in the Dodge Ram for the first time.
Optional with the 3.7-liter V-6 engine (two-wheel drive only) is the 42RLE four-speed transmission. It has an electronically modulated converter clutch that increases fuel economy while maintaining smooth operation by allowing the torque converter clutch to begin engaging at a lower engine speed than previous four-speed transmissions. ERS is also included in the four-speed automatic, as is tow-haul mode.
The standard transmission for the 2009 Dodge Ram with the 3.7-liter is the Getrag 238 six-speed manual. Encased in a two-piece, die-cast aluminum housing, the six-speed provides optimum gear ratios for performance, while minimizing noise, vibration and harshness with hard-finished gears. Shift feel is enhanced by shift rails supported with ball bearings and Teflon bushings.
2009 Dodge Ram transfer cases
Two transfer cases are available: the NVG 243, which enables part-time four-wheel drive operation with a two-speed gear system; and the NVG 246, which enables an on-demand four-wheel drive system, also with a two-speed gear system. Both transfer cases are engaged with a dash-mounted switch.
The part-time transfer case provides three operating ranges – 2HI (two-wheel drive), 4HI (four-wheel drive) and 4LO (low-range reduction four-wheel drive) – plus a neutral position. 2HI is designed for any road surface at any time. 4HI and 4LO are for off-road use. Operating mode may be switched between 2HI and 4HI while the vehicle is in motion, but the vehicle’s transmission must be in neutral to engage 4LO. The low-range reduction ratio for 4LO is 2.72:1, which provides increased low-speed torque capability for pulling power in off-road conditions.
The on-demand transfer case provides four operating ranges: auto, 2HI, 4HI and 4LO. The auto range provides optimum versatility by engaging two- or four-wheel drive depending on road conditions. 2HI, 4HI and 4LO function the same as in the part-time transfer case.
Driveshafts are upgraded for increased quality, durability and reliability. The 2009 Dodge Ram’s driveshafts now incorporate 1350 series universal joints, two-piece thrust washers with triple-lip seals, and improved journal cross strength.
Four-wheel drive 2009 Dodge Ram pickups use a front axle incorporating half-shafts that drive front hubs. The axle has a disconnect system that automatically disengages the axle when four-wheel drive mode is disengaged, for increased fuel economy. 3.55 and 3.92 gear ratios are available.
Four gear ratios are available: 3.21, 3.55, 3.92 and 4.10. Standard on all 2009 Dodge Ram rear axles are an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Stability Program (ESP), which helps drivers maintain directional stability by applying selective braking and engine control to keep the vehicle on course.
Four-wheel disc brakes are standard on all 2009 Dodge Ram pickup trucks. Front rotors measure 13.2 inches (336 mm) in diameter and are clamped with dual-piston calipers, while rear rotors are 13.8 inches (352 mm) and utilize single-piston calipers.
An optional helical-gear limited-slip rear axle instantly divides torque between the rear wheels in proportion to the traction available to each wheel. It’s consistently smooth when turning corners because it responds only to variations in traction.
The rear axle is constructed of stronger materials for added durability, yet weighs only 15 pounds more.
The all-new 2009 Dodge Ram uses a low-torsion frame design that contributes to stability and handling precision while decreasing noise, vibration and harshness. Two frame lengths are available: 120-inch and 140-inch.
Portions of the frame are hydroformed for dimensional accuracy (hydroforming reduces the amount of welding that leads to distortion), and side rails are fully boxed. The front frame section incorporates advanced, high-strength steel that maintains overall strength and durability while saving approximately 30 pounds. New for 2009 are redesigned tow-hook brackets (four-wheel drive models). The rear section of the 2009 Dodge Ram’s frame is all new, and supports Dodge’s new multi-link coil-spring rear suspension.
The 2009 Dodge Ram is capable of handling a payload of up to an estimated 1,840 pounds and towing up to an estimated 9,100 pounds.
The cooperative application of aerodynamic science and innovative styling led to aerodynamic improvements on the new Ram that resulted in an estimated coefficient of drag (Cd) of .422 for a crew cab 4x4 model – compared with a Cd of .463 for a 2008 Ram Quad Cab® 4x4 (and .42 for the original 1994 Dodge Ram!). Extensive wind-tunnel testing was conducted to hone the 2009 Dodge Ram’s exterior shape.
Engineers have conducted approximately 40,000 hours of full-scale vehicle and system testing for durability and reliability of the 2009 Dodge Ram. Testing and validation in various climates included road trips to a variety of locations including Death Valley, Nev., Bemidji, Minn., Tampa and Denver. A full battery of lab testing included full-frame fatigue testing, door-slam testing, a road test simulator, and more than 200 hours of wind noise and aerodynamic evaluations in Chrysler’s state-of-the-art aerodynamic and acoustic test facility in Auburn Hills. By the time the 2009 Dodge Ram goes on sale, nearly 6.5 million customer-equivalent miles will be logged by Dodge Truck engineers.
The company is also employing techniques of Design for Six Sigma, which is folding in "voice of the customer" data along with lessons learned to ensure any vehicle reaching the customers’ hands is the highest quality. Since 1998, the company has seen its warranty costs drop nearly 50 percent.
Every facet of the development of the 2009 Dodge Ram was aimed at quality improvement. A few examples include:
- A hydroformed tubular front body structure is both stiff and light. The natural frequency of this structure and the continuity of its weld attachments to the cab were developed using computer-aided structural analysis
- The 2009 Dodge Ram’s sloping windshield is composed of two layers of solar glass for thermal protection and glare reduction
- Fenders are now bolted to a hydroformed inner structure for the engine compartment, and no longer serve as structural elements. This makes fenders easier and less costly to replace when damaged
- The overall cab construction uses a full-length roof ditch with continuous molding where cab and roof surfaces meet. One-piece bodyside outer panels match inner panels to form door openings with exceptional dimensional control
- To make the cab as quiet as possible, every path that leads to the interior is sealed. Joints are made as tight as possible and applied sealers are often expandable, which causes them to swell to form a tight seal
- The air-tight cabin forces air to flow through the cab and out via the cab-back air exhausters, rather than taking a shortcut that might leave some occupants uncomfortable
- Computer-aided analysis was used to develop bead (rib) patterns and mastic patch dampers that stiffen the floor pan and dash panel. The resulting panels achieve a natural vibration frequency that prevents them from amplifying with the frequencies of other vibration sources
- Doors are triple-sealed to keep out weather and noise. The first weatherstrip, in the greenhouse area, closes the gap to the door opening, cutting wind noise. The second is a full-circumference door-mounted seal. The third is a full-circumference body-mounted watertight seal. In addition, the wiring harness is on a plastic carrier, which is also a water shield for the interior trim. The integrated foam seal reduces traffic noise intrusion.
- Bake-hardened steel door panels provide greater dent resistance than conventional steel doors because the steel hardens when subjected to high heat during the paint-curing process. Inner and outer door panels are also galvanized for corrosion protection.
- Expandable baffles are used at the base of the structural pillars to block noise
- In crew cab models, a reinforced structural pillar between front and rear doors provides a solid attachment for the front door latch striker, supports the roof in a vehicle rollover, supports the rear door hinges and gives side-impact protection for occupants. Rear door side impact beams are placed at a height where a car or truck bumper would make first contact
- Dual-bulb taillamps use acrylic lenses with optical reflectors to distribute light. Reflectors are vacuum metallized to provide a brighter appearance
- All-new top covers on pickup bed rails reduce box marring and scratching for long-term durability
Safety and security
In addition to offering a standard four-wheel Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) and standard Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with Hill Start Assist (HSA) and Trailer Sway Control (TSC), Dodge Ram safety and security features include advanced multi-stage front driver and passenger air bags, supplemental side-curtain air bags and ParkSense® Rear Park Assist System.
Chrysler employs a two-fold safety approach: passive safety features including pretentioning and load-limiting seat belt retractors and supplemental side air bags, combined with active accident-avoidance safety features including responsive steering and handling and braking.
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